Role of the actin cytoskeleton in breast cancer cell resistance to natural killer cells. (Doctoral thesis)
- Cytoskeleton and Cancer Progression
Tumor immune evasion plays a central role in cancer progression and is a major hurdle to effective immunotherapy. In this Thesis, we examine the role of the actin cytoskeleton in breast cancer cell resistance to natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cell lysis. We found that resistant breast cancer cells escape from NK-cell attack through a rapid and prominent accumulation of actin near the immunological synapse, a process we termed the “actin response”. Our mechanistic investigations suggest that the actin response drives autophagosome polarization toward the immunological synapse and thereby facilitates the autophagy-mediated degradation of NK cell-derived cytotoxic molecules such as granzyme B. In addition, the actin response was associated with inhibitory ligand clustering at the immunological synapse, suggesting that it is a common driver of different immune evasion mechanisms. Taken together, our data lays the groundwork for therapeutic approaches aimed at interfering with the actin response and restoring an effective anti-tumor immune response.