Gene Summary

Gene:MICA; MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A
Aliases: MIC-A, PERB11.1
Summary:This gene encodes the highly polymorphic major histocompatability complex class I chain-related protein A. The protein product is expressed on the cell surface, although unlike canonical class I molecules it does not seem to associate with beta-2-microglobulin. It is a ligand for the NKG2-D type II integral membrane protein receptor. The protein functions as a stress-induced antigen that is broadly recognized by intestinal epithelial gamma delta T cells. Variations in this gene have been associated with susceptibility to psoriasis 1 and psoriatic arthritis, and the shedding of MICA-related antibodies and ligands is involved in the progression from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance to multiple myeloma. Alternative splicing of this gene results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2014]
Databases:IMGT/GENE-DB (MICA), OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (20)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Xenograft Models
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Breast Cancer
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Liver Cancer
  • Genotype
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Chromosome 6
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Gene Expression
  • Signal Transduction
  • Up-Regulation
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Natural Killer Cells
  • RNA Interference
  • Recurrence
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Alleles
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Ligands
  • Young Adult
  • Immunotherapy
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Down-Regulation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Tunisia
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: MICA (cancer-related)

Hu X, Zhang J, Wang J, et al.
Landscape of B cell immunity and related immune evasion in human cancers.
Nat Genet. 2019; 51(3):560-567 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor-infiltrating B cells are an important component in the microenvironment but have unclear anti-tumor effects. We enhanced our previous computational algorithm TRUST to extract the B cell immunoglobulin hypervariable regions from bulk tumor RNA-sequencing data. TRUST assembled more than 30 million complementarity-determining region 3 sequences of the B cell heavy chain (IgH) from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Widespread B cell clonal expansions and immunoglobulin subclass switch events were observed in diverse human cancers. Prevalent somatic copy number alterations in the MICA and MICB genes related to antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity were identified in tumors with elevated B cell activity. The IgG3-1 subclass switch interacts with B cell-receptor affinity maturation and defects in the antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity pathway. Comprehensive pancancer analyses of tumor-infiltrating B cell-receptor repertoires identified novel tumor immune evasion mechanisms through genetic alterations. The IgH sequences identified here are potentially useful resources for future development of immunotherapies.

Xia C, He Z, Liang S, et al.
Metformin combined with nelfinavir induces SIRT3/mROS-dependent autophagy in human cervical cancer cells and xenograft in nude mice.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2019; 848:62-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
The molecular mechanisms underlying the antineoplastic properties of metformin combined with nelfinavir remain elusive. To explore this question, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to observe the combinatorial effect of inducing autophagosome formation in human cervical cancer cells. Western blotting respectively assayed protein expression of LC3I, LC3II, Beclin-1, Autophagy-related protein 7 (Atg7), Autophagy-related protein 3 (Atg3), NAD-dependent deacetylase sirtuin-3 (SIRT3) and major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA). Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) cytotoxicity assay evaluated natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity in the presence of metformin and nelfinavir in combination or each drug alone. Using tumor xenografts in a nude mouse model, antitumor efficacy of the drug combination was assessed. We found that the drug combination could induce autophagosome formation in human cervical cancer cells. The biomarker proteins of autophagy, including Beclin-1, Atg7 and Atg3, decreased, but the ratios of LC3I/II increased. We also found that this drug combination sensitizes human cervical cancer cells to NK cell-mediated lysis by increasing the protein of SIRT3 and MICA. Moreover, this drug combination markedly induced autophagy of SiHa xenografts in nude mice. Therefore, it can be concluded that metformin, in combination with nelfinavir, can induce SIRT3/mROS-dependent autophagy and sensitize NK cell-mediated lysis in human cervical cancer cells and cervical cancer cell xenografts in nude mice. Thus, our findings have revealed the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying the antitumor effects of metformin in combination with nelfinavir in cervical cancer.

Laskar P, Somani S, Altwaijry N, et al.
Redox-sensitive, cholesterol-bearing PEGylated poly(propylene imine)-based dendrimersomes for drug and gene delivery to cancer cells.
Nanoscale. 2018; 10(48):22830-22847 [PubMed] Related Publications
Stimuli-responsive nanocarriers have attracted increased attention as materials that can facilitate drug and gene delivery in cancer therapy. The present study reports the development of redox-sensitive dendrimersomes comprising disulfide-linked cholesterol-bearing PEGylated dendrimers, which can be used as drug and gene delivery systems. Two disulfide-linked cholesterol-bearing PEGylated generation 3 diaminobutyric polypropylenimine dendrimers have been successfully synthesized via an in situ two-step reaction. They were able to spontaneously self-assemble into stable, cationic, nanosized vesicles (or dendrimersomes) with lower critical aggregation concentration values for high-cholesterol-bearing vesicles. These dendrimersomes were able to entrap both hydrophilic and hydrophobic dyes, and they also showed a redox-responsive sustained release of the entrapped guests in the presence of a glutathione concentration similar to that of a cytosolic reducing environment. The high-cholesterol-bearing dendrimersomes were found to have a higher melting enthalpy, increased adsorption tendency on mica surface, entrapping ability for a larger amount of hydrophobic drugs, and increased resistance to redox-responsive environments in comparison with their low-cholesterol counterpart. In addition, both dendrimersomes were able to condense more than 85% of the DNA at all the tested ratios for the low-cholesterol vesicles, and at dendrimer : DNA weight ratios of 1 : 1 and higher for the high-cholesterol vesicles. These vesicles resulted in an enhanced cellular uptake of DNA, by up to 15-fold when compared with naked DNA with low-cholesterol vesicles. As a result, they increased the gene transfection on the PC-3 prostate cancer cell line, with the highest transfection being obtained with low-cholesterol vesicle complexes at a dendrimer : DNA weight ratio of 5 : 1 and high-cholesterol vesicle complexes at a dendrimer : DNA weight ratio of 10 : 1. These transfection levels were about 5-fold higher than those observed when treated with naked DNA. These cholesterol-bearing PEGylated dendrimer-based vesicles are, therefore, promising as redox-sensitive drugs and gene delivery systems for potential applications in combination cancer therapies.

