We have developed a method to introduce novel paratopes into the human antibody repertoire by modifying the immunoglobulin (Ig) genes of mature B cells directly using genome editing technologies. We used CRISPR-Cas9 in a homology directed repair strategy, to replace the heavy chain (HC) variable region in B cell lines with that from an HIV broadly neutralizing antibody, PG9. Our strategy is designed to function in cells that have undergone VDJ recombination using any combination of variable (V), diversity (D) and joining (J) genes. The modified locus expresses PG9 HC which pairs with native light chains resulting in the cell surface expression of HIV specific B cell receptors (BCRs). Endogenous activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) in engineered cells allowed for Ig class switching and generated BCR variants with improved anti-HIV neutralizing activity. Thus, BCRs engineered in this way retain the genetic flexibility normally required for affinity maturation during adaptive immune responses. Peripheral blood derived primary B cells from three different donors were edited using this strategy. Engineered cells could bind the PG9 epitope by FACS and sequenced mRNA from these cells showed PG9 HC expressed as several different isotypes after culture with CD40 ligand and IL-4.
- Dennis Burton
- James E Voss
- Alicia Gonzalez-Martin
- Laura E McCoy
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Tomohiro Kurosaki, Osaka University, Japan
© 2019, Voss et al.
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