Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2013

DOI

10.1038/mt.2013.166

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.

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