TCR engagement negatively affects CD8 but not CD4 CAR T cell expansion and leukemic clearance

Yinmeng Yang, M. Eric Kohler, Christopher D. Chien, Christopher T. Sauter, Elad Jacoby, Chunhua Yan, Ying Hu, Kelsey Wanhainen, Haiying Qin, Terry J. Fry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-expressing T cells induce durable remissions in patients with relapsed/refractory B cell malignancies. CARs are synthetic constructs that, when introduced into mature T cells, confer a second, non-major histocompatibility complex-restricted specificity in addition to the endogenous T cell receptor (TCR). The implications of TCR activation on CAR T cell efficacy has not been well defined. Using an immunocompetent, syngeneic murine model of CD19-targeted CAR T cell therapy for pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in which the CAR is introduced into T cells with known TCR specificity,we demonstrate loss of CD8 CAR T cell efficacy associated with T cell exhaustion and apoptosis when TCR antigen is present. CD4 CAR T cells demonstrate equivalent cytotoxicity to CD8 CAR T cells and, in contrast, retain in vivo efficacy despite TCR stimulation. Gene expression profiles confirmincreased exhaustion and apoptosis of CD8 CAR T cells upon dual receptor stimulation compared to CD4 CAR T cells and indicate inherent differences between CD4 and CD8 CAR T cells in the use of T cell-associated signaling pathways. These results provide insights into important aspects of CAR T cell immune biology and indicate opportunities to rationally design CAR constructs to optimize clinical efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaag1209
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number417
StatePublished - 22 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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