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148 Identification of prostate-restricted epithelial antigens for transgenic T cell adoptive therapy against prostate cancer
  1. Diana DeLucia1,
  2. Tiffany Pariva1,
  3. Roland Strong1,
  4. Owen Witte2 and
  5. John Lee1
  1. 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, SEATTLE, WA, USA
  2. 2University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Background In advanced prostate cancer (PCa), progression to castration-resistant PCa (CRPC) is inevitable and novel therapies for CRPC are needed. Adoptive transfer of T cells targeting tumor antigens is a promising approach in the cancer field. Unfortunately, identifying antigens expressed exclusively in prostate tumor cells has been challenging. Since the prostate is not an essential organ, we alternatively selected prostate-restricted epithelial antigens (PREAs) expressed in both malignant and normal prostate tissue for transgenic T cell studies.

Methods RNA-seq data sets identifying genes enriched in PCa were cross-referenced with the NIH Genotype-Expression database to identify PREAs. Using a novel molecular immunology approach, select PREAs and major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules were co-expressed in HEK293F cells, from which MHC–peptide complexes were efficiently isolated. Peptides were eluted and sequenced by mass spectrometry. Peptide–MHC binding was validated with a T2 stabilization assay and peptide immunodominance was determined using an interferon-γ (IFN-γ) ELISpot assay following stimulation of healthy HLA-A2+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with peptide pools. Following peptide stimulation, CD8+ T cells with peptide-specific T cell receptors (TCR) were enriched by peptide–MHC-I dextramer labeling and fluorescence activated cell sorting for single cell TCR α/β chain sequencing.

Results We identified 11 A2+ peptides (8 previously unpublished) from prostatic acid phosphatase (ACPP), solute carrier family 45 member 3 (SLC45A3), and NK3 homeobox 1 (NKX3.1) that bound to HLA-A2 with varying affinities. Extended culture stimulation of PBMC with peptide pools from each PREA, compared to the standard overnight culture, revealed a greater number of IFN-γ producing cells overall and a greater breadth of response across all the peptides. Antigen specific CD8+ T cells were detectable at low frequencies in both male and female healthy PBMC for 7 of the 11 peptides. Dextramer-sorted antigen-specific cells were used for single-cell paired TCR αβ sequencing and transgenic T cell development.

Conclusions Through this work we identified HLA-A2-presented antigenic peptides from the PREAs ACPP, SLC45A3, and NKX3.1 that can induce the expansion of IFN-γ producing CD8+ T cells. Through peptide–MHC-I dextramer labeling, we isolated PREA-specific CD8+ T cells and characterized TCR αβ sequences with potential anti-tumor functionality. Our results highlight a rapid and directed platform for the development of MHC-I-restricted transgenic CD8+ T cells targeting lineage-specific proteins expressed in prostate epithelia for adoptive therapy of advanced PCa.

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