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Cancer Res. 2018 Jan 15;78(2):436-450. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1615. Epub 2017 Nov 17.

Interferon-γ Signaling in Melanocytes and Melanoma Cells Regulates Expression of CTLA-4.

Author information

1
Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2
Department of Medical Genetics and Molecular Biochemistry, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
3
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
4
Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. zaidi@temple.edu.

Abstract

CTLA4 is a cell surface receptor on T cells that functions as an immune checkpoint molecule to enforce tolerance to cognate antigens. Anti-CTLA4 immunotherapy is highly effective at reactivating T-cell responses against melanoma, which is postulated to be due to targeting CTLA4 on T cells. Here, we report that CTLA4 is also highly expressed by most human melanoma cell lines, as well as in normal human melanocytes. Interferon-γ (IFNG) signaling activated the expression of the human CTLA4 gene in a melanocyte and melanoma cell-specific manner. Mechanistically, IFNG activated CTLA4 expression through JAK1/2-dependent phosphorylation of STAT1, which bound a specific gamma-activated sequence site on the CTLA4 promoter, thereby licensing CBP/p300-mediated histone acetylation and local chromatin opening. In melanoma cell lines, elevated baseline expression relied upon constitutive activation of the MAPK pathway. Notably, RNA-seq analyses of melanoma specimens obtained from patients who had received anti-CTLA4 immunotherapy (ipilimumab) showed upregulation of an IFNG-response gene expression signature, including CTLA4 itself, which correlated significantly with durable response. Taken together, our results raise the possibility that CTLA4 targeting on melanoma cells may contribute to the clinical immunobiology of anti-CTLA4 responses.Significance: These findings show that human melanoma cells express high levels of the immune checkpoint molecule CTLA4, with important possible implications for understanding how anti-CTLA4 immunotherapy mediates its therapeutic effects. Cancer Res; 78(2); 436-50. ©2017 AACR.

PMID:
29150430
PMCID:
PMC5771950
[Available on 2019-01-15]
DOI:
10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1615

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