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Drug hypersensitivity such as severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR), including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), could be life-threatening. Here, we enroll SCAR patients to investigate the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire by next-generation sequencing. A public αβTCR is identified from the cytotoxic T lymphocytes of patients with carbamazepine-SJS/TEN, with its expression showing drug/phenotype-specificity and an bias for HLA-B*15:02. This public αβTCR has binding affinity for carbamazepine and its structural analogs, thereby mediating the immune response. Adoptive transfer of T cell expressing this public αβTCR to HLA-B*15:02 transgenic mice receiving oral administration of carbamazepine induces multi-organ injuries and symptoms mimicking SCAR, including hair loss, erythema, increase of inflammatory lymphocytes in the skin and blood, and liver and kidney dysfunction. Our results not only demonstrate an essential role of TCR in the immune synapse mediating SCAR, but also implicate potential clinical applications and development of therapeutics.
BACKGROUND - Family screening of a 48-year-old male with recently diagnosed IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) revealed unanticipated elevations in plasma IgG4 in his two healthy teenaged sons.
METHODS - We performed gene sequencing, immune cell studies, HLA typing, and analyses of circulating cytotoxic CD4+ T lymphocytes and plasmablasts to seek clues to pathogenesis. DNA from a separate cohort of 99 patients with known IgG4-RD was also sequenced for the presence of genetic variants in a specific gene, FGFBP2.
RESULTS - The three share a previously unreported heterozygous single base deletion in fibroblast growth factor binding protein type 2 (FGFBP2), which causes a frameshift in the coding sequence. The FGFBP2 protein is secreted by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes and binds fibroblast growth factor. The variant sequence in the FGFBP2 protein is predicted to form a disordered random coil rather than a helical-turn-helix structure, unable to adopt a stable conformation. The proband and the two sons had 5-10-fold higher numbers of circulating cytotoxic CD4 + T cells and plasmablasts compared to matched controls. The three members also share a homozygous missense common variant in FGFBP2 found in heterozygous form in ~40% of the population. This common variant was found in 73% of an independent, well characterized IgG4-RD cohort, showing enrichment in idiopathic IgG4-RD.
CONCLUSIONS - The presence of a shared deleterious variant and homozygous common variant in FGFBP2 in the proband and sons strongly implicates this cytotoxic T cell product in the pathophysiology of IgG4-RD. The high prevalence of a common FGFBP2 variant in sporadic IgG4-RD supports the likelihood of participation in disease.
© 2019 The Authors. Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Potentiating anti-tumor immunity by inducing tumor inflammation and T cell-mediated responses are a promising area of cancer therapy. Immunomodulatory agents that promote these effects function via a wide variety of mechanisms, including upregulation of antigen presentation pathways. Here, we show that major histocompatibility class-I (MHC-I) genes are methylated in human breast cancers, suppressing their expression. Treatment of breast cancer cell lines with a next-generation hypomethylating agent, guadecitabine, upregulates MHC-I expression in response to interferon-γ. In murine tumor models of breast cancer, guadecitabine upregulates MHC-I in tumor cells promoting recruitment of CD8+ T cells to the microenvironment. Finally, we show that MHC-I genes are upregulated in breast cancer patients treated with hypomethylating agents. Thus, the immunomodulatory effects of hypomethylating agents likely involve upregulation of class-I antigen presentation to potentiate CD8+ T cell responses. These strategies may be useful to potentiate anti-tumor immunity and responses to checkpoint inhibition in immune-refractory breast cancers.
Genetic studies have shown the association of Parkinson's disease with alleles of the major histocompatibility complex. Here we show that a defined set of peptides that are derived from α-synuclein, a protein aggregated in Parkinson's disease, act as antigenic epitopes displayed by these alleles and drive helper and cytotoxic T cell responses in patients with Parkinson's disease. These responses may explain the association of Parkinson's disease with specific major histocompatibility complex alleles.
The piggyBac transposon system is naturally active, originally derived from the cabbage looper moth. This non-viral system is plasmid based, most commonly utilizing two plasmids with one expressing the piggyBac transposase enzyme and a transposon plasmid harboring the gene(s) of interest between inverted repeat elements which are required for gene transfer activity. PiggyBac mediates gene transfer through a "cut and paste" mechanism whereby the transposase integrates the transposon segment into the genome of the target cell(s) of interest. PiggyBac has demonstrated efficient gene delivery activity in a wide variety of insect, mammalian, and human cells6 including primary human T cells. Recently, a hyperactive piggyBac transposase was generated improving gene transfer efficiency. Human T lymphocytes are of clinical interest for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer. Of note, the first clinical trial involving transposon modification of human T cells using the Sleeping beauty transposon system has been approved. We have previously evaluated the utility of piggyBac as a non-viral methodology for genetic modification of human T cells. We found piggyBac to be efficient in genetic modification of human T cells with a reporter gene and a non-immunogenic inducible suicide gene. Analysis of genomic integration sites revealed a lack of preference for integration into or near known proto-oncogenes. We used piggyBac to gene-modify cytotoxic T lymphocytes to carry a chimeric antigen receptor directed against the tumor antigen HER2, and found that gene-modified T cells mediated targeted killing of HER2-positive tumor cells in vitro and in vivo in an orthotopic mouse model. We have also used piggyBac to generate human T cells resistant to rapamycin, which should be useful in cancer therapies where rapamycin is utilized. Herein, we describe a method for using piggyBac to genetically modify primary human T cells. This includes isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from human blood followed by culture, gene modification, and activation of T cells. For the purpose of this report, T cells were modified with a reporter gene (eGFP) for analysis and quantification of gene expression by flow cytometry. PiggyBac can be used to modify human T cells with a variety of genes of interest. Although we have used piggyBac to direct T cells to tumor antigens, we have also used piggyBac to add an inducible safety switch in order to eliminate gene modified cells if needed. The large cargo capacity of piggyBac has also enabled gene transfer of a large rapamycin resistant mTOR molecule (15 kb). Therefore, we present a non-viral methodology for stable gene-modification of primary human T cells for a wide variety of purposes.
