ABSTRACT: Clinical evidence suggests that poor persistence of chimeric antigen receptor-T cells (CAR-T) in patients limits therapeutic efficacy. Here, we designed a CAR with recyclable capability to promote in vivo persistence and to sustain antitumor activity. We showed that the engagement of tumor antigens induced rapid ubiquitination of CARs, causing CAR downmodulation followed by lysosomal degradation. Blocking CAR ubiquitination by mutating all lysines in the CAR cytoplasmic domain (CARKR) markedly repressed CAR downmodulation by inhibiting lysosomal degradation while enhancing recycling of internalized CARs back to the cell surface. Upon encountering tumor antigens, CARKR-T cells ameliorated the loss of surface CARs, which promoted their long-term killing capacity. Moreover, CARKR-T cells containing 4-1BB signaling domains displayed elevated endosomal 4-1BB signaling that enhanced oxidative phosphorylation and promoted memory T cell differentiation, leading to superior persistence in vivo. Collectively, our study provides a straightforward strategy to optimize CAR-T antitumor efficacy by redirecting CAR trafficking.
Chimeric Antigen Receptor Designed to Prevent Ubiquitination and Downregulation Showed Durable Antitumor Efficacy
Type 1 conventional dendritic cells are systemically dysregulated early in pancreatic carcinogenesis
ABSTRACT: Type 1 conventional dendritic cells (cDC1s) are typically thought to be dysregulated secondarily to invasive cancer. Here, we report that cDC1 dysfunction instead develops in the earliest stages of preinvasive pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) in the KrasLSL-G12D/+ Trp53LSL-R172H/+ Pdx1-Cre-driven (KPC) mouse model of pancreatic cancer. cDC1 dysfunction is systemic and progressive, driven by increased apoptosis, and results in suboptimal up-regulation of T cell-polarizing cytokines during cDC1 maturation. The underlying mechanism is linked to elevated IL-6 concomitant with neoplasia. Neutralization of IL-6 in vivo ameliorates cDC1 apoptosis, rescuing cDC1 abundance in tumor-bearing mice. CD8+ T cell response to vaccination is impaired as a result of cDC1 dysregulation. Yet, combination therapy with CD40 agonist and Flt3 ligand restores cDC1 abundance to normal levels, decreases cDC1 apoptosis, and repairs cDC1 maturation to drive superior control of tumor outgrowth. Our study therefore reveals the unexpectedly early and systemic onset of cDC1 dysregulation during pancreatic carcinogenesis and suggests therapeutically tractable strategies toward cDC1 repair.