Tumor-derived exosomes modulate PD-L1 expression in monocytes

Franziska Haderk, Ralph Schulz, Murat Iskar, Laura Llaó Cid, Thomas Worst, Karolin V. Willmund, Angela Schulz, Uwe Warnken, Jana Seiler, Axel Benner, Michelle Nessling, Thorsten Zenz, Maria Göbel, Jan Dürig, Sven Diederichs, Jérôme Paggetti, Etienne Moussay, Stephan Stilgenbauer, Marc Zapatka, Peter LichterMartina Seiffert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), monocytes and macrophages are skewed toward protumorigenic phenotypes, including the release of tumor-supportive cytokines and the expression of immunosuppressive molecules such as programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1). To understand the mechanism driving protumorigenic skewing in CLL, we evaluated the role of tumor cell–derived exosomes in the cross-talk with monocytes. We carried out RNA sequencing and proteome analyses of CLL-derived exosomes and identified noncoding Y RNA hY4 as a highly abundant RNA species that is enriched in exosomes from plasma of CLL patients compared with healthy donor samples. Transfer of CLL-derived exosomes or hY4 alone to monocytes resulted in key CLL-associated phenotypes, including the release of cytokines, such as C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), CCL4, and interleukin-6, and the expression of PD-L1. These responses were abolished in Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7)–deficient monocytes, suggesting exosomal hY4 as a driver of TLR7 signaling. Pharmacologic inhibition of endosomal TLR signaling resulted in a substantially reduced activation of monocytes in vitro and attenuated CLL development in vivo. Our results indicate that exosome-mediated transfer of noncoding RNAs to monocytes contributes to cancer-related inflammation and concurrent immune escape via PD-L1 expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaah5509
JournalScience immunology
Volume2
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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