Generation of T-cell receptors targeting a genetically stable and immunodominant cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitope within hepatitis C virus non-structural protein 3

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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of severe liver disease, and one major contributing factor is thought to involve a dysfunction of virus-specific T-cells. T-cell receptor (TCR) gene therapy with HCV-specific TCRs would increase the number of effector T-cells to promote virus clearance. We therefore took advantage of HLA-A2 transgenic mice to generate multiple TCR candidates against HCV using DNA vaccination followed by generation of stable T-cell- BW (T-BW) tumour hybrid cells. Using this approach, large numbers of non-structural protein 3 (NS3)-specific functional TBW hybrids can be generated efficiently. These predominantly target the genetically stable HCV genotype 1 NS3 1073- 1081 CTL epitope, frequently associated with clearance of HCV in humans. These T-BW hybrid clones recognized the NS3 1073 peptide with a high avidity. The hybridoma effectively recognized virus variants and targeted cells with low HLA-A2 expression, which has not been reported previously. Importantly, high-avidity murine TCRs effectively redirected human non- HCV-specific T-lymphocytes to recognize human hepatoma cells with HCV RNA replication driven by a subgenomic HCV replicon. Taken together, TCR candidates with a range of functional avidities, which can be used to study immune recognition of HCV-positive targets, have been generated. This has implications for TCR-related immunotherapy against HCV. ? 2012 SGM.

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Pasetto, A., Frelin, L., Brass, A., Yasmeen, A., Koh, S., Lohmann, V., … Chen, M. (2012). Generation of T-cell receptors targeting a genetically stable and immunodominant cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitope within hepatitis C virus non-structural protein 3. Journal of General Virology, 93(2). https://doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.037903-0

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