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, VEGA, Ensembl, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2017


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

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 16 March 2017 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.

  • Signal Transduction
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Chromosome 6
  • Xenograft Models
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Staging
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Recurrence
  • Up-Regulation
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Natural Killer Cells
  • Receptors, Natural Killer Cell
  • Breast Cancer
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
  • Transfection
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Flow Cytometry
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Tunisia
  • Messenger RNA
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Young Adult
  • Gene Expression
  • Alleles
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Genotype
  • Down-Regulation
  • Liver Cancer
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunotherapy
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2017 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)

Huang CF, Huang CY, Yeh ML, et al.
Genetics Variants and Serum Levels of MHC Class I Chain-related A in Predicting Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients Post Antiviral Treatment.
EBioMedicine. 2017; 15:81-89 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: The genome-wide association study has shown that MHC class I chain-related A (MICA) genetic variants were associated with hepatitis C virus (HCC) related hepatocellular carcinoma. The impact of the genetic variants and its serum levels on post-treatment cohort is elusive.
METHODS: MICA rs2596542 genotype and serum MICA (sMICA) levels were evaluated in 705 patients receiving antiviral therapy.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight (8·2%) patients developed HCC, with a median follow-up period of 48·2months (range: 6-129months). The MICA A allele was associated with a significantly increased risk of HCC development in cirrhotic non-SVR patients but not in patients of non-cirrhotic and/or with SVR. For cirrhotic non-SVR patients, high sMICA levels (HR/CI: 5·93/1·86-26.38·61, P=0·002) and the MICA rs2596542 A allele (HR/CI: 4·37/1·52-12·07, P=0·002) were independently associated with HCC development. The risk A allele or GG genotype with sMICA>175ng/mL provided the best accuracy (79%) and a negative predictive value of 100% in predicting HCC.
CONCLUSIONS: Cirrhotic patients who carry MICA risk alleles and those without risk alleles but with high sMICA levels possessed the highest risk of HCC development once they failed antiviral therapy.

Fan LL, Xue XZ, Jiao N
In vitro effect of IL-17D on human ovarian carcinoma cells and inherent immunity.
J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2016 Jul-Sep; 30(3):815-820 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study explored the expression of interleukin 17D (IL-17D) secreted by human ovariancarcinoma cells and the effect of exogenous IL-17D transfection on MICA, which is the ligand of NKG2D, on the surface of ovary carcinoma cells. Human ovarian papillary serous adenocarcinoma cell line SKOV3, empty vector control cell line SKOV3/vector, exogenous human IL-17D stable-transfected cell line SKOV3/IL-17D, as well as cisplatin (CDDP)-resistant cell SKOV/CDDP were cultured; ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line OVCAR-3, empty vector control cell line OVCAR3/vector and OVCAE3/IL- 17D were observed under a microscope. In the study, methyl-thiazolyl-tetrazolium (MTT) method was used to detect the inhibition rate, resistance index and proliferation of SKOV3 and SKOV3/CDDP. It was found that the expression of IL-17 D in SKOV3/CDDP was much higher than that of its parent cell line SKOV3; IL-17D might be correlated to the drug resistance of cells; the proliferation of SKOV3 transfected with IL-17D was significantly accelerated, indicating IL-17D may be effective in promoting the growth of oncocyte.

Aurelian L, Bollino D, Colunga A
The oncolytic virus ΔPK has multimodal anti-tumor activity.
Pathog Dis. 2016; 74(5) [PubMed] Related Publications
Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are an emerging cancer therapeutic, with a near complete absence of serious adverse effects. However, clinical efficacy is relatively modest, related to poor tumor penetration, failure to lyse cancer stem cells (CSCs) and blockade of immunogenic cell death by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. To overcome such limitations, we developed an OV (known as ΔPK) with multimodal anti-tumor activity. ΔPK has potent anti-tumor activity both in melanoma cell lines and xenograft animal models, associated with virus replication and the induction of multiple independent programmed cell death pathways. It lyses CSCs through autophagy modulation and it reverses the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment by altering the balance of cytokines secreted by the tumor cells. This includes decreased tumor cell secretion of the immunosuppressive and procancerous cytokines IL-10 and IL-18 and concomitant increased secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, GM-CSF, IL-6 and IL-1β. ΔPK also upregulates the NKG2D ligand, MICA expressed by cytotoxic NK and T cells, and downregulates the negative immune checkpoint regulator cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4). ΔPK is well tolerated in human patients in whom it also alters the Th1/Th2 balance. Further studies are designed to elucidate the role of these contributions in different tumor types.

