Br J Haematol. 2023 Jun 15. doi: 10.1111/bjh.18918. Online ahead of print.
Adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATL) is an aggressive malignancy of peripheral T cells caused by human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1). Tax is the most important regulatory protein for HTLV-1. We aimed to reveal a unique amino acid sequence (AA) of complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) of the T-cell receptor (TCR)β and TCRα chains of HLA-A*02:01-restricted Tax11-19 -specific cytotoxic T cells (Tax-CTLs). The gene expression profiles (GEP) of Tax-CTLs were assessed by the next-generation sequence (NGS) method with SMARTer technology. Tax-CTLs seemed to be oligoclonal, and their gene compositions were skewed. The unique motifs of ‘DSWGK’ in TCRα and ‘LAG’ in TCRβ at CDR3 were observed in almost all patients. Tax-CTL clones harbouring the ‘LAG’ motif with BV28 had a higher binding score than those without either of them, besides a higher binding score associated with longer survival. Tax-CTLs established from a single cell showed killing activities against Tax-peptide-pulsed HLA-A2+ T2 cell lines. GEP of Tax-CTLs revealed that genes associated with immune response activity were well preserved in long-term survivors with stable status. These methods and results can help us better understand immunity against ATL, and should contribute to future studies on the clinical application of adoptive T-cell therapies.