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Title: Molecular aspects of antibody mediated T cell activation
Author: Morgan, Sara Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 9180
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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The normal physiological activation of naive T cells requires the engagement of both the T cell receptor (TCR) and the co-stimulatory molecule, CD28. However, a group of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been identified that are able to activate T cells in vitro and in vivo via CD28 engagement alone. Two defining characteristics found in all CD28 superagonist mAbs are their membrane proximal CD28 epitopes and the requirement for mAb immobilisation. To investigate whether agonistic mAbs to similar cell molecules could be identified based on epitope position alone, mAbs to the inhibitory receptor PD-1 were generated and characterised. Using a drastic mutation-based epitope mapping technique, one mAb was identified with a membrane proximal epitope along with two other mAbs with membrane distal epitopes. These mAbs were tested for triggering activity in a hybridoma stimulation assay. mAb stimulation was observed with all three mAbs but only in cells expressing a PD-1 chimera that associated with the TCR and the strength of activation was dependent on epitope location. Cross-linking of a monomeric PD-1/CD28 chimera with a pair of anti-PD-1 mAbs resulted in signalling in this system, however, suggesting a role for ligand aggregation in addition to epitope position in mAb signalling. To further investigate the role of epitope position in CD28 superagonism, a cell line expressing a chimeric form of CD28 was created wherein the superagonistic mAb epitope was moved to a membrane distal position. When stimulated with a CD28 superagonist mAb signalling was no longer observed. However stimulation with another mAb that had an epitope to a membrane proximal location on the chimera resulted in superagonistic effect. These results show that epitope location is the dominant cause of T cell stimulation observed by CD28 superagonist mAbs and that epitope dependent mAb signalling is possible in other T cell surface molecules. The work described in this thesis has implications for both the development of immune modulating mAb therapeutics and for the general mechanism of triggering of cell surface receptors dependent on extrinsic tyrosine kinases.
Supervisor: Davis, Simon Sponsor: Medical Research Council ; Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Immunology ; Immunochemistry ; T cell activation ; T cell Triggering ; superagonism ; superagonist ; monoclonal antibody triggering ; monoclonal antibody ; kinetic segregation model