Bargostavan MH, Eslami G, Esfandiari N, Shams Shahemabadi A
MMP9 Promoter Polymorphism (-1562 C/T) Does not Affect the Serum Levels of Soluble MICB and MICA in Breast Cancer.
Iran J Immunol. 2016; 13(1):45-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The role of Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) in tumor invasion and progression is prominent. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the promoter region of MMP9 (-1562 C/T) increases the transcription and expression of this gene. On the other hand, MHC class I chain-related protein A and B (MICA/B) in soluble forms may impair tumor immunogenicity by reducing Natural Killer Group 2D (NKG2D) densities on NK cells and MMP9 enzyme activity has a prominent role in shedding of MICA/B.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between MMP9 (-1562 C/T) polymorphism and serum MICA/B level in breast cancer patients.
METHODS: In this case-control study, 105 patients with breast cancer and 100 healthy age-matched women were selected from Yazd hospitals, Iran. The polymorphism of MMP9 (-1562 C/T) was determined by PCR-RFLP. Concentration of MICB and MICA in the sera of breast cancer patients and healthy women were measured using ELISA method.
RESULTS: The frequency of CC, CT and TT genotypes and T allele of the MMP9 (-1562 C/T) did not show significant differences between breast cancer patients and healthy donors (p>0.05). On the other hand, the mean serum levels of MICB and MICA were significantly elevated in patients compared with healthy individuals (p<0.05). In patients with MMP9CC genotype, the mean serum MICB concentration was significantly higher than those patients with CT polymorphism (p<0.05). Although the mean of blood MICA concentration in patients with the CT genotype was higher than those patients with CC genotype, the difference was not statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: The T allele of the MMP9 (-1562 C/T) does not show a correlation with serum levels of MICA and MICB in breast cancer patients.

Ritter C, Fan K, Paulson KG, et al.
Reversal of epigenetic silencing of MHC class I chain-related protein A and B improves immune recognition of Merkel cell carcinoma.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:21678 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a virally associated cancer characterized by its aggressive behavior and strong immunogenicity. Both viral infection and malignant transformation induce expression of MHC class I chain-related protein (MIC) A and B, which signal stress to cells of the immune system via Natural Killer group 2D (NKG2D) resulting in elimination of target cells. However, despite transformation and the continued presence of virally-encoded proteins, MICs are only expressed in a minority of MCC tumors in situ and are completely absent on MCC cell lines in vitro. This lack of MIC expression was due to epigenetic silencing via MIC promoter hypo-acetylation; indeed, MIC expression was re-induced by pharmacological inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) both in vitro and in vivo. This re-induction of MICs rendered MCC cells more sensitive to immune-mediated lysis. Thus, epigenetic silencing of MICs is an important immune escape mechanism of MCCs.

Li H, Liu F, Zhu H, et al.
Interaction Between Polymorphisms of IFN-γ and MICA Correlated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Med Sci Monit. 2016; 22:549-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND We explored the relationship of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and MHC class-I chain related gene A (MICA) genes polymorphisms with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk, and tried to determine whether the interaction existed between these two genes polymorphisms on the basis of HCC. MATERIAL AND METHODS Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method was used to detect the genotypes of the 3 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and to analyze the correlation of each SNP with HCC susceptibility in 120 HCC patients and 124 healthy people. The association strength between the 3 SNPs and HCC is represented with odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI). Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) was tested by χ2 test in the control group. RESULTS GG genotype of IFN-γ rs2069727 polymorphism had apparently different distributions in case and control groups (P<0.05), and might confer increased risk of HCC (OR=3.40, 95%CI=1.23-9.38). Analysis of MICA rs2596542 polymorphism also yielded the same result (OR=2.90, 95%CI=1.10-7.67), as did their risk alleles. Specifically, the interaction between rs2596542 and rs2069705 polymorphisms increased the HCC risk by 1.41 times and between rs2596542 and rs2069727 polymorphisms the increased risk of HCC by 5.56 times. CONCLUSIONS IFN-γ rs2069727 and MICA rs2596542 polymorphisms may be related to the incidence of HCC. Interaction exists between the polymorphisms of IFN-γ and MICA, which may increase risk of HCC.