Luo D, Dong XW, Yan B, et al.
MG132 selectively upregulates MICB through the DNA damage response pathway in A549 cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(1):213-220 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Natural killer (NK) cells recognize stress‑activated NK group 2, member D (NKG2D) ligands in tumors. In the present study, the expression levels of NKG2D ligands were examined in four lung cancer cell lines (A549, PLA801D, NCI‑H157 and NCI‑H520). In the A549 cells, the expression of MHC class I polypeptiderelated sequence (MIC)A/B and UL16 binding protein (ULBP)1 was weak, the expression of ULBP2 was typical, and neither ULBP3 nor ULBP4 were expressed. The mechanism underlying the regulatory effect of a cancer treatment agent on the expression of NKG2D ligands was investigated using the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Following treatment for 8 h with MG132, the transcription levels of MICB and ULBP1 were upregulated 10.62‑ and 11.09‑fold, respectively, and the expression levels of MICB and ULBP1 were increased by 68.18 and 23.65%, respectively. Notably, MICB exhibited significant time‑dependent change. MG132 increased the transcription of MICB by acting at a site in the 480‑bp MICB upstream promoter. The activity of the MICB promoter was upregulated 1.77‑fold following treatment with MG132. MG132 treatment improved the cytotoxicity of NK cells, which was partially blocked by an antibody targeting NKG2D, and more specifically the MICB molecule. The expression of MICB induced by MG132 was inhibited by KU‑55933 [ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase inhibitor], wortmannin (phosphoinositide 3 kinase inhibitor) and caffeine (ATM/ATM‑Rad3‑related inhibitor). The phosphorylation of checkpoint kinase 2 (Chk2), an event associated with DNA damage, was observed following treatment with MG132. These results indicated that MG132 selectively upregulates the expression of MICB in A549 cells, and increases the NKG2D‑mediated cytotoxicity of NK cells. The regulatory effect of MG132 may be associated with the activation of Chk2, an event associated with DNA damage. The combination of MG132 with NK cell immunotherapy may have a synergistic effect that improves the therapeutic effect of lung cancer treatment.

Han X, Geng X, Li Z, et al.
The Relationship Between Phospho-p38, Matrix Metalloproteinase 9, and Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Chain-Related Molecule A Expression in Pituitary Adenomas Demonstrates a New Mechanism of Pituitary Adenoma Immune Escape.
World Neurosurg. 2019; 123:e116-e124 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related molecule A (MICA) is one of the natural killer group 2D ligands. Soluble major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related molecule A (sMICA) mediates tumor immune escape, but the mechanism is not fully understood. In this study, we examined the expression of phospho-p38, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and MICA and their relationships among each other in pituitary adenoma tissues to provide a histologic basis for the mechanism of pituitary adenoma immune escape.
METHODS: We applied immunohistochemistry, real-time quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot to detect phospho-p38, MMP-9, and MICA expression at the mRNA and protein levels in pituitary adenoma tissues. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to examine the expression levels of MMP-9 and sMICA in peripheral blood serum from patients with pituitary adenoma.
RESULTS: We found that p38, MICA, and MMP-9 mRNA levels were greater in pituitary adenomas than in normal tissues. The phospho-p38, MMP-9, and MICA proteins were overexpressed in pituitary adenomas, and the expression of MMP-9 and MICA were positively correlated with the expression of phospho-p38. In addition, the serum levels of sMICA and MMP-9 proteins in pituitary adenoma patients were significantly greater than those in normal controls.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that activation of the p38/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway may increase MICA expression and induce MMP-9 expression. MMP-9 is involved in the shedding of sMICA from MICA to promote tumor immune escape. Furthermore, p38/mitogen-activated protein kinase could potentially represent a novel target for inhibiting pituitary adenoma immune escape.

Yang J, Trépo E, Nahon P, et al.
PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 variants as risk factors of hepatocellular carcinoma across various etiologies and severity of underlying liver diseases.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(3):533-544 [PubMed] Related Publications
Few single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been reproducibly associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Our aim was to test the association between nine SNPs and HCC occurrence. SNPs in genes linked to HCC (DEPDC5, GRIK1, KIF1B, STAT4, MICA, DLC1, DDX18) or to liver damage (PNPLA3-rs738409, TM6SF2-rs58542926) in GWAS were genotyped in discovery cohorts including 1,020 HCC, 2,021 controls with chronic liver disease and 2,484 healthy individuals and replication was performed in prospective cohorts of cirrhotic patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD, n = 249) and hepatitis C (n = 268). In the discovery cohort, PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 SNPs were associated with HCC (OR = 1.67 [CI95%:1.16-2.40], p = 0.005; OR = 1.45 [CI95%:1.08-1.94], p = 0.01) after adjustment for fibrosis, age, gender and etiology. In contrast, STAT4-rs7574865 was associated with HCC only in HBV infected patients (p = 0.03) and the other tested SNP were not linked with HCC risk. PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 variants were independently associated with HCC in patients with ALD (OR = 3.91 [CI95%:2.52-6.06], p = 1.14E-09; OR = 1.79 [CI95%:1.25-2.56], p = 0.001) but not with other etiologies. PNPLA3 SNP was also significantly associated with HCC developed on a nonfibrotic liver (OR = 2.19 [CI95%:1.22-3.92], p = 0.007). The association of PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 with HCC risk was confirmed in the prospective cohort with ALD. A genetic score including PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 minor alleles showed a progressive significant increased risk of HCC in ALD patients. In conclusion, PNPLA3-rs738409 and TM6SF2-rs58542926 are inherited risk variants of HCC development in patients with ALD in a dose dependent manner. The link between PNPLA3 and HCC on nonfibrotic liver suggests a direct role in liver carcinogenesis.

