Tetramer-guided analysis of TCR beta-chain usage reveals a large repertoire of melan-A-specific CD8+ T cells in melanoma patients.
Valmori D., Dutoit V., Liénard D., Lejeune F., Speiser D., Rimoldi D., Cerundolo V., Dietrich PY., Cerottini JC., Romero P.
The assessment of the TCR repertoire expressed by tumor-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes has been hampered to date by the difficulty of targeting the analysis to lymphocytes directed against a single epitope. In the present study we have used fluorescent A2/Melan-A tetramers in conjunction with anti-CD8 and anti-TCR beta-chain variable (BV) mAbs to analyze by flow cytometry the BV segment usage by Melan-A-specific CD8+ T cells in tumor-infiltrated lymph nodes (TILN) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) from A2 melanoma patients. Analysis of TILN populations revealed small proportions of A2/Melan-A tetramer+ cells expressing many different BV together with over-representation of A2/Melan-A tetramer+ cells expressing certain BVs. The BV usage by A2/Melan-A tetramer+ lymphocytes in TIL was more restricted than that in TILN. Moreover, the predominant BV segments were quite distinct in populations derived from different patients. A2/Melan-A tetramer+ cells expressing the dominant BVs found in TILN could also be found in the corresponding peptide-stimulated autologous PBMC, although A2/Melan-A tetramer+ lymphocytes expressing additional BVs were also identified. Together, these results suggest that a large and diverse repertoire of Melan-A-specific T cells using different BV TCR segments is available in A2 melanoma patients.