SLAMF6 deficiency augments tumor killing and skews toward an effector phenotype revealing it as a novel T cell checkpoint

Emma Hajaj, Galit Eisenberg, Shiri Klein, Shoshana Frankenburg, Sharon Merims, Inna Ben David, Thomas Eisenhaure, Sarah E. Henrickson, Alexandra Chloé Villani, Nir Hacohen, Nathalie Abudi, Rinat Abramovich, Jonathan E. Cohen, Tamar Peretz, Andre Veillette, Michal Lotem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

SLAMF6 is a homotypic receptor of the Ig-superfamily whose exact role in immune modulation has remained elusive. Its constitutive expression on resting and activated T cells precludes it from being a bona fide exhaustion marker. By breeding Pmel-1 mice with SLAMF6 -/- mice, we generated donors for T cells lacking SLAMF6 and expressing a transgenic TCR for gp100- melanoma antigen. Activated Pmel-1xSLAMF6 -/- CD8+ T cells displayed improved polyfunctionality and strong tumor cytolysis. T-bet was the dominant transcription factor in Pmel-1 x SLAMF6 -/- cells, and upon activation, they acquired an effector-memory phenotype. Adoptive transfer of Pmel-1 x SLAMF6 -/- T cells to melanoma-bearing mice resulted in lasting tumor regression in contrast to temporary responses achieved with Pmel-1 T cells. LAG-3 expression was elevated in the SLAMF6 -/- cells, and the addition of the LAG-3-blocking antibody to the adoptive transfer protocol improved the SLAMF6 -/- T cells and expedited the antitumor response even further. The results from this study support the notion that SLAMF6 is an inhibitory immune receptor whose absence enables powerful CD8+ T cells to eradicate tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52539
JournaleLife
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

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