2B4 costimulatory domain enhancing cytotoxic ability of anti-CD5 chimeric antigen receptor engineered natural killer cells against T cell malignancies.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Chimeric antigen receptor engineered T cells (CAR-T) have demonstrated extraordinary efficacy in B cell malignancy therapy and have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for diffuse large B cell lymphoma and acute B lymphocytic leukemia treatment. However, treatment of T cell malignancies using CAR-T cells remains limited due to the shared antigens between malignant T cells and normal T cells. CD5 is considered one of the important characteristic markers of malignant T cells and is expressed on almost all normal T cells but not on NK-92 cells. Recently, NK-92 cells have been utilized as CAR-modified immune cells. However, in preclinical models, CAR-T cells seem to be superior to CAR-NK-92 cells. Therefore, we speculate that in addition to the short lifespan of NK-92 cells in mice, the costimulatory domain used in CAR constructs might not be suitable for CAR-NK-92 cell engineering. METHODS:Two second-generation anti-CD5 CAR plasmids with different costimulatory domains were constructed, one using the T-cell-associated activating receptor-4-1BB (BB.z) and the other using a NK-cell-associated activating receptor-2B4 (2B4.z). Subsequently, BB.z-NK and 2B4.z-NK were generated. Specific cytotoxicity against CD5+ malignant cell lines, primary CD5+ malignant cells, and normal T cells was evaluated in vitro. Moreover, a CD5+ T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) mouse model was established and used to assess the efficacy of CD5-CAR NK immunotherapy in vivo. RESULTS:Both BB.z-NK and 2B4.z-NK exhibited specific cytotoxicity against CD5+ malignant cells in vitro and prolonged the survival of T-ALL xenograft mice. Encouragingly, 2B4.z-NK cells displayed greater anti-CD5+ malignancy capacity than that of BB.z-NK, accompanied by a greater direct lytic side effect versus BB.z-NK. CONCLUSIONS:Anti-CD5 CAR-NK cells, particularly those constructed with the intracellular domain of NK-cell-associated activating receptor 2B4, may be a promising strategy for T cell malignancy treatment.
Project description:Purpose:Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is the sixth most prevalent cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Cellular immunotherapy against glypican 3 (GPC3) has recently been used in the treatment of HCC, following the success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy in treatment of B cell malignancy. However, CAR-T cells are not "off-the-shelf" and always cause cytokine release syndrome, which can be eliminated by using natural killer (NK) cells as effector cells. Since a costimulatory signal is necessary for the activation, persistence, or cytotoxicity of CAR-T cells, we speculated that the costimulatory signal is also required for CAR-NK cells in HCC treatment. Methods:Five anti-GPC3 CAR plasmids containing different costimulatory domains were constructed. They included Z (only the CD3? domain, no costimulatory domain), CD28.Z (T-cell costimulatory domain CD28), DNAM1/2B4.Z (NK-cell-associated costimulatory domain DNAM1 or 2B4), and DNAM1.2B4.Z (both NK-cell-associated costimulatory domains). Respective CAR-NK-92 cells were generated. The MTT viability assay was performed to evaluate the effect of the different costimulatory domains on CAR-NK-cell proliferation. The effect on persistence was analyzed using an apoptosis assay and flow cytometry. Special cytotoxicity against normal hepatocellular cells and GPC3+ malignant cells was investigated in vitro. The concentration of cytokines (TNF-? and IFN-?) released by CAR-NK-92 cells was also measured by ELISA. Results:NK-cell-associated costimulatory signal was necessary for CAR-NK-92 cells. CAR-NK-92 cells with DNAM1 and/or 2B4 expanded more quickly and persisted with a lower apoptotic ratio, compared to the presence of CD28 or no costimulatory signal. All CAR-NK-92 cells showed special cellular cytotoxicity in vitro. CAR-NK-92 cells with NK-cell-associated costimulatory domains exhibited higher cytotoxic ability compared with those without any costimulatory domain or with T-cell costimulatory domain. CAR-NK-92 cells with both DNAM1 and 2B4 displayed the highest cytotoxicity. The cytokine release assay results were consistent with those of the cytotoxicity assay. Conclusion:We provided the first evidence supporting a strategy using DNAM1 and 2B4 costimulatory domains to generate anti-GPC3 CAR-NK-92 cells, which exhibits enhanced cytotoxicity against hepatocellular cancer cells in vitro.
