Selective immunotargeting of diabetogenic CD4 T cells by genetically redirected T cells.

PMID 24943731


The key role played by islet-reactive CD8 and CD4 T cells in type 1 diabetes calls for new immunotherapies that target pathogenic T cells in a selective manner. We previously demonstrated that genetically linking the signalling portion of CD3-ζ onto the C-terminus of β2 -microglobulin and an autoantigenic peptide to its N-terminus converts MHC-I complexes into functional T-cell receptor-specific receptors. CD8 T cells expressing such receptors specifically killed diabetogenic CD8 T cells, blocked T-cell-induced diabetes in immunodeficient NOD.SCID mice and suppressed disease in wild-type NOD mice. Here we describe the immunotargeting of CD4 T cells by chimeric MHC-II receptors. To this end we chose the diabetogenic NOD CD4 T-cell clone BDC2.5, which recognizes the I-A(g7) -bound 1040-31 mimotope. We assembled several constructs encoding I-A(g7) α- and β-chains, the latter carrying mim or hen egg lysozyme peptide as control, each supplemented with CD3-ζ intracellular portion, either with or without its transmembrane domain. Following mRNA co-transfection of reporter B3Z T cells and mouse CD8 and CD4 T cells, these constructs triggered robust activation upon I-A(g7) cross-linking. A BDC2.5 T-cell hybridoma activated B3Z transfectants expressing the mimotope, but not the control peptide, in both configurations. Potent two-way activation was also evident with transgenic BDC2.5 CD4 T cells, but peptide-specific activation required the CD3-ζ transmembrane domain. Chimeric MHC-II/CD3-ζ complexes therefore allow the selective immunotargeting of islet-reactive CD4 T cells, which take part in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes.