Oncogenic growth factor signaling mediating tumor escape from cellular immunity.
ABSTRACT: Unrestrained growth factor signals can promote carcinogenesis, as well as other hallmarks of cancer such as immune evasion. Our understanding of the function and complex regulation of HER family of receptors has led to the development of targeted therapeutic agents that suppress tumor growth. However, these receptors also mediate escape from recognition by the host immune system. We discuss how HER family of oncogenic receptors downregulate tumor antigen presentation and upregulate suppressive membrane-bound or soluble secreted inhibitory molecules that ultimately lead to impaired cellular immunity mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) recognition. Implementing this knowledge into new therapeutic strategies to enhance tumor immunogenicity may restore effector cell mediated immune clearance of tumors and clinical efficacy of tumor-targeted immunotherapy against HER receptor overexpression.
Project description:Efficient processing of target antigens by the ubiquitin-proteasome-system (UPS) is essential for treatment of cancers by T cell therapies. However, immune escape due to altered expression of IFN-?-inducible components of the antigen presentation machinery and consequent inefficient processing of HLA-dependent tumor epitopes can be one important reason for failure of such therapies. Here, we show that short-term co-culture of Melan-A/MART-1 tumor antigen-expressing melanoma cells with Melan-A/MART-126-35-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) led to resistance against CTL-induced lysis because of impaired Melan-A/MART-126-35 epitope processing. Interestingly, deregulation of p97/VCP expression, which is an IFN-?-independent component of the UPS and part of the ER-dependent protein degradation pathway (ERAD), was found to be essentially involved in the observed immune escape. In support, our data demonstrate that re-expression of p97/VCP in Melan-A/MART-126-35 CTL-resistant melanoma cells completely restored immune recognition by Melan-A/MART-126-35 CTL. In conclusion, our experiments show that impaired expression of IFN-?-independent components of the UPS can exert rapid immune evasion of tumor cells and suggest that tumor antigens processed by distinct UPS degradation pathways should be simultaneously targeted in T cell therapies to restrict the likelihood of immune evasion due to impaired antigen processing.
Project description:Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) lyse target cells after recognizing the complexes of peptides and MHC class I molecules (pMHC I) on cell surfaces. Tapasin is an essential component of the peptide-loading complex (PLC) and its absence influences the surface repertoire of MHC class I peptides. In the present study, we assessed tapasin expression in 85 primary tumor lesions of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, demonstrating that tapasin expression positively correlated with patient survival. CD8<sup>+</sup> T-cell infiltration of tumor lesions was synergistically observed with tapasin expression and correlated positively with survival. To establish a direct link between loss of tapasin and CTL recognition in human cancer models, we targeted the tapasin gene by CRISPR/Cas9 system and generated tapasin-deficient variants of human lung as well as colon cancer cells. We induced the CTLs recognizing endogenous tumor-associated antigens (TAA), survivin or cep55, and they responded to each tapasin-proficient wild type. In contrast, both CTL lines ignored the tapasin-deficient variants despite their antigen expression. Moreover, the adoptive transfer of the cep55-specific CTL line failed to prevent tumor growth in mice bearing the tapasin-deficient variant. Loss of tapasin most likely limited antigen processing of TAAs and led to escape from TAA-specific CTL recognition. Tapasin expression is thus a key for CTL surveillance against human cancers.
Project description:Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are a major factor in the control of HIV replication. CTL arise in acute infection, causing escape mutations to spread rapidly through the population of infected cells. As a result, the virus develops partial resistance to the immune response. The factors controlling the order of mutating epitope sites are currently unknown and would provide a valuable tool for predicting conserved epitopes. In this work, we adapt a well-established mathematical model of HIV evolution under dynamical selection pressure from multiple CTL clones to include partial impairment of CTL recognition, [Formula: see text], as well as cost to viral replication, [Formula: see text]. The process of escape is described in terms of the cost-benefit tradeoff of escape mutations and predicts a trajectory in the cost-benefit plane connecting sequentially escaped sites, which moves from high recognition loss/low fitness cost to low recognition loss/high fitness cost and has a larger slope for early escapes than for late escapes. The slope of the trajectory offers an interpretation of positive correlation between fitness costs and HLA binding impairment to HLA-A molecules and a protective subset of HLA-B molecules that was observed for clinically relevant escape mutations in the Pol gene. We estimate the value of [Formula: see text] from published experimental studies to be in the range (0.01-0.86) and show that the assumption of complete recognition loss ([Formula: see text]) leads to an overestimate of mutation cost. Our analysis offers a consistent interpretation of the commonly observed pattern of escape, in which several escape mutations are observed transiently in an epitope. This non-nested pattern is a combined effect of temporal changes in selection pressure and partial recognition loss. We conclude that partial recognition loss is as important as fitness loss for predicting the order of escapes and, ultimately, for predicting conserved epitopes that can be targeted by vaccines.