Stepanenko AA, Chekhonin VP
A compendium of adenovirus genetic modifications for enhanced replication, oncolysis, and tumor immunosurveillance in cancer therapy.
Gene. 2018; 679:11-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this review, we specifically focus on genetic modifications of oncolytic adenovirus 5 (Ad5)-based vectors that enhance replication, oncolysis/spread, and virus-mediated tumor immunosurveillance. The finding of negative regulation of minor core protein V by SUMOylation led to the identification of amino acid residues, which when mutated increase adenovirus replication and progeny yield. Suppression of Dicer and/or RNAi pathway with shRNA or p19 tomato bushy stunt protein also results in significant enhancement of adenovirus replication and progeny yield. Truncation mutations in E3-19K or i-leader sequence or overexpression of adenovirus death protein (ADP) potently increase adenovirus progeny release and spread without affecting virus yield. Moreover, E3-19K protein, which was found to inhibit both major histocompatibility complex I (MHCI) and MHC-I chain-related A and B proteins (MICA/MICB) expression on the cell surface, protecting infected cells from T-lymphocyte and natural killer (NK) cell attack, may be tailored to selectively target only MHCI or MICA/MICB, or to lose the ability to downregulate both. At last, E3-19K protein may be exploited to deliver tumor-associated epitopes directly to the endoplasmic reticulum for loading MHCI in the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)-deregulated cells.

Nishioka Y, Shindoh J, Inagaki Y, et al.
Host MICA Polymorphism as a Potential Predictive Marker in Response to Chemotherapy for Colorectal Liver Metastases.
Dig Dis. 2018; 36(6):437-445 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Understanding the genetic background of a tumor is important to better stratify patient prognosis and select optimal treatment. For colorectal liver metastases (CLM), however, clinically available biomarkers remain limited.
METHODS: After a comprehensive sequencing of 578 cancer-related genes in 10 patients exhibiting very good/poor responses to chemotherapy, the A5.1 variant of the MICA gene was selected as a potential biomarker for CLM. The clinical relevance of MICA A5.1 was then investigated in 58 patients who underwent CLM resection after chemotherapy.
RESULTS: The A5.1 variant was observed in 16 (27.6%) patients examined using direct DNA sequencing, and a very high concordance rate (56/58, 96.6%) for the MICA variant was confirmed between tumor tissues and normal liver parenchyma. A multivariate analysis of 38 patients with no history of treatment with anti-EGFR antibodies confirmed that MICA A5.1 was significantly correlated with an optimal CT morphologic response (OR 11.67; 95% CI 2.08-65.60; p = 0.005) and tended to be correlated with a tumor viability of < 20% after chemotherapy (OR 5.91; 95% CI 0.97-36.02; p = 0.054). MICA A5.1 was also associated with a decreased risk of progression after CLM resection.
CONCLUSION: The MICA A5.1 polymorphism was associated with a better CT morphologic response to chemotherapy and a reduced risk of relapse after CLM resection. Given the high concordance rate in MICA variants between normal liver tissue and CLM, the genetic background of the host could be a new biomarker for CLM.

Huang CF, Wang SC, Yeh ML, et al.
Association of serial serum major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related A measurements with hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C patients after viral eradication.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019; 34(1):249-255 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related A (MICA) genetic variants and their serum levels (sMICA) were associated with the development of hepatitis C virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in untreated cohorts. The dynamic changes in serial sMICA levels and their association with HCC in the post-curative status are elusive.
METHODS: Single nucleotide polymorphism rs2596542 of MICA and serial sMICA levels were analyzed in chronic hepatitis C patients with a sustained virologic response after antivirals. Forty-two patients who developed HCC and 84 age-matched, gender-matched, and cirrhosis propensity score-matched non-HCC controls were compared. Serial sMICA levels were measured within 6 months before treatment initiation (pre-sMICA), 6 months after the end of treatment (post-sMICA), and on the last visit before the development (or not) of HCC (last-sMICA).
RESULTS: Cox regression analysis revealed that last-sMICA was the only predictive factor of HCC development (hazard ratio/95% confidence interval: 2.27 (per 1 log pg/mL increase)/1.672-3.082, P < 0.001). Patients without HCC development showed a significantly reduced trend of sMICA levels during follow-up (trend P = 0.001), which was observed only in GG genotype (trend P < 0.001) but not A allele carriers (P = 0.88). In contrast, patients with HCC showed an increased trend of sMICA levels (trend P = 0.024). However, only the GG genotype "high expressors" (trend P = 0.06) but not A allele carriers (P = 0.18) showed a correlation of substantially increased trend of sMICA levels and HCC development.
CONCLUSIONS: Serial sMICA levels were associated with HCC development in SVR patients. The clinical utility of this finding is restricted to MICA rs2596542 GG genotype carriers.

