Journal of Experimental Medicine, 27 September, 2022, DOI：https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20220745
An engineered concealed IL-15-R elicits tumor-specific CD8+T cell responses through PD-1-cis delivery
Jiao Shen, Zhuangzhi Zou, Jingya Guo, Yueqi Cai, Diyuan Xue, Yong Liang, Wenyan Wang, Hua Peng, Yang-Xin Fu
Checkpoint blockade immunotherapy releases the inhibition of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) but weakly induces TIL proliferation. Exogenous IL-15 could further expand TILs and thus synergize with αPD-L1 therapy. However, systemic delivery of IL-15 extensively expands peripheral NK cells, causing severe toxicity. To redirect IL-15 to intratumoral PD-1+CD8+T effector cells instead of NK cells for better tumor control and lower toxicity, we engineered an anti–PD-1 fusion with IL-15-IL-15Rα, whose activity was geographically concealed by immunoglobulin Fc region with an engineered linker (αPD-1-IL-15-R) to bypass systemic NK cells. Systematic administration of αPD-1-IL-15-R elicited extraordinary antitumor efficacy with undetectable toxicity. Mechanistically, cis-delivery of αPD-1-IL-15-R vastly expands tumor-specific CD8+T cells for tumor rejection. Additionally, αPD-1-IL-15-R upregulated PD-1 and IL-15Rβ on T cells to create a feedforward activation loop, thus rejuvenating TILs, not only resulting in tumor control in situ, but also suppressing tumor metastasis. Collectively, renavigating IL-15 to tumor-specific PD-1+CD8+T cells, αPD-1-IL-15-R elicits effective systemic antitumor immunity.