Article: article from journal or magazin.
Molecular profiling of CD8 T cells in autochthonous melanoma identifies Maf as driver of exhaustion.
T cells infiltrating neoplasms express surface molecules typical of chronically virus-stimulated T cells, often termed "exhausted" T cells. We compared the transcriptome of "exhausted" CD8 T cells infiltrating autochthonous melanomas to those of naïve and acutely stimulated CD8 T cells. Despite strong similarities between transcriptional signatures of tumor- and virus-induced exhausted CD8 T cells, notable differences appeared. Among transcriptional regulators, Nr4a2 and Maf were highly overexpressed in tumor-exhausted T cells and significantly upregulated in CD8 T cells from human melanoma metastases. Transduction of murine tumor-specific CD8 T cells to express Maf partially reproduced the transcriptional program associated with tumor-induced exhaustion. Upon adoptive transfer, the transduced cells showed normal homeostasis but failed to accumulate in tumor-bearing hosts and developed defective anti-tumor effector responses. We further identified TGFβ and IL-6 as main inducers of Maf expression in CD8 T cells and showed that Maf-deleted tumor-specific CD8 T cells were much more potent to restrain tumor growth in vivo. Therefore, the melanoma microenvironment contributes to skewing of CD8 T cell differentiation programs, in part by TGFβ/IL-6-mediated induction of Maf.
Maf, melanoma, T-cell exhaustion, TGF beta
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