We investigated human T-cell repertoire formation using high throughput TCRβ CDR3 sequencing in immunodeficient mice receiving human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and human thymus grafts. Replicate humanized mice generated diverse and highly divergent repertoires. Repertoire narrowing and increased CDR3β sharing was observed during thymocyte selection. While hydrophobicity analysis implicated self-peptides in positive selection of the overall repertoire, positive selection favored shorter shared sequences that had reduced hydrophobicity at positions 6 and 7 of CDR3βs, suggesting weaker interactions with self-peptides than unshared sequences, possibly allowing escape from negative selection. Sharing was similar between autologous and allogeneic thymi and occurred between different cell subsets. Shared sequences were enriched for allo-crossreactive CDR3βs and for Type 1 diabetes-associated autoreactive CDR3βs. Single-cell TCR-sequencing showed increased sharing of CDR3αs compared to CDR3βs between mice. Our data collectively implicate preferential positive selection for shared human CDR3βs that are highly cross-reactive. While previous studies suggested a role for recombination bias in producing “public” sequences in mice, our study is the first to demonstrate a role for thymic selection. Our results implicate positive selection for promiscuous TCRβ sequences that likely evade negative selection, due to their low affinity for self-ligands, in the abundance of “public” human TCRβ sequences.
Mohsen Khosravi-Maharlooei, Aleksandar Obradovic, Aditya Misra, Keshav Motwani, Markus Holzl, Howard R. Seay, Susan DeWolf, Grace Nauman, Nichole Danzl, Haowei Li, Siu-hong Ho, Robert Winchester, Yufeng Shen, Todd M. Brusko, Megan Sykes
Rationale Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes are widely associated with positive outcomes, yet carry key indicators of a systemic failed immune response against unresolved cancer. Cancer immunotherapies can reverse their tolerance phenotypes, while preserving tumor-reactivity and neoantigen-specificity shared with circulating immune cells. Objectives We performed comprehensive transcriptomic analyses to identify gene signatures common to circulating and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in the context of clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Modulated genes also associated with disease outcome were validated in other cancer types. Findings Using bioinformatics, we identified practical diagnostic markers and actionable targets of the failed immune response. On circulating lymphocytes, three genes, LEF1, FASLG, and MMP9, could efficiently stratify patients from healthy control donors. From their associations with resistance to cancer immunotherapies and microbial infections, we uncovered not only pan-cancer, but pan-pathology failed immune response profiles. A prominent lymphocytic matrix metallopeptidase cell migration pathway, is central to a panoply of diseases and tumor immunogenicity, correlates with multi-cancer recurrence, and identifies a feasible, non-invasive approach to pan-pathology diagnoses. Conclusions The non-invasive differently expressed genes we have identified warrant future investigation towards the development of their potential in precision diagnostics and precision pan-disease immunotherapeutics.
Anne Monette, Antigoni Morou, Nadia A. Al-Banna, Louise Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste Lattouf, Sara Rahmati, Tomas Tokar, Jean-Pierre Routy, Jean-Francois Cailhier, Daniel E. Kaufmann, Igor Jurisica, Rejean Lapointe
Post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) recently has had a marked impact on human allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Yet, our understanding of how PTCy prevents graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) largely has been extrapolated from major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-matched murine skin allografting models that were highly contextual in their efficacy. Herein, we developed a T-cell-replete, MHC-haploidentical, murine HCT model (B6C3F1→B6D2F1) to test the putative underlying mechanisms: alloreactive T-cell elimination, alloreactive T-cell intrathymic clonal deletion, and suppressor T-cell induction. In this model and confirmed in four others, PTCy did not eliminate alloreactive T cells identified using either specific Vβs or the 2C or 4C T-cell receptors. Furthermore, the thymus was not necessary for PTCy’s efficacy. Rather, PTCy induced alloreactive T-cell functional impairment which was supported by highly active suppressive mechanisms established within one day after PTCy that were sufficient to prevent new donor T cells from causing GVHD. These suppressive mechanisms included the rapid, preferential recovery of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells, including those that were alloantigen-specific, which served an increasingly critical function over time. Our results prompt a paradigm-shift in our mechanistic understanding of PTCy. These results have direct clinical implications for understanding tolerance induction and for rationally developing novel strategies to improve patient outcomes.
