RNA-transfection of γ/δ T cells with a chimeric antigen receptor or an α/β T-cell receptor: a safer alternative to genetically engineered α/β T cells for the immunotherapy of melanoma
Human adenovirus infection is life threatening after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Immunotherapy with donor-derived adenovirus-specific T cells is promising; however, 20% of all donors lack adenovirus-specific T cells. To overcome this, we transfected α/β T cells with mRNA encoding a T-cell receptor (TCR) specific for the HLA-A*0101-restricted peptide LTDLGQNLLY from the adenovirus hexon protein. Furthermore, since allo-reactive endogenous TCR of donor T lymphocytes would induce graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in a mismatched patient, we transferred the TCR into γ/δ T cells, which are not allo-reactive. TCR-transfected γ/δ T cells secreted low quantities of cytokines after antigen-specific stimulation, which were increased dramatically after co-transfection of CD8α-encoding mRNA. In direct comparison with TCR-transfected α/β T cells, TCR-CD8α-co-transfected γ/δ T cells produced more tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and lysed peptide-loaded target cells as efficiently. Most importantly, TCR-transfected α/β T cells and TCR-CD8α-co-transfected γ/δ T cells efficiently lysed adenovirus-infected target cells. We show here, for the first time, that not only α/β T cells but also γ/δ T cells can be equipped with an adenovirus specificity by TCR-RNA electroporation. Thus, our strategy offers a new means for the immunotherapy of adenovirus infection after allogeneic HSCT.