Influenza virus-specific TCR-transduced T cells as a model for adoptive immunotherapy

Belinda Berdien, Henrike Reinhard, Sabrina Meyer, Stefanie Spöck, Nicolaus Kröger, Djordje Atanackovic, Boris Fehse
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 2013, 9 (6): 1205-16
Adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes equipped with tumor-antigen specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) represents a promising strategy in cancer immunotherapy, but the approach remains technically demanding. Using influenza virus (Flu)-specific T-cell responses as a model system we compared different methods for the generation of T-cell clones and isolation of antigen-specific TCRs. Altogether, we generated 12 CD8(+) T-cell clones reacting to the Flu matrix protein (Flu-M) and 6 CD4(+) T-cell clones reacting to the Flu nucleoprotein (Flu-NP) from 4 healthy donors. IFN-γ-secretion-based enrichment of antigen-specific cells, optionally combined with tetramer staining, was the most efficient way for generating T-cell clones. In contrast, the commonly used limiting dilution approach was least efficient. TCR genes were isolated from T-cell clones and cloned into both a previously used gammaretroviral LTR-vector, MP91 and the novel lentiviral self-inactivating vector LeGO-MP that contains MP91-derived promotor and regulatory elements. To directly compare their functional efficiencies, we in parallel transduced T-cell lines and primary T cells with the two vectors encoding identical TCRs. Transduction efficiencies were approximately twice higher with the gammaretroviral vector. Secretion of high amounts of IFN-γ, IL-2 and TNF-α by transduced cells after exposure to the respective influenza target epitope proved efficient specificity transfer of the isolated TCRs to primary T-cells for both vectors, at the same time indicating superior functionality of MP91-transduced cells. In conclusion, we have developed optimized strategies to obtain and transfer antigen-specific TCRs as well as designed a novel lentiviral vector for TCR-gene transfer. Our data may help to improve adoptive T-cell therapies.

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