TCRs Genetically Linked to CD28 and CD3 epsilon Do Not Mispair with Endogenous TCR Chains and Mediate Enhanced T Cell Persistence and Anti-Melanoma Activity

C Govers, Zsolt Sebestyen, J Roszik, Mandy van Brakel, Cor Berrevoets, A Szoor, K Panoutsopoulou, M Broertjes, T Van, G Vereb, J Szollosi, Reno Debets

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Adoptive transfer of T cells that are gene engineered to express a defined TCR represents a feasible and promising therapy for patients with tumors. However, TCR gene therapy is hindered by the transient presence and effectiveness of transferred T cells, which are anticipated to be improved by adequate T cell costimulation. In this article, we report the identification and characterization of a novel two-chain TCR linked to CD28 and CD3 epsilon (i.e., TCR:28 epsilon. This modified TCR demonstrates enhanced binding of peptide-MHC and mediates enhanced T cell function following stimulation with peptide compared with wild-type TCR. Surface expression of TCR 28 epsilon depends on the transmembrane domain of CD28, whereas T cell functions depend on the intracellular domains of both CD28 and CD3 epsilon, with IL-2 production showing dependency on CD28: LCK binding. TCR:28 epsilon, but not wild-type TCR, induces detectable immune synapses in primary human T cells, and such immune synapses show significantly enhanced accumulation of TCR transgenes and markers of early TCR signaling, such as phosphorylated LCK and ERK. Importantly, TCR:28 epsilon does not show signs of off-target recognition, as evidenced by lack of TCR mispairing, as well as preserved specificity. Notably, when testing TCR:28 epsilon in immune-competent mice, we observed a drastic increase in T cell survival, which was accompanied by regression of large melanomas with limited recurrence. Our data argue that TCR transgenes that contain CD28, and, thereby, may provide T cell costimulation in an immune-suppressive environment, represent candidate receptors to treat patients with tumors.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)5315-5326
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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  • EMC MM-03-86-08

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