Lucas P. Wachsmuth, Michael T. Patterson, Michael A. Eckhaus, David J. Venzon, Ronald E. Gress, Christopher G. Kanakry
Accumulating evidence demonstrates that CD8+ T cells contribute to protection from severe dengue virus (DENV) disease and vaccine efficacy. Nevertheless, molecular programs associated with DENV-specific CD8+ T cell subsets have not been defined. Here, we studied the transcriptomic profiles of human DENV-specific CD8+ T cells isolated after stimulation with DENV epitopes from donors who had been infected with DENV multiple times and would therefore be expected to have significant levels of adaptive immunity. We found that DENV-specific CD8+ T cells mainly consisted of effector memory subsets, namely CD45RA−CCR7− effector memory (Tem) and CD45RA+CCR7− effector memory re-expressing CD45RA (Temra) cells, which enacted specific gene expression profiles upon stimulation with cognate antigens. DENV-specific CD8+ T cell subsets in general, and Temra cells in particular, were fully activated and polyfunctional, yet associated with relatively narrow transcriptional responses. Furthermore, we found that DENV-specific CD8+ Tem and Temra cells showed some unique T cell receptor features in terms of overlap and variable (V) gene usage. This study provides a transcriptomic definition of DENV-specific activated human CD8+ T cell subsets and defines a benchmark profile that vaccine-specific responses could aim to reproduce.
Yuan Tian, Mariana Babor, Jerome Lane, Grégory Seumois, Shu Liang, N.D. Suraj Goonawardhana, Aruna D. De Silva, Elizabeth J. Phillips, Simon A. Mallal, Ricardo da Silva Antunes, Alba Grifoni, Pandurangan Vijayanand, Daniela Weiskopf, Bjoern Peters, Alessandro Sette
BACKGROUND. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells can induce remission in highly refractory leukemia and lymphoma subjects, yet the parameters for achieving sustained relapse-free survival are not fully delineated. METHODS. We analyzed 43 pediatric and young adult subjects participating in a Phase I trial of defined composition CD19CAR T cells (NCT02028455). CAR T cell phenotype, function and expansion, as well as starting material T cell repertoire, were analyzed in relation to therapeutic outcome (defined as achieving complete remission within 63 days) and duration of leukemia free survival and B cell aplasia. RESULTS. These analyses reveal that initial therapeutic failures (n = 5) were associated with attenuated CAR T cell expansion and/or rapid attrition of functional CAR effector cells following adoptive transfer. The CAR T products were similar in phenotype and function when compared to products resulting in sustained remissions. However, the initial apheresed peripheral blood T cells could be distinguished by an increased frequency of LAG-3+/TNF-αlow CD8 T cells and, following adoptive transfer, the rapid expression of exhaustion markers. For the 38 subjects who achieved an initial sustained MRD-neg remission, remission durability correlated with therapeutic products having increased frequencies of TNF-α-secreting CAR CD8+ T cells, and was dependent on a sufficiently high CD19+ antigen load at time of infusion to trigger CAR T cell proliferation. CONCLUSION. These parameters have the potential to prospectively identify patients at risk for therapeutic failure and support the development of approaches to boost CAR T cell activation and proliferation in patients with low levels of CD19 antigen. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02028455. FUNDING. Partial funding for this study was provided by Stand Up to Cancer & St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Dream Team Translational Research Grant (SU2C-AACR-DT1113), RO1 CA136551-05, Alex Lemonade Stand Phase I/II Infrastructure Grant, Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award, Washington State Life Sciences Discovery Fund, Ben Towne Foundation, William Lawrence & Blanche Hughes Foundation, and Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a Celgene Company.
