T Cells Expressing a TCR-Like Antibody Selected Against the Heteroclitic Variant of a Shared MAGE-A Epitope Do Not Recognise the Cognate Epitope.
ABSTRACT: Antibodies-recognising peptides bound to the major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) represent potentially valuable and promising targets for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells to treat patients with cancer. Here, a human phage-Fab library has been selected using HLA-A2 complexed with a heteroclitic peptide variant from an epitope shared among multiple melanoma-associated antigens (MAGEs). DNA restriction analyses and phage ELISAs confirmed selection of unique antibody clones that specifically bind to HLA-A2 complexes or HLA-A2-positive target cells loaded with native or heteroclitic peptide. Antibodies selected against heteroclitic peptide, in contrast to native peptide, demonstrated significantly lower to even negligible binding towards native peptide or tumour cells that naturally expressed peptides. The binding to native peptide was not rescued by phage panning with antigen-positive tumour cells. Importantly, when antibodies directed against heteroclitic peptides were engineered into CARs and expressed by T cells, binding to native peptides and tumour cells was minimal to absent. In short, TCR-like antibodies, when isolated from a human Fab phage library using heteroclitic peptide, fail to recognise its native peptide. We therefore argue that peptide modifications to improve antibody selections should be performed with caution as resulting antibodies, either used directly or as CARs, may lose activity towards endogenously presented tumour epitopes.
Project description:We evaluated a cocktail of HLA-A2-specific peptides including heteroclitic XBP1 US184-192 (YISPWILAV), heteroclitic XBP1 SP367-375 (YLFPQLISV), native CD138260-268 (GLVGLIFAV) and native CS1239-247 (SLFVLGLFL), for their ability to elicit multipeptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (MP-CTLs) using T cells from smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) patients. Our results demonstrate that MP-CTLs generated from SMM patients' T cells show effective anti-MM responses including CD137 (4-1BB) upregulation, CTL proliferation, interferon-? production and degranulation (CD107a) in an HLA-A2-restricted and peptide-specific manner. Phenotypically, we observed increased total CD3(+)CD8(+) T cells (>80%) and cellular activation (CD69(+)) within the memory SMM MP-CTL (CD45RO(+)/CD3(+)CD8(+)) subset after repeated multipeptide stimulation. Importantly, SMM patients could be categorized into distinct groups by their level of MP-CTL expansion and antitumor activity. In high responders, the effector memory (CCR7(-)CD45RO(+)/CD3(+)CD8(+)) T-cell subset was enriched, whereas the remaining responders' CTL contained a higher frequency of the terminal effector (CCR7(-)CD45RO(-)/CD3(+)CD8(+)) subset. These results suggest that this multipeptide cocktail has the potential to induce effective and durable memory MP-CTL in SMM patients. Therefore, our findings provide the rationale for clinical evaluation of a therapeutic vaccine to prevent or delay progression of SMM to active disease.
Project description:To expand the breadth and extent of current multiple myeloma (MM)-specific immunotherapy, we have identified various antigens on CD138+ tumor cells from newly diagnosed MM patients (n?=?616) and confirmed B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) as a key myeloma-associated antigen. The aim of this study is to target the BCMA, which promotes MM cell growth and survival, by generating BCMA-specific memory CD8+ CTL that mediate effective and long-lasting immunity against MM. Here we report the identification of novel engineered peptides specific to BCMA, BCMA72-80 (YLMFLLRKI), and BCMA54-62 (YILWTCLGL), which display improved affinity/stability to HLA-A2 compared to their native peptides and induce highly functional BCMA-specific CTL with increased activation (CD38, CD69) and co-stimulatory (CD40L, OX40, GITR) molecule expression. Importantly, the heteroclitic BCMA72-80 specific CTL demonstrated poly-functional Th1-specific immune activities [IFN-?/IL-2/TNF-? production, proliferation, cytotoxicity] against MM, which were correlated with expansion of Tetramer+ and memory CD8+ CTL. Additionally, heteroclitic BCMA72-80 specific CTL treated with anti-OX40 (immune agonist) or anti-LAG-3 (checkpoint inhibitor) display increased immune function, mainly by central memory CTL. These results provide the framework for clinical application of heteroclitic BCMA72-80 peptide, alone and in combination with anti-LAG3 and/or anti-OX40 therapy, in vaccination and/or adoptive immunotherapeutic strategies to generate long-lasting anti-tumor immunity in patients with MM or other BCMA expressing tumors.
Project description:Mutant epitopes encoded by cancer genes are virtually always located in the interior of cells, making them invisible to conventional antibodies. We here describe an approach to identify single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) specific for mutant peptides presented on the cell surface by HLA molecules. We demonstrate that these scFvs can be successfully converted to full-length antibodies, termed MANAbodies, targeting "Mutation-Associated Neo-Antigens" bound to HLA. A phage display library representing a highly diverse array of single-chain variable fragment sequences was first designed and constructed. A competitive selection protocol was then used to identify clones specific for mutant peptides bound to predefined HLA types. In this way, we obtained two scFvs, one specific for a peptide encoded by a common KRAS mutant and the other by a common epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant. The scFvs bound to these peptides only when the peptides were complexed with HLA-A2 (KRAS peptide) or HLA-A3 (EGFR peptide). We converted one scFv to a full-length antibody (MANAbody) and demonstrate that the MANAbody specifically reacts with mutant peptide-HLA complex even when the peptide differs by only one amino acid from the normal, WT form.
