γ9δ2T cells play a major role in cancer immune surveillance, yet the clinical translation of their in vitro promise remains challenging. To address limitations of previous clinical attempts using expanded γ9δ2T cells, we explored the clonal diversity of γ9δ2T cell repertoires and characterized their target. We demonstrated that only a fraction of expanded γ9δ2T cells was active against cancer cells and that activity of the parental clone, or functional avidity of selected γ9δ2 T cell receptors (γ9δ2TCRs), was not associated with clonal frequency. Furthermore, we analyzed the target-receptor interface and provided a 2-receptor, 3-ligand model. We found that activation was initiated by binding of the γ9δ2TCR to BTN2A1 through the regions between CDR2 and CDR3 of the TCR γ chain and modulated by the affinity of the CDR3 region of the TCRδ chain, which was phosphoantigen independent (pAg independent) and did not depend on CD277. CD277 was secondary, serving as a mandatory coactivating ligand. We found that binding of CD277 to its putative ligand did not depend on the presence of γ9δ2TCR, did depend on usage of the intracellular CD277, created pAg-dependent proximity to BTN2A1, enhanced cell-cell conjugate formation, and stabilized the immunological synapse (IS). This process critically depended on the affinity of the γ9δ2TCR and required membrane flexibility of the γ9δ2TCR and CD277, facilitating their polarization and high-density recruitment during IS formation.
Anna Vyborova, Dennis X. Beringer, Domenico Fasci, Froso Karaiskaki, Eline van Diest, Lovro Kramer, Aram de Haas, Jasper Sanders, Anke Janssen, Trudy Straetemans, Daniel Olive, Jeanette Leusen, Lola Boutin, Steven Nedellec, Samantha L. Schwartz, Michael J. Wester, Keith A. Lidke, Emmanuel Scotet, Diane S. Lidke, Albert J.R. Heck, Zsolt Sebestyen, Jürgen Kuball