Advances in preclinical TCR characterization: leveraging cell avidity to identify functional TCRs

Andreas Carr, Laura M. Mateyka, Sebastian J.C. Scheu, Ana Bici, Joris Paijmans, Rogier M. Reijmers, Nina Dieminger, Shirin Dildebekova, Noomen Hamed, Karolin Wagner, Dirk H. Busch, Elvira D'Ippolito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

T-cell therapy has emerged as an effective approach for treating viral infections and cancers. However, a significant challenge is the selection of T-cell receptors (TCRs) that exhibit the desired functionality. Conventionally in vitro techniques, such as peptide sensitivity measurements and cytotoxicity assays, provide valuable insights into TCR potency but are labor-intensive. In contrast, measuring ligand binding properties (z-Movi technology) could provide an accelerated processing while showing robust correlations with T-cell functions. In this study, we assessed whether cell avidity can predict functionality also in the context of TCR-engineered T cells. To this end, we developed a flexible system for TCR re-expression by generating a Jurkat-derived T cell clone lacking TCR and CD3 expression through CRISPR-Cas9-mediated TRBC knockout. The knockin of a transgenic TCR into the TRAC locus restored TCR/CD3 expression, allowing for CD3-based purification of TCR-engineered T cells. Subsequently, we characterized these engineered cell lines by functional readouts, and assessment of binding properties through the z-Movi technology. Our findings revealed a strong correlation between the cell avidities and functional sensitivities of Jurkat TCR-T cells. Altogether, by integrating cell avidity measurements with our versatile T cell engineering platform, we established an accelerated system for enhancing the in vitro selection of clinically relevant TCRs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Chemistry
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cellular avidity
  • Jurkat cells
  • T cell engineering
  • T cell receptor
  • T cell therapy
  • TCR functionality

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