A panel of human cell-based artificial APC enables the expansion of long-lived antigen-specific CD4+ T cells restricted by prevalent HLA-DR alleles

Marcus O. Butler, Sascha Ansén, Makito Tanaka, Osamu Imataki, Alla Berezovskaya, Mary M. Mooney, Genita Metzler, Matthew I. Milstein, Lee M. Nadler, Naoto Hirano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Many preclinical experiments have attested to the critical role of CD4+ T cell help in CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated immunity. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that reinfusion of CD4+ T cells can induce responses in infectious diseases and cancer. However, few standardized and versatile systems exist to expand antigen-specific CD4+ Th for clinical use. K562 is a human erythroleukemic cell line, which lacks expression of HLA class I and class II, invariant chain and HLA-DM but expresses adhesion molecules such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and leukocyte function-associated antigen-3. With this unique immunologic phenotype, K562 has been tested in clinical trials of cancer immunotherapy. Previously, we created a K562-based artificial antigen-presenting cell (aAPC) that generates ex vivo long-lived HLA-A2-restricted CD8+ CTL with a central/effector memory phenotype armed with potent effector function. We successfully generated a clinical version of this aAPC and conducted a clinical trial where large numbers of anti-tumor CTL are reinfused to cancer patients. In this article, we shifted focus to CD4+ T cells and developed a panel of novel K562-derived aAPC, where each expresses a different single HLA-DR allele, invariant chain, HLA-DM, CD80, CD83 and CD64; takes up soluble protein by endocytosis and processes and presents CD4+ T-cell peptides. Using this aAPC, we were able to determine novel DR-restricted CD4+ T-cell epitopes and expand long-lived CD4+ T-cells specific for multiple antigens without growing bystander Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Our results suggest that K562-based aAPC may serve as a translatable platform to generate both antigen-specific CD8+ CTL and CD4+ Th.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-873
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11-2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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