Arai J, Goto K, Tanoue Y, et al.
Enzymatic inhibition of MICA sheddase ADAM17 by lomofungin in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(10):2575-2583 [PubMed] Related Publications
In our previous study on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) susceptibility genes in chronic hepatitis patients, we identified the MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A (MICA). Natural killer cells eliminate various cancer cells, including HCC, by suppressing MICA shedding. Therefore, we investigated MICA sheddases and inhibitors for HCC immunotherapy. In this study, HepG2, PLC/PRF/5, and Hep3B were treated with the siRNA of a disintegrin and metalloproteases (ADAMs) and matrix metalloproteases to measure the concentration of soluble MICA (sMICA) by ELISA to detect the therapeutic target. Furthermore, an FDA-approved drug library was tested for the enzymatic inhibition of the targeted enzyme in an in vitro drug screening assay system. ADAM17 knockdown reduced sMICA levels and increased membrane-bound MICA (mMICA) expression in HCC cells. In an in vitro drug screen using an FDA-approved drug library, lomofungin, an antifungal drug, was found to strongly decrease ADAM17 activity. In HCC cells, mMICA expression was induced and sMICA production was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. These effects were cancelled upon ADAM17 knockdown, suggesting that lomofungin targeted ADAM17. Analysis of lomofungin analogs revealed the responsible functional groups. In summary, we suggest lomofungin to be an attractive agent for the immunological control of HCC, via the suppression of ADAM17.

Pistoia V, Tumino N, Vacca P, et al.
Human γδ T-Cells: From Surface Receptors to the Therapy of High-Risk Leukemias.
Front Immunol. 2018; 9:984 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
γδ T lymphocytes are potent effector cells, capable of efficiently killing tumor and leukemia cells. Their activation is mediated by γδ T-cell receptor (TCR) and by activating receptors shared with NK cells (e.g., NKG2D and DNAM-1). γδ T-cell triggering occurs upon interaction with specific ligands, including phosphoantigens (for Vγ9Vδ2 TCR), MICA-B and UL16 binding protein (for NKG2D), and PVR and Nectin-2 (for DNAM-1). They also respond to cytokines undergoing proliferation and release of cytokines/chemokines. Although at the genomic level γδ T-cells have the potential of an extraordinary TCR diversification, in tissues they display a restricted repertoire. Recent studies have identified various γδ TCR rearrangements following either hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) or cytomegalovirus infection, accounting for their "adaptive" potential. In humans, peripheral blood γδ T-cells are primarily composed of Vγ9Vδ2 chains, while a minor proportion express Vδ1. They do not recognize antigens in the context of MHC molecules, thus bypassing tumor escape based on MHC class I downregulation. In view of their potent antileukemia activity and absence of any relevant graft-versus-host disease-inducing effect, γδ T-cells may play an important role in the successful clinical outcome of patients undergoing HLA-haploidentical HSCT depleted of TCR αβ T/CD19

Zingoni A, Vulpis E, Cecere F, et al.
MICA-129 Dimorphism and Soluble MICA Are Associated With the Progression of Multiple Myeloma.
Front Immunol. 2018; 9:926 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Natural killer (NK) cells are immune innate effectors playing a pivotal role in the immunosurveillance of multiple myeloma (MM) since they are able to directly recognize and kill MM cells. In this regard, among activating receptors expressed by NK cells, NKG2D represents an important receptor for the recognition of MM cells, being its ligands expressed by tumor cells, and being able to trigger NK cell cytotoxicity. The MHC class I-related molecule A (MICA) is one of the NKG2D ligands; it is encoded by highly polymorphic genes and exists as membrane-bound and soluble isoforms. Soluble MICA (sMICA) is overexpressed in the serum of MM patients, and its levels correlate with tumor progression. Interestingly, a methionine (Met) to valine (Val) substitution at position 129 of the α2 heavy chain domain classifies the MICA alleles into strong (

Xu LJ, Ma Q, Zhu J, et al.
Combined inhibition of JAK1,2/Stat3‑PD‑L1 signaling pathway suppresses the immune escape of castration‑resistant prostate cancer to NK cells in hypoxia.
Mol Med Rep. 2018; 17(6):8111-8120 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Castration‑resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is difficult to treat in current clinical practice. Hypoxia is an important feature of the CRPC microenvironment and is closely associated with the progress of CRPC invasion. However, no research has been performed on the immune escape of CRPC from NK cells. The present study focused on this subject. Firstly, when the CRPC cell lines C4‑2 and CWR22Rv1 were induced by hypoxia, the expression of the UL16 binding protein (ULBP) ligand family of natural killer (NK) group 2D (NKG2D; ULBP‑1, ULBP‑2 and ULBP‑3) and MHC class I chain‑related proteins A and B (MICA/MICB) decreased. NKG2D is the main activating receptor of NK cells. Tumor cells were then co‑cultured with NK cells to conduct NK cell‑mediated cytotoxicity experiments, which revealed the decreased immune cytolytic activity of NK cells on hypoxia‑induced CRPC cells. In exploring the mechanism behind this observation, an increase in programmed death‑ligand 1 (PD‑L1) expression in CRPC cells induced by hypoxia was observed, while the addition of PD‑L1 antibody effectively reversed the expression of NKG2D ligand and enhanced the cytotoxic effect of NK cells on CRPC cells. In the process of exploring the upstream regulatory factors of PD‑L1, inhibition of the Janus kinase (JAK)1,2/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) signaling pathway decreased the expression of PD‑L1 in CRPC cells. Finally, it was observed that combined inhibition of JAK1,2/PD‑L1 or Stat3/PD‑L1 was more effective than inhibition of a single pathway in enhancing the immune cytolytic activity of NK cells. Taking these results together, it is thought that combined inhibition of the JAK1,2/PD‑L1 and Stat3/PD‑L1 signaling pathways may enhance the immune cytolytic activity of NK cells toward hypoxia‑induced CRPC cells, which is expected to provide novel ideas and targets for the immunotherapy of CRPC.

