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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51845. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051845. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Cell-extrinsic effects of tumor ER stress imprint myeloid dendritic cells and impair CD8⁺ T cell priming.

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The Laboratory of Immunology, Department of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America.


Tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells, such as dendritic cells (BMDC), are key regulators of tumor growth. However, the tumor-derived signals polarizing BMDC to a phenotype that subverts cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity have yet to be fully elucidated. Addressing this unresolved problem we show that the tumor unfolded protein response (UPR) can function in a cell-extrinsic manner via the transmission of ER stress (TERS) to BMDC. TERS-imprinted BMDC upregulate the production of pro-inflammatory, tumorigenic cytokines but also the immunosuppressive enzyme arginase. Importantly, they downregulate cross-presentation of high-affinity antigen and fail to effectively cross-prime CD8(+) T cells, causing T cell activation without proliferation and similarly dominantly suppress cross-priming by bystander BMDC. Lastly, TERS-imprinted BMDC facilitate tumor growth in vivo with fewer tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells. In sum, we demonstrate that tumor-borne ER stress imprints ab initio BMDC to a phenotype that recapitulates several of the inflammatory/suppressive characteristics ascribed to tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells, highlighting the tumor UPR as a critical controller of anti-tumor immunity and a new target for immune modulation in cancer.

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