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Combined clonotyping and gene signatures of individual tumor-reactive CD8 T-cells define their functional relevance following peptide vaccination in melanoma patients
Title of the conference
Annual Congress SGAI-SSAI, Advances in immunology and allergology: from research to diagnosis and therapy
Lugano, Switzerland, March 17-18, 2011
Novel cancer vaccines are capableto efficiently induce and boost humantumor antigen specific T-cells. However,the properties of these CD8T-cells are only partially characterized.For in depth investigation ofT-cells following Melan-A/MART-1peptide vaccination in melanoma patients,we conducted a detailed prospectivestudy at the single cell level.We first sorted individual human naiveand effector CD8 T-cells from peripheralblood by flow cytometry, andtested a modified RT-PCR protocolincluding a global amplification ofexpressed mRNAs to obtain sufficientcDNAfromsingle cells.We successfullydetected the expression ofseveral specific genes of interest evendown to 106-fold dilution (equivalentto 10-5 cell). We then analyzed tumor-specific effector memory (EM)CD8T-cell subpopulations ex vivo, assingle cells from vaccinated melanomapatients. To elucidate the hallmarksof effective immunity the genesignatures were defined by a panel ofgenes related to effector functions(e.g. IFN-, granzyme B, perforin),and individual clonotypes were identifiedaccording to the expression ofdistinct T-cell receptors (TCR). Usingthis novel single cell analysis approach,we observed that T-cell differentiationis clonotype dependent,with a progressive restriction in TCRBV clonotype diversity from EMCD28pos to EMCD28neg subsets. However,the effector function gene imprintingis clonotype-independent,but dependent on differentiation,since it correlates with the subset oforigin (EMCD28pos or EMCD28neg). We also conducted a detailedcomparative analysis after vaccinationwith natural vs. analog Melan-Apeptide. We found that the peptideused for vaccination determines thefunctional outcome of individualT-cell clonotypes, with native peptideinducing more potent effector functions.Yet, selective clonotypic expansionwith differentiation was preservedregardless of the peptide usedfor vaccination. In summary, the exvivo single cell RT-PCR approach ishighly sensitive and efficient, andrepresents a reliable and powerfultool to refine our current view of molecularprocesses taking place duringT-cell differentiation.
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