Yang X, Kuang S, Wang L, Wei Y
MHC class I chain-related A: Polymorphism, regulation and therapeutic value in cancer.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2018; 103:111-117 [PubMed] Related Publications
MICA and MICB are stress-induced molecules recognized by NKG2D, one of major activation receptors of natural killer (NK) cells. Upon binding to NKG2D, NKG2D-mediated cytolytic immune response of immune effector cells will be activated against virally infected and tumor cells expressing MICA. In the early oncogenic development, membrane-bound MICA serves as a key signal to recruit anti-tumor immune effectors. Nevertheless, both MICA polymorphic features and its dysregulated expression in evolving tumors have resulted in tumor evasion in various cancer types. Therefore, in order to reconstitute tumor immunosurveilance, it is of great significance that we understand MICA genetics, polymorphisms, mechanisms of MICA-associated tumor escape and molecular/cellular modulation of MICA. In this review, the MICA-associated co-expression networks involving microRNAs (miRNAs) and novel candidate long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were also discussed. Given the current importance in the study of MICA gene, this review paper focuses on the role of MICA in different cancer types, and strategies that we manipulate MICA regulation against tumor proliferation.

Augello G, Balasus D, Fusilli C, et al.
Association Between MICA Gene Variants and the Risk of Hepatitis C Virus-Induced Hepatocellular Cancer in a Sicilian Population Sample.
OMICS. 2018; 22(4):274-282 [PubMed] Related Publications
There are currently no biomarkers that predict hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis. We investigated the relationships among major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain-related gene A (MICA) polymorphisms, plasma levels of soluble MICA (sMICA), and HCC risk in patients with HCV-related HCC. One hundred fifty-four HCV-related HCC patients, 93 HCV-related liver cirrhosis (LC) cases, and 244 healthy controls, all sampled from the native Sicilian population, were genotyped using the KASP

Yamada N, Kato-Kogoe N, Yamanegi K, et al.
Inhibition of Asparagine-linked Glycosylation Participates in Hypoxia-induced Down-regulation of Cell-surface MICA Expression.
Anticancer Res. 2018; 38(3):1353-1359 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Hypoxia down-regulates the expression of cell surface major histocompatibility class I-related chain molecule A (MICA) without increasing its shedding. Recently, the inhibition of N-linked glycosylation was also shown to reduce the cell-surface expression of MICA. We investigated the participation of asparagine (Asn)-linked glycosylation in hypoxia-induced down-regulation of cell-surface MICA using osteosarcoma cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cell-surface expression and Asn-N-glycosylation of MICA were estimated by flow cytometry, and western blot analyses, respectively.
RESULTS: Hypoxia reduced the expression of N-linked glycosylated MICA, as well as the ratio of N-linked glycosylated to non-glycosylated MICA. 2-Deoxy-D-glucose, which inhibits N-linked glycosylation, reduced the cell-surface expression of MICA under normoxia, while D-Mannose increased N-glycosylated MICA, increasing cell-surface MICA under hypoxia. Cells transfected with wild-type MICA expression vector expressed cell surface MICA more than those transfected with mutant MICA expression vectors designed for abrogation of N-linked glycosylation.
CONCLUSION: The inhibition of Asn-N-linked glycosylation participates in hypoxia-induced down-regulation of cell-surface expression of MICA.

Arai J, Goto K, Stephanou A, et al.
Predominance of regorafenib over sorafenib: Restoration of membrane-bound MICA in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018; 33(5):1075-1081 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND AIM: The multi-kinase inhibitor regorafenib (REG) was recently demonstrated to be effective in patients with sorafenib (SOR)-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Interestingly, SOR is known to enhance the accumulation of membrane-bound MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A (mMICA) in HCC cells and to block the production of soluble MICA (sMICA), an immunological decoy. In addition, MICA is associated with HCC in patients with chronic hepatitis C. We have now compared the impact of REG and SOR on MICA in HCC cells, as well as the immunotherapeutic implications thereof.
METHODS: HepG2 and PLC/PRF/5 cells were exposed to REG and SOR, and levels of sMICA and mMICA were measured by ELISA and flow cytometry, respectively. The drugs were also tested in vitro for inhibitory activity against recombinant human A disintegrin and metalloprotease 9 (ADAM9), a sheddase that releases MICA from the membrane.
RESULTS: To a greater extent than SOR, but without marked difference in cytotoxicity, REG significantly suppressed mRNA and protein expression of ADAM9 and ADAM10, thereby decreasing production of sMICA and boosting accumulation of mMICA. Accumulation of mMICA in response to REG was reversed by siRNA against ADAM9. However, the drugs did not inhibit the enzymatic activity of ADAM9 in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: The clinical superiority of REG over SOR is partially attributable to reduced MICA shedding via transcriptional suppression of ADAM9 and ADAM10.

Shin S, Kim M, Lee SJ, et al.
Trichostatin A Sensitizes Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells to Enhanced NK Cell-mediated Killing by Regulating Immune-related Genes.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2017 Sep-Oct; 14(5):349-362 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The ability of HCC to avoid immune detection is considered one of the main factors making it difficult to cure. Abnormal histone deacetylation is thought to be one of the mechanisms for HCC immune escape, making histone deacetylases (HDACs) attractive targets for HCC treatment. Here, we investigated the effect of trichostatin A (TSA), a highly potent HDAC inhibitor, on HCC (HepG2) gene expression and function.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A genome wide-transcriptional microarray was used to identify genes regulated by TSA in HepG2 cells. Gene Ontology was used to identify pathways regulated by TSA, and these changes were confirmed by qPCR. The effect of TSA on natural killer (NK) cell-mediated killing of HCC cell lines were analyzed by both flow cytometry and LDH cytotoxicity assay. A study was also conducted in a Balb/c nude mice xenograft model to assess the anti-tumor activity of TSA.
RESULTS: TSA regulated the transcription of numerous innate immunity & tumor antigen recognition-associated genes, such as ULBP1 and RAET1G, in HCC cells. In vivo, TSA reduced tumor cell growth in an NK cell-dependent manner. In vitro, TSA treatment of HepG2 cells rendered them more susceptible to NK cell-mediated killing while increasing the expression of NKGD2 ligands, including ULBP1/2/3 and MICA/B. TSA also induced direct killing of HCC cells by stimulating apoptosis.
CONCLUSION: TSA likely increases killing of HCC cells indirectly by increasing NK cell-directed killing and directly by increasing apoptosis.

