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Distinct Molecular Mechanisms of Altered HLA Class II Expression in Malignant Melanoma

1
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
2
Institute of Medical Immunology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Magdeburger Str. 2, 06112 Halle (Saale), Germany
3
Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Perlickstr. 1, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Wong
Cancers 2021, 13(15), 3907; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153907
Received: 15 July 2021 / Accepted: 29 July 2021 / Published: 3 August 2021
There exists limited knowledge about the underlying molecular processes controlling the expression of HLA class II APM components and their prognostic significance in melanoma. Therefore, this study analyzed the basal and regulated expression of HLA class II antigens and components in melanoma cell lines and patients’ lesions in conjunction to T-cell infiltration. The heterogeneous constitutive HLA class II APM expression was caused by distinct molecular mechanisms and was partially linked to immune cell infiltration and clinical parameters. These results contribute not only to a better understanding of the regulation of HLA class II expression in melanoma, but might have an impact on the design of novel (immuno)therapies for the treatment of this disease.
Background: The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II molecules are constitutively expressed in some melanoma, but the underlying molecular mechanisms have not yet been characterized. Methods: The expression of HLA class II antigen processing machinery (APM) components was determined in melanoma samples by qPCR, Western blot, flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemical and TCGA datasets were used for correlation of HLA class II expression to tumor grading, T-cell infiltration and patients’ survival. Results: The heterogeneous HLA class II expression in melanoma samples allowed us to characterize four distinct phenotypes. Phenotype I totally lacks constitutive HLA class II surface expression, which is inducible by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ); phenotype II expresses low basal surface HLA class II that is further upregulated by IFN-γ; phenotype III lacks constitutive and IFN-γ controlled HLA class II expression, but could be induced by epigenetic drugs; and in phenotype IV, lack of HLA class II expression is not recovered by any drug tested. High levels of HLA class II APM component expression were associated with an increased intra-tumoral CD4+ T-cell density and increased patients’ survival. Conclusions: The heterogeneous basal expression of HLA class II antigens and/or APM components in melanoma cells is caused by distinct molecular mechanisms and has clinical relevance. View Full-Text
Keywords: HLA class II; CIITA; IFN; methylation; signal transduction HLA class II; CIITA; IFN; methylation; signal transduction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Meyer, S.; Handke, D.; Mueller, A.; Biehl, K.; Kreuz, M.; Bukur, J.; Koehl, U.; Lazaridou, M.-F.; Berneburg, M.; Steven, A.; Massa, C.; Seliger, B. Distinct Molecular Mechanisms of Altered HLA Class II Expression in Malignant Melanoma. Cancers 2021, 13, 3907. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153907

AMA Style

Meyer S, Handke D, Mueller A, Biehl K, Kreuz M, Bukur J, Koehl U, Lazaridou M-F, Berneburg M, Steven A, Massa C, Seliger B. Distinct Molecular Mechanisms of Altered HLA Class II Expression in Malignant Melanoma. Cancers. 2021; 13(15):3907. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153907

Chicago/Turabian Style

Meyer, Stefanie, Diana Handke, Anja Mueller, Katharina Biehl, Markus Kreuz, Jürgen Bukur, Ulrike Koehl, Maria-Filothei Lazaridou, Mark Berneburg, André Steven, Chiara Massa, and Barbara Seliger. 2021. "Distinct Molecular Mechanisms of Altered HLA Class II Expression in Malignant Melanoma" Cancers 13, no. 15: 3907. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153907

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