A novel antibody-4-1BBL fusion protein for targeted costimulation in cancer immunotherapy.J Immunother. 2008 Oct; 31(8):714-22.JI
Costimulation is an essential step in T-cell activation and hence, represents an important aspect in cancer immunotherapy. 4-1BB, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family, has gained particular interest as a costimulatory molecule. Here, we investigated the potential of a targeted activation of 4-1BB-mediated costimulation at the tumor site by generating a recombinant antibody-cytokine fusion protein composed of a single-chain antibody fragment (scFv36) specific for the tumor stromal antigen fibroblast activation protein (FAP) and the extracellular domain of the 4-1BB ligand (4-1BBL). The scFv36-4-1BBL fusion protein is a homotrimeric molecule that binds specifically to FAP and the receptor 4-1BB. T-cell costimulation was demonstrated by interferon-gamma release of peripheral blood mononuclear cells cocultured with FAP-expressing HT1080 cells upon T-cell receptor triggering by monoclonal anti-CD3 antibody. Costimulatory activity of the scFv36-4-1BBL fusion protein was concentration dependent, ligand-specific, and substantially constrained to FAP-expressing target cell binding. Furthermore, scFv36-4-1BBL enhanced T-cell activation when the bispecific antibody scDb33CD3 (specific for FAP and CD3) was used as primary stimulus. Thus, target cell-dependent costimulation with scFv36-4-1BBL constitutes a new option to enhance T-cell activation by bispecific antibodies or antigen-dependent T-cell receptor triggering and should be useful to improve T cell-mediated antitumor responses.