All Publications

  • Co-opting signalling molecules enables logic-gated control of CAR T cells. Nature Tousley, A. M., Rotiroti, M. C., Labanieh, L., Rysavy, L. W., Kim, W. J., Lareau, C., Sotillo, E., Weber, E. W., Rietberg, S. P., Dalton, G. N., Yin, Y., Klysz, D., Xu, P., de la Serna, E. L., Dunn, A. R., Satpathy, A. T., Mackall, C. L., Majzner, R. G. 2023


    Although chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have altered the treatment landscape for B cell malignancies, the risk of on-target, off-tumour toxicity has hampered their development for solid tumours because most target antigens are shared with normal cells1,2. Researchers have attempted to apply Boolean-logic gating to CAR T cells to prevent toxicity3-5; however, a truly safe and effective logic-gated CAR has remained elusive6. Here we describe an approach to CAR engineering in which we replace traditional CD3ζ domains with intracellular proximal T cell signalling molecules. We show that certain proximal signalling CARs, such as a ZAP-70 CAR, can activate T cells and eradicate tumours in vivo while bypassing upstream signalling proteins, including CD3ζ. The primary role of ZAP-70 is to phosphorylate LAT and SLP-76, which form a scaffold for signal propagation. We exploited the cooperative role of LAT and SLP-76 to engineer logic-gated intracellular network (LINK) CAR, a rapid and reversible Boolean-logic AND-gated CAR T cell platform that outperforms other systems in both efficacy and prevention of on-target, off-tumour toxicity. LINK CAR will expand the range of molecules that can be targeted with CAR T cells, and will enable these powerful therapeutic agents to be used for solid tumours and diverse diseases such as autoimmunity7 and fibrosis8. In addition, this work shows that the internal signalling machinery of cells can be repurposed into surface receptors, which could open new avenues for cellular engineering.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-023-05778-2

    View details for PubMedID 36890224

    View details for PubMedCentralID 7433347

  • How cells tell up from down and stick together to construct multicellular tissues - interplay between apicobasal polarity and cell-cell adhesion. Journal of cell science Vasquez, C. G., de la Serna, E. L., Dunn, A. R. 2021; 134 (21)


    Polarized epithelia define a topological inside and outside, and hence constitute a key evolutionary innovation that enabled the construction of complex multicellular animal life. Over time, this basic function has been elaborated upon to yield the complex architectures of many of the organs that make up the human body. The two processes necessary to yield a polarized epithelium, namely regulated adhesion between cells and the definition of the apicobasal (top-bottom) axis, have likewise undergone extensive evolutionary elaboration, resulting in multiple sophisticated protein complexes that contribute to both functions. Understanding how these components function in combination to yield the basic architecture of a polarized cell-cell junction remains a major challenge. In this Review, we introduce the main components of apicobasal polarity and cell-cell adhesion complexes, and outline what is known about their regulation and assembly in epithelia. In addition, we highlight studies that investigate the interdependence between these two networks. We conclude with an overview of strategies to address the largest and arguably most fundamental unresolved question in the field, namely how a polarized junction arises as the sum of its molecular parts.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.248757

    View details for PubMedID 34714332