CHMP2A regulates broad immune cell-mediated antitumor activity in an immunocompetent in vivo head and neck squamous cell carcinoma model

May, 05, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Natural killer (NK) cells are key effector cells of antitumor immunity. However, tumors can acquire resistance programs to escape NK cell-mediated immunosurveillance. Identifying mechanisms that mediate this resistance enables us to define approaches to improve immune-mediate antitumor activity. In previous studies from our group, a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen identified Charged Multivesicular Body Protein 2A (CHMP2A) as a novel mechanism that mediates tumor intrinsic resistance to NK cell activity.


Here, we use an immunocompetent mouse model to demonstrate that CHMP2A serves as a targetable regulator of not only NK cell-mediated immunity but also other immune cell populations. Using the recently characterized murine 4MOSC model system, a syngeneic, tobacco-signature murine head and neck squamous cell carcinoma model, we deleted mCHMP2A using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-out (KO), following orthotopic transplantation into immunocompetent hosts.


We found that mCHMP2A KO in 4MOSC1 cells leads to more potent NK-mediated tumor cell killing in vitro in these tumor cells. Moreover, following orthotopic transplantation, KO of mCHMP2A in 4MOSC1 cells, but not the more immune-resistant 4MOSC2 cells enables both T cells and NK cells to better mediate antitumor activity compared with wild type (WT) tumors. However, there was no difference in tumor development between WT and mCHMP2A KO 4MOSC1 or 4MOSC2 tumors when implanted in immunodeficient mice. Mechanistically, we find that mCHMP2A KO 4MOSC1 tumors transplanted into the immunocompetent mice had significantly increased CD4+T cells, CD8+T cells. NK cell, as well as fewer myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC).


Together, these studies demonstrate that CHMP2A is a targetable inhibitor of cellular antitumor immunity.

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