Transdifferentiation of tumor infiltrating innate lymphoid cells during progression of colorectal cancer

Transdifferentiation of tumor infiltrating innate lymphoid cells during progression of colorectal cancer

Abstract: 

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) reside in mucosal surfaces to potentiate immune responses, sustain mucosal integrity and maintain tissue homeostasis. However, how tumor infiltrating ILCs modulate tumor development and progression is unclear. Here we profiled tumor infiltrating ILCs during colorectal cancer (CRC) progression by single-cell RNA sequencing. We identified six clusters of tumor infiltrating ILCs with unique features. ILC1s expressed inhibitory receptors and underwent inhibitory functional conversion at the late stage of CRC. ILC2s were classified into three subsets (called ILC2-A, -B, -C), of which ILC2-C subset could facilitate tumor progression. HS3ST1 and PD1 were highly expressed in ILC2s of late stage CRC tumors and deficiency of HS3ST1 or PD1 in ILC2s suppressed tumor growth. Moreover, ILC3s transdifferentiated into ILCregs during CRC progression and ILCregs promoted tumor growth. Of note, TGF-β signaling initiated the conversion of ILC3s to ILCregs and blockade of TGF-β signaling could disrupt the ILCreg transdifferentiation and inhibited tumor growth. Thus, intervention of ILC conversions might be a potential strategy for CRC immunotherapy.

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