The BET-bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 renders neuroblastoma cells more resistant to NK cell-mediated recognition and killing by downregulating ligands for NKG2D and DNAM-1 receptors

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Abstract

Low expression of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors contributes to neuroblastoma (NB) aggressiveness. Recently, we demonstrated that the expression of MYCN, a poor prognosis marker in NB, inversely correlates with that of activating ligands. This indicates that MYCN expression level can predict the susceptibility of NB cells to NK cell-mediated immunotherapy and that its downregulation can be exploited as a novel therapeutic strategy to induce the expression of activating ligands. Here we evaluated the effect of the BET-bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 on the expression of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors in NB cell lines. Although downmodulating MYCN, JQ1 impaired the expression of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors, rendering NB cell lines more resistant to NK cell-mediated killing. The downregulation of activating ligands was due to JQ1-mediated impaired functions of both c-MYC and p53, two transcription factors known to regulate the expression of ULBP1-3 ligands for NKG2D activating receptor. Moreover JQ1 strongly downregulated the levels of ROS, a stress-induced signaling event associated with the induction of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors. These results suggest that the use of JQ1 should be discourage in combination with NK cell-based immunotherapy in a perspective chemotherapeutic treatment of NB. Thus, further investigations, exploiting molecular strategies aimed to boost the NK cell-mediated killing of NB cells, are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2151-2160
Number of pages10
JournalOncotarget
Volume10
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2019

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