Olivia C. Finney, Hannah M. Brakke, Stephanie Rawlings-Rhea, Roxana Hicks, Danielle Doolittle, Marisa Lopez, Robert B. Futrell, Rimas J. Orentas, Daniel Li, Rebecca A. Gardner, Michael C. Jensen
The Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is one of the predominant tumor viruses in humans, but so far no therapeutic or prophylactic vaccination against this transforming pathogen is available. We demonstrated that heterologous prime-boost vaccination with the nuclear antigen 1 of EBV (EBNA1) either targeted to the DEC205 receptor on dendritic cells or expressed from a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector improved priming of antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell help. This help supported the expansion and maintenance of EBNA1 specific CD8+ T cells that are most efficiently primed by recombinant adenoviruses that encode EBNA1. These combined CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses protected from EBNA1 expressing T and B cell lymphomas, including lymphoproliferations that emerge spontaneously after EBNA1 expression. In particular the heterologous EBNA1-expressing adenovirus, boosted by EBNA1-encoding MVA vaccination, demonstrated protection as prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of the respective lymphoma challenges. Therefore, we suggest that such heterologous prime-boost vaccinations should be further explored for clinical development against EBV-associated malignancies as well as symptomatic primary EBV infection.
Julia Rühl, Carmen Citterio, Christine Engelmann, Tracey A. Haigh, Andrzej Dzionek, Johannes H. Dreyer, Rajiv Khanna, Graham S. Taylor, Joanna B. Wilson, Carol S. Leung, Christian Münz
A key mechanism of tumor resistance to immune cells is mediated by expression of peptide-loaded HLA-E in tumor cells, which suppresses natural killer (NK) cell activity via ligation of the NK inhibitory receptor CD94/NKG2A. Gene expression data from approximately 10,000 tumor samples showed widespread HLAE expression, with levels correlating with those of KLRC1 (NKG2A) and KLRD1 (CD94). To bypass HLA-E inhibition, we developed a way to generate highly functional NK cells lacking NKG2A. Constructs containing a single-chain variable fragment derived from an anti-NKG2A antibody were linked to endoplasmic reticulum-retention domains. After retroviral transduction in human peripheral blood NK cells, these NKG2A Protein Expression Blockers (PEBLs) abrogated NKG2A expression. The resulting NKG2Anull NK cells had higher cytotoxicity against HLA-E-expressing tumor cells. Transduction of anti-NKG2A PEBL produced more potent cytotoxicity than interference with an anti-NKG2A antibody and prevented de novo NKG2A expression, without affecting NK cell proliferation. In immunodeficient mice, NKG2Anull NK cells were significantly more powerful than NKG2A+ NK cells against HLA-E-expressing tumors. Thus, NKG2A downregulation evades the HLA-E cancer immune-checkpoint, and increases the anti-tumor activity of NK cell infusions. Because this strategy is easily adaptable to current protocols for clinical-grade immune cell processing, its clinical testing is feasible and warranted.
Takahiro Kamiya, See Voon Seow, Desmond Wong, Murray Robinson, Dario Campana
Background: Systems vaccinology allows cutting-edge analysis of innate biomarkers of vaccine efficacy. We have been exploring novel strategies to shape the adaptive immune response, by targeting innate immune cells through novel immunization routes. Methods: This randomized phase I/II clinical study (n=60 healthy subjects aged 18-45 years old) used transcriptomic analysis to discover early biomarkers of immune response quality after transcutaneous (t.c.), intradermal (i.d.), and intramuscular (i.m.) administration of a trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV season 2012-2013) (1:1:1 ratio). Safety and immunogenicity (hemagglutinin inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN) antibodies and CD4, CD8 effector T cells) were measured at baseline Day (D)0 and at D21. Blood transcriptome was analyzed at D0 and D1. Results: TIV-specific CD8+GranzymeB+(GRZ) T cells appeared in more individuals immunized by the t.c. and i.d. routes, while immunization by the i.d. and i.m. routes prompted high levels of HI antibody titers and MN against A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 influenza viral strains. The early innate gene signature anticipated immunological outcome by discriminating two clusters of individuals with either distinct humoral or CD8 cytotoxic responses. Several pathways explained this dichotomy confirmed by nine genes and serum level of CXCL10 were correlated with either TIV-specific cytotoxic CD8+GRZ+ T-cell or antibody responses. A logistic regression analysis demonstrated that these nine genes and serum levels of CXCL10 (D1/D0) best foreseen TIV-specific CD8+GRZ+ T-cell and antibody responses at D21. Conclusion: This study provides new insight into the impact of immunization routes and innate signature in the quality of adaptive immune responses.
