Journal: Journal of Experimental Medicine
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Cancer-secreted protein shuts down anti-tumour immunity
© JUAN GAERTNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Drugs that target the soluble form of a protein called CD155 could help enhance the anti-tumour activity of the immune system’s natural killer cells.
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan engineered mouse melanoma cells to produce soluble CD155, a protein expressed by many tumour types.
In its membrane-bound form, CD155 normally interacts with a receptor called DNAM-1 to enhance the anti-cancer activity of various immune cells, including natural killer cells. But in its soluble form, the team showed, CD155 interferes with the usual DNAM-1–mediated ability of natural killer cells to transfer cytotoxic materials into tumour cells.
As a result, the soluble CD155–producing melanoma cells grew more readily in the lungs of mice compared to cancer cells that could not make this protein.
“These are striking results that show how a single protein can drastically change the fate of a tumour,” said senior study author Kazuko Shibuya in a press release.
- Journal of Experimental Medicine 217, e20191290 (2020). doi: 10.1084/jem.20191290