Enhancing natural killer cell-mediated lysis of lymphoma cells by combining therapeutic antibodies with CD20-specific immunoligands engaging NKG2D or NKp30.
ABSTRACT: Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) mediated through the IgG Fc receptor Fc?RIIIa represents a major effector function of many therapeutic antibodies. In an attempt to further enhance natural killer (NK) cell-mediated ADCC, we combined therapeutic antibodies against CD20 and CD38 with recombinant immunoligands against the stimulatory NK cell receptors NKG2D or NKp30. These immunoligands, respectively designated as ULBP2:7D8 and B7-H6:7D8, contained the CD20 scFv 7D8 as a targeting moiety and a cognate ligand for either NKG2D or NKp30 (i.e. ULBP2 and B7-H6, respectively). Both the immunoligands synergistically augmented ADCC in combination with the CD20 antibody rituximab and the CD38 antibody daratumumab. Combinations with ULBP2:7D8 resulted in higher cytotoxicity compared to combinations with B7-H6:7D8, suggesting that coligation of Fc?RIIIa with NKG2D triggered NK cells more efficiently than with NKp30. Addition of B7-H6:7D8 to ULBP2:7D8 and rituximab in a triple combination did not further increase the extent of tumor cell lysis. Importantly, immunoligand-mediated enhancement of ADCC was also observed for tumor cells and autologous NK cells from patients with hematologic malignancies, in which, again, ULBP2:7D8 was particularly active. In summary, co-targeting of NKG2D was more effective in promoting rituximab or daratumumab-mediated ADCC by NK cells than co-ligation of NKp30. The observed increase in the ADCC activity of these therapeutic antibodies suggests promise for a 'dual-dual-targeting' approach in which tumor cell surface antigens are targeted in concert with two distinct activating NK cell receptors (i.e. Fc?RIIIa and NKG2D or B7-H6).
Project description:Activating NK cell receptors represent promising target structures to elicit potent antitumor immune responses. In this study, novel immunoligands were generated that bridge the activating NK cell receptor NKp30 on NK cells with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on tumor cells in a bispecific IgG-like format based on affinity-optimized versions of B7-H6 and the Fab arm derived from cetuximab. To enhance NKp30 binding, the solitary N-terminal IgV domain of B7-H6 (?B7-H6) was affinity matured by an evolutionary library approach combined with yeast surface display. Biochemical and functional characterization of 36 of these novel ?B7-H6-derived NK cell engagers revealed an up to 45-fold-enhanced affinity for NKp30 and significantly improved NK cell-mediated, EGFR-dependent killing of tumor cells compared with the NK cell engager based on the wild-type ?B7-H6 domain. In this regard, potencies (EC<sub>50</sub> killing) of the best immunoligands were substantially improved by up to 87-fold. Moreover, release of IFN-? and TNF-? was significantly increased. Importantly, equipment of the ?B7-H6-based NK cell engagers with a human IgG1 Fc part competent in Fc receptor binding resulted in an almost 10-fold superior killing of EGFR-overexpressing tumor cells compared with molecules either triggering Fc?RIIIa or NKp30. Additionally, INF-? and TNF-? release was increased compared with molecules solely triggering Fc?RIIIa, including the clinically approved Ab cetuximab. Thus, incorporating affinity-matured ligands for NK cell-activating receptors might represent an effective strategy for the generation of potent novel therapeutic agents with unique effector functions in cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:NK cells detect tumors through activating surface receptors, which bind self-antigens that are frequently expressed upon malignant transformation. To increase the recognition of tumor cells, the extracellular domains of ligands of the activating NK cell receptors NKp30, NKp80 and DNAM-1 (i.e. B7-H6, AICL and PVR, respectively) were fused to a single-chain fragment variable (scFv) targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which is displayed by various solid tumors. The resulting immunoligands, designated B7-H6:HER2-scFv, AICL:HER2-scFv, and PVR:HER2-scFv, respectively, bound HER2 and the addressed NK cell receptor. However, whereas B7-H6:HER2-scFv and AICL:HER2-scFv triggered NK cells to kill HER2-positive breast cancer cells at nanomolar concentrations, PVR:HER2-scFv was not efficacious. Moreover, NK cell cytotoxicity was enhanced synergistically when B7-H6:HER2-scFv or AICL:HER2-scFv were applied in combination with another HER2-specific immunoligand engaging the stimulatory receptor NKG2D. In contrast, no improvements were achieved by combining B7-H6:HER2-scFv with AICL:HER2-scFv. Additionally, B7-H6:HER2-scFv and AICL:HER2-scFv enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) by the therapeutic antibodies trastuzumab and cetuximab synergistically, with B7-H6:HER2-scFv exhibiting a higher efficacy. In summary, antibody-derived proteins engaging NKp30 or NKp80 may represent attractive biologics to further enhance anti-tumor NK cell responses and may provide an innovative approach to sensitize tumor cells for antibody-based immunotherapy.
Project description:NKp30 (Natural Cytotoxicity Receptor 1, NCR1) is a powerful cytotoxicity receptor expressed on natural killer (NK) cells which is involved in tumor cell killing and the regulation of antitumor immune responses. Ligands for NKp30, including BAG6 and B7-H6, are upregulated in virus-infected and tumor cells but rarely detectable on healthy cells. These ligands are released by tumor cells as part of the cellular secretome and interfere with NK cell activity. BAG6 is secreted via the exosomal pathway, and BAG6-positive extracellular vesicles (EV-BAG6) trigger NK cell cytotoxicity and cytokine release, whereas the soluble protein diminishes NK cell activity. However, the extracellular format and activity of B7-H6 remain elusive. Here, we used HEK293 as a model cell line to produce recombinant ligands and to study their impact on NK cell activity. Using this system, we demonstrate that soluble B7-H6 (sB7-H6), like soluble BAG6 (sBAG6), inhibits NK cell-mediated target cell killing. This was associated with a diminished cell surface expression of NKG2D and NCRs (NKp30, NKp40, and NKp46). Strikingly, a reduced <i>NKp30</i> mRNA expression was observed exclusively in response to sBAG6. Of note, B7-H6 was marginally released in association with EVs, and EVs collected from B7-H6 expressing cells did not stimulate NK cell-mediated killing. The molecular analysis of EVs on a single EV level using nano flow cytometry (NanoFCM) revealed a similar distribution of vesicle-associated tetraspanins within EVs purified from wildtype, BAG6, or B7-H6 overexpressing cells. NKp30 is a promising therapeutic target to overcome NK cell immune evasion in cancer patients, and it is important to unravel how extracellular NKp30 ligands inhibit NK cell functions.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are essential components of the innate immune response to tumors and viral infections. In humans, the activating natural cytotoxicity receptor NKp30 plays a major role in NK cell-mediated tumor cell lysis. NKp30 recognizes the cell-surface protein B7-H6, which is expressed on tumor, but not healthy, cells. A mouse monoclonal antibody (17B1.3) against human B7-H6 has been developed (Kd = 0.2 µM) to investigate NKp30-mediated NK cell activation and to target tumors expressing B7-H6. Surprisingly, 17B1.3 blocks NK cell activation without interfering with the binding of B7-H6 to NKp30. Understanding the inhibitory mechanism of this antibody will require knowing the structure of 17B1.3 bound to B7-H6. The antigen-binding fragment (Fab) of 17B1.3 was expressed by in vitro folding from bacterial inclusion bodies. The extracellular domain of B7-H6 was produced by secretion from baculovirus-infected insect cells. Crystals of the Fab 17B1.3-B7-H6 complex grown by macro-seeding diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution and belonged to space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 89.6, b = 138.0, c = 171.4 Å, ? = ? = ? = 90°. Comparison of the Fab 17B1.3-B7-H6 structure with the known NKp30-B7-H6 structure will elucidate the inhibitory mechanism of 17B1.3.
