Chimeric major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules supplemented with T cell receptor (TCR) signaling motifs function as activation receptors and can redirect gene-modified T cells against pathogenic CD8 T cells. We have shown that β2 microglobulin (β2m) operates as a universal signaling component of MHC-I molecules when fused with the CD3-ζ chain. Linking the H-2Kd-binding insulin B chain peptide insulin B chain, amino acids 15-23 (InsB15-23) to the N terminus of β2m/CD3-ζ, redirected polyclonal CD8 T cells against pathogenic CD8 T cells in a peptide-specific manner in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse. Here, we describe mRNA electroporation for delivering peptide/β2m/CD3-ζ genes to a reporter T cell line and purified primary mouse CD8 T cells. The peptide/β2m/CD3-ζ products paired with endogenous MHC-I chains and transmitted strong activation signals upon MHC-I cross-linking. The reporter T cell line transfected with InsB15-23/β2m/CD3-ζ mRNA was activated by an InsB15-23-H-2Kd-specific CD8 T cell hybrid only when the transfected T cells expressed H-2Kd. Primary NOD CD8 T cells expressing either InsB15-23/β2m/CD3-ζ or islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit-related protein, amino acids 206-214 (IGRP206-214)/β2m/CD3-ζ killed their respective autoreactive CD8 T cell targets in vitro. Furthermore, transfer of primary CD8 T cells transfected with InsB15-23/β2m/CD3-ζ mRNA significantly reduced insulitis and protected NOD mice from diabetes. Our results demonstrate that mRNA encoding chimeric MHC-I receptors can redirect effector CD8 against diabetogenic CD8 T cells, offering a new approach for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
Keywords: CD8 T cells; NOD mice; immunotherapy; mRNA; type 1 diabetes.
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