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BACKGROUND: NY-ESO-1 is a tumor-specific, highly immunogenic, human germ cell antigen of the MAGE-1 family that is a promising vaccine and cell therapy candidate in clinical trial development. The mouse genome does not encode an NY-ESO-1 homolog thereby not subjecting transgenic T-cells to thymic tolerance mechanisms that might impair in-vivo studies. We hypothesized that an NY-ESO-1 T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mouse would provide the unique opportunity to study avidity of TCR response against NY-ESO-1 for tumor vaccine and cellular therapy development against this clinically relevant and physiological human antigen. METHODS: To study in vitro and in vivo the requirements for shaping an effective T cell response against the clinically relevant NY-ESO-1, we generated a C57BL/6 HLA-A*0201 background TCR transgenic mouse encoding the 1G4 TCR specific for the human HLA-A2 restricted, NY-ESO-1157-165 SLLMWITQC (9C), initially identified in an NY-ESO-1 positive melanoma patient. RESULTS: The HLA-A*0201 restricted TCR was positively selected on both CD4+ and CD8+ cells. Mouse 1G4 T cells were not activated by endogenous autoimmune targets or a large library of non-cognate viral antigens. In contrast, their activation by HLA-A2 NY-ESO-1157-165 complexes was evident by proliferation, CD69 upregulation, interferon-γ production, and interleukin-2 production, and could be tuned using a twofold higher affinity altered peptide ligand, NY-ESO-1157-165V. NY-ESO-1157-165V recombinant vaccination of syngeneic mice adoptively transferred with m1G4 CD8+ T cells controlled tumor growth in vivo. 1G4 transgenic mice suppressed growth of syngeneic methylcholanthrene (MCA) induced HHD tumor cells expressing the full-length human NY-ESO-1 protein but not MCA HHD tumor cells lacking NY-ESO-1. CONCLUSIONS: The 1G4 TCR mouse model for the physiological human TCR against the clinically relevant antigen, NY-ESO-1, is a valuable tool with the potential to accelerate clinical development of NY-ESO-1-targeted T-cell and vaccine therapies.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunother Cancer

Publication Date





CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, adoptive, cellular, immunity, immunotherapy, Animals, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cancer Vaccines, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, Cell Survival, HLA-A2 Antigen, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Neoplasm Proteins, Peptide Fragments, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Thymoma, Thymus Neoplasms, Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays