Cell-cell interactions influence all aspects of development, homeostasis, and disease. In cancer, interactions between cancer cells and stromal cells play a major role in nearly every step of carcinogenesis. Thus, the ability to record cell-cell interactions would facilitate mechanistic delineation of the role of cancer microenvironment. Here, we describe GFP-based Touching Nexus (G-baToN) which relies upon nanobody-directed fluorescent protein transfer to enable sensitive and specific labeling of cells after cell-cell interactions. G-baToN is a generalizable system that enables physical contact-based labeling between various human and mouse cell types, including endothelial cell-pericyte, neuron-astrocyte, and diverse cancer-stromal cell pairs. A suite of orthogonal baToN tools enables reciprocal cell-cell labeling, interaction-dependent cargo transfer, and the identification of higher-order cell-cell interactions across a wide range of cell types. The ability to track physically interacting cells with these simple and sensitive systems will greatly accelerate our understanding of the outputs of cell-cell interactions in cancer as well as across many biological processes.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Monte M Winslow
- Monte M Winslow
- Monte M Winslow
- Rui Tang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee ( the Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (APLAC)) protocols (26696) of Stanford University. The protocol was approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of Stanford University (Permit Number: A3213-01). Every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Matthew G Vander Heiden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
© 2020, Tang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes (CTLs) are key players of adaptive anti-tumor immunity based on their ability to specifically recognize and destroy tumor cells. Many cancer immunotherapies rely on unleashing CTL function. However, tumors can evade killing through strategies which are not yet fully elucidated. To provide deeper insight into tumor evasion mechanisms in an antigen-dependent manner, we established a human co-culture system composed of tumor and primary immune cells. Using this system, we systematically investigated intrinsic regulators of tumor resistance by conducting a complementary CRISPR screen approach. By harnessing CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) and CRISPR knockout (KO) technology in parallel, we investigated gene gain-of-function as well as loss-of-function across genes with annotated function in a colon carcinoma cell line. CRISPRa and CRISPR KO screens uncovered 187 and 704 hits respectively, with 60 gene hits overlapping between both. These data confirmed the role of interferon‑γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and autophagy pathways and uncovered novel genes implicated in tumor resistance to killing. Notably, we discovered that ILKAP encoding the integrin-linked kinase-associated serine/threonine phosphatase 2C, a gene previously unknown to play a role in antigen specific CTL-mediated killing, mediate tumor resistance independently from regulating antigen presentation, IFN-γ or TNF-α responsiveness. Moreover, our work describes the contrasting role of soluble and membrane-bound ICAM-1 in regulating tumor cell killing. The deficiency of membrane-bound ICAM-1 (mICAM-1) or the overexpression of soluble ICAM-1 (sICAM-1) induced resistance to CTL killing, whereas PD-L1 overexpression had no impact. These results highlight the essential role of ICAM-1 at the immunological synapse between tumor and CTL and the antagonist function of sICAM-1.
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