Increasing functional avidity of TCR-redirected T cells by removing defined N-glycosylation sites in the TCR constant domain

Jürgen Kuball, Beate Hauptrock, Victoria Malina, Edite Antunes, Ralf-Holger Voss, Matthias Wolfl, Roland Strong, Matthias Theobald, Philip D Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes transduced with a T cell receptor (TCR) to impart tumor reactivity has been reported as a potential strategy to redirect immune responses to target cancer cells (Schumacher, T.N. 2002. Nat. Rev. Immunol. 2:512-519). However, the affinity of most TCRs specific for shared tumor antigens that can be isolated is usually low. Thus, strategies to increase the affinity of TCRs or the functional avidity of TCR-transduced T cells might be therapeutically beneficial. Because glycosylation affects the flexibility, movement, and interactions of surface molecules, we tested if selectively removing conserved N-glycoslyation sites in the constant regions of TCR alpha or beta chains could increase the functional avidity of T cells transduced with such modified TCRs. We observed enhanced functional avidity and improved recognition of tumor cells by T cells harboring TCR chains with reduced N-glycosylation (DeltaTCR) as compared with T cells with wild-type (WT) TCR chains. T cells transduced with WT or DeltaTCR chains bound tetramer equivalently at 4 degrees C, but tetramer binding was enhanced at 37 degrees C, predominantly as a result of reduced tetramer dissociation. This suggested a temperature-dependent mechanism such as TCR movement in the cell surface or structural changes of the TCR allowing improved multimerization. This strategy was effective with mouse and human TCRs specific for different antigens and, thus, should be readily translated to TCRs with any specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-475
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2009


  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neoplasms
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Temperature


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