Project description:The outlook for T-cell malignancies remain poor due to the lack of effective therapeutic options. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) immunotherapy has recently shown promise in clinical trials for B-cell malignancies, however, designing CARs for T-cell based disease remain a challenge due to the shared surface antigen pool between normal and malignant T-cells. Normal T-cells express CD5 but NK (natural killer) cells do not, positioning NK cells as attractive cytotoxicity cells for CD5CAR design. Additionally, CD5 is highly expressed in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs). Here, we report a robust anti-CD5 CAR (CD5CAR) transduced into a human NK cell line NK-92 that can undergo stable expansion ex vivo. We found that CD5CAR NK-92 cells possessed consistent, specific, and potent anti-tumor activity against a variety of T-cell leukemia and lymphoma cell lines as well as primary tumor cells. Furthermore, we were able to demonstrate significant inhibition and control of disease progression in xenograft mouse models of T-ALL. The data suggest that CAR redirected targeting for T-cell malignancies using NK cells may be a viable method for new and complementary therapeutic approaches that could improve the current outcome for patients.
Project description:Relapsed T-cell malignancies have poor outcomes when treated with chemotherapy, but survival after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) approaches 50%. A limitation to BMT is the difficulty of achieving remission prior to transplant. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has shown successes in B-cell malignancies. This approach is difficult to adapt for the treatment of T-cell disease due to lack of a T-lymphoblast specific antigen and the fratricide of CAR T cells that occurs with T-cell antigen targeting. To circumvent this problem two approaches were investigated. First, a natural killer (NK) cell line, which does not express CD5, was used for CAR expression. Second, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology was used to knockout CD5 expression in CD5-positive Jurkat T cells and in primary T cells, allowing for the use of CD5-negative T cells for CAR expression. Two structurally distinct anti-CD5 sequences were also tested, i) a traditional immunoglobulin-based single chain variable fragment (scFv) and ii) a lamprey-derived variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR), which we previously showed can be used for CAR-based recognition. Our results show i) both CARs yield comparable T-cell activation and NK cell-based cytotoxicity when targeting CD5-positive cells, ii) CD5-edited CAR-modified Jurkat T cells have reduced self-activation compared to that of CD5-positive CAR-modified T cells, iii) CD5-edited CAR-modified Jurkat T cells have increased activation in the presence of CD5-positive target cells compared to that of CD5-positive CAR-modified T cells, and iv) although modest effects were seen, a mouse model using the CAR-expressing NK cell line showed the scFv-CAR was superior to the VLR-CAR in delaying disease progression.
Project description:2B4 (CD244) and its ligand, CD48, are expressed on all natural killer (NK) cells. In studies using 2B4-deficient, CD48-deficient, or wild-type NK cells with blocking antibodies, we found that in the absence of 2B4-CD48 interactions, activated murine NK cells kill each other. We also show that NK-NK fratricide in the absence of 2B4-CD48 interaction is dependent on perforin both in vitro and in vivo. 2B4 has been reported to have activating, costimulatory, and inhibitory functions on murine NK cells. 2B4-mediated inhibition of NK-cell fratricide explains some of the paradoxes of 2B4 function reported in studies of murine NK cells. We show that in the absence of 2B4 signaling, activated NK cells have defective cytotoxicity and proliferation because of fratricide and not due to the absence of a 2B4-dependent activation signal.
Project description:Significant progress has been made in recent years toward realizing the potential of natural killer (NK) cells for cancer immunotherapy. NK cells can respond rapidly to transformed and stressed cells and have the intrinsic potential to extravasate and reach their targets in almost all body tissues. In addition to donor-derived primary NK cells, also the established NK cell line NK-92 is being developed for adoptive immunotherapy, and general safety of infusion of irradiated NK-92 cells has been established in phase I clinical trials with clinical responses observed in some of the cancer patients treated. To enhance their therapeutic utility, NK-92 cells have been modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) composed of a tumor-specific single chain fragment variable antibody fragment fused via hinge and transmembrane regions to intracellular signaling moieties such as CD3? or composite signaling domains containing a costimulatory protein together with CD3?. CAR-mediated activation of NK cells then bypasses inhibitory signals and overcomes NK resistance of tumor cells. In contrast to primary NK cells, CAR-engineered NK-92 cell lines suitable for clinical development can be established from molecularly and functionally well-characterized single cell clones following good manufacturing practice-compliant procedures. In preclinical in vitro and in vivo models, potent antitumor activity of NK-92 variants targeted to differentiation antigens expressed by hematologic malignancies, and overexpressed or mutated self-antigens associated with solid tumors has been found, encouraging further development of CAR-engineered NK-92 cells. Importantly, in syngeneic mouse tumor models, induction of endogenous antitumor immunity after treatment with CAR-expressing NK-92 cells has been demonstrated, resulting in cures and long-lasting immunological memory protecting against tumor rechallenge at distant sites. Here, we summarize the current status and future prospects of CAR-engineered NK-92 cells as off-the-shelf cellular therapeutics, with special emphasis on ErbB2 (HER2)-specific NK-92 cells that are approaching clinical application.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GB) remains the most aggressive primary brain malignancy. Adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified immune cells has emerged as a promising anti-cancer approach, yet the potential utility of CAR-engineered natural killer (NK) cells to treat GB has not been explored. Tumors from approximately 50% of GB patients express wild-type EGFR (wtEGFR) and in fewer cases express both wtEGFR and the mutant form EGFRvIII; however, previously reported CAR T cell studies only focus on targeting EGFRvIII. Here we explore whether both wtEGFR and EGFRvIII can be effectively targeted by CAR-redirected NK cells to treat GB. We transduced human NK cell lines NK-92 and NKL, and primary NK cells with a lentiviral construct harboring a second generation CAR targeting both wtEGFR and EGFRvIII and evaluated the anti-GB efficacy of EGFR-CAR-modified NK cells. EGFR-CAR-engineered NK cells displayed enhanced cytolytic capability and IFN-? production when co-cultured with GB cells or patient-derived GB stem cells in an EGFR-dependent manner. In two orthotopic GB xenograft mouse models, intracranial administration of NK-92-EGFR-CAR cells resulted in efficient suppression of tumor growth and significantly prolonged the tumor-bearing mice survival. These findings support intracranial administration of NK-92-EGFR-CAR cells represents a promising clinical strategy to treat GB.
