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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of severe liver disease, and one major contributing factor is thought to involve a dysfunction of virus-specific T-cells. T-cell receptor (TCR) gene therapy with HCV-specific TCRs would increase the number of effector T-cells to promote virus clearance. We therefore took advantage of HLA-A2 transgenic mice to generate multiple TCR candidates against HCV using DNA vaccination followed by generation of stable T-cell–BW (T-BW) tumour hybrid cells. Using this approach, large numbers of non-structural protein 3 (NS3)-specific functional T-BW hybrids can be generated efficiently. These predominantly target the genetically stable HCV genotype 1 NS3 CTL epitope, frequently associated with clearance of HCV in humans. These T-BW hybrid clones recognized the NS3 peptide with a high avidity. The hybridoma effectively recognized virus variants and targeted cells with low HLA-A2 expression, which has not been reported previously. Importantly, high-avidity murine TCRs effectively redirected human non-HCV-specific T-lymphocytes to recognize human hepatoma cells with HCV RNA replication driven by a subgenomic HCV replicon. Taken together, TCR candidates with a range of functional avidities, which can be used to study immune recognition of HCV-positive targets, have been generated. This has implications for TCR-related immunotherapy against HCV.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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2012-02-01
2022-05-27
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