Saturday, September 28, 2019

A p53 Checkpoint For Cancer Therapy


Enormously complex signaling exists in the communication of antigens, receptors and ligands in DNA pathways between Natural Killer cells (NK) and target cells with which they interact. Based on observations, following NK formation of an immune synapse with its target cell two outcomes occur most often, termination or differentiation. The innate immune system comprises multiple cell types that are present and differentiated in tissues, but the predatory-like activity of NK has led to the general perception of its role in the immune system's front line.

As we have articulated many times on this blog, immunity and reproduction are tied, originally through allorecognition to the conserved p53-mdm2 axis. Further, it has become abundantly clear that auto-regulation of p53 occurs in multiple gene positive and negative feedback loops including mdm2. NK performance in young versus older patients showed a reduced capacity for, synaptic polarization and perforin release into the immune synapse before killing target cell. Further that the reduced release of perforin also reduced the capacity for NK to clear senescent cells associated with aging.

The activation of mitogen‐activated protein kinases (MAPK) is critical for lytic granule (perforin-granzyme) polarization, granule exocytosis and NK Cytotoxicity. It is possible that these proximal signalling events are compromised by aging. In addition, the studied p53 mutants regulated MAP2K3 gene whereas ectopic expression rescued the proliferative defect induced by mutant p53 knockdown.

In one series of experiments it was shown that the mutational status of p53 can facilitate cytotoxicity and different T cell recognition patterns. The p53 protein is presented by MHC molecules and the differential T cell recognition patterns seem confined to p53 as an antigen. The paper suggests p53 may behave differently to other classical tumor antigens, therefore a biomarker for immunotherapy targeting p53 should be the type of mutation expressed rather than protein levels only.

As previously reported, cytoskeleton superfamily member Talin1 has been uniquely tied to two essential NK functions;  activation of LFA1, required for binding ICAM on NK target cell and NK polarization that results. We know overexpression of talin head activates LFA1 and talin1 promotes cell proliferation by affecting the expression of BCL2 family and p53 network. But, mdm2 the conserved nemesis of p53 is neutralized by Merlin, another cytoskeleton superfamily protein also required for polarization. p53 also regulates the highly conserved Cdc42 which effects adhesion, actin cytoskeletal dynamics and cell movement including for angiogenesis in developing tumor microenvironments.

We found that activation of p53 augmented NK cell-mediated cytolysis of tumor cells via induction of ULBP2 expression on tumor cell surface. Further, we identified p53 as a direct transcriptional regulator of ULBP2 via an intron1 binding site, thus revealing previously unknown molecular mechanism controlling NKG2D ligand transcription. In mouse NK cells, talin is required for outside signaling by LFA1, which together with signaling by NKG2D induces granule polarization.

The functions of p53 are inextricably linked to multiple mechanisms in NK and target cells including recognition, antigen-receptor-ligand binding, cytoskeletal rearrangement, immune synapse, granzyme and perforin release. p53's mutation frequency and variances bearing p53 destabilizing mutations are recognized more effectively by p53-specific T cells than stabilized p53 mutants. Therefore, NK could operate its probe as a binding cipher that determines whether its target can be killed. Variable binding, and ectopic expression, resulting from a p53 feedback loop could be dependent on a p53 variable-kill-checkpoint that triggers the cascade of coordinated activities between NK and its target, generally referenced in the preceding paragraphs.

NK's p53 status, a targets MHC molecules presenting p53 antigens, ULBP2-NKG2D binding and relevant pathways confer with observations that the period of NK engagement is sufficient to allow downstream DNA transcription and translation to confirm and enable the kill event. Co-culture methods that could educate NK to better synchronize with targets, based on p53 status may usher in new regimes for organic immunotherapy. The Codondex research teams at Precision Autology are progressing through pre-clinical research using their computed cell selections.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hope for a p53 Autologous Natural Killer Cell Therapy

Natural Killer Cells (NK) are much more than cell killers! They possess mechanisms and sensitivities that among many functions has enabled them, at the front line of reproduction to interact with incoming trophoblasts that invade the uterine wall where NK cells perform functions that are critical for blastocyst implantation and pregnancy. NK are members of the innate immune system, but they can be licensed to kill and re-purpose cells whereas most innate immune cells directly target invading pathogens.

Maternal decicdual NK may be redirected by PreImplantation Factor (PIF) expressing, anti-apoptopic, extra-villous trophoblasts that invade the endometrium (epithelioid) of the decidua of the uterine wall. This may result from epithelial LIF expression, and LIFR(eceptors) critical for blastocyst implantation. LIF allele's may act as a NK switch, the direct result of a p53 promoter allele that targets specific LIF transcription that alters NK interactions with trophoblasts, the host endometria and vascular epithelia. If so redirection of NK is an essential mechanisms of conception that underwrites the development of the placenta.

Studies have revealed p53 targets LIF and demonstrated that, as a secreted protein LIF can function through the Stat3/ID1/MDM2 pathway to negatively regulate p53. Selected alleles in SNPs in LIF, Mdm2, Mdm4, and Hausp genes, each of which regulates p53 levels in cells, are also enriched in IVF patients. This association of SNPs in the p53 pathway with human fertility strongly suggests that p53 regulates human reproduction. It is distinctly possible enriched SNP's invoke regulation that negatively affects p53 which may also be the mechanism by which NK switches between modes that kill or transform its cell targets. In implantation, levels of p53  may lead to pre-eclampsia a condition that is the direct result of increased, p53 dependent apoptosis in extra-villous trophoblasts.

The mode of NK, in response to cancers may determine the fate of its target either by the binding of innate receptor combinations that initiate an immune synapse and perforin-mediated cytolysis or the release cytokines and chemokines that alters the inflammatory response. It was recently demonstrated these combinations are varied by different tissue and disease depending on p53 for example, in lung adenocarcinoma NK limited target killing and reduced inflammatory response allowing the cancer to spread. Further, peptides derived from p53 are presented by class I MHC molecules and may act as tumor-associated epitopes which could also be targeted by p53-specific T cells.  Results show that selected p53 mutations altering protein stability can modulate p53 presentation to T cells, leading to a differential immune reactivity inversely correlated with measured p53 protein levels.

These complex tissue dependent modes through p53 pathways that contribute negative or positive feedback loop's have prevented the most mutated gene in cancer from itself becoming a target of drug or immune therapy. Using a novel approach Precision Autology's Codondex algorithm computed the variable state of p53 isoforms, using a relative vector distance from the consensus to select patient cells for co-culture with, at least autologous NK for use in customized therapy. The approach will enable approved labs to identify highly specific cell targets, in part by their p53 state and to educate autologous NK cells based on a single p53 measure so that NK precision can be calibrated via the mismatch of target receptor combinations and p53.