Holm A, Nagaeva O, Nagaev I, et al.
Lymphocyte profile and cytokine mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis suggest dysregulated cytokine mRNA response and impaired cytotoxic capacity.
Immun Inflamm Dis. 2017; 5(4):541-550 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a relatively rare, chronic disease caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) 6 and 11, and characterized by wart-like lesions in the airway affecting voice and respiratory function. The majority of HPV infections are asymptomatic and resolve spontaneously, however, some individuals are afflicted with persistent HPV infections. Failure to eliminate HPV 6 and 11 due to a defect immune responsiveness to these specific genotypes is proposed to play a major role in the development of RRP.
METHODS: We performed a phenotypic characterization of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected from 16 RRP patients and 12 age-matched healthy controls, using immunoflow cytometry, and monoclonal antibodies against differentiation and activation markers. The cytokine mRNA profile of monocytes, T helper-, T cytotoxic-, and NK cells was assessed using RT-qPCR cytokine analysis, differentiating between Th1-, Th2-, Th3/regulatory-, and inflammatory immune responses.
RESULTS: We found a dominance of cytotoxic T cells, activated NK cells, and high numbers of stressed MIC A/B expressing lymphocytes. There was an overall suppression of cytokine mRNA production and an aberrant cytokine mRNA profile in the activated NK cells.
CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate an immune dysregulation with inverted CD4

Breunig C, Pahl J, Küblbeck M, et al.
MicroRNA-519a-3p mediates apoptosis resistance in breast cancer cells and their escape from recognition by natural killer cells.
Cell Death Dis. 2017; 8(8):e2973 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aggressive breast cancer is associated with poor patient outcome and characterized by the development of tumor cell variants that are able to escape from control of the immune system or are resistant to targeted therapies. The complex molecular mechanisms leading to immune escape and therapy resistance are incompletely understood. We have previously shown that high miR-519a-3p levels are associated with poor survival in breast cancer. Here, we demonstrate that miR-519a-3p confers resistance to apoptosis induced by TRAIL, FasL and granzyme B/perforin by interfering with apoptosis signaling in breast cancer cells. MiR-519a-3p diminished the expression of its direct target genes for TRAIL-R2 (TNFRSF10B) and for caspase-8 (CASP8) and its indirect target gene for caspase-7 (CASP7), resulting in reduced sensitivity and tumor cell apoptosis in response to apoptotic stimuli. Furthermore, miR-519a-3p impaired tumor cell killing by natural killer (NK) cells via downregulation of the NKG2D ligands ULBP2 and MICA on the surface of tumor cells that are crucial for the recognition of these tumor cells by NK cells. We determined that miR-519a-3p was overexpressed in more aggressive mutant TP53 breast cancer that was associated with poor survival. Furthermore, low levels of TRAIL-R2, caspase-7 and caspase-8 correlated with poor survival, suggesting that the inhibitory effect of miR-519a-3p on TRAIL-R2 and caspases may have direct clinical relevance in lowering patient's prognosis. In conclusion, we demonstrate that miR-519a-3p is a critical factor in mediating resistance toward cancer cell apoptosis and impairing tumor cell recognition by NK cells. This joint regulation of apoptosis and immune cell recognition through miR-519a-3p supports the hypothesis that miRNAs are key regulators of cancer cell fate, facilitating cancer progression and evasion from immunosurveillance at multiple and interconnected levels.

Nakajima NI, Niimi A, Isono M, et al.
Inhibition of the HDAC/Suv39/G9a pathway restores the expression of DNA damage-dependent major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A and B in cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 38(2):693-702 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Immunotherapy is expected to be promising as a next generation cancer therapy. Immunoreceptors are often activated constitutively in cancer cells, however, such levels of ligand expression are not effectively recognized by the native immune system due to tumor microenvironmental adaptation. Studies have demonstrated that natural-killer group 2, member D (NKG2D), a major activating immunoreceptor, responds to DNA damage. The upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A and B (MICA/B) (members of NKG2D ligands) expression after DNA damage is associated with NK cell-mediated killing of cancer cells. However, the regulation of DNA damage-induced MICA/B expression has not been fully elucidated in the context of the types of cancer cell lines. In the present study, we found that MICA/B expression varied between cancer cell lines after DNA damage. Screening in terms of chromatin remodeling identified that inhibitors related to chromatin relaxation via post-translational modification on histone H3K9, i.e. HDAC, Suv39 or G9a inhibition, restored DNA damage-dependent MICA/B expression in insensitive cells. In addition, we revealed that the restored MICA/B expression was dependent on ATR as well as E2F1, a transcription factor. We further revealed that low‑dose treatment of an HDAC inhibitor was sufficient to restore MICA/B expression in insensitive cells. Finally, we demonstrated that HDAC inhibition restored DNA damage‑dependent cytotoxic NK activity against insensitive cells. Thus, the present study revealed that DNA damage‑dependent MICA/B expression in insensitive cancer cells can be restored by chromatin relaxation via the HDAC/Suv39/G9a pathway. Collectively, manipulation of chromatin status by therapeutic cancer drugs may potentiate the antitumor effect by enhancing immune activation following radiotherapy and DNA damage-associated chemotherapy.

