Evolutionary Pressure against MHC Class II Binding Cancer Mutations.
ABSTRACT: The anti-cancer immune response against mutated peptides of potential immunological relevance (neoantigens) is primarily attributed to MHC-I-restricted cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses. MHC-II-restricted CD4+ T cells also drive anti-tumor responses, but their relation to neoantigen selection and tumor evolution has not been systematically studied. Modeling the potential of an individual's MHC-II genotype to present 1,018 driver mutations in 5,942 tumors, we demonstrate that the MHC-II genotype constrains the mutational landscape during tumorigenesis in a manner complementary to MHC-I. Mutations poorly bound to MHC-II are positively selected during tumorigenesis, even more than mutations poorly bound to MHC-I. This emphasizes the importance of CD4+ T cells in anti-tumor immunity. In addition, we observed less inter-patient variation in mutation presentation for MHC-II than for MHC-I. These differences were reflected by age at diagnosis, which was correlated with presentation by MHC-I only. Collectively, our results emphasize the central role of MHC-II presentation in tumor evolution.
Project description:MHC-I molecules expose the intracellular protein content on the cell surface, allowing T cells to detect foreign or mutated peptides. The combination of six MHC-I alleles each individual carries defines the sub-peptidome that can be effectively presented. We applied this concept to human cancer, hypothesizing that oncogenic mutations could arise in gaps in personal MHC-I presentation. To validate this hypothesis, we developed and applied a residue-centric patient presentation score to 9,176 cancer patients across 1,018 recurrent oncogenic mutations. We found that patient MHC-I genotype-based scores could predict which mutations were more likely to emerge in their tumor. Accordingly, poor presentation of a mutation across patients was correlated with higher frequency among tumors. These results support that MHC-I genotype-restricted immunoediting during tumor formation shapes the landscape of oncogenic mutations observed in clinically diagnosed tumors and paves the way for predicting personal cancer susceptibilities from knowledge of MHC-I genotype.
Project description:CD4+ T cells have been shown to reject tumor cells with no detectable expression of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II). However, under certain circumstances, induction of ectopic MHC II expression on tumor cells has been reported.To confirm that CD4+ T cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity can be successful in the complete absence of antigen display on the tumor cells themselves, we eliminated MHC II on tumor cells using CRISPR/Cas9. Our results demonstrate that ablation of the relevant MHC II (I-Ed) in multiple myeloma cells (MOPC315) does not hinder rejection by tumor-specific CD4+ T cells. These findings provide conclusive evidence that CD4+ T cells specific for tumor antigens can eliminate malignant cells in the absence of endogenous MHC class II expression on the tumor cells. This occurs through antigen uptake and indirect presentation on tumor-infiltrating macrophages.
Project description:Tumor antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells that directly recognize cancer cells are important for orchestrating antitumor immune responses at the local tumor sites. However, the mechanisms of direct MHC class II (MHC-II) presentation of intracellular tumor antigen by cancer cells are poorly understood. We found that two functionally distinct subsets of CD4(+) T cells were expanded after HLA-DPB1*04 (DP04)-binding NY-ESO-1157-170 peptide vaccination in patients with ovarian cancer. Although both subsets recognized exogenous NY-ESO-1 protein pulsed on DP04(+) target cells, only one type recognized target cells with intracellular expression of NY-ESO-1. The tumor-recognizing CD4(+) T cells more efficiently recognized the short 8-9-mer peptides than the non-tumor-recognizing CD4(+) T cells. In addition to endosomal/lysosomal proteases that are typically involved in MHC-II antigen presentation, several pathways in the MHC class I presentation pathways, such as the proteasomal degradation and transporter-associated with antigen-processing-mediated peptide transport, were also involved in the presentation of intracellular NY-ESO-1 on MHC-II. The presentation was inhibited significantly by primaquine, a small molecule that inhibits endosomal recycling, consistent with findings that pharmacologic inhibition of new protein synthesis enhances antigen presentation. Together, our data demonstrate that cancer cells selectively present peptides from intracellular tumor antigens on MHC-II by multiple nonclassical antigen-processing pathways. Harnessing the direct tumor-recognizing ability of CD4(+) T cells could be a promising strategy to enhance antitumor immune responses in the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs) hold promise for anti-cancer immunotherapy. However, clinically, their efficiency is limited and novel strategies