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A Chemically Inducible IL-2 Receptor Signaling Complex Allows for Effective In Vitro and In Vivo selection of Engineered CD4+ T cells.

Engineered T cells represent an emerging therapeutic modality. However, complex engineering strategies can present a challenge for enriching and expanding therapeutic cells at clinical scale. Additionally, lack of in vivo cytokine support can lead to poor engraftment of transferred T cells, including regulatory T cells (Treg ). Here, we establish cell-intrinsic selection system that leverages the dependency of primary T cells on IL-2 signaling. FRB-IL2RB and FKBP-IL2RG fusion proteins were identified permitting selective expansion of primary CD4+ T cells in rapamycin supplemented media. This chemically inducible signaling complex (CISC) was subsequently incorporated into HDR donor templates designed to drive expression of the Treg master regulator FOXP3. Following editing of CD4+ T cells, CISC+ engineered Treg (CISC EngTreg) were selectively expanded using rapamycin and maintained Treg activity. Following transfer into immunodeficient mice treated with rapamycin, CISC EngTreg exhibited sustained engraftment in the absence of IL-2. Further, in vivo CISC engagement increased the therapeutic activity of CISC EngTreg. Finally, an editing strategy targeting the TRAC locus permitted generation and selective enrichment of CISC+ functional CD19 CAR-T cells. Together, CISC provides a robust platform to achieve both in vitro enrichment and in vivo engraftment and activation, features likely beneficial across multiple gene-edited T cell applications.

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