The role of the T cell receptor (TCR) in antigen recognition and activation of T lymphocytes is well established. However, how the TCR affects T-helper differentiation/skewing is less well understood, particularly for human CD4+ (CD4) T cell subsets. Here we investigate the role of TCR specific antigen avidity in differentiation and maintenance of human Th1, Th2 and Th17 subsets. Two human TCRs, both specific for the same peptide antigen but with different avidities, were cloned and expressed in human CD4 T cells. These TCR engineered cells were then stimulated with specific antigen in unskewed and T-helper skewed conditions. We show that TCR avidity can control the percentage of IL-4 and IFN-γ co-expression in unskewed TCR engineered cells, that effector function can be maintained in a TCR avidity-dependent manner in skewed TCR engineered cells, and that increased TCR avidity can accelerate Th1 skewing of TCR engineered cells.
- Human T-helper subset differentiation/skewing
- TCR avidity
- TCR engineered CD4 T cells