CD8 T cell tolerance to a tumor-associated self-antigen is reversed by CD4 T cells engineered to express the same T cell receptor.
Ghorashian S., Veliça P., Chua I., McNicol A-M., Carpenter B., Holler A., Nicholson E., Ahmadi M., Zech M., Xue S-A., Uckert W., Morris E., Chakraverty R., Stauss HJ.
Ag receptors used for cancer immunotherapy are often directed against tumor-associated Ags also expressed in normal tissues. Targeting of such Ags can result in unwanted autoimmune attack of normal tissues or induction of tolerance in therapeutic T cells. We used a murine model to study the phenotype and function of T cells redirected against the murine double minute protein 2 (MDM2), a tumor-associated Ag that shows low expression in many normal tissues. Transfer of MDM2-TCR-engineered T cells into bone marrow chimeric mice revealed that Ag recognition in hematopoietic tissues maintained T cell function, whereas presentation of MDM2 in nonhematopoietic tissues caused reduced effector function. TCR-engineered CD8(+) T cells underwent rapid turnover, downmodulated CD8 expression, and lost cytotoxic function. We found that MDM2-TCR-engineered CD4(+) T cells provided help and restored cytotoxic function of CD8(+) T cells bearing the same TCR. Although the introduction of the CD8 coreceptor enhanced the ability of CD4(+) T cells to recognize MDM2 in vitro, the improved self-antigen recognition abolished their ability to provide helper function in vivo. The data indicate that the same class I-restricted TCR responsible for Ag recognition and tolerance induction in CD8(+) T cells can, in the absence of the CD8 coreceptor, elicit CD4 T cell help and partially reverse tolerance. Thus MHC class I-restricted CD4(+) T cells may enhance the efficacy of therapeutic TCR-engineered CD8(+) T cells and can be readily generated with the same TCR.