Human CLEC9A antibodies deliver Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1) antigen to CD141+ dendritic cells to activate naïve and memory WT1-specific CD8+ T cells

Clin Transl Immunology. 2020 Jun 12;9(6):e1141. doi: 10.1002/cti2.1141. eCollection 2020.


Objectives: Vaccines that prime Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1)-specific CD8+ T cells are attractive cancer immunotherapies. However, immunogenicity and clinical response rates may be enhanced by delivering WT1 to CD141+ dendritic cells (DCs). The C-type lectin-like receptor CLEC9A is expressed exclusively by CD141+ DCs and regulates CD8+ T-cell responses. We developed a new vaccine comprising a human anti-CLEC9A antibody fused to WT1 and investigated its capacity to target human CD141+ DCs and activate naïve and memory WT1-specific CD8+ T cells.

Methods: WT1 was genetically fused to antibodies specific for human CLEC9A, DEC-205 or β-galactosidase (untargeted control). Activation of WT1-specific CD8+ T-cell lines following cross-presentation by CD141+ DCs was quantified by IFNγ ELISPOT. Humanised mice reconstituted with human immune cell subsets, including a repertoire of naïve WT1-specific CD8+ T cells, were used to investigate naïve WT1-specific CD8+ T-cell priming.

Results: The CLEC9A-WT1 vaccine promoted cross-presentation of WT1 epitopes to CD8+ T cells and mediated priming of naïve CD8+ T cells more effectively than the DEC-205-WT1 and untargeted control-WT1 vaccines.

Conclusions: Delivery of WT1 to CD141+ DCs via CLEC9A stimulates CD8+ T cells more potently than either untargeted delivery or widespread delivery to all Ag-presenting cells via DEC-205, suggesting that cross-presentation by CD141+ DCs is sufficient for effective CD8+ T-cell priming in humans. The CLEC9A-WT1 vaccine is a promising candidate immunotherapy for malignancies that express WT1.

Keywords: CD141; CLEC9A; Wilms' tumor 1; cancer immunotherapy; dendritic cells; vaccines.