Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

DAP12-based activating chimeric antigen receptor for NK cell tumor immunotherapy.

PMID 25740942


NK cells are emerging as new effectors for immunotherapy of cancer. In particular, the genetic engraftment of chimeric Ag receptors (CARs) in NK cells is a promising strategy to redirect NK cells to otherwise NK cell-resistant tumor cells. On the basis of DNAX-activation protein 12 (DAP12), a signaling adaptor molecule involved in signal transduction of activating NK cell receptors, we generated a new type of CAR targeting the prostate stem cell Ag (PSCA). We demonstrate in this article that this CAR, designated anti-PSCA-DAP12, consisting of DAP12 fused to the anti-PSCA single-chain Ab fragment scFv(AM1) confers improved cytotoxicity to the NK cell line YTS against PSCA-positive tumor cells when compared with a CAR containing the CD3ζ signaling chain. Further analyses revealed phosphorylation of the DAP12-associated ZAP-70 kinase and IFN-γ release of CAR-engineered cells after contact with PSCA-positive target cells. YTS cells modified with DAP12 alone or with a CAR bearing a phosphorylation-defective ITAM were not activated. Notably, infused YTS cells armed with anti-PSCA-DAP12 caused delayed tumor xenograft growth and resulted in complete tumor eradication in a significant fraction of treated mice. The feasibility of the DAP12-based CAR was further tested in human primary NK cells and confers specific cytotoxicity against KIR/HLA-matched PSCA-positive tumor cells, which was further enhanced by KIR-HLA mismatches. We conclude that NK cells engineered with DAP12-based CARs are a promising tool for adoptive tumor immunotherapy.