The absence of invariant chain in MHC II cancer vaccines enhances the activation of tumor-reactive type 1 CD4+ T lymphocytes.
ABSTRACT: Activation of tumor-reactive T lymphocytes is a promising approach for the prevention and treatment of patients with metastatic cancers. Strategies that activate CD8(+) T cells are particularly promising because of the cytotoxicity and specificity of CD8(+) T cells for tumor cells. Optimal CD8(+) T cell activity requires the co-activation of CD4(+) T cells, which are critical for immune memory and protection against latent metastatic disease. Therefore, we are developing "MHC II" vaccines that activate tumor-reactive CD4(+) T cells. MHC II vaccines are MHC class I(+) tumor cells that are transduced with costimulatory molecules and MHC II alleles syngeneic to the prospective recipient. Because the vaccine cells do not express the MHC II-associated invariant chain (Ii), we hypothesized that they will present endogenously synthesized tumor peptides that are not presented by professional Ii(+) antigen presenting cells (APC) and will therefore overcome tolerance to activate CD4(+) T cells. We now report that MHC II vaccines prepared from human MCF10 mammary carcinoma cells are more efficient than Ii(+) APC for priming and boosting Type 1 CD4(+) T cells. MHC II vaccines consistently induce greater expansion of CD4(+) T cells which secrete more IFNgamma and they activate an overlapping, but distinct repertoire of CD4(+) T cells as measured by T cell receptor Vbeta usage, compared to Ii(+) APC. Therefore, the absence of Ii facilitates a robust CD4(+) T cell response that includes the presentation of peptides that are presented by traditional APC, as well as peptides that are uniquely presented by the Ii(-) vaccine cells.
Project description:CD4+ T cells play critical roles in defending against poxviruses, both by potentiating cellular and humoral responses and by directly killing infected cells. Despite this central role, the basis for pox-specific CD4+ T cell activation, specifically the origin of the poxvirus-derived peptides (epitopes) that activate CD4+ T cells, remains poorly understood. In addition, because the current licensed poxvirus vaccines can cause serious adverse events and even death, elucidating the requirements for MHC class II (MHC-II) processing and presentation of poxviral Ags could be of great use. To address these questions, we explored the CD4+ T cell immunogenicity of ectromelia, the causative agent of mousepox. Having identified a large panel of novel epitopes via a screen of algorithm-selected synthetic peptides, we observed that immunization of mice with inactivated poxvirus primes a virtually undetectable CD4+ T cell response, even when adjuvanted, and is unable to provide protection against disease after a secondary challenge. We postulated that an important contributor to this outcome is the poor processability of whole virions for MHC-II-restricted presentation. In line with this hypothesis, we observed that whole poxvirions are very inefficiently converted into MHC-II-binding peptides by the APC as compared with subviral material. Thus, stability of the virion structure is a critical consideration in the rational design of a safe alternative to the existing live smallpox vaccine.
Project description:An exclusive feature of dendritic cells (DCs) is their ability to cross-present exogenous antigens in MHC class I molecules. We analyzed the fate of protein antigen in antigen presenting cell (APC) subsets after uptake of naturally formed antigen-antibody complexes in vivo. We observed that murine splenic DC subsets were able to present antigen in vivo for at least a week. After ex vivo isolation of four APC subsets, the presence of antigen in the storage compartments was visualized by confocal microscopy. Although all APC subsets stored antigen for many days, their ability and kinetics in antigen presentation was remarkably different. CD8?+ DCs showed sustained MHC class I-peptide specific CD8+ T-cell activation for more than 4 days. CD8?- DCs also presented antigenic peptides in MHC class I but presentation decreased after 48 h. In contrast, only the CD8?- DCs were able to present antigen in MHC class II to specific CD4+ T cells. Plasmacytoid DCs and macrophages were unable to activate any of the two T-cell types despite detectable antigen uptake. These results indicate that naturally occurring DC subsets have functional antigen storage capacity for prolonged T-cell activation and have distinct roles in antigen presentation to specific T cells in vivo.
