Functional analysis of promoters for driving long RNA transcripts in CAR T cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. H. RadAlexander Donald McLellan

Abstract

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy is an effective treatment for B cell malignancies, with emerging potential for the treatment of other hematologic cancers and solid tumors. The strength of the promoter within the CAR cassette will alter CAR-polypeptide levels on the cell surface of the T cell - impacting on the kinetics of activation, survival and memory cell formation in T cells. In addition to the CAR, promoters can be used to drive other genes of interest to enhance CAR T cell function. Expressing multiple genes from a single RNA transcript can be effectively achieved by linking the genes via a ribosomal skip site. However, promoters may differ in their ability to transcribe longer RNAs, or could interfere with lentiviral production, or transduction frequencies. In this study we compared the ability of the strong well-characterized promoters CMV, EF-1, hPGK and RPBSA to drive functional expression of a single RNA encoding three products: GFP, CAR, plus an additional cell-survival gene, Mcl-1. Although the four promoters produced similarly high lentiviral titres, EF-1 gave the best transduction efficacy of primary T cells. Major differences were found in the ability of the promoters to drive expression of long R...Continue Reading

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