Spatiotemporal Co-Dependency between Macrophages and Exhausted CD8 + T Cells in Cancer
55 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2021 Publication Status: PublishedMore...
T cell exhaustion is a major impediment to anti-tumor immunity. However, it remains elusive how other immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) contribute to this dysfunctional state. Here we show that the biology of tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) and exhausted T cells (Tex) in the TME is extensively linked. We demonstrate that in vivo depletion of TAM reduces exhaustion programs in tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and reinvigorates their effector potential. Reciprocally, transcriptional and epigenetic profiling reveals that Tex express factors that actively recruit monocytes to the TME and shape their differentiation. Using lattice light sheet microscopy, we show that TAM and CD8+ T cells engage in unique long-lasting antigen-specific synaptic interactions that fail to activate T cells, but prime them for exhaustion, which is then accelerated in hypoxic conditions. Spatially resolved sequencing supports a spatiotemporal self-enforcing positive feedback circuit that is aligned to protect rather than destroy a tumor.
Keywords: tumor-associated macrophages, tumor microenvironment, T cell exhaustion, anti-tumor immunity, Immunotherapy
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