Molecular design of the C alpha beta interface favors specific pairing of introduced TCR alpha beta in human T cells

RH Voss, Ralph Willemsen, J Kuball, M Grabowski, R Engel, RS Intan, P Guillaume, P Romero, C Huber, M Theobald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A promising approach to adoptive transfer therapy of tumors is to reprogram autologous T lymphocytes by TCR gene transfer of defined Ag specificity. An obstacle, however, is the undesired pairing of introduced TCR alpha- and TCR beta-chains with the endogenous TCR chains. These events vary depending on the individual endogenous TCR and they not only may reduce the levels of cell surface- introduced TCR but also may generate hybrid TCR with unknown Ag specificities. We show that such hybrid heterodimers can be generated even by the pairing of human and mouse TCRa- and TCR beta-chains. To overcome this hurdle, we have identified a pair of amino acid residues in the crystal structure of a TCR that lie at the interface of associated TCR C alpha and C beta domains and are related to each other by both a complementary steric interaction analogous to a "knob -into-hole" configuration and the electrostatic environment. We mutated the two residues so as to invert the sense of this interaction analogous to a charged "hole-into-knob" configuration. We show that this inversion in the C alpha C beta interface promotes selective assembly of the introduced TCR while preserving its specificity and avidity for Ag ligand. Noteworthily, this TCR modification was equally efficient on both a Mu and a Hu TCR. Our data suggest that this approach is generally applicable to TCR independently of their Ag specificity and affinity, subset distribution, and species of origin. Thus, this strategy may optimize TCR gene transfer to efficiently and safely reprogram random T cells into tumor-reactive T cells.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)391-401
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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