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

Allison B. Powell, Yanqin Ren, Maria Korom, Devin Saunders, Patrick J. Hanley, Harris Goldstein, Douglas F. Nixon, Catherine M. Bollard, Rebecca M. Lynch, R. Brad Jones, Conrad Russell Y. Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


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 × 105) 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Therapy Methods and Clinical Development
StatePublished - Dec 11 2020


  • HIV
  • antigen-specific T cells
  • broadly neutralizing antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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