to improve DC-mediated anti-tumor responses are needed. Human DCs display high content of sialic acids, which inhibits their maturation and co-stimulation capacity. Here, we aimed to understand whether exogenous desialylation of DCs improves their anti-tumor immunity. Compared to fully sialylated DCs, desialylated human DCs loaded with tumor-antigens showed enhanced ability to induce autologous T cells to proliferate, to secrete Th1 cytokines, and to specifically induce tumor cell apoptosis. Desialylated DCs showed an increased expression of MHC-I and -II, co-stimulatory molecules and an augmented secretion of IL-12. Desialylated HLA-A*02:01 DCs pulsed with gp100 peptides displayed enhanced peptide presentation through MHC-I, resulting in higher activation ofgp100280-288 specific CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. Desialylated murine DCs also exhibited increased MHC and co-stimulatory molecules and higher antigen cross-presentation via MHC-I. These DCs showed higher ability to activate antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and to specifically induce tumor cell apoptosis. Collectively, our data demonstrates that desialylation improves DCs' ability to elicit T cell-mediated anti-tumor activity, due to increased MHC-I expression and higher antigen presentation via MHC-I. Sialidase treatment of DCs may represent a technology to improve the efficacy of antigen loaded-DC-based vaccines for anti-cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:NY-ESO-1-specific CD4(+) T cells are of interest for immune therapy against tumors, because it has been shown that their transfer into a patient with melanoma resulted in tumor regression. Therefore, we investigated how NY-ESO-1 is processed onto MHC class II molecules for direct CD4(+) T cell recognition of melanoma cells. We could rule out proteasome and autophagy-dependent endogenous Ag processing for MHC class II presentation. In contrast, intercellular Ag transfer, followed by classical MHC class II Ag processing via endocytosis, sensitized neighboring melanoma cells for CD4(+) T cell recognition. However, macroautophagy targeting of NY-ESO-1 enhanced MHC class II presentation. Therefore, both elevated NY-ESO-1 release and macroautophagy targeting could improve melanoma cell recognition by CD4(+) T cells and should be explored during immunotherapy of melanoma.
Project description:Activation of tumor-reactive T lymphocytes is a promising approach for the prevention and treatment of patients with metastatic cancers. Strategies that activate CD8(+) T cells are particularly promising because of the cytotoxicity and specificity of CD8(+) T cells for tumor cells. Optimal CD8(+) T cell activity requires the co-activation of CD4(+) T cells, which are critical for immune memory and protection against latent metastatic disease. Therefore, we are developing "MHC II" vaccines that activate tumor-reactive CD4(+) T cells. MHC II vaccines are MHC class I(+) tumor cells that are transduced with costimulatory molecules and MHC II alleles syngeneic to the prospective recipient. Because the vaccine cells do not express the MHC II-associated invariant chain (Ii), we hypothesized that they will present endogenously synthesized tumor peptides that are not presented by professional Ii(+) antigen presenting cells (APC) and will therefore overcome tolerance to activate CD4(+) T cells. We now report that MHC II vaccines prepared from human MCF10 mammary carcinoma cells are more efficient than Ii(+) APC for priming and boosting Type 1 CD4(+) T cells. MHC II vaccines consistently induce greater expansion of CD4(+) T cells which secrete more IFNgamma and they activate an overlapping, but distinct repertoire of CD4(+) T cells as measured by T cell receptor Vbeta usage, compared to Ii(+) APC. Therefore, the absence of Ii facilitates a robust CD4(+) T cell response that includes the presentation of peptides that are presented by traditional APC, as well as peptides that are uniquely presented by the Ii(-) vaccine cells.
Project description:CD4 T cells play a central role as helper cells in adaptive immunity. Presentation of exogenous antigens in MHC class II by professional antigen-presenting cells is a crucial step in induction of specific CD4 T cells in adaptive immune responses. For efficient induction of immunity against intracellular threats such as viruses or malignant transformations, antigens from HLA class II-negative infected or transformed cells need to be transferred to surrounding antigen-presenting cells to allow efficient priming of naive CD4 T cells. Here we show indirect antigen presentation for a subset of natural HLA class II ligands that are created by genetic variants and demonstrated that (neo)antigens can be transferred between cells by extracellular vesicles. Intercellular transfer by extracellular vesicles was not dependent on the T-cell epitope, but rather on characteristics of the full-length protein. This mechanism of (neo)antigen transfer from HLA class II-negative cells to surrounding antigen-presenting cells may play a crucial role in induction of anti-tumor immunity.
