High-throughput peptide-MHC complex generation and kinetic screenings of TCRs with peptide-receptive HLA-A*02:01 molecules

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Abstract

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules present short peptide ligands on the cell surface for interrogation by cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. MHC class I complexes presenting tumor-associated peptides such as neo-antigens represent key targets of cancer immunotherapy approaches currently in development, making them important for efficacy and safety screenings. Without peptide ligand, MHC class I complexes are unstable and decay quickly, making the production of soluble monomers for analytical purposes labor intensive. We have developed a disulfide-stabilized HLA-A*02:01 molecule that is stable without peptide but can form peptide-MHC complexes (pMHCs) with ligands of choice in a one-step loading procedure. We illustrate the similarity between the engineered mutant and the wild-type molecule with respect to affinity of wild-type or affinity-matured T cell receptors (TCRs) and present a crystal structure corroborating the binding kinetics measurements. In addition, we demonstrate a high-throughput binding kinetics measurement platform to analyze the binding characteristics of bispecific TCR (bsTCR) molecules against diverse pMHC libraries produced with the disulfide-stabilized HLA-A*02:01 molecule. We show that bsTCR affinities for pMHCs are indicative of in vitro function and generate a bsTCR binding motif to identify potential off-target interactions in the human proteome. These findings showcase the potential of the platform and the engineered HLA-A*02:01 molecule in the emerging field of pMHC-targeting biologics.

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Moritz, A., Anjanappa, R., Wagner, C., Bunk, S., Hofmann, M., Pszolla, G., … Maurer, D. (2019). High-throughput peptide-MHC complex generation and kinetic screenings of TCRs with peptide-receptive HLA-A*02:01 molecules. Science Immunology, 4(37). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciimmunol.aav0860

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