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Cell Immunol. 2001 Mar 15;208(2):137-47.

Specific immunotherapy of experimental myasthenia gravis in vitro: the "guided missile" strategy.

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  • 1Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 21287-7519, USA.


We describe a strategy for specific immunotherapy of myasthenia gravis (MG) based on genetic engineering of antigen presenting cells (APCs) to present the autoantigen acetylcholine receptor (AChR) and express the "warhead" Fas ligand (FasL). For transduction of APCs we prepared recombinant attenuated vaccinia virus vectors carrying the following three gene constructs: (i) AChR fused to LAMP1 to present AChR and target AChR-specific T cells; (ii) FasL to eliminate the targeted T cells; and (iii) truncated FADD to protect APCs from self-destruction by FasL. The engineered APCs effectively expressed the genes of interest and killed AChR-specific T cells in culture by the Fas/FasL pathway. T cells specific for an unrelated antigen were spared. Our in vitro demonstration that engineered APCs target and kill antigen-specific T cells represents a promising novel strategy for specific immunotherapy of MG and other autoimmune diseases.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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