Bachelor of Arts and Science, University of Wisconsin River Falls (2011)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Maryland College Park (2016)
The immune system can mount T cell responses against tumors; however, the antigen specificities of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are not well understood. We used yeast-display libraries of peptide-human leukocyte antigen (pHLA) to screen for antigens of "orphan" T cell receptors (TCRs) expressed on TILs from human colorectal adenocarcinoma. Four TIL-derived TCRs exhibited strong selection for peptides presented in a highly diverse pHLA-A∗02:01 library. Three of the TIL TCRs were specific for non-mutated self-antigens, two of which were present in separate patient tumors, and shared specificity for a non-mutated self-antigen derived from U2AF2. These results show that the exposed recognition surface of MHC-bound peptides accessible to the TCR contains sufficient structural information to enable the reconstruction of sequences of peptide targets for pathogenic TCRs of unknown specificity. This finding underscores the surprising specificity of TCRs for their cognate antigens and enables the facile indentification of tumor antigens through unbiased screening.
View details for PubMedID 29275860
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5786495
The median overall survival for children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is less than one year. The majority of diffuse midline gliomas, including more than 70% of DIPGs, harbor an amino acid substitution from lysine (K) to methionine (M) at position 27 of histone 3 variant 3 (H3.3). From a CD8+ T cell clone established by stimulation of HLA-A2+ CD8+ T cells with synthetic peptide encompassing the H3.3K27M mutation, complementary DNA for T cell receptor (TCR) α- and β-chains were cloned into a retroviral vector. TCR-transduced HLA-A2+ T cells efficiently killed HLA-A2+H3.3K27M+ glioma cells in an antigen- and HLA-specific manner. Adoptive transfer of TCR-transduced T cells significantly suppressed the progression of glioma xenografts in mice. Alanine-scanning assays suggested the absence of known human proteins sharing the key amino acid residues required for recognition by the TCR, suggesting that the TCR could be safely used in patients. These data provide us with a strong basis for developing T cell-based therapy targeting this shared neoepitope.
View details for PubMedID 29203539
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5748856