Interaction between Bacteria and the Immune System for Cancer Immunotherapy: The α-GalCer Alliance - Inserm - Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal of Molecular Sciences Year : 2022

Interaction between Bacteria and the Immune System for Cancer Immunotherapy: The α-GalCer Alliance

Abstract

Non-conventional T cells, such as γδ T and invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, are emerging players in fighting cancer. Alpha-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) is used as an exogenous ligand to activate iNKT cells. Human cells don’t have a direct pathway producing α-GalCer, which, however, can be produced by bacteria. We searched the literature for bacteria strains that are able to produce α-GalCer and used available sequencing data to analyze their presence in human tumor tissues and their association with survival. The modulatory effect of antibiotics on the concentration of α-GalCer was analyzed in mice. The human gut bacteria Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides vulgatus, and Prevotella copri produce α-GalCer structures that are able to activate iNKT cells. In mice, α-GalCer was depleted upon treatment with vancomycin. The three species were detected in colon adenocarcinoma (COAD) and rectum adenocarcinoma tissues, and Prevotella copri was also detected in bone tumors and glioblastoma tissues. Bacteroides vulgatus in COAD tissues correlated with better survival. In conclusion, α-GalCer-producing bacteria are part of the human gut microbiome and can infiltrate tumor tissues. These results suggest a new mechanism of interaction between bacteria and immune cells: α-GalCer produced by bacteria may activate non-conventional T cells in tumor tissues, where they can exert a direct or indirect anti-tumor activity.
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Dates and versions

inserm-03741911 , version 1 (02-08-2022)

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Arsenij Ustjanzew, Valentin Sencio, François Trottein, Jörg Faber, Roger Sandhoff, et al.. Interaction between Bacteria and the Immune System for Cancer Immunotherapy: The α-GalCer Alliance. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2022, 23 (11), pp.5896. ⟨10.3390/ijms23115896⟩. ⟨inserm-03741911⟩
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