In this study, we investigated the biophysical interaction between cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and CD80. CTLA-4 is a key molecule in immunosuppression, and CD80 is a costimulatory receptor promoting T cell activation. We observed that after cell-cell contact was established between breast cancer cells and antigen presenting cells (APCs), CTLA-4 expressed on the breast cancer cells bind to CD80 expressed on the APCs, and underwent trans-endocytosis to deplete CD80. Force measurement and live cell imaging revealed that upon binding to CD80, forces generated by breast cancer cells and transmitted via CTLA-4 were sufficiently strong to displace CD80 from the surface of APCs to be internalized by breast cancer cells. We further demonstrated that because of the force-dependent trans-endocytosis of CD80, the capacity of APCs to activate T cells was significantly attenuated. Furthermore, inhibiting force generation in cancer cells would increase the T cell activating capacity of APCs. Our results provide a possible mechanism behind the immunosuppression commonly seen in breast cancer patients, and may lead to a new strategy to restore anti-tumor immunity by inhibiting pathways of force-generation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering