Green Fluorescence ProteinTumor MicroenvironmentIntratumoral AdministrationMouse GliomaGlioma Microenvironment
While type-I interferons (IFNs) play critical roles in antiviral and antitumor activity, it remains to be elucidated how type-I IFNs are produced in sterile conditions of the tumor microenvironment and directly impacts tumor-infiltrating immune cells. We report that both human and de novo mouse gliomas show increased expression of type-I IFN messages, and in mice, CD11b+ brain-infiltrating leukocytes (BILs) are the main source of type-I IFNs that is induced partially in a STING (stimulator of IFN genes)-dependent manner. Consequently, glioma-bearing StingGt/Gt mice showed shorter survival, and lower expression levels of Ifns compared with wild-type mice. Furthermore, BILs of StingGt/Gt mice show increased CD11b+ Gr-1+ immature myeloid suppressor and CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells, while decreased IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T cells. To determine the effects of type-I IFN expression in the glioma microenvironment, we utilized a novel reporter mouse model, in which the type-I IFN signaling induces the Mx1 (IFN-induced GTP-binding protein) promoter-driven Cre recombinase, which turns the expression of loxp-flanked tdTomato off, and turns green fluorescence protein (GFP) expression on, thereby enabling us to monitor the induction and effects of IFN signaling in the glioma microenvironment. CD4+ T cells that received direct type-I IFN signals (i.e., GFP+ cells) demonstrate lesser degrees of regulatory activity based on lower Foxp3 and Tgfb1 expression levels (Figure 1) as well as lesser suppression of CD8+ T cell proliferation (Figure B). IFN-sensed CD8+ T cells exhibit enhanced levels of Th1 markers, Tbx21 and Igfng (Figure C), as well as cytotoxic T-cell activity based on reverse antibody-dependent T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity assay (Figure D). Finally, intratumoral administration of a STING agonist (cyclic diguanylate monophosphate; c-di-GMP) improves the survival of glioma-bearing mice associated with enhanced type-I IFN signaling, Cxcl10 and Ccl5 and T cell migration into the brain. In a combination with subcutaneous OVA peptide-vaccination, c-di-GMP increased OVA-specific cytotoxicity of BILs and prolonged the survival. These data demonstrate significant contributions of STING to antitumor immunity via enhancement of the type-I IFN signaling in the tumor microenvironment, and imply a potential use of STING agonists for development of effective immunotherapy, such as the combination with antigen-specific vaccinations.
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA
Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA
Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA
Department of Brain Tumor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA
Cancer Immunology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, USA
Cancer Virology Programs, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, USA
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