Gao, Y.; Xu, Y.; Zhao, S.; Qian, L.; Song, T.; Zheng, J.; Zhang, J.; Chen, B., Growth differentiation factor-15 promotes immune escape of ovarian cancer via targeting CD44 in dendritic cells. Exp Cell Res 2021, 402 (1), 112522.
Interaction Type: Protein-protein
Abstract: Immune escape is the main cause of the low response rate to immunotherapy for cancer, including ovarian cancer. Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15) inhibits immune cell function. However, only few reports described the mechanism. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of immune escape regulated by GDF-15 in ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer patients and healthy women were enrolled in this study. Immunohistochemistry and ELISA were performed to measure GDF-15 expression. Immunoprecipitation combined with mass spectrometry, surface plasmon resonance, and co-immunoprecipitation assay were used to evaluate the interaction between GDF-15 and the surface molecules of DCs. Immunofluorescence analysis, flow cytometry and transwell assay were used to evaluate additional effects of GDF-15 on DCs. The results showed that GDF-15 expression was higher in the ovarian cancer patients compared to that in the healthy women. The TIMER algorithm revealed that highly GDF-15 expression is associated with immune DC infiltration in immunoreactive high-grade serous carcinoma. A further study showed that GDF-15 suppressed DCs maturation, as well as IL-12p40 and TNF-α secretion, the length and number of protrusions and the migration. More importantly, CD44 in the surface of DCs interacted with GDF-15. The overexpression of CD44 in DCs resulted in the suppression of the inhibitory effect of GDF-15 on the length and number of DC synapses. In DCs overexpressing CD44 the inhibition of GDF-15 on the expression of CD11c, CD83 and CD86 was decreased, while in DCs with a knockdown of CD44 the inhibition was further enhanced. Knockdown of CD44 in DCs enhanced the inhibitory effect of GDF-15 on DC migration, while the overexpression of CD44 inhibited the inhibitory effect of GDF-15 on DC migration. In conclusion, the present study suggested that GDF-15 might facilitate ovarian cancer immune escape by interacting with CD44 in DCs to inhibit their function.