Project description:The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-associated Invariant chain (Ii) is present in professional antigen presenting cells where it regulates peptide loading onto MHC class II molecules and the peptidome presented to CD4+ T lymphocytes. Because Ii prevents peptide loading in neutral subcellular compartments, we reasoned that Ii- cells may present peptides not presented by Ii+ cells. Based on the hypothesis that patients are tolerant to MHC II-restricted tumor peptides presented by Ii+ cells, but will not be tolerant to novel peptides presented by Ii- cells, we generated MHC II vaccines to activate cancer patients' T cells. The vaccines are Ii- tumor cells expressing syngeneic HLA-DR and the costimulatory molecule CD80. We used liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to sequence MHC II-restricted peptides from Ii+ and Ii- MCF10 human breast cancer cells transfected with HLA-DR7 or the MHC Class II transactivator CIITA to determine if Ii- cells present novel peptides. Ii expression was induced in the HLA-DR7 transfectants by transfection of Ii, and inhibited in the CIITA transfectants by RNA interference. Peptides were analyzed and binding affinity predicted by artificial neural net analysis. HLA-DR7-restricted peptides from Ii- and Ii+ cells do not differ in size or in subcellular location of their source proteins; however, a subset of HLA-DR7-restricted peptides of Ii- cells are not presented by Ii+ cells, and are derived from source proteins not used by Ii+ cells. Peptides from Ii- cells with the highest predicted HLA-DR7 binding affinity were synthesized, and activated tumor-specific HLA-DR7+ human T cells from healthy donors and breast cancer patients, demonstrating that the MS-identified peptides are bonafide tumor antigens. These results demonstrate that Ii regulates the repertoire of tumor peptides presented by MHC class II+ breast cancer cells and identify novel immunogenic MHC II-restricted peptides that are potential therapeutic reagents for cancer patients.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs) hold promise for anti-cancer immunotherapy. However, clinically, their efficiency is limited and novel strategies to improve DC-mediated anti-tumor responses are needed. Human DCs display high content of sialic acids, which inhibits their maturation and co-stimulation capacity. Here, we aimed to understand whether exogenous desialylation of DCs improves their anti-tumor immunity. Compared to fully sialylated DCs, desialylated human DCs loaded with tumor-antigens showed enhanced ability to induce autologous T cells to proliferate, to secrete Th1 cytokines, and to specifically induce tumor cell apoptosis. Desialylated DCs showed an increased expression of MHC-I and -II, co-stimulatory molecules and an augmented secretion of IL-12. Desialylated HLA-A*02:01 DCs pulsed with gp100 peptides displayed enhanced peptide presentation through MHC-I, resulting in higher activation ofgp100280-288 specific CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. Desialylated murine DCs also exhibited increased MHC and co-stimulatory molecules and higher antigen cross-presentation via MHC-I. These DCs showed higher ability to activate antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and to specifically induce tumor cell apoptosis. Collectively, our data demonstrates that desialylation improves DCs' ability to elicit T cell-mediated anti-tumor activity, due to increased MHC-I expression and higher antigen presentation via MHC-I. Sialidase treatment of DCs may represent a technology to improve the efficacy of antigen loaded-DC-based vaccines for anti-cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:T cell receptors (TCRs) recognize peptides presented by MHC molecules (pMHC) on an antigen-presenting cell (APC) to discriminate foreign from self-antigens and initiate adaptive immune responses. In addition, T cell activation generally requires binding of this same pMHC to a CD4 or CD8 co-receptor, resulting in assembly of a TCR-pMHC-CD4 or TCR-pMHC-CD8 complex and recruitment of Lck via its association with the co-receptor. Here we review structural and biophysical studies of CD4 and CD8 interactions with MHC molecules and TCR-pMHC complexes. Crystal structures have been determined of CD8?? and CD8?? in complex with MHC class I, of CD4 bound to MHC class II, and of a complete TCR-pMHC-CD4 ternary complex. Additionally, the binding of these co-receptors to pMHC and TCR-pMHC ligands has been investigated both in solution and in situ at the T cell-APC interface. Together, these studies have provided key insights into the role of CD4 and CD8 in T cell activation, and into how these co-receptors focus TCR on MHC to guide TCR docking on pMHC during thymic T cell selection.
Project description:Recombinant ?? T cell receptors, expressed on T cell membranes, recognize short peptides presented at the cell surface in complex with MHC molecules. There are two main subsets of ?? T cells: CD8(+) T cells that recognize mainly cytosol-derived peptides in the context of MHC class I (pMHC-I), and CD4(+) T cells that recognize peptides usually derived from exogenous proteins presented by MHC class II (pMHC-II). Unlike the more uniform peptide lengths (usually 8-13mers) bound in the MHC-I closed groove, MHC-II presented peptides are of a highly variable length. The bound peptides consist of a core bound 9mer (reflecting the binding motif for the particular MHC-II type) but with variable peptide flanking residues (PFRs) that can extend from both the N- and C-terminus of the MHC-II binding groove. Although pMHC-I and pMHC-II play a virtually identical role during T cell responses (T cell antigen presentation) and are very similar in overall conformation, there exist a number of subtle but important differences that may govern the functional dichotomy observed between CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. Here, we provide an overview of the impact of structural differences between pMHC-I and pMHC-II and the molecular interactions with the T cell receptor including the functional importance of MHC-II PFRs. We consider how factors such as anatomical location, inflammatory milieu, and particular types of antigen presenting cell might, in theory, contribute to the quantitative (i.e., pMHC ligand frequency) as well as qualitative (i.e., variable PFR) nature of peptide epitopes, and hence offer a means of control and influence of a CD4(+) T cell response. Lastly, we review our recent findings showing how modifications to MHC-II PFRs can modify CD4(+) T cell antigen recognition. These findings may have novel applications for the development of CD4(+) T cell peptide vaccines and diagnostics.