Relapse remains a major cause of death after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). Graft-versus-tumor effect is primarily mediated by donor T cells. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a critical inhibitor of T cell proliferation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CTLA-4 may affect immune responses. We hypothesized that CTLA-4 SNPs will be associated with disease control after allo-HCT. One hundred sixty-four adult patients with the availability of pretransplantation recipient and donor DNA samples were included in this analysis. Ten tagSNPs of the CTLA-4 gene were identified. Donor CTLA-4 SNP rs4553808 was associated with decreased relapse-free survival (RFS) (P = .019) and overall survival (OS) (P = .033). In multivariable analysis of an additive genetic model, genotype of CTLA-4 SNP rs4553808 was an independent risk factor for inferior RFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-2.71, P = .017) and OS (HR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.13-3.0, P = .015). CTLA-4 SNPs can be used to identify high-risk patient subsets that may benefit from preemptive immunomodulation to decrease relapse rates and improve survival.
Copyright © 2012 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
It is believed that an effective HCV vaccine must induce strong HCV-specific cytotoxic IFN-γ⁺ CD8⁺ T cells able to migrate into and become fully activated within the liver, an organ known to suppress T cell responses and induce tolerance. Given the importance of intrahepatic HCV-specific T cells in the clearance of acute infection, the goal of this present study was to determine if peripheral immunization was able to induce functional intrahepatic HCV-specific T cell based immunity both in the presence and absence of HCV antigen expression within the liver. Using a novel HCV NS3/NS4A DNA vaccine, we show that peripheral immunization of C57BL/6 mice results in the formation of a large pool of fully functional HCV-specific cytotoxic IFN-γ⁺ CD8⁺ T cells within the liver and that these cells were highly enriched within the liver as compared to the spleen. Following hepatic expression of cognate HCV antigen using a previously described liver transfection method, we show that this pool of vaccine-induced HCV-specific CD8⁺ T cells retained its ability to become highly activated as shown by the upregulation of IFN-γ and CCR5 expression, as well as by the clearance of HCV NS3 expressing hepatocytes. Taken together, these findings suggest that T cell effector function is preserved within the liver and that selective recruitment of antigen-specific T cells to the liver may play a previously unappreciated role in the process of immune surveillance, which may be exploited for future T cell based HCV vaccines.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) can be modified to function as heterologous tumor directed effector cells that survive longer in vivo than tumor directed T cells without virus specificity, due to chronic stimulation by viral antigens expressed during persistent infection in seropositive individuals. We evaluated the nonviral piggyBac (PB) transposon system as a platform for modifying EBV-CTLs to express a functional human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-specific chimeric antigen receptor (HER2-CAR) thereby directing virus-specific, gene modified CTLs towards HER2-positive cancer cells. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were nucleofected with transposons encoding a HER2-CAR and a truncated CD19 molecule for selection followed by specific activation and expansion of EBV-CTLs. HER2-CAR was expressed in ~40% of T cells after CD19 selection with retention of immunophenotype, polyclonality, and function. HER2-CAR-modified EBV-CTLs (HER2-CTLs) killed HER2-positive brain tumor cell lines in vitro, exhibited transient and reversible increases in HER2-CAR expression following antigen-specific stimulation, and stably expressed HER2-CAR beyond 120 days. Adoptive transfer of PB-modified HER2-CTLs resulted in tumor regression in a murine xenograft model. Our results demonstrate that PB can be used to redirect virus-specific CTLs to tumor targets, which should prolong tumor-specific T cell survival in vivo producing more efficacious immunotherapy.
The identification and validation of new cancer-specific T cell epitopes continues to be a major area of research interest. Nevertheless, challenges remain to develop strategies that can easily discover and validate epitopes expressed in primary cancer cells. Regarded as targets for T cells, peptides presented in the context of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are recognized by monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). These mAbs are of special importance as they lend themselves to the detection of epitopes expressed in primary tumor cells. Here, we use an approach that has been successfully utilized in two different infectious disease applications (WNV and influenza). A direct peptide-epitope discovery strategy involving mass spectrometric analysis led to the identification of peptide YLLPAIVHI in the context of MHC A*02 allele (YLL/A2) from human breast carcinoma cell lines. We then generated and characterized an anti-YLL/A2 mAb designated as RL6A TCRm. Subsequently, the TCRm mAb was used to directly validate YLL/A2 epitope expression in human breast cancer tissue, but not in normal control breast tissue. Moreover, mice implanted with human breast cancer cells grew tumors, yet when treated with RL6A TCRm showed a marked reduction in tumor size. These data demonstrate for the first time a coordinated direct discovery and validation strategy that identified a peptide/MHC complex on primary tumor cells for antibody targeting and provide a novel approach to cancer immunotherapy.