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      CMTM6 maintains the expression of PD-L1 and regulates anti-tumour immunity

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          Abstract

          Cancer cells exploit the expression of the programmed death-1 (PD-1) ligand 1 (PD-L1) to subvert T-cell-mediated immunosurveillance. The success of therapies that disrupt PD-L1-mediated tumour tolerance has highlighted the need to understand the molecular regulation of PD-L1 expression. Here we identify the uncharacterized protein CMTM6 as a critical regulator of PD-L1 in a broad range of cancer cells, by using a genome-wide CRISPR–Cas9 screen. CMTM6 is a ubiquitously expressed protein that binds PD-L1 and maintains its cell surface expression. CMTM6 is not required for PD-L1 maturation but co-localizes with PD-L1 at the plasma membrane and in recycling endosomes, where it prevents PD-L1 from being targeted for lysosome-mediated degradation. Using a quantitative approach to profile the entire plasma membrane proteome, we find that CMTM6 displays specificity for PD-L1. Notably, CMTM6 depletion decreases PD-L1 without compromising cell surface expression of MHC class I. CMTM6 depletion, via the reduction of PD-L1, significantly alleviates the suppression of tumour-specific T cell activity in vitro and in vivo. These findings provide insights into the biology of PD-L1 regulation, identify a previously unrecognized master regulator of this critical immune checkpoint and highlight a potential therapeutic target to overcome immune evasion by tumour cells.

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          Most cited references12

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          Glycosylation and stabilization of programmed death ligand-1 suppresses T-cell activity

          Extracellular interaction between programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) and programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) leads to tumour-associated immune escape. Here we show that the immunosuppression activity of PD-L1 is stringently modulated by ubiquitination and N-glycosylation. We show that glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) interacts with PD-L1 and induces phosphorylation-dependent proteasome degradation of PD-L1 by β-TrCP. In-depth analysis of PD-L1 N192, N200 and N219 glycosylation suggests that glycosylation antagonizes GSK3β binding. In this regard, only non-glycosylated PD-L1 forms a complex with GSK3β and β-TrCP. We also demonstrate that epidermal growth factor (EGF) stabilizes PD-L1 via GSK3β inactivation in basal-like breast cancer. Inhibition of EGF signalling by gefitinib destabilizes PD-L1, enhances antitumour T-cell immunity and therapeutic efficacy of PD-1 blockade in syngeneic mouse models. Together, our results link ubiquitination and glycosylation pathways to the stringent regulation of PD-L1, which could lead to potential therapeutic strategies to enhance cancer immune therapy efficacy.
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            Integrative analysis reveals selective 9p24.1 amplification, increased PD-1 ligand expression, and further induction via JAK2 in nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma.

            Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) and mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (MLBCL) are lymphoid malignancies with certain shared clinical, histologic, and molecular features. Primary cHLs and MLBCLs include variable numbers of malignant cells within an inflammatory infiltrate, suggesting that these tumors escape immune surveillance. Herein, we integrate high-resolution copy number data with transcriptional profiles and identify the immunoregulatory genes, PD-L1 and PD-L2, as key targets at the 9p24.1 amplification peak in HL and MLBCL cell lines. We extend these findings to laser-capture microdissected primary Hodgkin Reed-Sternberg cells and primary MLBCLs and find that programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) ligand/9p24.1 amplification is restricted to nodular sclerosing HL, the cHL subtype most closely related to MLBCL. Using quantitative immunohistochemical methods, we document the association between 9p24.1 copy number and PD-1 ligand expression in primary tumors. In cHL and MLBCL, the extended 9p24.1 amplification region also included the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) locus. Of note, JAK2 amplification increased protein expression and activity, specifically induced PD-1 ligand transcription and enhanced sensitivity to JAK2 inhibition. Therefore, 9p24.1 amplification is a disease-specific structural alteration that increases both the gene dosage of PD-1 ligands and their induction by JAK2, defining the PD-1 pathway and JAK2 as complementary rational therapeutic targets.
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              Aberrant PD-L1 expression through 3'-UTR disruption in multiple cancers.

              Successful treatment of many patients with advanced cancer using antibodies against programmed cell death 1 (PD-1; also known as PDCD1) and its ligand (PD-L1; also known as CD274) has highlighted the critical importance of PD-1/PD-L1-mediated immune escape in cancer development. However, the genetic basis for the immune escape has not been fully elucidated, with the exception of elevated PD-L1 expression by gene amplification and utilization of an ectopic promoter by translocation, as reported in Hodgkin and other B-cell lymphomas, as well as stomach adenocarcinoma. Here we show a unique genetic mechanism of immune escape caused by structural variations (SVs) commonly disrupting the 3' region of the PD-L1 gene. Widely affecting multiple common human cancer types, including adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (27%), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (8%), and stomach adenocarcinoma (2%), these SVs invariably lead to a marked elevation of aberrant PD-L1 transcripts that are stabilized by truncation of the 3'-untranslated region (UTR). Disruption of the Pd-l1 3'-UTR in mice enables immune evasion of EG7-OVA tumour cells with elevated Pd-l1 expression in vivo, which is effectively inhibited by Pd-1/Pd-l1 blockade, supporting the role of relevant SVs in clonal selection through immune evasion. Our findings not only unmask a novel regulatory mechanism of PD-L1 expression, but also suggest that PD-L1 3'-UTR disruption could serve as a genetic marker to identify cancers that actively evade anti-tumour immunity through PD-L1 overexpression.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Nature
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                August 16 2017
                August 16 2017
                :
                :
                Article
                10.1038/nature23643
                28813417
                6e653a16-bfb3-4864-a549-c8f7065b1262
                © 2017
                History

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