The host immune response to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is effective against HCMV reactivation from latency, though not sufficient to clear the virus. T cells are primarily responsible for the control of viral reactivation. When the host immune system is compromised, as in transplant recipients with immunosuppression, HCMV reactivation and progressive infection can cause serious morbidity and mortality. Adoptive T cell therapy is effective for the control of HCMV infection in transplant recipients. However, it is a highly personalized therapeutic regimen and is difficult to implement in routine clinical practice. In this study, we explored a bispecific-antibody strategy to direct non-HCMV-specific T cells to recognize and exert effector functions against HCMV-infected cells. Using a knobs-into-holes strategy, we constructed a bispecific antibody in which one arm is specific for CD3 and can trigger T cell activation, while the other arm, specific for HCMV glycoprotein B (gB), recognizes and marks HCMV-infected cells based on the expression of viral gB on their surfaces. We showed that this bispecific antibody was able to redirect T cells with specificity for HCMV-infected cells in vitro. In the presence of HCMV infection, the engineered antibody was able to activate T cells with no HCMV specificity for cytokine production, proliferation, and the expression of phenotype markers unique to T cell activation. These results suggested the potential of engineered bispecific antibodies, such as the construct described here, as prophylactic or therapeutic agents against HCMV reactivation and infection.
Meng, W., Tang, A., Ye, X., Gui, X., Li, L., Fan, X., … An, Z. (2018). Targeting human-cytomegalovirus-infected cells by redirecting T cells using an anti-CD3/anti-glycoprotein B bispecific antibody. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 62(1). https://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.01719-17