Immune Tolerance-Adjusted Personalized Immunogenicity Prediction for Pompe Disease

Front Immunol. 2021 Jun 16;12:636731. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.636731. eCollection 2021.


Infantile-onset Pompe disease (IOPD) is a glycogen storage disease caused by a deficiency of acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA). Treatment with recombinant human GAA (rhGAA, alglucosidase alfa) enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) significantly improves clinical outcomes; however, many IOPD children treated with rhGAA develop anti-drug antibodies (ADA) that render the therapy ineffective. Antibodies to rhGAA are driven by T cell responses to sequences in rhGAA that differ from the individuals' native GAA (nGAA). The goal of this study was to develop a tool for personalized immunogenicity risk assessment (PIMA) that quantifies T cell epitopes that differ between nGAA and rhGAA using information about an individual's native GAA gene and their HLA DR haplotype, and to use this information to predict the risk of developing ADA. Four versions of PIMA have been developed. They use EpiMatrix, a computational tool for T cell epitope identification, combined with an HLA-restricted epitope-specific scoring feature (iTEM), to assess ADA risk. One version of PIMA also integrates JanusMatrix, a Treg epitope prediction tool to identify putative immunomodulatory (regulatory) T cell epitopes in self-proteins. Using the JanusMatrix-adjusted version of PIMA in a logistic regression model with data from 48 cross-reactive immunological material (CRIM)-positive IOPD subjects, those with scores greater than 10 were 4-fold more likely to develop ADA (p<0.03) than those that had scores less than 10. We also confirmed the hypothesis that some GAA epitopes are immunomodulatory. Twenty-one epitopes were tested, of which four were determined to have an immunomodulatory effect on T effector response in vitro. The implementation of PIMA V3J on a secure-access website would allow clinicians to input the individual HLA DR haplotype of their IOPD patient and the GAA pathogenic variants associated with each GAA allele to calculate the patient's relative risk of developing ADA, enhancing clinical decision-making prior to initiating treatment with ERT. A better understanding of immunogenicity risk will allow the implementation of targeted immunomodulatory approaches in ERT-naïve settings, especially in CRIM-positive patients, which may in turn improve the overall clinical outcomes by minimizing the development of ADA. The PIMA approach may also be useful for other types of enzyme or factor replacement therapies.

Keywords: Pompe Disease (glycogen storage disease type II); Tregitope; acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA); anti-drug antibodies (ADA); cross-reactive immunological material (CRIM); enzyme replacement therapy (ERT); immune tolerance induction (ITI); personalized immunogenicity assessment (PIMA).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Female
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / immunology*
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Precision Medicine
  • Prognosis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • alpha-Glucosidases / genetics
  • alpha-Glucosidases / immunology
  • alpha-Glucosidases / metabolism*


  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • GAA protein, human
  • alpha-Glucosidases