CD4(+) and CD8(+) TCR? repertoires possess different potentials to generate extraordinarily high-avidity T cells.
ABSTRACT: Recent high throughput sequencing analysis has revealed that the TCR? repertoire is largely different between CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. Here, we show that the transduction of SIG35?, the public chain-centric HLA-A*02:01(A2)/MART127-35 TCR? hemichain, conferred A2/MART127-35 reactivity to a substantial subset of both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells regardless of their HLA-A2 positivity. T cells individually reconstituted with SIG35? and different A2/MART127-35 TCR? genes isolated from CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells exhibited a wide range of avidity. Surprisingly, approximately half of the A2/MART127-35 TCRs derived from CD4(+) T cells, but none from CD8(+) T cells, were stained by A2/MART127-35 monomer and possessed broader cross-reactivity. Our results suggest that the differences in the primary structure of peripheral CD4(+) and CD8(+) TCR? repertoire indeed result in the differences in their ability to form extraordinarily high avidity T cells which would otherwise have been deleted by central tolerance.
Project description:TCR?- and ?-chains cooperatively recognize peptide-MHC complexes. It has been shown that a "chain-centric" TCR hemichain can, by itself, dictate MHC-restricted Ag specificity without requiring major contributions from the paired TCR counterchain. Little is known, however, regarding the relative contributions and roles of chain-centric and its counter, non-chain-centric, hemichains in determining T cell avidity. We comprehensively analyzed a thymically unselected T cell repertoire generated by transducing the ?-chain-centric HLA-A*02:01(A2)/MART127-35 TCR?, clone SIG35?, into A2-matched and unmatched postthymic T cells. Regardless of their HLA-A2 positivity, a substantial subset of peripheral T cells transduced with SIG35? gained reactivity for A2/MART127-35. Although the generated A2/MART127-35-specific T cells used various TRBV genes, TRBV27 predominated with >10(2) highly diverse and unique clonotypic CDR3? sequences. T cells individually reconstituted with various A2/MART127-35 TRBV27 TCR? genes along with SIG35? possessed a wide range (>2 log orders) of avidity. Approximately half possessed avidity higher than T cells expressing clone DMF5, a naturally occurring A2/MART127-35 TCR with one of the highest affinities. Importantly, similar findings were recapitulated with other self-Ags. Our results indicate that, although a chain-centric TCR hemichain determines Ag specificity, the paired counterchain can regulate avidity over a broad range (>2 log orders) without compromising Ag specificity. TCR chain centricity can be exploited to generate a thymically unselected Ag-specific T cell repertoire, which can be used to isolate high-avidity antitumor T cells and their uniquely encoded TCRs rarely found in the periphery because of tolerance.
Project description:In this study, we generated human MHC Class I-restricted CD4+ T cells specific for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV), two herpesviridae associated with lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma and medulloblastoma, respectively. Retroviral transfer of virus-specific, HLA-A2-restricted TCR-coding genes generated CD4+ T cells that recognized HLA-A2/peptide multimers and produced cytokines when stimulated with MHC Class II-deficient cells presenting the relevant viral peptides in the context of HLA-A2. Peptide titration revealed that CD4+ T cells had a 10-fold lower avidity than CD8+ T cells expressing the same TCR. The impaired avidity of CD4+ T cells was corrected by simultaneously transferring TCR- and CD8-coding genes. The CD8 co-receptor did not alter the cytokine signature of CD4+ T cells, which remained distinct from that of CD8+ T cells. Using the xenogeneic NOD/SCID mouse model, we demonstrated that human CD4+ T cells expressing a specific TCR and CD8 can confer efficient protection against the growth of tumors expressing the EBV or CMV antigens recognized by the TCR. In summary, we describe a robust approach for generating therapeutic CD4+ T cells capable of providing MHC Class I-restricted immunity against MHC Class II-negative tumors in vivo.
Project description:A promising vaccine strategy for the treatment of cancer involves the use of vaccines incorporating tumor antigen-derived synthetic peptides that can be coordinately recognized by specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells. Previously, we reported that a MAGE-A6-derived peptide (MAGE-A6172-187) and its highly-immunogenic and cross-reactive homolog derived from Mycoplasma penetrans HF-2 permease (HF-2216-229) are promiscuously presented by multiple HLA-DR alleles to responder CD4(+) T-cells obtained from healthy donors and melanoma patients. Here, we investigated whether these same peptides could concomitantly stimulate cross-reactive MAGE-A6-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses in vitro using cells isolated from HLA-A*0201 (HLA-A2)(+) healthy individuals and patients with melanoma. We now show that MAGE-A6172-187 and, even more so, HF-2216-229, induce memory CD8(+) T cells that recognize HLA-A2(+) MAGE-A6(+) tumor target cells. The immunogenicity of these peptides was at least partially attributed to their embedded MAGE-A6176-185 and HF-2220-229 "homologous" sequences. The functional avidity of HF-2216-229 peptide-primed CD8(+) T cells for the MAGE-A6172-187 peptide was more than 100-fold greater than that of CD8(+) T cells primed with the corresponding MAGE-A6 peptide. Additionally, these 2 peptides were recognized in interferon ? (IFN?) and granzyme B ELISPOT assays by CD8(+) T-cell clones displaying variable T-cell receptor (TCR) V? usage. These data suggest that the immune cross-reactivity of the MAGE-A6172-187 and HF-2216-229 peptides extends to CD8(+) T cells, at least in HLA-A2(+) donors, and supports the potential translational utility of these epitopes in clinical vaccine formulations and for immunomonitoring of cancer patients.
