Metabolic stress in cancer cells induces immune escape through a PI3K-dependent blockade of IFN? receptor signaling.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:T-cell mediated immunotherapy brought clinical success for many cancer patients. Nonetheless, downregulation of MHC class I antigen presentation, frequently occurring in solid cancers, limits the efficacy of these therapies. Unraveling the mechanisms underlying this type of immune escape is therefore of great importance. We here investigated the immunological effects of metabolic stress in cancer cells as a result of nutrient deprivation. METHODS:TC1 and B16F10 tumor cell lines were cultured under oxygen- and glucose-deprivation conditions that mimicked the tumor microenvironment of solid tumors. Presentation of peptide antigens by MHC class I molecules was measured by flow cytometry and via activation of tumor-specific CD8 T cell clones. The proficiency of the IFNy-STAT1 pathway was investigated by Western blots on phosphorylated proteins, transfection of constitutive active STAT1 constructs and qPCR of downstream targets. Kinase inhibitors for PI3K were used to examine its role in IFNy receptor signal transduction. RESULTS:Combination of oxygen- and glucose-deprivation resulted in decreased presentation of MHC class I antigens on cancer cells, even in the presence of the stimulatory cytokine IFNy. This unresponsiveness to IFNy was the result of failure to phosphorylate the signal transducer STAT1. Forced expression of constitutive active STAT1 fully rescued the MHC class I presentation. Furthermore, oxygen- and glucose-deprivation increased PI3K activity in tumor cells. Pharmacological inhibition of this pathway not only restored signal transduction through IFNy-STAT1 but also improved MHC class I presentation. Importantly, PI3K inhibitors also rendered tumor cells sensitive for recognition by CD8 T cells in culture conditions of metabolic stress. CONCLUSIONS:These data revealed a strong impact of metabolic stress on the presentation of tumor antigens by MHC class I and suggest that this type of tumor escape takes place at hypoxic areas even during times of active T cell immunity and IFNy release.
Project description:Molecular events activating the PI3K pathway are frequently detected in human tumors and the activation of PI3K signaling alters numerous cellular processes including tumor cell proliferation, survival, and motility. More recent studies have highlighted the impact of PI3K signaling on the cellular response to interferons and other immunologic processes relevant to antitumor immunity. Given the ability of IFN? to regulate antigen processing and presentation and the pivotal role of MHC class I (MHCI) and II (MHCII) expression in T-cell-mediated antitumor immunity, we sought to determine the impact of PI3K signaling on MHCI and MHCII induction by IFN?. We found that the induction of cell surface MHCI and MHCII molecules by IFN? is enhanced by the clinical grade PI3K inhibitors dactolisib and pictilisib. We also found that PI3K inhibition increases STAT1 protein levels following IFN? treatment and increases accessibility at genomic STAT1-binding motifs. Conversely, we found that pharmacologic activation of PI3K signaling can repress the induction of MHCI and MHCII molecules by IFN?, and likewise, the loss of PTEN attenuates the induction of MHCI, MHCII, and STAT1 by IFN?. Consistent with these in vitro studies, we found that within human head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, intratumoral regions with high phospho-AKT IHC staining had reduced MHCI IHC staining. IMPLICATIONS: Collectively, these findings demonstrate that MHC expression can be modulated by PI3K signaling and suggest that activation of PI3K signaling may promote immune escape via effects on antigen presentation.
Project description:The MHC class I-mediated antigen presentation pathway plays a critical role in antiviral immunity. Here we show that the MHC class I pathway is targeted by SARS-CoV-2. Analysis of the gene expression profile from COVID-19 patients as well as SARS-CoV-2 infected epithelial cell lines reveals that the induction of the MHC class I pathway is inhibited by SARS-CoV-2 infection. We show that NLRC5, an MHC class I transactivator, is suppressed both transcriptionally and functionally by the SARS-CoV-2 ORF6 protein, providing a mechanistic link. SARS-CoV-2 ORF6 hampers type II interferon-mediated STAT1 signaling, resulting in diminished upregulation of NLRC5 and IRF1 gene expression. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 ORF6 inhibits NLRC5 function via blocking karyopherin complex-dependent nuclear import of NLRC5. Collectively, our study uncovers an immune evasion mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 that targets the function of key MHC class I transcriptional regulators, STAT1-IRF1-NLRC5. The presentation of viral antigens to T cells via the MHC molecules is a critical component of the host response to viral infection. Here the authors suggest SARS-CoV-2 possesses the immune evasion strategy against the MHC class I pathway by targeting key transcriptional regulators.
Project description:Antigen presentation to T cells in major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC class II) requires the conversion of early endo/phagosomes into lysosomes by a process called maturation. Maturation is driven by the phosphoinositide kinase PIKfyve. Blocking PIKfyve activity by small molecule inhibitors caused a delay in the conversion of phagosomes into lysosomes and in phagosomal acidification, whereas production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) increased. Elevated ROS resulted in reduced activity of cathepsin S and B, but not X, causing a proteolytic defect of MHC class II chaperone invariant chain Ii processing. We developed a novel universal MHC class II presentation assay based on a bio-orthogonal "clickable" antigen and showed that MHC class II presentation was disrupted by the inhibition of PIKfyve, which in turn resulted in reduced activation of CD4+ T cells. Our results demonstrate a key role of PIKfyve in the processing and presentation of antigens, which should be taken into consideration when targeting PIKfyve in autoimmune disease and cancer.
Project description:Induction of tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells (CTLs) via immunization relies on the presentation of tumor-associated peptides in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules by dendritic cells (DCs). To achieve presentation of exogenous peptides into MHC class I, cytosolic processing and cross-presentation are required. Vaccination strategies aiming to induce tumor-specific CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells via this exogenous route therefore pose a challenge. In this study, we describe improved CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell induction and <i>in vivo</i> tumor suppression of mono-palmitic acid-modified (C16:0) antigenic peptides, which can be attributed to their unique processing route, efficient receptor-independent integration within lipid bilayers, and continuous intracellular accumulation and presentation through MHC class I. We propose that this membrane-integrating feature of palmitoylated peptides can be exploited as a tool for quick and efficient antigen enrichment and MHC class I loading. Importantly, both DCs and non-professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs), similar to tumor cells, facilitate anti-tumor immunity by efficient CTL priming via DCs and effective recognition of tumors through enhanced presentation of antigens.
Project description:LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP) contributes to a wide range of cellular processes and notably to immunity. The stabilization of phagosomes by the macroautophagy machinery in human macrophages can maintain antigen presentation on MHC class II molecules. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation and maturation of the resulting LAPosomes are not completely understood. Here, we show that reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) stabilize LAPosomes by inhibiting LC3 deconjugation from the LAPosome cytosolic surface. NOX2 residing in the LAPosome membrane generates ROS to cause oxidative inactivation of the protease ATG4B, which otherwise releases LC3B from LAPosomes. An oxidation-insensitive ATG4B mutant compromises LAP and thereby impedes sustained MHC class II presentation of exogenous Candida albicans antigens. Redox regulation of ATG4B is thereby an important mechanism for maintaining LC3 decoration of LAPosomes to support antigen processing for MHC class II presentation.
Project description:Autophagy is known to be important in presentation of cytosolic antigens on MHC class II (MHC II). However, the role of autophagic process in antigen presentation in vivo is unclear. Mice with dendritic cell (DC)-conditional deletion in Atg5, a key autophagy gene, showed impaired CD4(+) T cell priming after herpes simplex virus infection and succumbed to rapid disease. The most pronounced defect of Atg5(-/-) DCs was the processing and presentation of phagocytosed antigens containing Toll-like receptor stimuli for MHC class II. In contrast, cross-presentation of peptides on MHC I was intact in the absence of Atg5. Although induction of metabolic autophagy did not enhance MHC II presentation, autophagic machinery was required for optimal phagosome-to-lysosome fusion and subsequent processing of antigen for MHC II loading. Thus, our study revealed that DCs utilize autophagic machinery to optimally process and present extracellular microbial antigens for MHC II presentation.
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:Macrophages are innate immune cells that internalize and present exogenous antigens to T cells via MHC class II proteins. They operate at sites of infection in a highly inflammatory environment, generated in part by reactive oxygen species, in particular the strong oxidant hypochlorous acid (HOCl) produced in the neutrophil respiratory burst. HOCl effectively kills a broad range of pathogens but can also contribute to host tissue damage at sites of inflammation. To prevent tissue injury, HOCl is scavenged by human serum albumin (HSA) and other plasma proteins in interstitial fluids, leading to the formation of variously modified advanced oxidation products (AOPPs) with pro-inflammatory properties. Previously, we showed that HOCl-mediated N-chlorination converts HSA and other plasma proteins into efficient activators of the phagocyte respiratory burst, but the role of these AOPPs in antigen presentation by macrophages remained unclear. Here, we show that physiologically relevant amounts of N-chlorinated HSA can strongly impair the capacity of THP-1-derived macrophages to present antigens to antigen-specific T cells via MHC class II proteins at multiple stages. Initially, N-chlorinated HSA inhibits antigen internalization by converting antigens into scavenger receptor (SR) ligands and competing with the modified antigens for binding to SR CD36. Later steps of antigen presentation, such as intracellular antigen processing and MHC class II expression are negatively affected, as well. We propose that impaired processing of pathogens or exogenous antigens by immune cells at an initial stage of infection prevents antigen presentation in an environment potentially hostile to cells of the adaptive immune response, possibly shifting it towards locations removed from the actual insult, like the lymph nodes. On the flip side, excessive retardation or complete inhibition of antigen presentation by N-chlorinated plasma proteins could contribute to chronic infection and inflammation.
Project description:Tumor cells frequently escape from CD8+ T cell recognition by abrogating MHC-I antigen presentation. Deficiency in processing components, like the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP), results in strongly decreased surface display of peptide/MHC-I complexes. We previously identified a class of hidden self-antigens known as T cell epitopes associated with impaired peptide processing (TEIPP), which emerge on tumor cells with such processing defects. In the present study, we analyzed thymus selection and peripheral behavior of T cells with specificity for the prototypic TEIPP antigen, the "self" TRH4 peptide/Db complex. TEIPP T cells were efficiently selected in the thymus, egressed with a naive phenotype, and could be exploited for immunotherapy against immune-escaped, TAP-deficient tumor cells expressing low levels of MHC-I (MHC-Ilo). In contrast, overt thymus deletion and functionally impaired TEIPP T cells were observed in mice deficient for TAP1 due to TEIPP antigen presentation on all body cells in these mice. Our results strongly support the concept that TEIPPs derive from ubiquitous, nonmutated self-antigens and constitute a class of immunogenic neoantigens that are unmasked during tumor immune evasion. These data suggest that TEIPP-specific CD8+ T cells are promising candidates in the treatment of tumors that have escaped from conventional immunotherapies.
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.