Project description:Macrophages, B cells, and adipocytes are among the adipose tissue (AT) APCs that differentiate and activate naive CD4+ T cells. Mice with adipocyte loss of MHC class II (MHC II) are more insulin sensitive. Because macrophages are professional APCs, mice with genetic myeloid MHC II depletion (myeloid MHC II knockout [mMHCII-/-]) were created and metabolically characterized. FITC+ glucan-coated particles (glucan-encapsulated small interfering RNA [siRNA] particles [GeRPs]) were also used to target MHC II knockout specifically in AT macrophages (ATMs). Mice with total body mMHCII-/- were generated by crossing LyzMCre with H2Ab1 floxed mice. For specific ATM depletion of H2Ab1, GeRPs containing H2Ab1 siRNA were administered to high-fat diet-fed C57BL/6 mice. Unexpectedly, mMHCII-/- mice had loss of both macrophage and adipocyte H2Ab1, one of only two Ag-presenting arms; thus, neither cell could present Ag and activate CD4+ T cells. This inability led to a reduction in AT immunosuppressive regulatory T cells, increased AT CD8+ T cells, and no improvement in systemic metabolism. Thus, with combined systemic myeloid and adipocyte MHC II loss, the impact of ATM-specific alterations in APC activity could not be delineated. Therefore, GeRPs containing H2Ab1 siRNA were administered to specifically reduce ATM H2Ab1 which, in contrast, revealed improved glucose tolerance. In conclusion, loss of either ATM or adipocyte APC function, but not both, improves systemic glucose metabolism because of maintenance of AT regulatory T cells.
Project description:Eradication of tumors by the immune system relies on the efficient activation of a T-cell response. For many years, the main focus of cancer immunotherapy has been on cytotoxic CD8 T-cell. However, stimulation of CD4 helper T cells is critical for the promotion and maintenance of immune memory, thus a good vaccine should evoke a two-dimensional T-cell response. The invariant chain (Ii) is required for the MHC class II heterodimer to be correctly guided through the cell, loaded with peptide, and expressed on the surface of antigen presenting cells (APC). We previously showed that by replacing the Ii CLIP peptide by an MHC-I cancer peptide, we could efficiently load MHC-I. This prompted us to test whether longer cancer peptides could be loaded on both MHC classes and whether such peptides could be accommodated in the CLIP region of Ii. We here present data showing that expanding the CLIP replacement size leads to T-cell activation. We demonstrate by using long peptides that APCs can present peptides from the same Ii molecule on both MHC-I and -II. In addition, we present evidence that antigen presentation after Ii-loading was superior to an ER-targeted minigene construct, suggesting that ER-localization was not sufficient to obtain efficient MHC-II loading. Finally, we verified that Ii-expressing dendritic cells could prime CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from a naïve population. Taken together our study demonstrates that CLIP peptide replaced Ii constructs fulfill some of the major requirements for an efficient vector for cancer vaccination.
Project description:Our previous work involved the development of a recombinant fowlpox virus encoding survivin (FP-surv) vaccine that was evaluated for efficacy in mesothelioma mouse models. Results showed that FP-surv vaccination generated significant immune responses, which led to delayed tumor growth and improved animal survival. We have extended those previous findings in the current study, which involves the pre-clinical development of an optimized version of FP-surv designed for human immunization (HIvax). Survivin-derived peptides for the most common haplotypes in the human population were identified and their immunogenicity confirmed in co-culture experiments using dendritic cells and T cells isolated from healthy donors. Peptides confirmed to induce CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells activation in humans were then included in 2 transgenes optimized for presentation of processed peptides on MHC-I (HIvax1) and MHC-II (HIvax2). Fowlpox vectors expressing the HIvax transgenes were then generated and their efficacy was evaluated with subsequent co-culture experiments to measure interferon-? and granzyme B secretion. In these experiments, both antigen specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were activated by HIvax vaccines with resultant cytotoxic activity against survivin-overexpressing mesothelioma cancer cells. These results provide a rationale for clinical testing of HIvax1 and HIvax2 vaccines in patients with survivin-expressing cancers.
Project description:T-cell recognition of cancer neoantigens is important for effective immune-checkpoint blockade therapy, and an increasing interest exists in developing personalized tumor neoantigen vaccines. Previous studies utilizing RNA and long-peptide neoantigen vaccines in preclinical and early-phase clinical studies have shown immune responses predominantly driven by MHC class II CD4+ T cells. Here, we report on a preclinical study utilizing a DNA vaccine platform to target tumor neoantigens. We showed that optimized strings of tumor neoantigens, when delivered by potent electroporation-mediated DNA delivery, were immunogenic and generated predominantly MHC class I-restricted, CD8+ T-cell responses. High MHC class I affinity was associated specifically with immunogenic CD8+ T-cell epitopes. These DNA neoantigen vaccines induced a therapeutic antitumor response in vivo, and neoantigen-specific T cells expanded from immunized mice directly killed tumor cells ex vivo These data illustrate a unique advantage of this DNA platform to drive CD8+ T-cell immunity for neoantigen immunotherapy.