Project description:Adoptive therapy with TCR gene-engineered T cells provides an attractive and feasible treatment option for cancer patients. Further development of TCR gene therapy requires the implementation of T-cell target epitopes that prevent "on-target" reactivity towards healthy tissues and at the same time direct a clinically effective response towards tumor tissues. Candidate epitopes that meet these criteria are MAGE-C2(336-344)/HLA-A2 (MC2/A2) and MAGE-A3(243-258)/HLA-DP4 (MA3/DP4). We molecularly characterized TCR?? genes of an MC2/A2-specific CD8 and MA3/DP4-specific CD4 T-cell clone derived from melanoma patients who responded clinically to MAGE vaccination. We identified MC2/A2 and MA3/DP4-specific TCR-V?3/V?28 and TCR-V?38/V?2 chains and validated these TCRs in vitro upon gene transfer into primary human T cells. The MC2 and MA3 TCR were surface-expressed and mediated CD8 T-cell functions towards melanoma cell lines and CD4 T-cell functions towards dendritic cells, respectively. We intend to start testing these MAGE-specific TCRs in phase I clinical trial.
Project description:We have previously identified an antigen (Ag) recognized on a human large cell carcinoma of the lung by a tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte clone derived from autologous tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). The antigenic peptide is presented by HLA-A2 molecules and is encoded by a mutated alpha-actinin-4 (ACTN4) gene. In the present report, we have isolated two anti-alpha-actinin-4 T cell clones from the same patient TIL and from his peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) by using tetramers of soluble HLA-A2 molecules loaded with the mutated peptide. Although all of the clones displayed similar tetramer labeling, those isolated from PBL showed lower avidity of Ag recognition and killed the specific target much less efficiently, indicating that tetramer staining does not correlate with clone avidity/tumor reactivity. T cell receptor (TCR) analysis revealed that alpha-actinin-4-reactive clones used distinct alpha and beta chain rearrangements, demonstrating TCR repertoire diversity. Interestingly, TCR beta chain gene usage indicated that only Ag-specific clones with high functional avidity were expanded at the tumor site, whereas a low-avidity clone was exclusively amplified in patient peripheral blood. Our results point to the existence of distinct but overlapping antitumor TCR repertoires in TIL and PBL and suggest a selective in situ expansion of tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte with high avidity/tumor reactivity.
Project description:Effective T cell responses can decisively influence the outcome of retroviral infection. However, what constitutes protective T cell responses or determines the ability of the host to mount such responses is incompletely understood. Here we studied the requirements for development and induction of CD4+ T cells that were essential for immunity to Friend virus (FV) infection of mice, according to their TCR avidity for an FV-derived epitope. We showed that a self peptide, encoded by an endogenous retrovirus, negatively selected a significant fraction of polyclonal FV-specific CD4+ T cells and diminished the response to FV infection. Surprisingly, however, CD4+ T cell-mediated antiviral activity was fully preserved. Detailed repertoire analysis revealed that clones with low avidity for FV-derived peptides were more cross-reactive with self peptides and were consequently preferentially deleted. Negative selection of low-avidity FV-reactive CD4+ T cells was responsible for the dominance of high-avidity clones in the response to FV infection, suggesting that protection against the primary infecting virus was mediated exclusively by high-avidity CD4+ T cells. Thus, although negative selection reduced the size and cross-reactivity of the available FV-reactive naïve CD4+ T cell repertoire, it increased the overall avidity of the repertoire that responded to infection. These findings demonstrate that self proteins expressed by replication-defective endogenous retroviruses can heavily influence the formation of the TCR repertoire reactive with exogenous retroviruses and determine the avidity of the response to retroviral infection. Given the overabundance of endogenous retroviruses in the human genome, these findings also suggest that endogenous retroviral proteins, presented by products of highly polymorphic HLA alleles, may shape the human TCR repertoire that reacts with exogenous retroviruses or other infecting pathogens, leading to interindividual heterogeneity.
