Checkpoint regulator B7x is epigenetically regulated by HDAC3 and mediates resistance to HDAC inhibitors by reprogramming the tumor immune environment in colorectal cancer

Yuxin Li, Yao Liu, Na Zhao, Xiaojun Yang, Yaqing Li, Fangzheng Zhai, Xingxing Zang, Wei Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

HDAC inhibitors are efficacious for treating lymphoma, but display limited efficacy in treating solid tumors. Here, we investigated the relationship between HDAC inhibitor resistance and the tumor immune environment in colorectal cancer. Our data indicated that among the investigated immune factors, B7x expression was enhanced in HDAC inhibitor-resistant colorectal cancer models in vitro and in vivo. In addition, gene manipulation results demonstrated that xenograft mice with tumors derived from a B7x-overexpressing CT-26 colorectal cancer cell line were resistant to HDAC inhibitor treatment. Notably, we found that there is a negative relationship between HDAC and B7x expression in both colorectal cancer cell lines and patients’ tumors. Furthermore, our data indicated that elevated expression of B7x was related to a poor prognosis in colorectal tumor patients. Interestingly, treatment with a specific inhibitor or siRNA of HDAC3, but not HDAC2, 6, and 8, resulted in obvious upregulation of B7x expression in colorectal cancer cells. In addition, our data showed that a cell line with high HDAC3 expression and low B7x expression had decreased enrichment of acetylated histone H3 in the promoter region of the gene encoding B7x. This pattern was reversed by addition of HDAC3 inhibitors. Mechanistically, we found that HDAC3 regulated B7x transcription by promoting the binding of the transcription activator C/EBP-α with the B7x promoter region. Importantly, our data indicated that an antibody neutralizing B7x augmented the response to HDAC inhibitor in the colorectal cancer xenograft model and the lung metastasis model by increasing the ratios of both CD4-positive and CD8-positive T cells. In summary, we demonstrated a role of B7x in HDAC inhibitor resistance and identified the mechanism that dysregulates B7x in colorectal cancer. Our work provides a novel strategy to overcome HDAC inhibitor resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number753
JournalCell Death and Disease
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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