Phosphopeptides derived from dysregulated protein phosphorylation in cancer cells can be processed and presented by MHC class I and class II molecules and, therefore, represent an untapped class of tumor-specific antigens that could be used as widely expressed “public” cancer neoantigens (NeoAgs). We generated a TCR mimic (TCRm) mAb, 6B1, specific for a phosphopeptide derived from insulin receptor substrate 2 (pIRS2) presented by HLA-A*02:01. The pIRS2 epitope’s presentation by HLA-A*02:01 was confirmed by mass spectrometry. The TCRm 6B1 specifically bound to pIRS2/HLA-A2 complex on tumor cell lines that expressed pIRS2 in the context of HLA-A*02:01. Bispecific mAbs engaging CD3 of T cells were able to kill tumor cell lines in a pIRS2- and HLA-A*02:01–restricted manner. Structure modeling shows a prerequisite for an arginine or lysine at the first position to bind mAb. Therefore, 6B1 could recognize phosphopeptides derived from various phosphorylated proteins with similar amino acid compositions. This raised the possibility that a TCRm specific for the pIRS2/HLA-A2 complex could target a range of phosphopeptides presented by HLA-A*02:01 in various tumor cells. This is the first TCRm mAb to our knowledge targeting a phosphopeptide/MHC class I complex; the potential of this class of agents for clinical applications warrants further investigation.
Tao Dao, Sung Soo Mun, Zaki Molvi, Tatyana Korontsvit, Martin G. Klatt, Abdul G. Khan, Elisabeth K. Nyakatura, Mary Ann Pohl, Thomas E. White, Paul J. Balderes, Ivo C. Lorenz, Richard J. O’Reilly, David A. Scheinberg