The genetic transfer of T-cell receptors (TCRs) directed toward target antigens into T lymphocytes has been used to generate antitumor T cells efficiently without the need for the in vitro induction and expansion of T cells with cognate specificity. Alternatively, T cells have been gene-modified with a TCR-like antibody or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). We show that immunization of HLA-A2 transgenic mice with tetramerized recombinant HLA-A2 incorporating HA-1 H minor histocompatibility antigen (mHag) peptides and β2- microglobulin (HA-1 H/HLA-A2) generate highly specific antibodies. One single-chain variable region moiety (scFv) antibody, #131, demonstrated high affinity (K D =14.9 nM) for the HA-1 H/HLA-A2 complex. Primary human T cells transduced with #131 scFV coupled to CD28 transmembrane and CD3ζ domains were stained with HA-1 H/HLA-A2 tetramers slightly more intensely than a cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone specific for endogenously HLA-A2-and HA-1 H-positive cells. Although #131 scFv CAR-T cells required >100-fold higher antigen density to exert cytotoxicity compared with the cognate CTL clone, they could produce inflammatory cytokines against cells expressing HLA-A2 and HA-1 H transgenes. These data implicate that T cells with high-affinity antigen receptors reduce the ability to lyse targets with low-density peptide/MHC complexes (∼100 per cell), while they could respond at cytokine production level.
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