Garrido-Tapia M, Hernández CJ, Ascui G, et al.
STAT3 inhibition by STA21 increases cell surface expression of MICB and the release of soluble MICB by gastric adenocarcinoma cells.
Immunobiology. 2017; 222(11):1043-1051 [PubMed] Related Publications
NKG2D is an activating receptor expressed on NK cells that binds to a variety of ligands, including MICA and MICB. These cell surface glycoproteins are overexpressed under cellular transformation, thus playing an important role in cell-mediated immune response to tumors. STAT3 is a transcription factor that is constitutively active in cancer. It negatively regulates MICA expression on target cells, while its inhibition enhances NK cell cytotoxicity against tumors. In this work, we aimed to describe the effect of STAT3 signaling inhibition by STA21 on the regulation of MICB expression in gastric adenocarcinoma cells and its effect on the cytotoxic function of NK cells. Treatment of gastric adenocarcinoma cells with STA21 induced an increase in MICB expression and soluble MICB secretion, as well as a variable pattern on effector cell degranulation. Soluble MICB secretion by gastric adenocarcinoma cells was not affected by metalloprotease inhibition. We also observed that primary gastric adenocarcinoma tissue released soluble MICB into the extracellular milieu. Recombinant MICB induced a significant decrease in the levels of NKG2D receptor on effector NK and CD8+ T cells, which correlated with an impaired cytotoxic function. Altogether, our data provide evidence that STAT3 signaling pathway regulates MICB expression on gastric adenocarcinoma cells and that recombinant soluble MICB compromises the cytolytic activity of NK cells.

Frazao A, Colombo M, Fourmentraux-Neves E, et al.
Shifting the Balance of Activating and Inhibitory Natural Killer Receptor Ligands on
Cancer Immunol Res. 2017; 5(7):582-593 [PubMed] Related Publications
Over 60% of human melanoma tumors bear a mutation in the

Zuo J, Willcox CR, Mohammed F, et al.
A disease-linked
Sci Signal. 2017; 10(481) [PubMed] Related Publications
NKG2D (natural killer group 2, member D) is an activating receptor found on the surface of immune cells, including natural killer (NK) cells, which regulates innate and adaptive immunity through recognition of the stress-induced ligands ULBP1 (UL16 binding protein 1) to ULBP6 and MICA/B. Similar to class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA), these NKG2D ligands have a major histocompatibility complex-like fold and exhibit pronounced polymorphism, which influences human disease susceptibility. However, whereas class I HLA polymorphisms occur predominantly in the α1α2 groove and affect antigen binding, the effects of most NKG2D ligand polymorphisms are unclear. We studied the molecular and functional consequences of the two major alleles of

Raneros AB, Minguela A, Rodriguez RM, et al.
Increasing TIMP3 expression by hypomethylating agents diminishes soluble MICA, MICB and ULBP2 shedding in acute myeloid leukemia, facilitating NK cell-mediated immune recognition.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(19):31959-31976 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a disease with great morphological and genetic heterogeneity, which complicates its prognosis and treatment. The hypomethylating agents azacitidine (Vidaza®, AZA) and decitabine (Dacogen®, DAC) have been approved for the treatment of AML patients, but their mechanisms of action are poorly understood. Natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in the recognition of AML blasts through the interaction of the activating NKG2D receptor with its ligands (NKG2DL: MICA/B and ULBPs1-3). However, soluble NKG2DL (sNKG2DL) can be released from the cell surface, impairing immune recognition. Here, we examined whether hypomethylating agents modulate the release of sNKG2DL from AML cells. Results demonstrated that AZA- and DAC-treated AML cells reduce the release of sNKG2DL, preventing downregulation of NKG2D receptor on the cell surface and promoting immune recognition mediated by NKG2D-NKG2DL engagement. We show that the shedding of MICA, MICB and ULBP2 is inhibited by the increased expression of TIMP3, an ADAM17 inhibitor, after DAC treatment. The TIMP3 gene is highly methylated in AML cells lines and in AML patients (25.5%), in which it is significantly associated with an adverse cytogenetic prognosis of the disease. Overall, TIMP3 could be a target of the demethylating treatments in AML patients, leading to a decrease in MICA, MICB and ULBP2 shedding and the enhancement of the lytic activity of NK cells through the immune recognition mediated by the NKG2D receptor.

Ghadially H, Brown L, Lloyd C, et al.
MHC class I chain-related protein A and B (MICA and MICB) are predominantly expressed intracellularly in tumour and normal tissue.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 116(9):1208-1217 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain-related protein A (MICA) and MHC class I chain-related protein B (MICB) are polymorphic proteins that are induced upon stress, damage or transformation of cells which act as a 'kill me' signal through the natural-killer group 2, member D receptor expressed on cytotoxic lymphocytes. MICA/B are not thought to be constitutively expressed by healthy normal cells but expression has been reported for most tumour types. However, it is not clear how much of this protein is expressed on the cell surface.
METHODS: Using a novel, well-characterised antibody and both standard and confocal microscopy, we systematically profiled MICA/B expression in multiple human tumour and normal tissue.
RESULTS: High expression of MICA/B was detected in the majority of tumour tissues from multiple indications. Importantly, MICA/B proteins were predominantly localised intracellularly with only occasional evidence of cell membrane localisation. MICA/B expression was also demonstrated in most normal tissue epithelia and predominantly localised intracellularly. Crucially, we did not observe qualitative differences in cell surface expression between tumour and MICA/B expressing normal epithelia.
CONCLUSIONS: This demonstrates for the first time that MICA/B is more broadly expressed in normal tissue and that expression is mainly intracellular with only a small fraction appearing on the cell surface of some epithelia and tumour cells.

