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De novo-designed transmembrane domains tune engineered receptor functions

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-06-03, 01:40 authored by A Elazar, NJ Chandler, AS Davey, JY Weinstein, JV Nguyen, R Trenker, RS Cross, Misty JenkinsMisty Jenkins, MJ Call, ME Call, SJ Fleishman
De novo-designed receptor transmembrane domains (TMDs) present opportunities for precise control of cellular receptor functions. We developed a de novo design strategy for generating programmed membrane proteins (proMPs): single-pass α-helical TMDs that self-assemble through computationally defined and crystallographically validated interfaces. We used these proMPs to program specific oligomeric interactions into a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that we expressed in mouse primary T cells and found that both in vitro CAR T cell cytokine release and in vivo antitumor activity scaled linearly with the oligomeric state encoded by the receptor TMD, from monomers up to tetramers. All programmed CARs stimulated substantially lower T cell cytokine release relative to the commonly used CD28 TMD, which we show elevated cytokine release through lateral recruitment of the endogenous T cell costimulatory receptor CD28. Precise design using orthogonal and modular TMDs thus provides a new way to program receptor structure and predictably tune activity for basic or applied synthetic biology.


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(p. e75660)


eLife Sciences Publications



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© Copyright Elazar et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.