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Alternative splicing of SLAMF6 in human T cells creates a co-stimulatory isoform that counteracts the inhibitory effect of the full-length receptor

By Emma Hajaj, Elad Zisman, Shay Tzaban, Sharon Merims, Jonathan E Cohen, Shiri Klein, Shoshana Frankenburg, Moshe Sade-Feldman, Yuval Tabach, Keren Yizhak, Ami Navon, Polina Stepensky, Nir Hacohen, Tamar Peretz, Andre Veillette, Rotem Karni, Galit Eisenberg, Michal Lotem

Posted 22 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.21.262238

SLAMF6 is a homotypic receptor of the Ig-superfamily associated with progenitor exhausted T cells. In humans, SLAMF6 has three splice isoforms involving its V-domain. While the canonical 8-exon receptor inhibits T cell activation through SAP recruitment, the short isoform SLAMF6Δ17-65 has a strong agonistic effect. The costimulatory action depends on protein phosphatase SHP-1 and leads to a cytotoxic molecular profile governed by transcription factors Tbet, Runx3, and Tcf7. In T cells from individual patients treated with immune checkpoint blockade, a shift was noted towards SLAMF6Δ17-65. Splice-switching antisense oligonucleotides designed to target the SLAMF6 splice junction, enhanced SLAMF6Δ17-65 in human tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and improved their capacity to inhibit human melanoma in mice. The possible emergence of two opposing isoforms from the SLAMF6 gene may represent an immune-modulatory mechanism that can be exploited for cancer immunotherapy. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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