Acidosis-Induced TGF-β2 Production Promotes Lipid Droplet Formation in Dendritic Cells and Alters Their Potential to Support Anti-Mesothelioma T Cell Response

Cancers 2020 May 19 [Link]

Natalia Trempolec, Charline Degavre, Bastien Doix, Davide Brusa, Cyril Corbet, Olivier Feron


For poorly immunogenic tumors such as mesothelioma there is an imperious need to understand why antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells (DCs) are not prone to supporting the anticancer T cell response. The tumor microenvironment (TME) is thought to be a major contributor to this DC dysfunction. We have reported that the acidic TME component promotes lipid droplet (LD) formation together with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in cancer cells through autocrine transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2) signaling. Since TGF-β is also a master regulator of immune tolerance, we have here examined whether acidosis can impede immunostimulatory DC activity. We have found that exposure of mesothelioma cells to acidosis promotes TGF-β2 secretion, which in turn leads to LD accumulation and profound metabolic rewiring in DCs. We have further documented how DCs exposed to the mesothelioma acidic milieu make the anticancer vaccine less efficient in vivo, with a reduced extent of both DC migratory potential and T cell activation. Interestingly, inhibition of TGF-β2 signaling and diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase (DGAT), the last enzyme involved in triglyceride synthesis, led to a significant restoration of DC activity and anticancer immune response. In conclusion, our study has identified that acidic mesothelioma milieu drives DC dysfunction and altered T cell response through pharmacologically reversible TGF-β2-dependent mechanisms.