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J Leukoc Biol. 2014 Jan;95(1):179-90. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0613330. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

β-catenin mediates tumor-induced immunosuppression by inhibiting cross-priming of CD8⁺ T cells.

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2.Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


Whereas CD8⁺ T cells are essential for anti-tumor immunity, tumors often evade CD8⁺ T cell surveillance by immunosuppression. As the initiators of antigen-specific immune responses, DCs are likely to play a central role in regulating the balance between immunity and tolerance to tumor antigens and are specialized in their ability to cross-present exogenous tumor antigens on MHC class I molecules to initiate CD8⁺ T cell immunity. However, it remains unclear whether and how tumors modulate DC functions to suppress CD8⁺ T cell responses. We have shown previously that β-catenin signaling in DCs promotes DC-mediated CD8⁺ T cell tolerance. Here, we tested the hypothesis that β-catenin in DCs mediates tumor-induced suppression of CD8⁺ T cell immunity by inhibiting the ability of DCs in cross-priming. β-Catenin was activated in DCs by multiple tumors in vivo and in vitro. B16 melanoma-bearing mice, when vaccinated with DC-targeting anti-DEC-205 mAb fused with tumor antigens, exhibited dampened CD8⁺ immunity, similar to DC-β-catenin(active) mice. DCs from DC-β-catenin(active) and tumor-bearing mice were deficient in cross-priming, and antigen-specific CD8⁺ T cells primed in these mice resulted in dampened CD8⁺ memory responses. Importantly, DC-β-catenin⁻/⁻ mice completely abrogate tumor-mediated inhibition of cross-priming, suggesting that tumor-induced inhibition of cross-priming is dependent on β-catenin. Finally, enhancing cross-priming at the priming or recall phase rescued β-catenin-suppressed CD8⁺ immunity in DC-β-catenin(active) and tumor-bearing mice. Thus, β-catenin-mediated inhibition of cross-priming represents a new and potentially general mechanism that tumors employ to achieve immunosuppression.


DC vaccine; anti-tumor immunity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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