Constitutively active GSK3β as a means to bolster dendritic cell functionality in the face of tumour-mediated immune suppression

Marta Lopez Gonzalez, Dinja Oosterhoff, Jelle J. Lindenberg, Ioanna Milenova, Sinead M. Lougheed, Tania Martianez, Henk Dekker, Dafne Carolina Alves Quixabeira, Basav Hangalapura, Jos Joore, Sander R. Piersma, Victor Cervera-Carrascon, Joao Manuel Santos, Rik J. Scheper, Henk M. W. Verheul, Connie R. Jimenez, Rieneke Van De Ven, Akseli Hemminki, Victor W. Van Beusechem, Tanja D. De Gruijl

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In patients with cancer, the functionality of Dendritic Cells (DC) is hampered by high levels of tumor-derived suppressive cytokines, which interfere with DC development and maturation. Poor DC development can limit the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade and in vivo vaccination approaches. Interference in intracellular signaling cascades downstream from the receptors of major tumor-associated suppressive cytokines like IL-10 and IL-6, might improve DC development and activation, and thus enhance immunotherapy efficacy. We performed exploratory functional screens on arrays consisting of >1000 human kinase peptide substrates to identify pathways involved in DC development and its inhibition by IL-10 or IL-6. The resulting alterations in phosphorylation of the kinome substrate profile pointed to glycogen-synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) as a pivotal kinase in both DC development and suppression. GSK3β inhibition blocked human DC differentiation in vitro, which was accompanied by decreased levels of IL-12p70 secretion, and a reduced capacity for T cell priming. More importantly, adenoviral transduction of monocytes with a constitutively active form of GSK3β induced resistance to the suppressive effects of IL-10 and melanoma-derived supernatants alike, resulting in improved DC development, accompanied by up-regulation of co-stimulatory markers, an increase in CD83 expression levels in mature DC, and diminished release of IL-10. Moreover, adenovirus-mediated intratumoral manipulation of this pathway in an in vivo melanoma model resulted in DC activation and recruitment, and in improved immune surveillance and tumor control. We propose the induction of constitutive GSK3β activity as a novel therapeutic means to bolster DC functionality in the tumor microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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