Author(s): Hui DJ, BasnerTschakarjan E, Chen Y, Davidson RJ, Buchlis G,
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Abstract Immune responses directed against viral capsid proteins constitute a main safety concern in the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) as gene transfer vectors in humans. Pharmacological immunosuppression has been proposed as a solution to the problem; however, the approach suffers from several potential limitations. Using MHC class II epitopes initially identified within human IgG, named Tregitopes, we showed that it is possible to modulate CD8+ T cell responses to several viral antigens in vitro. We showed that incubation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with these epitopes triggers proliferation of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T cells that suppress killing of target cells loaded with MHC class I antigens in an antigen-specific fashion, through a mechanism that seems to require cell-to-cell contact. Expression of a construct encoding for the AAV capsid structural protein fused to Tregitopes resulted in reduction of CD8+ T cell reactivity against the AAV capsid following immunization with an adenoviral vector expressing capsid. This was accompanied by an increase in frequency of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T cells in spleens and lower levels of inflammatory infiltrates in injected tissues. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates modulation of CD8+ T cell reactivity to an antigen using regulatory T cell epitopes is possible.
This article was published in Mol Ther
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy