12 It is clear from murine models of tumour protection that antigen recognition correlates with the TCR expression level. Elegant experiments performed in transgenic mice expressing controllable amounts of cell-surface TCR demonstrated that a reduced density of TCRs on the T-cell surface resulted
in reduced proliferation, and in the secretion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-2 and IL-4 in response to in vivo vaccination with cognate peptide,13 which could be overcome in part by stimulation with saturating doses of peptide. Of importance to the field of TCR transfer, the threshold of TCR density required for antigen responsiveness was relatively low (< 1000 surface TCRs per cell), but was significantly affected R788 price by the concentration of antigen ligands. Extensive research is ongoing in the field of vector development to enhance transgene delivery into T cells, but this is outwith the scope of the present review. However, the impact of TCR transgene
modifications and vector configuration on the subsequent expression in the transduced cell will be discussed. Codon optimization of the TCR-α chain and TCR-β chain transgenes relies on the replacement of infrequently used codons with synonomous codons frequently encountered in the human genome. There is now a substantial body of evidence demonstrating that for multiple TCR specificities the introduction of codon-optimized selleck chemicals llc TCR genes Florfenicol results in higher TCR expression levels in transduced T cells compared with wild-type TCR genes and subsequently improved in vivo function.14–16 There is a theoretical risk that codon optimization will generate potentially immunogeneic TCRs, resulting in anti-TCR immune responses, as the process of optimization may generate alternative open reading frames, with alteration of peptide sequences; however, this has not yet been reported. For TCR gene transfer it is preferable to use
a single viral vector encoding both TCR chain genes, as this limits the risk of insertional mutagenesis and the number of transduced T cells expressing only the introduced α chain or β chain. The introduction of only one TCR chain because of the successful transduction with only one of two vectors would increase the risk of the introduced chain mispairing with the reciprocal endogenous TCR chain (see below). TCR heterodimer assembly and cell-surface expression will be impaired if there is a limiting supply of one or the other chain. Therefore, currently used viral vectors link the TCR-α and TCR-β chain genes with either an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) sequence or the 2A peptide sequence derived from a porcine tsechovirus.17,18 Vectors using the IRES sequence result in the expression of a single messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule under the control of the viral promoter within the transduced cell. Translation of the second gene is mediated by the IRES element.