Low JS, Chin YM, Mushiroda T, et al.
A Genome Wide Study of Copy Number Variation Associated with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in Malaysian Chinese Identifies CNVs at 11q14.3 and 6p21.3 as Candidate Loci.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0145774 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a neoplasm of the epithelial lining of the nasopharynx. Despite various reports linking genomic variants to NPC predisposition, very few reports were done on copy number variations (CNV). CNV is an inherent structural variation that has been found to be involved in cancer predisposition.
METHODS: A discovery cohort of Malaysian Chinese descent (NPC patients, n = 140; Healthy controls, n = 256) were genotyped using Illumina® HumanOmniExpress BeadChip. PennCNV and cnvPartition calling algorithms were applied for CNV calling. Taqman CNV assays and digital PCR were used to validate CNV calls and replicate candidate copy number variant region (CNVR) associations in a follow-up Malaysian Chinese (NPC cases, n = 465; and Healthy controls, n = 677) and Malay cohort (NPC cases, n = 114; Healthy controls, n = 124).
RESULTS: Six putative CNVRs overlapping GRM5, MICA/HCP5/HCG26, LILRB3/LILRA6, DPY19L2, RNase3/RNase2 and GOLPH3 genes were jointly identified by PennCNV and cnvPartition. CNVs overlapping GRM5 and MICA/HCP5/HCG26 were subjected to further validation by Taqman CNV assays and digital PCR. Combined analysis in Malaysian Chinese cohort revealed a strong association at CNVR on chromosome 11q14.3 (Pcombined = 1.54x10-5; odds ratio (OR) = 7.27; 95% CI = 2.96-17.88) overlapping GRM5 and a suggestive association at CNVR on chromosome 6p21.3 (Pcombined = 1.29x10-3; OR = 4.21; 95% CI = 1.75-10.11) overlapping MICA/HCP5/HCG26 genes.
CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrated the association of CNVs towards NPC susceptibility, implicating a possible role of CNVs in NPC development.

Ribeiro CH, Kramm K, Gálvez-Jirón F, et al.
Clinical significance of tumor expression of major histocompatibility complex class I-related chains A and B (MICA/B) in gastric cancer patients.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(3):1309-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gastric cancer (GC) is the third most common cause of cancer death worldwide. Natural killer cells play an important role in the immune defense against transformed cells. They express the activating receptor NKG2D, whose ligands belong to the MIC and ULBP/RAET family. Although it is well established that these ligands are generally expressed in tumors, the association between their expression in the tumor and gastric mucosa and clinical parameters and prognosis of GC remains to be addressed. In the present study, MICA and MICB expression was analyzed, by flow cytometry, in 23 and 20 pairs of gastric tumor and adjacent non-neoplasic gastric mucosa, respectively. Additionally, ligands expression in 13 tumors and 7 gastric mucosa samples from GC patients were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The mRNA levels of MICA in 9 pairs of tumor and mucosa were determined by quantitative PCR. Data were associated with the clinicopathological characteristics and the patient outcome. MICA expression was observed in 57% of tumors (13/23) and 44% of mucosal samples (10/23), while MICB was detected in 50% of tumors (10/20) and 45% of mucosal tissues (9/20). At the protein level, ligand expression was significantly higher in the tumor than in the gastric mucosa. MICA mRNA levels were also increased in the tumor as compared to the mucosa. However, clinicopathological analysis indicated that, in patients with tumors >5 cm, the expression of MICA and MICB in the tumor did not differ from that of the mucosa, and tumors >5 cm showed significantly higher MICA and MICB expression than tumors ≤5 cm. Patients presenting tumors >5 cm that expressed MICA and MICB had substantially shorter survival than those with large tumors that did not express these ligands. Our results suggest that locally sustained expression of MICA and MICB in the tumor may contribute to the malignant progression of GC and that expression of these ligands predicts an unfavorable prognosis in GC patients presenting large tumors.

