Suppression of FVIII-Specific Memory B Cells by Chimeric BAR Receptor-Engineered Natural Regulatory T Cells

Alessandra De Paula Pohl, Shivaprasad H. Venkatesha, Ai Hong Zhang*, David W. Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Anti-drug antibody formation poses tremendous obstacles for optimal treatment of hemophilia A (HA). In this study, we sought to utilize chimeric receptor-modified natural regulatory T cells (Tregs) to target FVIII-specific memory B cells, which are responsible for persistent anti-FVIII neutralizing antibodies (inhibitors) in HA patients. Thus, CD4+CD25hiCD304+ natural Tregs were FACS sorted from naïve C57BL/6 mice and retrovirally transduced to express a chimeric B-cell antibody receptor (BAR) containing the immunodominant A2 domain of FVIII. Plasmablast-depleted (CD138neg) splenocytes from FVIII immunized FVIII-knockout HA mice served as the source for FVIII-specific memory B cells, which were specifically stimulated in vitro with FVIII and enumerated in a B-cell ELISPOT assays. Adding A2-BAR Tregs (1 per 150 splenocytes), but not conventional T cells, to the CD138 splenocytes significantly suppressed the formation of anti-FVIII antibody secreting cells (ASC), compared to the non-relevant OVA-BAR Tregs control group. The observation that A2-BAR Tregs can suppress the response to FVIII suggests that bystander suppression can occur in the local milieu in this system. Transwell experiments confirmed that the suppression was contact-dependent. Moreover, even in the presence of antibodies to FVIII (so-called inhibitors), similarly prepared CD4+CD25hiCD127low A2-BAR human natural Tregs completely suppressed polyclonal anti-FVIII ASC formation. In conclusion, we demonstrated in vitro that FVIII domain-expressing BAR Tregs could efficiently target and suppress FVIII-specific memory B cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number693
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • B-cell antibody receptor
  • chimeric receptor
  • memory B cells
  • regulatory T cells


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