Project description:Host immunologic factors, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), are thought to contribute to the control of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) replication and thus delay disease progression in infected individuals. Host immunologic factors are also likely to influence perinatal transmission of HIV-1 from infected mother to infant. In this study, the potential role of CTL in modulating HIV-1 transmission from mother to infant was examined in 11 HIV-1-infected mothers, 3 of whom transmitted virus to their offspring. Frequencies of HIV-1-specific human leukocyte antigen class I-restricted CTL responses and viral epitope amino acid sequence variation were determined in the mothers and their infected infants. Maternal HIV-1-specific CTL clones were derived from each of the HIV-1-infected pregnant women. Amino acid substitutions within the targeted CTL epitopes were more frequently identified in transmitting mothers than in nontransmitting mothers, and immune escape from CTL recognition was detected in all three transmitting mothers but in only one of eight nontransmitting mothers. The majority of viral sequences obtained from the HIV-1-infected infant blood samples were susceptible to maternal CTL. These findings demonstrate that epitope amino acid sequence variation and escape from CTL recognition occur more frequently in mothers that transmit HIV-1 to their infants than in those who do not. However, the transmitted virus can be a CTL susceptible form, suggesting inadequate in vivo immune control.
Project description:Escape mutations in HIV-1 cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitopes can abrogate recognition by the TCR of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells, but may also change interactions with alternative MHC class I receptors. Here, we show that mutational escape in three HLA-A11-, B8- and B7- restricted immunodominant HIV-1 CTL epitopes consistently enhances binding of the respective peptide/MHC class I complex to Immunoglobulin-like transcript 4 (ILT4), an inhibitory myelomonocytic MHC class I receptor expressed on monocytes and dendritic cells. In contrast, mutational escape in an alternative immunodominant HLA-B57-restricted CTL epitope did not affect ILT4-mediated recognition by myelomonocytic cells. This suggests that in addition to abrogating recognition by HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells, mutational escape in some, but not all CTL epitopes may mediate important immunoregulatory effects by increasing binding properties to ILT4, and augmenting ILT4-mediated inhibitory effects of professional antigen-presenting cells.
Project description:Viruses can exploit a variety of strategies to evade immune surveillance by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), including the acquisition of mutations in CTL epitopes. Also for influenza A viruses a number of amino acid substitutions in the nucleoprotein (NP) have been associated with escape from CTL. However, other previously identified influenza A virus CTL epitopes are highly conserved, including the immunodominant HLA-A*0201-restricted epitope from the matrix protein, M1(58-66). We hypothesized that functional constraints were responsible for the conserved nature of influenza A virus CTL epitopes, limiting escape from CTL. To assess the impact of amino acid substitutions in conserved epitopes on viral fitness and recognition by specific CTL, we performed a mutational analysis of CTL epitopes. Both alanine replacements and more conservative substitutions were introduced at various positions of different influenza A virus CTL epitopes. Alanine replacements for each of the nine amino acids of the M1(58-66) epitope were tolerated to various extents, except for the anchor residue at the second position. Substitution of anchor residues in other influenza A virus CTL epitopes also affected viral fitness. Viable mutant viruses were used in CTL recognition experiments. The results are discussed in the light of the possibility of influenza viruses to escape from specific CTL. It was speculated that functional constraints limit variation in certain epitopes, especially at anchor residues, explaining the conserved nature of these epitopes.
