Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 1377 Views Nov 20, 2023

Cancer cells evade the immune system by downregulating antigen presentation. Although immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) and adoptive T-cell therapies revolutionized cancer treatment, their efficacy relies on the intrinsic immunogenicity of tumor cells and antigen presentation by dendritic cells. Here, we describe a protocol to directly reprogram murine and human cancer cells into tumor-antigen-presenting cells (tumor-APCs), using the type 1 conventional dendritic cell (cDC1) transcription factors PU.1, IRF8, and BATF3 delivered by a lentiviral vector. Tumor-APCs acquire a cDC1 cell-like phenotype, transcriptional and epigenetic programs, and function within nine days (Zimmermannova et al., 2023). Tumor-APCs express the hematopoietic marker CD45 and acquire the antigen presentation complexes MHC class I and II as well as co-stimulatory molecules required for antigen presentation to T cells, but do not express high levels of negative immune checkpoint regulators. Enriched tumor-APCs present antigens to Naïve CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, are targeted by activated cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and elicit anti-tumor responses in vivo. The tumor-APC reprogramming protocol described here provides a simple and robust method to revert tumor evasion mechanisms by increasing antigen presentation in cancer cells. This platform has the potential to prime antigen-specific T-cell expansion, which can be leveraged for developing new cancer vaccines, neoantigen discovery, and expansion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.

Key features

• This protocol describes the generation of antigen-presenting cells from cancer cells by direct reprogramming using lineage-instructive transcription factors of conventional dendritic cells type I.

• Verification of reprogramming efficiency by flow cytometry and functional assessment of tumor-APCs by antigen presentation assays.

0 Q&A 2066 Views Aug 5, 2022

Genome-editing technologies, especially CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeats)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9), endows researchers the ability to make efficient, simple, and precise genomic DNA changes in many eukaryotic cell types. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated efficient gene knockout holds huge potential to improve the efficacy and safety of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell-based immunotherapies. Here, we describe an optimized approach for a complete loss of endogenous T cell receptor (TCR) protein expression, by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated TCR α constant (TRAC) and TCR β constant (TRBC) gene knockout, followed by subsequent CD3 negative selection in engineered human orthoCAR19 T cells. We believe this method can be expanded beyond CAR T cell application, and target other cell surface receptors.

Graphical abstract:

Schematic overview of the two-step process of endogenous TCR depletion in engineered human orthoCAR19 T cells using (1) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout followed by (2) CD3 negative selection.

0 Q&A 4874 Views May 20, 2021

CD8+CD28 T suppressor cells (Ts) have been documented to promote immune tolerance by suppressing effector T cell responses to alloantigens following transplantation. The suppressive function of T cells has been defined as the inhibitory effect of Ts on the proliferation rate of effector T cells. 3H-thymidine is a classical immunological technique for assaying T cell proliferation but this approach has drawbacks such as the inconvenience of working with radioactive materials. Labeling T cells with CFSE allows relatively easy tracking of generations of proliferated cells. In this report, we utilized antigen presenting cells (APCs) and T cells matched for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I or class II to study CD8+CD28- T cell suppression generated in vitro by this novel approach of combining allogeneic APCs and γc cytokines. The expanded CD8+CD28- T cells were isolated (purity 95%) and evaluated for their suppressive capacity in mixed lymphocyte reactions using CD4+ T cells as responders. Here, we present our adapted protocol for assaying the Ts allospecific suppression of CFSE-labeled responder T cells.

