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Title: Gene editing in T-cells and T-cell targets
Author: Lloyd, Angharad
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 8605
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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Recent years have witnessed a rapid proliferation of gene editing in mammalian cells due to the increasing ease and reduced cost of targeted gene knockout. There has been much excitement about the prospect of engineering T-cells by gene editing in order to provide these cells with optimal attributes prior to adoptive cell therapy for cancer and autoimmune disease. I began by attempting to compare short hairpin RNA (shRNA) and zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) approaches using the CD8A gene as a target for proof of concept of gene editing in Molt3 cells. During the course of my studies the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) mechanism for gene editing was discovered so I also included CRISPR/Cas9 in my studies. A direct comparison of the three gene editing tools indicated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system was superior in terms of ease, efficiency of knockout and cost. As the use of gene editing tools increases there are concerns about the inherent risks associated with the use of nuclease based gene editing tools prior to cellular therapy. Expression of nucleases can lead to off target mutagenesis and malignancy. To circumvent this problem I generated a non-nuclease based gene silencing system using the CD8A zinc finger (ZF) fused to a Krüppel associated box (KRAB) repressor domain. The ZF-KRAB fusion resulted in effective silencing of the CD8A gene in both the Molt3 cell line and in primary CD8+ T-cells. Importantly, unlike CRISPR/Cas9 based gene editing, the ZF-KRAB fusion was small enough to be transferred in a single lentiviral vector with a TCR allowing simultaneous redirection of patient T-cell specificity and alteration of T-cell function in a single construct. To improve the efficiency of gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9 I developed an ‘all in one’ CRISPR/Cas9 system which incorporated all elements of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system in a single plasmid. The ‘all in one’ system was utilised to derive MHC-related protein 1 (MR1) deficient clones from the A549 lung carcinoma and THP-1 monocytic cell lines in order to study MR1 biology. Mucosal-associated invariant T-cell (MAIT) clones were not activated by MR1 deficient A549 or THP-1 clones infected with bacteria.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR180 Immunology ; R Medicine (General)