Granzyme B degradation by autophagy decreases tumor cell susceptibility to natural killer-mediated lysis under hypoxia.
- Tumor Immunotherapy and Microenvironment
- NORLUX Neuro-Oncology Laboratory
Recent studies demonstrated that autophagy is an important regulator of innate immune response. However, the mechanism by which autophagy regulates natural killer (NK) cell-mediated antitumor immune responses remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that hypoxia impairs breast cancer cell susceptibility to NK-mediated lysis in vitro via the activation of autophagy. This impairment was not related to a defect in target cell recognition by NK cells but to the degradation of NK-derived granzyme B in autophagosomes of hypoxic cells. Inhibition of autophagy by targeting beclin1 (BECN1) restored granzyme B levels in hypoxic cells in vitro and induced tumor regression in vivo by facilitating NK-mediated tumor cell killing. Together, our data highlight autophagy as a mechanism underlying the resistance of hypoxic tumor cells to NK-mediated lysis. The work presented here provides a cutting-edge advance in our understanding of the mechanism by which hypoxia-induced autophagy impairs NK-mediated lysis in vitro and paves the way for the formulation of more effective NK cell-based antitumor therapies.