Project description:Viral mutational escape can reduce or abrogate recognition by the T cell receptor (TCR) of virus-specific CD8+ T cells. However, very little is known about the impact of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitope mutations on interactions between peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I complexes and MHC class I receptors expressed on other cell types. Here, we analyzed a variant of the immunodominant human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-B2705-restricted HIV-1 Gag KK10 epitope (KRWIILGLNK) with an L to M amino acid substitution at position 6 (L6M), which arises as a CTL escape variant after primary infection but is sufficiently immunogenic to elicit a secondary, de novo HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cell response with an alternative TCR repertoire in chronic infection. In addition to altering recognition by HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells, the HLA-B2705-KK10 L6M complex also exhibits substantially increased binding to the immunoglobulin-like transcript (ILT) receptor 4, an inhibitory MHC class I-specific receptor expressed on myelomonocytic cells. Binding of the B2705-KK10 L6M complex to ILT4 leads to a tolerogenic phenotype of myelomonocytic cells with lower surface expression of dendritic cell (DC) maturation markers and co-stimulatory molecules. These data suggest a link between CTL-driven mutational escape, altered recognition by innate MHC class I receptors on myelomonocytic cells, and functional impairment of DCs, and thus provide important new insight into biological consequences of viral sequence diversification.
Project description:Viruses exploit different strategies to escape immune surveillance, including the introduction of mutations in cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes. The sequence of these epitopes is critical for their binding to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules and recognition by specific CTLs, both of which interactions may be lost by mutation. Sequence analysis of the nucleoprotein gene of influenza A viruses (H3N2) isolated in The Netherlands from 1989 to 1999 revealed two independent amino acid mutations at the anchor residue of the HLA-B27-specific CTL epitope SRYWAIRTR (383 to 391). A R384K mutation was found in influenza A viruses isolated during the influenza season 1989-1990 but not in subsequent seasons. In the influenza season 1993-1994, a novel mutation in the same CTL epitope at the same position was introduced. This R384G mutation proved to be conserved in all influenza A viruses isolated from 1993 onwards. Both mutations R384K and R384G abrogated MHC class I presentation and allowed escape from recognition by specific CTLs.
Project description:Escape mutations are believed to be important contributors to immune evasion by rapidly evolving viruses such as hepatitis C virus (HCV). We show that the majority of HCV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses directed against viral epitopes that escaped immune recognition in HCV-infected chimpanzees displayed a reduced CDR3 amino acid diversity when compared with responses in which no CTL epitope variation was detected during chronic infection or with those associated with protective immunity. Decreased T cell receptor (TCR) CDR3 amino acid diversity in chronic infection could be detected long before the appearance of viral escape mutations in the plasma. In both chronic and resolved infection, identical T cell receptor clonotypes were present in liver and peripheral blood. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the evolution of CTL epitope variations in chronic viral infections and highlight the importance of the generation and maintenance of a diverse TCR repertoire directed against individual epitopes.
Project description:UNLABELLED:To understand the interplay between host cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses and the mechanisms by which HIV-1 evades them, we studied viral evolutionary patterns associated with host CTL responses in six linked transmission pairs. HIV-1 sequences corresponding to full-length p17 and p24 gag were generated by 454 pyrosequencing for all pairs near the time of transmission, and seroconverting partners were followed for a median of 847 days postinfection. T-cell responses were screened by gamma interferon/interleukin-2 (IFN-?/IL-2) FluoroSpot using autologous peptide sets reflecting any Gag variant present in at least 5% of sequence reads in the individual's viral population. While we found little evidence for the occurrence of CTL reversions, CTL escape processes were found to be highly dynamic, with multiple epitope variants emerging simultaneously. We found a correlation between epitope entropy and the number of epitope variants per response (r = 0.43; P = 0.05). In cases in which multiple escape mutations developed within a targeted epitope, a variant with no fitness cost became fixed in the viral population. When multiple mutations within an epitope achieved fitness-balanced escape, these escape mutants were each maintained in the viral population. Additional mutations found to confer escape but undetected in viral populations incurred high fitness costs, suggesting that functional constraints limit the available sites tolerable to escape mutations. These results further our understanding of the impact of CTL escape and reversion from the founder virus in HIV infection and contribute to the identification of immunogenic Gag regions most vulnerable to a targeted T-cell attack. IMPORTANCE:Rapid diversification of the viral population is a hallmark of HIV-1 infection, and understanding the selective forces driving the emergence of viral variants can provide critical insight into the interplay between host immune responses and viral evolution. We used deep sequencing to comprehensively follow viral evolution over time in six linked HIV transmission pairs. We then mapped T-cell responses to explore if mutations arose due to adaption to the host and found that escape processes were often highly dynamic, with multiple mutations arising within targeted epitopes. When we explored the impact of these mutations on replicative capacity, we found that dynamic escape processes only resolve with the selection of mutations that conferred escape with no fitness cost to the virus. These results provide further understanding of the complicated viral-host interactions that occur during early HIV-1 infection and may help inform the design of future vaccine immunogens.