Project description:We have analyzed the effects of fluvastatin, an inhibitor of the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase involved in mevalonate synthesis, on human NK cell-mediated anti-tumor cytolysis. Fluvastatin inhibited the activation of the small guanosin triphosphate binding protein (GTP) RhoA and the consequent actin redistribution induced by ligation of LFA1 involved in NK-tumor target cell adhesion. Also, fluvastatin reduced ganglioside M1 rafts formation triggered through the engagement of NK cell activating receptors as Fc?RIIIA (CD16), NKG2D and DNAM1. Cytolysis of tumor targets was inhibited up to 90% when NK cells were cultured with fluvastatin by affecting i) receptor-mediated increase of the intracellular free calcium concentration, ii) activation of akt1/PKB and iii) perforin and granzyme release. Fluvastatin displayed a stronger inhibiting effect on NKG2D, DNAM1, 2B4, NKp30, NKp44 and NKp46 than on CD16-mediated NK cell triggering. This was in line with the impairment of surface expression of all these receptors but not of CD16. Remarkably, fluvastatin did not affect the expression of the inhibiting receptors CD94, KIR2D and LAIR1. FasL release elicited by either NK-tumor cell interaction or CD16 or NKG2D engagement, as well as FasL-mediated killing, were not sensitive to fluvastatin. Moreover, TNF? secretion triggered in NK cells upon incubation with tumor target cells or engagement of NKG2D receptor was not impaired in fluvastatin-treated NK cells. Likewise, antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) triggered through Fc?RIIIA engagement with the humanized monoclonal antibody rituximab or trastuzumab was only marginally affected in fluvastatin-treated NK cells. Altogether these findings suggest that interference with mevalonate synthesis impairs activation and assembly of cytoskeleton, degranulation and cytotoxic effect of perforins and granzyme but not FasL- and TNF?-mediated cytotoxicity.
Project description:Natural Killer (NK) cells are innate effector cells that are able to recognize and eliminate tumor cells through engagement of their surface receptors. NKp30 is a potent activating NK cell receptor that elicits efficient NK cell-mediated target cell killing. Recently, B7-H6 was identified as tumor cell surface expressed ligand for NKp30. Enhanced B7-H6 mRNA levels are frequently detected in tumor compared to healthy tissues. To gain insight in the regulation of expression of B7-H6 in tumors, we investigated transcriptional mechanisms driving B7-H6 expression by promoter analyses. Using luciferase reporter assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation we mapped a functional binding site for Myc, a proto-oncogene overexpressed in certain tumors, in the B7-H6 promoter. Pharmacological inhibition or siRNA/shRNA-mediated knock-down of c-Myc or N-Myc significantly decreased B7-H6 expression on a variety of tumor cells including melanoma, pancreatic carcinoma and neuroblastoma cell lines. In tumor cell lines from different origin and primary tumor tissues of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), lymphoma and neuroblastoma, mRNA levels of c-Myc positively correlated with B7-H6 expression. Most importantly, upon inhibition or knock-down of c-Myc in tumor cells impaired NKp30-mediated degranulation of NK cells was observed. Thus, our data imply that Myc driven tumors could be targets for cancer immunotherapy exploiting the NKp30/B7-H6 axis.
Project description:Abstract <h4>Background</h4> The interaction between activating receptor NKp30 and its major tumor ligand B7?H6 is important for NK cell?mediated tumor rejection. However, the regulation of B7?H6 by tumor therapeutics remains largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the regulation of B7?H6 by all?trans retinoic acid (atRA), a terminal differentiation inducer of tumor cells that is extensively used for clinical leukemia therapy. <h4>Methods</h4> We investigated the role of NKp30:B7?H6 axis in NK cell?mediated tumor lysis against leukemia cells and the influence of atRA treatment on the cytotoxicity of NK cells using NK cell lines (NK92 and NKG) and leukemia cell lines (U?937 and THP?1). We evaluated the effect of atRA treatment on the expression of B7?H6 using real?time PCR, flow cytometry and western blotting. We used CRISPR/Cas9 to knockdown B7?H6 expression and siRNA to knockdown c?Myc in U?937 cells to evaluate the role of B7?H6 and c?Myc in atRA?induced tumor resistance against NK cells. <h4>Results</h4> NK cell?mediated U?937 cell lysis was mainly dependent on NKp30/B7?H6 interaction. Blockade of B7?H6 by monoclonal antibody significantly impaired NK cytotoxicity. atRA treatment induced U?937 resistance to NK cell cytotoxicity by reducing B7?H6 expression, and showed no effect on NK cytotoxicity against B7?H6 knockdown U?937 cells. Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation and histone deacetylase (HDAC), were not responsible for atRA?mediated B7?H6 down?regulation as inhibitors of these pathways could not restore B7?H6 mRNA expression. On the other hand, atRA treatment reduced c?Myc expression, which in turn inhibited the transcription of B7?H6 on leukemia cells. <h4>Conclusion</h4> atRA treatment promotes tumor cell resistance against NK cell?mediated lysis by down?regulating B7?H6 expression via the c?Myc signaling pathway, suggesting that more attention needs to be paid to the immunological adverse effects in the clinical use of atRA treatment.
