T-cells infiltrating neoplasms express surface molecules typical of chronically virus-stimulated T-cells, often termed “exhausted” T-cells. We analyzed the transcriptome of “exhausted” CD8 T-cells infiltrating autochthonous melanomas compared to those of naïve and acutely stimulated CD8 T-cells. In spite of strong similarities between transcriptional signatures of tumor- and virally-induced exhausted CD8 T-cells, notable differences appeared. Among transcriptional regulators, Nr4a2 was expressed in both exhaustions, whereas Maf was highly over-expressed only in tumor-exhausted T-cells. Anti-tumor CD8 T-cells transduced to express Maf showed dampened anti-tumor activity upon adoptive transfer, whereas Nr2a4 over-expression was without effect. Maf-expressing CD8 T-cells showed unaltered homeostasis but failed to accumulate in tumor-bearing hosts and developed defective anti-tumor secondary responses. We also found that Maf expression in CD8 T cells induced part of the transcriptional program associated with tumor-induced exhaustion. We further identified TGFβ and IL-6 as main inducers of Maf expression in CD8 T-cells and showed that Maf-deleted tumor specific CD8 T-cells were much more potent to restrain tumor growth in vivo. Therefore the melanoma microenvironment contributes to skewing of CD8 T-cell differentiation programs, in part by TGFβ/IL-6 mediated induction of Maf.
Citation Format: Gregory Verdeil, Marilyn Giordano, Anne-Marie Schmitt-Verhulst, Daniel Speiser, Claire Imbratta. Molecular profiling of CD8 T cells from autochthonous melanoma identifies Maf as driver of T cell exhaustion [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Second CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival; 2016 Sept 25-28; New York, NY. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2016;4(11 Suppl):Abstract nr A083.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.