Eléna Gonçalves, Olivia Bonduelle, Angèle Soria, Pierre Loulergue, Alexandra Rousseau, Marine Cachanado, Henri Bonnabau, Rodolphe Thiebaut, Nicolas Tchitchek, Sylvie Behillil, Sylvie van der Werf, Annika Vogt, Tabassome Simon, Odile Launay, Behazine Combadière
BACKGROUND. Recent genomic and bioinformatic technological advances have made it possible to dissect the immune response to personalized neoantigens encoded by tumor-specific mutations. However, timely and efficient identification of neoantigens is still one of the major obstacles to using personalized neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy. METHODS. Two different pipelines of neoantigens identification were established in this study: (1) Clinical grade targeted sequencing was performed in patients with refractory solid tumor, and mutant peptides with high variant allele frequency and predicted high HLA-binding affinity were de novo synthesized. (2) An inventory-shared neoantigen peptide library of common solid tumors was constructed, and patients' hotspot mutations were matched to the neoantigen peptide library. The candidate neoepitopes were identified by recalling memory T-cell responses in vitro. Subsequently, neoantigen-loaded dendritic cell vaccines and neoantigen-reactive T cells were generated for personalized immunotherapy in six patients. RESULTS. Immunogenic neo-epitopes were recognized by autologous T cells in 3 of 4 patients who utilized the de novo synthesis mode and in 6 of 13 patients who performed shared neoantigen peptide library, respectively. A metastatic thymoma patient achieved a complete and durable response beyond 29 months after treatment. Immune-related partial response was observed in another patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The remaining four patients achieved the prolonged stabilization of disease with a median PFS of 8.6 months. CONCLUSIONS. The current study provided feasible pipelines for neoantigen identification. Implementing these strategies to individually tailor neoantigens could facilitate the neoantigen-based translational immunotherapy research. TRIAL REGSITRATION. ChiCTR.org ChiCTR-OIC-16010092, ChiCTR-OIC-17011275, ChiCTR-OIC-17011913; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03171220. FUNDING. This work was funded by grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC1308900), the National Major Projects for “Major New Drugs Innovation and Development” (Grant No.2018ZX09301048-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81672367, 81572329, 81572601), and the Key Research and Development Program of Jiangsu Province (No. BE2017607).
Fangjun Chen, Zhengyun Zou, Juan Du, Shu Su, Jie Shao, Fanyan Meng, Ju Yang, Qiuping Xu, Naiqing Ding, Yang Yang, Qin Liu, Qin Wang, Zhichen Sun, Shujuan Zhou, Shiyao Du, Jia Wei, Baorui Liu
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common human sarcoma, frequently characterized by an oncogenic mutation in the KIT or platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) genes. We performed RNA sequencing of 75 human GIST tumors from 75 patients, comprising the largest cohort of GISTs sequenced to date, in order to discover differences in the immune infiltrates of KIT and PDGFRA-mutant GIST. Through bioinformatics, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry, we found that PDGFRA-mutant GISTs harbored more immune cells with increased cytolytic activity when compared to KIT-mutant GISTs. PDGFRA-mutant GISTs expressed many chemokines, such as CXCL14, at a significantly higher level when compared to KIT-mutant GISTs and exhibited more diverse driver-derived neoepitope:HLA binding, both of which may contribute to PDGFRA-mutant GIST immunogenicity. Through machine learning, we generated gene expression-based immune profiles capable of differentiating KIT and PDGFRA-mutant GISTs, and also identified additional immune features of high PD-1 and PD-L1 expressing tumors across all GIST mutational subtypes, which may provide insight into immunotherapeutic opportunities and limitations in GIST.
Gerardo A. Vitiello, Timothy G. Bowler, Mengyuan Liu, Benjamin D. Medina, Jennifer Q. Zhang, Nesteene J. Param, Jennifer K. Loo, Rachel L. Goldfeder, Frederic Chibon, Ferdinand Rossi, Shan Zeng, Ronald P. DeMatteo