The transcription factor B cell CLL/lymphoma 11B (BCL11B) is indispensable for T lineage development of lymphoid progenitors. Here, we show that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) expression during early phases of ex vivo generation of lymphoid progenitors suppressed BCL11B, leading to suppression of T cell–associated gene expression and acquisition of NK cell–like properties. Upon adoptive transfer into hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients, CAR-expressing lymphoid progenitors differentiated into CAR-induced killer (CARiK) cells that mediated potent antigen-directed antileukemic activity even across MHC barriers. CD28 and active immunoreceptor tyrosine–based activation motifs were critical for a functional CARiK phenotype. These results give important insights into differentiation of murine and human lymphoid progenitors driven by synthetic CAR transgene expression and encourage further evaluation of ex vivo–generated CARiK cells for targeted immunotherapy.


Marcel Maluski, Arnab Ghosh, Jessica Herbst, Vanessa Scholl, Rolf Baumann, Jochen Huehn, Robert Geffers, Johann Meyer, Holger Maul, Britta Eiz-Vesper, Andreas Krueger, Axel Schambach, Marcel R.M. van den Brink, Martin G. Sauer


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