Project description:Specificity in the cellular immune system is controlled and regulated by the T cell antigen receptor (TCR), which specifically recognizes peptide/major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. In recent years many cancer-associated MHC-restricted peptides have been isolated and because of their highly restricted fine specificity, they are desirable targets for novel approaches in immunotherapy. Antibodies that would recognize tumor-associated MHC-peptide complexes with the same specificity as the TCR would be valuable reagents for studying antigen presentation by tumor cells, for visualizing MHC-peptide complexes on cells, and eventually for monitoring the expression of specific complexes during immunotherapy. To generate molecules with such a unique fine specificity, we selected a large nonimmune repertoire of phage Fab antibodies on recombinant HLA-A2 complexed with three common antigenic T cell, HLA-A2-restricted epitopes derived from the melanoma differentiation antigen gp100. We were able to isolate a surprisingly large panel of human recombinant Fab antibodies that exhibit a characteristic TCR-like binding specificity to each of the three gp100-derived epitopes, yet unlike TCRs, they did so with an affinity in the nanomolar range. These TCR-like antibodies recognize the native MHC-peptide complex expressed on the surface of antigen-presenting cells. Moreover, they can detect the specific MHC-peptide complexes on the surface of melanoma tumor cells. These results demonstrate the ability to isolate high-affinity human recombinant antibodies with the antigen-specific, MHC-restricted specificity of T cells, and this ability was demonstrated for three different epitopes of the same melanoma-derived antigen.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is one of the most appropriate target molecules for cancer therapy because of its relatively high expression in about one-third of all epithelial cancers in correlation with neoplasmic progression. With respect to EGFR-targeted therapies, antibodies and tyrosine-kinase inhibitors have been intensively studied, a novel EGFR-tyrosine-kinase inhibitor ZD1839 has been approved as an anticancer drug, and many other agents are now under clinical trial. In addition, cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-directed epitope peptides could be another class of compounds useful in EGFR-targeted therapies. However, there is presently no information on CTL-directed peptides of EGFR. Therefore, from the viewpoint of development of peptide-based cancer therapy, this study was intended to determine the EGFR-derived peptides recognised by both cellular and humoral immunities in HLA-A2(+) epithelial cancer patients. We herein report finding of two such types of EGFR-derived peptides at position 479-488 and 1138-1147, both of which were recognised by the majority of patients' sera (IgG), and also possessed the ability to induce HLA-A2-restricted peptide-specific CTLs against EGFR-positive tumour cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of epithelial cancer patients. These results may provide a scientific basis for the development of EGFR-based immunotherapy for HLA-A2(+) cancer patients.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors that usually redirect T cells to surface antigens independent of human leukocyte antigen (HLA). Here, we investigated a T cell receptor-like CAR based on an antibody that recognizes HLA-A*0201 presenting a peptide epitope derived from the cancer-testis antigen NY-ESO-1. We hypothesized that this CAR would efficiently redirect transduced T cells in an HLA-restricted, antigen-specific manner. However, we found that despite the specificity of the soluble Fab, the same antibody in the form of a CAR caused moderate lysis of HLA-A2 expressing targets independent of antigen owing to T cell avidity. We hypothesized that lowering the affinity of the CAR for HLA-A2 would improve its specificity. We undertook a rational approach of mutating residues that, in the crystal structure, were predicted to stabilize binding to HLA-A2. We found that one mutation (DN) lowered the affinity of the Fab to T cell receptor-range and restored the epitope specificity of the CAR. DN CAR T cells lysed native tumor targets in vitro, and, in a xenogeneic mouse model implanted with two human melanoma lines (A2+/NYESO+ and A2+/NYESO-), DN CAR T cells specifically migrated to, and delayed progression of, only the HLA-A2+/NY-ESO-1+ melanoma. Thus, although maintaining MHC-restricted antigen specificity required T cell receptor-like affinity that decreased potency, there is exciting potential for CARs to expand their repertoire to include a broad range of intracellular antigens.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology can be used to engineer the antigen specificity of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and improve their potency as an adoptive cell therapy in multiple disease models. As synthetic receptors, CARs carry the risk of immunogenicity, particularly when derived from nonhuman antibodies. Using an HLA-A*02:01-specific CAR (A2-CAR) encoding a single-chain variable fragment (Fv) derived from a mouse antibody, we developed a panel of 20 humanized A2-CARs (hA2-CARs). Systematic testing demonstrated variations in expression, and ability to bind HLA-A*02:01 and stimulate human Treg suppression in vitro. In addition, we developed a new method to comprehensively map the alloantigen specificity of CARs, revealing that humanization reduced HLA-A cross-reactivity. In vivo bioluminescence imaging showed rapid trafficking and persistence of hA2-CAR Tregs in A2-expressing allografts, with eventual migration to draining lymph nodes. Adoptive transfer of hA2-CAR Tregs suppressed HLA-A2+ cell-mediated xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease and diminished rejection of human HLA-A2+ skin allografts. These data provide a platform for systematic development and specificity testing of humanized alloantigen-specific CARs that can be used to engineer specificity and homing of therapeutic Tregs.
