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IRE1? regulates macrophage polarization, PD-L1 expression and tumor survival

By Alyssa Batista, Jeffrey J. Rodvold, Su Xian, Stephen Searles, Alyssa Lew, Takao Iwawaki, Gonzalo Almanza, T Cameron Waller, Jonathan Lin, Kristen Jepsen, Hannah Carter, Maurizio Zanetti

Posted 17 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.17.952457 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000687)

In the tumor microenvironment local immune dysregulation is driven in part by macrophages and dendritic cells that are polarized to a mixed proinflammatory/immune suppressive phenotype. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is emerging as the possible origin of these events. Here we report that the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1?) branch of the UPR is directly involved in the polarization of macrophages in vitro and in vivo, including the upregulation of IL-6, IL-23, Arginase1, as well as surface expression of CD86 and PD-L1. Macrophages in which the IRE1??Xbp1 axis is blocked pharmacologically or deleted genetically have significantly reduced polarization, and CD86 and PD-L1 expression, which was induced independent of IFN? signaling suggesting a novel mechanism in PD-L1 regulation in macrophages. Mice with IRE1?- but not Xbp1-deficient macrophages showed greater survival than controls when implanted with B16.F10 melanoma cells. Remarkably, we found a significant association between the IRE1??gene signature and CD274 gene expression in tumor-infiltrating macrophages in humans. RNASeq analysis showed that bone marrow derived macrophages with IRE1? deletion lose the integrity of the gene connectivity characteristic of regulated IRE1?-dependent decay (RIDD) and the ability to activate CD274 gene expression. Thus, the IRE1??Xbp1 axis drives the polarization of macrophages in the tumor microenvironment initiating a complex immune dysregulation leading to failure of local immune surveillance.

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