0 Q&A 4058 Views May 5, 2020
Recognition of antigens by lymphocytes (B, T, and NK) on the surface of an antigen-presenting cell (APC) leads to lymphocyte activation and the formation of an immunological synapse between the lymphocyte and the APC. At the immunological synapse APC membrane and associated membrane proteins can be transferred to the lymphocyte in a process called trogocytosis. The detection of trogocytosed molecules provides insights to the activation state, antigen specificity, and effector functions and differentiation of the lymphocytes. Here we outline our protocol for identifying trogocytosis-positive CD4+ T cells in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, antigen presenting cells are surface biotinylated and pre-loaded with magnetic polystyrene beads before incubating for a short time with in vitro activated CD4+ T cell blasts (90 min) or naïve T cells (3-24 h). After T cell recovery and APC depletion by magnetic separation trogocytosis positive (trog+) cells are identified by streptavidin staining of trogocytosed, biotinylated APC membrane proteins. Their activation phenotype, effector function, and effector differentiation are subsequently analyzed by flow cytometry immediately or after subsequent incubation. Similarly, trogocytosis-positive cells can be identified and similarly analyzed by flow cytometry. Previous studies have described methods for analyzing T cell trogocytosis to identify antigen-specific cells or the antigenic epitopes recognized by the cells. With the current protocol, the effects of trogocytosis on the individual T cell or the ability of trog+ T cells to modulate the activation and function of other immune cells can be assessed over an extended period of time.
0 Q&A 16460 Views Jun 5, 2017
Antigen presenting cells (APC) are able to process and present to T cells antigens from different origins. This mechanism is highly regulated, in particular by Patter Recognition Receptor (PRR) signals. Here, I detail a protocol designed to assess in vitro the capacity of APC to present antigens derived from bacteria, apoptotic and infected apoptotic cells.
0 Q&A 8785 Views Oct 20, 2016
Protein kinase C-θ (PKC-θ), a member of the Ca2+-independent PKC subfamily of kinases, serves as a regulator of T cell activation by mediating the T cell antigen receptor (TCR)- and coreceptor CD28-induced activation of the transcription factors NF-κB and AP-1 and, to a lesser extent, NFAT, and, subsequently, interleukin 2 (IL-2) production and T cell proliferation. In T cells, TCR and CD28 stimulation-induced activation of PKC-θ is the integrated result of diacylglycerol-mediated membrane recruitment, GLK-mediated phosphorylation at activation loop, CD28, Lck, and sumoylation-mediated central immunological synapse localization (Wang et al., 2015; Monks et al., 1997; Kong et al., 2011; Isakov and Altman, 2012; Chuang et al., 2011). Phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) and the phorbol ester Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA, a surrogate of diacylglycerol [DAG]) are the cofactors for the Ca2+-independent PKC subfamily that bind to PKC directly and activate it by changing its conformation (Nishizuka, 1995). A protocol to analyze the PKC-θ kinase activity in vitro is described here. Myelin basic protein is used as the substrate and its phosphorylation is detected by the incorporation of radioactive phosphate into the substrate, which is analyzed by a laser scanner.
1 Q&A 6442 Views Oct 20, 2016
Sumoylation controls many cellular processes. Protein kinase C-θ (PKC-θ), a member of the Ca2+-independent PKC subfamily of kinases, serves as a regulator of T cell activation by mediating the T cell antigen receptor (TCR)- and coreceptor CD28-induced activation of the transcription factors NF-κB and AP-1 and, to a lesser extent, NFAT, and, subsequently, interleukin 2 (IL-2) production and T cell proliferation. We recently proved that TCR-induced sumoylation of PKC-θ is required for its function in T cells (Wang et al., 2015). Here we describe the method to analyze TCR-induced sumoylation of overexpressed or endogenous PKC-θ, which is carried out by immunoprecipitation of PKC-θ followed by immunoblotting with anti-SUMO1 antibody.
0 Q&A 10369 Views Sep 20, 2016
MHC class I molecules present peptides to cytotoxic T cells allowing the immune system to scan for intracellular pathogens and mutated proteins. The generation of antigenic peptides is a multistep process that ends in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Only peptides with the right length and sequence will bind nascent MHC class I molecules in the ER. This protocol allows for detachment of the endogenous peptides bound to MHC class I molecules by preserving them for the binding of high affinity synthetic peptides. The complete dissociation of endogenous peptides by mild acid treatment as well as the binding of synthetic peptides to MHC class I molecules will be evaluated measuring HLA class I molecules express on the cell surface by flow cytometry. The mouse antibody W6/32 which recognizes β2m associated HLA-A, -B, -C, -E and -G heavy chains is suitable for this propose. Any tumor cell line that expresses surface HLA class I molecules is suitable for the assay. Another important aspect is to know the HLA class I typing of tumor cell line to allow selection of the known high affinity peptides.
0 Q&A 6915 Views Sep 20, 2016
Natural killer (NK) cells play key roles in innate and adaptive immune responses against virus and tumor cells. Their function relies on the dynamic balance between activating and inhibiting signals through receptors that bind ligands expressed on target cells. The absence of inhibitory receptor engagement with their ligands and the presence of activating signals transmitted by activating receptors interacting with specific ligands, leads to NK cell activation (Lanier, 2005; Raulet et al., 2001). Thus, the balance of the ligands expressed for inhibitory and activating receptors determines whether NK cells will become activated to kill the target cells. This protocol allows to assign a precise ligand specificity to any given receptor on NK cells. Thus, if a tumor cell expresses the ligand, this protocol will allow to evaluate its interaction with the specific receptor. In particular, killer cell immunoglobulin (Ig)-like receptors (KIR) recognize their ligands (HLA class I molecules) through the direct contact with HLA class I heavy chain residues and amino acid residues of the bound peptide. This protocol will allow to test the effect of amino acid substitutions or other mutations on the binding of KIR to HLA class I. We used this protocol to depict the role of ERAP1, a key component of the MHC class I antigen processing, in regulating NK cell function by controlling the engagement of inhibitory receptors (Cifaldi et al., 2015).
0 Q&A 8242 Views Jun 20, 2016
Human antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell clones are valuable tools for dissecting CD8+ T-cell responses against antigens derived from infectious agents, cancer and self antigens. Here we describe a protocol for isolating human antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. This protocol uses surface capture of IFNγ to identify antigen responsive cells that are then cloned by single-cell sorting. Here we use CD8+ T-cell responses to influenza matrix protein (MP) as an example, but this approach can be applied to any antigen specificity.

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