Project description:Identification of tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) that induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) specific to cancer cells is critical for the development of anticancer immunotherapy. In this study, we aimed at identifying a novel TAA of pancreatic cancer for immunotherapy.On the basis of the genome-wide cDNA microarray analysis, we focused on KIF20A (also known as RAB6KIFL/MKlp2) as a candidate TAA in pancreatic cancer cells. The HLA-A2 (A*02:01)-restricted CTL epitopes of KIF20A were identified using HLA-A2 transgenic mice (Tgm) and the peptides were examined to check whether they could generate human CTLs exhibiting cytotoxic responses against KIF20A(+), HLA-A2(+) tumour cells in vitro.KIF20A was overexpressed in pancreatic cancer and in some other malignancies, but not in their non-cancerous counterparts and many normal adult tissues. We found that KIF20A-2 (p12-20, LLSDDDVVV), KIF20A-8 (p809-817, CIAEQYHTV), and KIF20A-28 (p284-293, AQPDTAPLPV) peptides could induce HLA-A2-restricted CTLs in HLA-A2 Tgm without causing autoimmunity. Peptide-reactive human CTLs were generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HLA-A2(+) healthy donors by in vitro stimulation with the three peptides, and those CTLs successfully exhibited cytotoxic responses to cancer cells expressing both KIF20A and HLA-A2.KIF20A is a novel promising candidate for anticancer immunotherapeutic target for pancreatic cancers.
Project description:T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) targeted to CD19 are effective in treatment of B-lymphoid malignancies. However, CARs recognize all CD19 positive (pos) cells, and durable responses are linked to profound depletion of normal B cells. Here, we designed a strategy to specifically target patient B cells by utilizing the fact that T-cell receptors (TCRs), in contrast to CARs, are restricted by HLA. Two TCRs recognizing a peptide from CD20 (SLFLGILSV) in the context of foreign HLA-A*02:01 (CD20p/HLA-A2) were expressed as 2A-bicistronic constructs. T cells re-directed with the A23 and A94 TCR constructs efficiently recognized malignant HLA-A2(pos) B cells endogenously expressing CD20, including patient-derived follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. In contrast, a wide range of HLA-A2(pos)CD20(neg) cells representing different tissue origins, and HLA-A2(neg)CD20(pos) cells, were not recognized. Cytotoxic T cells re-directed with CD20p/HLA-A2-specific TCRs or CD19 CARs responded with similar potencies to cells endogenously expressing comparable levels of CD20 and CD19. The CD20p/HLA-A2-specific TCRs recognized CD20p bound to HLA-A2 with high functional avidity. The results show that T cells expressing CD20p/HLA-A2-specific TCRs efficiently and specifically target B cells. When used in context of an HLA-haploidentical allogeneic stem cell transplantation where the donor is HLA-A2(neg) and the patient HLA-A2(pos), these T cells would selectively kill patient-derived B cells and allow reconstitution of the B-cell compartment with HLA-A2(neg) donor cells. These results should pave the way for clinical testing of T cells genetically engineered to target malignant B cells without permanent depletion of normal B cells.
Project description:Peptides that bind poorly to MHC class I molecules often elicit low-functional avidity T cell responses. Peptide modification by altering the anchor residue facilitates increased binding affinity and may elicit T cells with increased functional avidity toward the native epitope ("heteroclitic"). This augmented MHC binding is likely to increase the half-life and surface density of the heteroclitic complex, but precisely how this enhanced T cell response occurs in vivo is not known. Furthermore, the ideal heteroclitic epitope will elicit T cell responses that completely cross-react with the native epitope, maximizing protection and minimizing undesirable off-target effects. Such epitopes have been difficult to identify. In this study, using mice infected with a murine coronavirus that encodes epitopes that elicit high (S510, CSLWNGPHL)- and low (S598, RCQIFANI)-functional avidity responses, we show that increased expression of peptide S598 but not S510 generated T cells with enhanced functional avidity. Thus, immune responses can be augmented toward T cell epitopes with low functional avidity by increasing Ag density. We also identified a heteroclitic epitope (RCVIFANI) that elicited a T cell response with nearly complete cross-reactivity with native epitope and demonstrated increased MHC/peptide abundance compared with native S598. Structural and thermal melt analyses indicated that the Q600V substitution enhanced stability of the peptide/MHC complex without greatly altering the antigenic surface, resulting in highly cross-reactive T cell responses. Our data highlight that increased peptide/MHC complex display contributes to heteroclitic epitope efficacy and describe parameters for maximizing immune responses that cross-react with the native epitope.