Engineered Antigen-Specific T Cells Secreting Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies: Combining Innate and Adaptive Immune Response against HIV

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Molecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development






antigen-specific T cells; broadly neutralizing antibodies; HIV


While antiretroviral therapy (ART) can completely suppress viremia, it is not a cure for HIV. HIV persists as a latent reservoir of infected cells, able to evade host immunity and re-seed infection following cessation of ART. Two promising immunotherapeutic strategies to eliminate both productively infected cells and reactivated cells of the reservoir are the adoptive transfer of potent HIV-specific T cells and the passive administration of HIV-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies also capable of mediating antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). The simultaneous use of both as the basis of a single therapeutic has never been explored. We therefore sought to modify HIV-specific T cells from HIV-naive donors (to allow their use in the context of allotransplant, a promising platform for sterilizing cures) so they are able to secrete a broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) directed against the HIV envelope to elicit ADCC. We designed an antibody construct comprising bNAb 10-1074 heavy and light chains, fused to IgG3 Fc to elicit ADCC, with truncated cluster of differentiation 19 (CD19) as a selectable marker. HIV-specific T cells were expanded from HIV-naive donors by priming with antigen-presenting cells expressing overlapping HIV antigens in the presence of cytokines. T cells retained specificity against Gag, Nef, and Pol peptides (218.55 ± 300.14 interferon γ [IFNγ] spot-forming cells [SFC]/1 × 10 ) following transduction (38.92 ± 25.30) with the 10-1074 antibody constructs. These cells secreted 10-1074 antibodies (139.04 ± 114.42 ng/mL). The HIV-specific T cells maintained T cell function following transduction, and the secreted 10-1074 antibody bound HIV envelope (28.13% ± 19.42%) and displayed ADCC activity (10.47% ± 4.11%). Most critically, the 10-1074 antibody-secreting HIV-specific T cells displayed superior in vitro suppression of HIV replication. In summary, HIV-specific T cells can be engineered to produce antibodies mediating ADCC against HIV envelope-expressing cells. This combined innate/adaptive approach allows for synergy between the two immune arms, broadens the target range of the immune therapy, and provides further insight into what defines an effective anti-HIV response. 5