Transfection with synthetic mRNA is a safe and efficient method of delivering antigens to dendritic cells for immunotherapy. Targeting antigens to the lysosome can sometimes enhance the CD4+ T-cell response. We transfected antigen-presenting cells (APCs) with mRNA encoding Gag-p24 and cytoplasmic, lysosomal, and secreted forms of Nef. Antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells were able to lyse the majority of transfected targets, indicating that transfection was efficient. Transfection of APCs with a Nef construct bearing lysosomal targeting signals produced rapid and prolonged antigen presentation to CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Polyclonal CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell lines recognizing multiple distinct epitopes were expanded by coculture of transfected dendritic cells with peripheral blood mononuclear cells from viremic and aviremic HIV-infected subjects. Importantly, lysosome-targeted antigen drove a significantly greater expansion of Nef-specific CD4+ T cells than cytoplasmic antigen. The frequency of recognition of CD8 but not CD4 epitopes by mRNA-expanded T cells was inversely proportional to sequence entropy and was similar to ex vivo responses from a large chronic cohort. Thus human dendritic cells transfected with mRNA encoding lysosome-targeted HIV antigen can expand a broad, polyclonal repertoire of antiviral T cells, offering a promising approach to HIV immunotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology