Co-introduced functional CCR2 potentiates in vivo anti-lung cancer functionality mediated by T cells double gene-modified to express WT1-specific T-cell receptor

PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56820. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056820. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Background and purpose: Although gene-modification of T cells to express tumor-related antigen-specific T-cell receptor (TCR) or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) has clinically proved promise, there still remains room to improve the clinical efficacy of re-directed T-cell based antitumor adoptive therapy. In order to achieve more objective clinical responses using ex vivo-expanded tumor-responsive T cells, the infused T cells need to show adequate localized infiltration into the tumor.

Methodology/principal findings: Human lung cancer cells variously express a tumor antigen, Wilms' Tumor gene product 1 (WT1), and an inflammatory chemokine, CCL2. However, CCR2, the relevant receptor for CCL2, is rarely expressed on activated T-lymphocytes. A HLA-A2402(+) human lung cancer cell line, LK79, which expresses high amounts of both CCL2 and WT1 mRNA, was employed as a target. Normal CD8(+) T cells were retrovirally gene-modified to express both CCR2 and HLA-A*2402-restricted and WT1(235-243) nonapeptide-specific TCR as an effector. Anti-tumor functionality mediated by these effector cells against LK79 cells was assessed both in vitro and in vivo. Finally the impact of CCL2 on WT1 epitope-responsive TCR signaling mediated by the effector cells was studied. Introduced CCR2 was functionally validated using gene-modified Jurkat cells and human CD3(+) T cells both in vitro and in vivo. Double gene-modified CD3(+) T cells successfully demonstrated both CCL2-tropic tumor trafficking and cytocidal reactivity against LK79 cells in vitro and in vivo. CCL2 augmented the WT1 epitope-responsive TCR signaling shown by relevant luciferase production in double gene-modified Jurkat/MA cells to express luciferase and WT1-specific TCR, and CCL2 also dose-dependently augmented WT1 epitope-responsive IFN-γ production and CD107a expression mediated by these double gene-modified CD3(+) T cells.

Conclusion/significance: Introduction of the CCL2/CCR2 axis successfully potentiated in vivo anti-lung cancer reactivity mediated by CD8(+) T cells double gene-modified to express WT1-specific TCR and CCR2 not only via CCL2-tropic tumor trafficking, but also CCL2-enhanced WT1-responsiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Muromonab-CD3 / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Receptors, CCR2 / genetics*
  • Receptors, CCR2 / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Transfection
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • WT1 Proteins / immunology*


  • Interleukin-2
  • Muromonab-CD3
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • WT1 Proteins

Grant support

This work was supported in part by grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan to HF and MY, and a Grant-in-Aid for Cancer Research from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to MY. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.