Project description:Previous work conducted by our group has shown that the accumulation of hepatic natural killer (NK) cells and the up-regulation of natural cytotoxicity receptors (NKP30 and NKP46) on NK cells from patients with hepatitis B virus-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-ACLF) were correlated with disease progression in HBV-ACLF. The natural cytotoxicity receptors expressed on NK cells are believed to be probable candidates involved in the NK cell-mediated hepatocyte damage in HBV-ACLF. However, the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we aimed to discover the role of NKP30-B7-H6 interaction in NK cells-mediated hepatocyte damage in HBV-ACLF.Hepatic expressions of B7-H6 and interleukin-32 (IL-32) were examined by immunochemistry staining in samples from patients with HBV-ACLF or mild chronic hepatitis B (CHB). The cytotoxicity of NK-92 cell against target cells (Huh-7 and LO2) was evaluated by CCK8 assay. Expression of IL-32 in liver NK cell, T cells and NK-92 cell line was detected by the flow cytometric analysis. The effect of IL-32 on the apoptosis of Huh7 cells was evaluated using Annexin V/PI staining analysis.An enhancement of hepatic B7-H6 and IL-32 expression was associated with the severity of liver injury in HBV-ACLF. And there was a positive association between hepatic B7-H6 and IL-32 expression. Expressions of IL-32 in liver NK cells and T cells were increased in HBV-ACLF patients. In vitro NK-92 cells are highly capable of killing the high B7-H6 expressing Huh7 cells and B7-H6-tansfected hepatocyte line LO2 cells dependent on NKP30 and B7-H6 interaction. Furthermore, NK-92 cells exhibited elevated IL-32 expression when stimulated with anti-NKP30 antibodies or when co-cultured with Huh7 cells. IL-32 can induce the apoptosis of Huh7 cells in a dose-dependent manner.Our results suggest that NKP30-B7-H6 interaction can aggravate hepatocyte damage, probably through up-regulation of IL-32 expression in HBV-ACLF.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes of the innate immune system that participate in the elimination of tumor cells. In humans, the activating natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) NKp30, NKp44, and NKp46 play a major role in NK cell-mediated tumor cell lysis. NKp30 recognizes B7-H6, a member of the B7 family which is expressed on tumor, but not healthy, cells. To understand the basis for tumor surveillance by NCRs, we determined the structure of NKp30, a member of the CD28 family which includes CTLA-4 and PD-1, in complex with B7-H6. The overall organization of the NKp30-B7-H6-activating complex differs considerably from those of the CTLA-4-B7 and PD-1-PD-L T cell inhibitory complexes. Whereas CTLA-4 and PD-1 use only the front ?-sheet of their Ig-like domain to bind ligands, NKp30 uses both front and back ?-sheets, resulting in engagement of B7-H6 via the side, as well as face, of the ?-sandwich. Moreover, B7-H6 contacts NKp30 through the complementarity-determining region (CDR)-like loops of its V-like domain in an antibody-like interaction that is not observed for B7 or PD-L. This first structure of an NCR bound to ligand provides a template for designing molecules to stimulate NKp30-mediated cytolytic activity for tumor immunotherapy.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a major human pathogen, causing serious diseases in immunocompromised populations and congenially infected neonates. One of the main immune cells acting against the virus are Natural Killer (NK) cells. Killing by NK cells is mediated by a small family of activating receptors such as NKp30 that interact with the cellular ligand B7-H6. The outcome of B7-H6-NKp30 interaction was, so far, mainly studied with regard to NK recognition and killing of tumors. Here, we demonstrated that the expression of B7-H6 is upregulated following HCMV infection and that HCMV uses two of its genes: US18 and US20, to interfere with B7-H6 surface expression, in a mechanism involving endosomal degradation, in order to evade NK cell recognition.