Isolation of Neoantigen-Specific Human T Cell Receptors from Different Human and Murine Repertoires

Grunert, C., Willimsky, G., Peuker, C.A., Rhein, S., Hansmann, L., Blankenstein, T., Blanc, E., Beule, D., Keller, U., Pezzutto, A., Busse, A. (2022). Cancers (Basel) 14.



(1) Background: Mutation-specific T cell receptor (TCR)-based adoptive T cell therapy represents a truly tumor-specific immunotherapeutic strategy. However, isolating neoepitope-specific TCRs remains a challenge. (2) Methods: We investigated, side by side, different TCR repertoires—patients’ peripheral lymphocytes (PBLs) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), PBLs of healthy donors, and a humanized mouse model—to isolate neoepitope-specific TCRs against eight neoepitope candidates from a colon cancer and an ovarian cancer patient. Neoepitope candidates were used to stimulate T cells from different repertoires in vitro to generate neoepitope-specific T cells and isolate the specific TCRs. (3) Results: We isolated six TCRs from healthy donors, directed against four neoepitope candidates and one TCR from the murine T cell repertoire. Endogenous processing of one neoepitope, for which we isolated one TCR from both human and mouse-derived repertoires, could be shown. No neoepitope-specific TCR could be generated from the patients’ own repertoire. (4) Conclusion: Our data indicate that successful isolation of neoepitope-specific TCRs depends on various factors such as the heathy donor’s TCR repertoire or the presence of a tumor microenvironment allowing neoepitope-specific immune responses of the host. We show the advantage and feasibility of using healthy donor repertoires and humanized mouse TCR repertoires to generate mutation-specific TCRs with different specificities, especially in a setting when the availability of patient material is limited.