Ivanova OK, Sharapova TN, Romanova EA, et al.
J Cell Biochem. 2017; 118(10):3359-3366 [PubMed] Related Publications
An important problem in cellular immunology is to identify new populations of cytotoxic lymphocytes capable of killing tumor cells that have lost classical components of MHC-machinery and to understand mechanisms of the death of these cells. We have previously found that CD4

Todorova VK, Makhoul I, Dhakal I, et al.
Polymorphic Variations Associated With Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity in Breast Cancer Patients.
Oncol Res. 2017; 25(8):1223-1229 [PubMed] Related Publications
Doxorubicin (DOX) is a commonly used antineoplastic agent for the treatment of various malignancies, and its use is associated with unpredictable cardiotoxicity. Susceptibility to DOX cardiotoxicity is largely patient dependent, suggesting genetic predisposition. We have previously found that individual sensitivity to DOX cardiotoxicity was associated with differential expression of genes implicated in inflammatory response and immune trafficking, which was consistent with the increasing number of reports highlighting the important role of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex polymorphism in hypersensitivity to drug toxicity. This pilot study aimed to investigate DNA from patients treated with DOX-based chemotherapy for breast cancer and to correlate the results with the risk for DOX-associated cardiotoxicity. We have identified 18 SNPs in nine genes in the HLA region (NFKBIL1, TNF-α, ATP6V1G2-DDX39B, MSH5, MICA, LTA, BAT1, and NOTCH4) and in the psoriasis susceptibility region of HLA-C as potential candidates for association with DOX cardiotoxicity. These results, albeit preliminary and involving a small number of patients, are consistent with reports showing the presence of susceptibility loci within the HLA gene region for several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and with our previous findings indicating that the increased sensitivity to DOX cardiotoxicity was associated with dysregulation of genes implicated both in inflammation and autoimmune disorders.

Suresh PK
Membrane-bound versus soluble major histocompatibility complex Class I-related chain A and major histocompatibility complex Class I-related chain B differential expression: Mechanisms of tumor eradication versus evasion and current drug development strategies.
J Cancer Res Ther. 2016 Oct-Dec; 12(4):1224-1233 [PubMed] Related Publications
Major histocompatibility complex Class I-related chain A/chain B (MICA/MICB) is stress-inducible, highly polymorphic ligands whose expression at the transcript level has been detected in all tissues except the central nervous system. However, their restricted protein expression is due to their regulation at the posttranslational level. Its levels are elevated in virally infected and neoplastically transformed cells. Membrane expression of this NKG2DL marks the aberrant cells for elimination by those immune effector cells that express the cognate NKG2D receptor. Among the evasion strategies developed by tumors, the metalloprotease-dependent shedding of MICA/MICB from tumors (either the free or the exosome form) can contribute to the inhibition of cytolysis by the immune effector cells (all NK cells, most NKT cells; γδ CD8+ T cells and αβ CD8+ T cells, as well as some αβ CD4+ T cells). There are micro-RNA clusters that regulate surface expression and shedding. Polymorphic variants can be used as susceptibility/associative markers and can also possibly be used to correlate with tumor survival as well as staging/grading of tumors. Variations in the expression level require quantification of this marker for diagnostic/prognostic and therapeutic purposes. Mechanism-based studies would provide a better tumor-specific understanding of their relative roles in the processes of tumor cell elimination versus growth and progression. Last but not least, conventional, interlaboratory validated assays (for, e.g., antibody-based methods) should be replaced by robust, reproducible, feasible biophysics-based methods using tumor biopsies. Further, correlative DNA polymorphism-based studies can be done using biological fluids (for, e.g., human saliva) that can be sampled by minimally invasive means.

Tietje A, Yang X, Yu X, Wei Y
MICA/IL-12: A novel bifunctional protein for killer cell activation.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 37(3):1889-1895 [PubMed] Related Publications
Natural killer (NK) cells have the potential to be effective killers of tumor cells. They are governed by inhibitory and activating receptors such as NKG2D, whose ligands are normally upregulated in cells that are stressed, like cancer cells. Advanced cancer cells, however, have ways to reduce the expression of these ligands, leaving them less detectable by NK cells. Along with these receptors, NK cells also require activating cytokines, such as IL-12. A previous study in our laboratory showed that a fusion protein of the extracellular domain of mouse UL-16 binding protein-like transcript 1 (MULT1E) and mouse interleukin 12 (IL-12) can effectively activate mouse NK cells by in vitro assays and in vivo in animal tumor models. The aim of the present study was to expand the concept of developing a novel bifunctional fusion protein for enhanced NK cell activation to human killer cells. The proposed protein combines the extracellular domain of a human NKG2D ligand, MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A (MICA) and IL-12. It is hypothesized that when expressed by tumor cells, the protein will activate human NK and other killer cells using the NKG2D receptor, and deliver IL-12 to the NK cells where it can interact with the IL-12R and enhance cytotoxicity. The fusion protein, when expressed by engineered tumor cells, indeed activated NK92 cells as measured by an increase in interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production and an increase in cytotoxicity of tumor cells. The fusion protein was also able to increase the proliferation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and augment their production of IFN-γ. This study along with the data from the previous mouse studies suggest that the MICA/IL-12 bifunctional fusion protein represents an effective activator of killer cells for cancer treatment.

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