Project description:The ErbB2 protein is a member of the tyrosine kinase family of growth factor receptors that is overexpressed in cancers of the breast, ovary, stomach, kidney, colon, and lung, and therefore represents an attractive candidate antigen for targeted cancer immunotherapy. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific for various immunogenic ErbB2 peptides have been described, but they often exhibit both poor functional avidity and tumor reactivity. In order to generate potent CD8(+) T cells with specificity for the ErbB2(369-377) peptide, we performed one round of in vitro peptide stimulation of CD8(+) T cells isolated from an HLA-A2(+) patient who was previously vaccinated with autologous dendritic cells pulsed with HLA class I ErbB2 peptides. Using this approach, we enriched highly avid ErbB2-reactive T cells with strong ErbB2-specific, antitumor effector functions. We then stimulated these ErbB2-reactive T cells with ErbB2(+) HLA-A2(+) tumor cells in vitro and sorted tumor-activated ErbB2(369-377) peptide T cells, which allowed for the isolation of a novel T-cell receptor (TCR) with ErbB2(369-377) peptide specificity. Primary human CD8(+) T cells genetically modified to express this ErbB2-specific TCR specifically bound ErbB2(369-377) peptide containing HLA-A2 tetramers, and efficiently recognized target cells pulsed with low nanomolar concentrations of ErbB2(369-377) peptide as well as nonpulsed ErbB2(+) HLA-A2(+) tumor cell lines in vitro. In a novel xenograft model, ErbB2-redirected T cells also significantly delayed progression of ErbB2(+) HLA-A2(+) human tumor in vivo. Together, these results support the notion that redirection of normal T-cell specificity by TCR gene transfer can have potential applications in the adoptive immunotherapy of ErbB2-expressing malignancies.
Project description:Recent advancements in T cell immunotherapy suggest that T cells engineered with high-affinity TCR can offer better tumor regression. However, whether a high-affinity TCR alone is sufficient to control tumor growth, or the T cell subset bearing the TCR is also important remains unclear. Using the human tyrosinase epitope-reactive, CD8-independent, high-affinity TCR isolated from MHC class I-restricted CD4(+) T cells obtained from tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) of a metastatic melanoma patient, we developed a novel TCR transgenic mouse with a C57BL/6 background. This HLA-A2-restricted TCR was positively selected on both CD4(+) and CD8(+) single-positive cells. However, when the TCR transgenic mouse was developed with a HLA-A2 background, the transgenic TCR was primarily expressed by CD3(+)CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative T cells. TIL 1383I TCR transgenic CD4(+), CD8(+), and CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells were functional and retained the ability to control tumor growth without the need for vaccination or cytokine support in vivo. Furthermore, the HLA-A2(+)/human tyrosinase TCR double-transgenic mice developed spontaneous hair depigmentation and had visual defects that progressed with age. Our data show that the expression of the high-affinity TIL 1383I TCR alone in CD3(+) T cells is sufficient to control the growth of murine and human melanoma, and the presence or absence of CD4 and CD8 coreceptors had little effect on its functional capacity.
Project description:CD8(+) T-cells specific for MART-1-(26-35), a dominant melanoma epitope restricted by human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201, are exceptionally common in the naive T-cell repertoire. Remarkably, the TRAV12-2 gene is used to encode the T-cell receptor alpha (TCRalpha) chain in >87% of these T-cells. Here, the molecular basis for this genetic bias is revealed from the structural and thermodynamic properties of an archetypal TRAV12-2-encoded TCR complexed to the clinically relevant heteroclitic peptide, ELAGIGILTV, bound to HLA-A*0201 (A2-ELA). Unusually, the TRAV12-2 germ line-encoded regions of the TCR dominate the major atomic contacts with the peptide at the TCR/A2-ELA interface. This "innate" pattern of antigen recognition probably explains the unique characteristics and extraordinary frequencies of CD8(+) T-cell responses to this epitope.
Project description:Despite progress in adoptive T-cell therapies, the identification of targets remains a challenge. Although chimeric antigen receptors recognize cell-surface antigens, T-cell receptors (TCR) have the advantage that they can target the array of intracellular proteins by binding to peptides associated with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) products (pepMHC). Although hundreds of cancer-associated peptides have been reported, it remains difficult to identify effective TCRs against each pepMHC complex. Conventional approaches require isolation of antigen-specific CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, followed by TCR?? gene isolation and validation. To bypass this process, we used directed evolution to engineer TCRs with desired peptide specificity. Here, we compared the activity and cross-reactivity of two affinity-matured TCRs (T1 and RD1) with distinct origins. T1-TCR was isolated from a melanoma-reactive T-cell line specific for MART-1/HLA-A2, whereas RD1-TCR was derived <i>de novo</i> against MART-1/HLA-A2 by <i>in vitro</i> engineering. Despite their distinct origins, both TCRs exhibited similar peptide fine specificities, focused on the center of the MART-1 peptide. In CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells, both TCRs mediated activity against MART-1 presented by HLA-A2. However, in CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, T1, but not RD1, demonstrated cross-reactivity with endogenous peptide/HLA-A2 complexes. Based on the fine specificity of these and other MART-1 binding TCRs, we conducted bioinformatics scans to identify structurally similar self-peptides in the human proteome. We showed that the T1-TCR cross-reacted with many of these self-peptides, whereas the RD1-TCR was rarely cross-reactive. Thus, TCRs such as RD1, generated <i>de novo</i> against cancer antigens, can serve as an alternative to TCRs generated from T-cell clones.