Engineering chimeric human and mouse major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I tetramers for the production of T-cell receptor (TCR) mimic antibodies.
Li D., Bentley C., Yates J., Salimi M., Greig J., Wiblin S., Hassanali T., Banham AH.
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies targeting cell surface or secreted antigens are among the most effective classes of novel immunotherapies. However, the majority of human proteins and established cancer biomarkers are intracellular. Peptides derived from these intracellular proteins are presented on the cell surface by major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) and can be targeted by a novel class of T-cell receptor mimic (TCRm) antibodies that recognise similar epitopes to T-cell receptors. Humoural immune responses to MHC-I tetramers rarely generate TCRm antibodies and many antibodies recognise the α3 domain of MHC-I and β2 microglobulin (β2m) that are not directly involved in presenting the target peptide. Here we describe the production of functional chimeric human-murine HLA-A2-H2Dd tetramers and modifications that increase their bacterial expression and refolding efficiency. These chimeric tetramers were successfully used to generate TCRm antibodies against two epitopes derived from wild type tumour suppressor p53 (RMPEAAPPV and GLAPPQHLIRV) that have been used in vaccination studies. Immunisation with chimeric tetramers yielded no antibodies recognising the human α3 domain and β2m and generated TCRm antibodies capable of specifically recognising the target peptide/MHC-I complex in fully human tetramers and on the cell surface of peptide pulsed T2 cells. Chimeric tetramers represent novel immunogens for TCRm antibody production and may also improve the yield of tetramers for groups using these reagents to monitor CD8 T-cell immune responses in HLA-A2 transgenic mouse models of immunotherapy.