T-cell adhesion/costimulatory molecules and their cognate receptors on target cells play a major role in T-cell receptor (TCR)-mediated activities. Here, we compared the involvement of CD103 and LFA-1, and their respective ligands, in the maturation of the cytotoxic immune synapse (cIS) and in the activation of CTL effector functions. Our results indicate that cytotoxicity toward cancer cells and, to a lesser extent, cytokine production by specific CTL require, together with TCR engagement, the interaction of either CD103 with Ecadherin or LFA-1 with ICAM-1. Flow-based adhesion assay showed that engagement of CD103 or LFA-1, together with TCR, enhances the strength of the T-cell/target cell interaction. Moreover, electron microscopic analyses showed that integrin-dependent mature cIS (mcIS) displays a cohesive ultrastructure, with tight membrane contacts separated by extensive clefts. In contrast, immature cIS (icIS), which is unable to trigger target cell lysis, is loose, with multiple protrusions in the effector cell membrane. Experiments using confocal microscopy revealed polarized cytokine release and degranulation at the mcIS associated with target cell killing, whereas icIS is characterized by failure of IFN-γ and granzyme B relocalization. Thus, interactive forces between CTL and epithelial tumor cells, mainly regulated by integrin engagement, correlate with maturity and the ultrastructure of the cIS and influence CTL effector functions. These results provide new insights into molecular mechanisms regulating antitumor CTL responses and may lead to the development of more efficient cancer immunotherapy strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research