Project description:The CD28-B7 family of receptor-ligand pairs regulates lymphocyte responses through costimulation and coinhibition. It includes checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1, which limit antitumor and antivirus T-cell responses. CD28 homolog (CD28H) and B7H7 have been identified as a receptor-ligand pair in this family, which has costimulatory activity in T cells. Here, we show that CD28H is expressed in primary natural killer (NK) cells and that it is a strong activator of NK cells through selective synergy with receptors NKp46 and 2B4 to induce degranulation, lysis of target cells, and production of proinflammatory cytokines. Expression of B7H7 on target cells enhanced both natural and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of NK cells. Mutation of tyrosine 192 on the CD28H cytoplasmic tail abolished NK-cell activation through CD28H. As B7H7 is broadly expressed in tumor tissues, we engineered a CD28H chimeric antigen receptor (CD28H-CAR) consisting of full-length CD28H fused to the cytoplasmic domain of T-cell receptor ? chain. Remarkably, expression of CD28H-CAR in NK cells triggered lysis of B7H7+ HLA-E+ tumor cells by overriding inhibition by the HLA-E receptor NKG2A. The cytoplasmic domains of CD28H and of the ? chain were both required for this activity. Thus, CD28H is a powerful activation receptor of NK cells that broadens their antitumor activity and holds promise as a component of NK-based CARs for cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:The outcome of viral infections is dependent on the function of CD8+ T cells which are tightly regulated by costimulatory molecules. The NK cell receptor 2B4 (CD244) is a transmembrane protein belonging to the Ig superfamily which can also be expressed by CD8+ T cells. The aim of this study was to analyze the role of 2B4 as an additional costimulatory receptor regulating CD8+ T cell function and in particular to investigate its implication for exhaustion of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific CD8+ T cells during persistent infection. We demonstrate that (i) 2B4 is expressed on virus-specific CD8+ T cells during acute and chronic hepatitis C, (ii) that 2B4 cross-linking can lead to both inhibition and activation of HCV-specific CD8+ T cell function, depending on expression levels of 2B4 and the intracellular adaptor molecule SAP and (iii) that 2B4 stimulation may counteract enhanced proliferation of HCV-specific CD8+ T cells induced by PD1 blockade. We suggest that 2B4 is another important molecule within the network of costimulatory/inhibitory receptors regulating CD8+ T cell function in acute and chronic hepatitis C and that 2B4 expression levels could also be a marker of CD8+ T cell dysfunction. Understanding in more detail how 2B4 exerts its differential effects could have implications for the development of novel immunotherapies of HCV infection aiming to achieve immune control.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) significantly enhance the anti-tumor activity of immune effector cells. Although most studies have evaluated CAR expression in T cells, here we evaluate different CAR constructs that improve natural killer (NK) cell-mediated killing. We identified a CAR containing the transmembrane domain of NKG2D, the 2B4 co-stimulatory domain, and the CD3? signaling domain to mediate strong antigen-specific NK cell signaling. NK cells derived from human iPSCs that express this CAR (NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells) have a typical NK cell phenotype and demonstrate improved anti-tumor activity compared with T-CAR-expressing iPSC-derived NK cells (T-CAR-iPSC-NK cells) and non-CAR-expressing cells. In an ovarian cancer xenograft model, NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells significantly inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival compared with PB-NK cells, iPSC-NK cells, or T-CAR-iPSC-NK cells. Additionally, NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells demonstrate in vivo activity similar to that of T-CAR-expressing T cells, although with less toxicity. These NK-CAR-iPSC-NK cells now provide standardized, targeted "off-the-shelf" lymphocytes for anti-cancer immunotherapy.