Project description:Classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) responds markedly to PD-1 blockade therapy, and the clinical responses are reportedly dependent on expression of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II). This dependence is different from other solid tumors, in which the MHC class I (MHC-I)/CD8+ T-cell axis plays a critical role. In this study, we investigated the role of the MHC-II/CD4+ T-cell axis in the antitumor effect of PD-1 blockade on cHL. In cHL, MHC-I expression was frequently lost, but MHC-II expression was maintained. CD4+ T cells highly infiltrated the tumor microenvironment of MHC-II-expressing cHL, regardless of MHC-I expression status. Consequently, CD4+ T-cell, but not CD8+ T-cell, infiltration was a good prognostic factor in cHL, and PD-1 blockade showed antitumor efficacy against MHC-II-expressing cHL associated with CD4+ T-cell infiltration. Murine lymphoma and solid tumor models revealed the critical role of antitumor effects mediated by CD4+ T cells: an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody exerted antitumor effects on MHC-I-MHC-II+ tumors but not on MHC-I-MHC-II- tumors, in a cytotoxic CD4+ T-cell-dependent manner. Furthermore, LAG-3, which reportedly binds to MHC-II, was highly expressed by tumor-infiltrating CD4+ T cells in MHC-II-expressing tumors. Therefore, the combination of LAG-3 blockade with PD-1 blockade showed a far stronger antitumor immunity compared with either treatment alone. We propose that PD-1 blockade therapies have antitumor effects on MHC-II-expressing tumors such as cHL that are mediated by cytotoxic CD4+ T cells and that LAG-3 could be a candidate for combination therapy with PD-1 blockade.
Project description:Anti-PD-1 therapy yields objective clinical responses in 30-40% of advanced melanoma patients. Since most patients do not respond, predictive biomarkers to guide treatment selection are needed. We hypothesize that MHC-I/II expression is required for tumour antigen presentation and may predict anti-PD-1 therapy response. In this study, across 60 melanoma cell lines, we find bimodal expression patterns of MHC-II, while MHC-I expression was ubiquitous. A unique subset of melanomas are capable of expressing MHC-II under basal or IFN?-stimulated conditions. Using pathway analysis, we show that MHC-II(+) cell lines demonstrate signatures of 'PD-1 signalling', 'allograft rejection' and 'T-cell receptor signalling', among others. In two independent cohorts of anti-PD-1-treated melanoma patients, MHC-II positivity on tumour cells is associated with therapeutic response, progression-free and overall survival, as well as CD4(+) and CD8(+) tumour infiltrate. MHC-II(+) tumours can be identified by melanoma-specific immunohistochemistry using commercially available antibodies for HLA-DR to improve anti-PD-1 patient selection.
Project description:Both immature and mature dendritic cells (DCs) can process and present foreign Ags to CD4 T cells; however, the mechanism by which MHC class II (MHC-II) in mature DCs acquires antigenic peptides remains unknown. To address this, we have studied Ag processing and presentation of two distinct CD4 T cell epitopes of the influenza virus hemagglutinin coat protein by both immature and mature mouse DCs. We find that immature DCs almost exclusively use newly synthesized MHC-II targeted to DM<sup>+</sup> late endosomes for presentation to influenza virus-specific CD4 T cells. By contrast, mature DCs exclusively use recycling MHC-II that traffics to both early and late endosomes for antigenic peptide binding. Rab11a knockdown partially inhibits recycling of MHC-II in mature DCs and selectively inhibits presentation of an influenza virus hemagglutinin CD4 T cell epitope generated in early endosomes. These studies highlight a "division of labor" in MHC-II peptide binding, in which immature DCs preferentially present Ags acquired in Rab11a<sup>-</sup> DM<sup>+</sup> late endosomes, whereas mature DCs use recycling MHC-II to present antigenic peptides acquired in both Rab11a<sup>+</sup> early endosomes and Rab11a<sup>-</sup> endosomes for CD4 T cell activation.