ScRNA-seq reveals novel immune-suppressive T cells and investigates CMV-TCR-T cells cytotoxicity against GBM

May, 05, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Glioblastoma (GBM) is a fatal primary brain malignancy in adults. Previous studies have shown that cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a risk factor for tumorigenesis and aggressiveness for glioblastoma. However, little is known about how CMV infection affects immune cells in the tumor microenvironment of GBM. Furthermore, there has been almost no engineered T-cell receptor (TCR)-T targeting CMV for GBM research to date.


We evaluated the CMV infection status of patients with GBM’s tumor tissue by immune electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, and droplet digital PCR. We performed single-cell RNA sequencing for CMV-infected GBM to investigate the effects of CMV on the GBM immune microenvironment. CellChat was applied to analyze the interaction between cells in the GBM tumor microenvironment. Additionally, we conducted single-cell TCR/B cell receptor (BCR) sequencing and Grouping of Lymphocyte Interactions with Paratope Hotspots 2 algorithms to acquire specific CMV-TCR sequences. Genetic engineering was used to introduce CMV-TCR into primary T cells derived from patients with CMV-infected GBM. Flow cytometry was used to measure the proportion and cytotoxicity status of T cells in vitro.


We identified two novel immune cell subpopulations in CMV-infected GBM, which were bipositive CD68+SOX2+ tumor-associated macrophages and FXYD6+ T cells. We highlighted that the interaction between bipositive TAMs or cancer cells and T cells was predominantly focused on FXYD6+ T cells rather than regulatory T cells (Tregs), whereas, FXYD6+ T cells were further identified as a group of novel immunosuppressive T cells. CMV-TCR-T cells showed significant therapeutic effects on the human-derived orthotopic GBM mice model.


These findings provided an insight into the underlying mechanism of CMV infection promoting the GBM immunosuppression, and provided a novel potential immunotherapy strategy for patients with GBM.

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