Roshani R, Boroujerdnia MG, Talaiezadeh AH, Khodadadi A
Assessment of changes in expression and presentation of NKG2D under influence of MICA serum factor in different stages of breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):6953-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In this study, we correlated the serum level of major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A (sMICA) with expression and presentation of NKG2D receptors on NK cells among patients with breast cancer. Peripheral blood (PB) samples were collected from 49 healthy and 49 breast cancer patients before surgery and chemotherapy. The expression and presentation of NKG2D were assessed using qRT-PCR and flow cytometry, respectively. Furthermore, sMICA levels were determined using ELISA. In flow cytometry, whole blood samples were stained with anti-CD56/NKG2D/CD3 and the obtained results were analyzed using WinMDI software. In addition, SPSS software was used for statistical analysis of data. Significantly higher levels sMICA were detected in the sera of the majority of cancer patients in contrast to healthy volunteers (P < 0.001). The expression and presentation of NKG2D receptor were significantly lower than those in healthy persons, and with an inverse correlation to sMICA and positively correlated with tumor stage. Our study showed that sMICA may have an important role in diminishing the expression and presentation of NKG2D receptor in breast cancer patients and proposes the notion that sMICA can be a target candidate for treatment of breast cancer.

Choi SW, Shin TH, Uddin MH, et al.
STB-HO, a novel mica fine particle, inhibits the teratoma-forming ability of human embryonic stem cells after in vivo transplantation.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(3):2684-95 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although pluripotent stem cell (PSC) therapy has advantages for clinical applications because of the self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation abilities of PSCs, it also has disadvantages in terms of the potential for PSCs to undergo malignant transformation or unexpected differentiation. The prevention of teratoma formation is the largest hurdle of all. Despite intensive studies that have investigated ways to block teratomas, such methods have yet to be further developed for clinical use. Here, a new approach has focused on exerting anti-tumorigenic effects using a novel mica fine particle (MFP) designated STB-HO. Treatment with STB-HO regulated pluripotency- and apoptosis-related genes in differentiating human embryonic stem (hES) cells, while there is no effects in undifferentiated hES cells. In particular, STB-HO blocked the anti-apoptotic gene BIRC5 and activated p53, p21 and the pro-apoptotic proteins Bim, Puma and p-Bad during early spontaneous differentiation. Moreover, STB-HO-pretreated differentiating hES cells did not give rise to teratomas following in vivo stem cell transplantation. Our in vitro and in vivo results suggest a method for teratoma prevention in the context of PSC-derived cell transplantation. This novel MFP could break through the limitations of PSC therapy.

Xu H, Zhu XX, Chen J
DNT cell inhibits the growth of pancreatic carcinoma via abnormal expressions of NKG2D and MICA in vivo.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 469(2):145-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
This research aimed to investigate the effects of natural killer group 2 member D (NKG2D) and its ligands major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related molecules A(MICA) in DNT cell killing pancreatic carcinoma. Antibodies adsorption was used to separate DNT cell from human peripheral blood. Human pancreatic tumor models were established via implanting BXPC-3 cells into nude mice. Then randomly divided mice into blank group, gemcitabine group and DNT group. Mice weights and mice tumor volumes were measured every 5 days. 50 days later mice were euthanized at cervical dislocation method. Tumor weights were measured. Relative tumor volume and tumor inhibition rate were calculated. Western blot and qPCR were used to detect the expressions of NKG2D and MICA in the transplanted tumors of the three groups. DNT cell significantly increased over time. The blank group tumor volume and weight were significantly larger than the other groups (p < 0.001, p < 0.001), but there were no significantly difference between DNT group and gemcitabine group (p > 0.05). Gemcitabine and DNT cell tumor inhibition rate were 40.4% and 35.5%. Western blot and qPCR showed that MICA mRNA and protein levels in blank group were significantly higher than DNT group (p = 0.001, p = 0.003). NKG2D mRNA and protein levels in blank group were significantly lower than DNT cells group (p < 0.001, p = 0.001). In conclusion DNT cell can significantly inhibit the growth of pancreatic carcinoma in vivo, and the mechanism may be involved in abnormal expressions of MICA and NKG2D.

Chen Y, Lin WS, Zhu WF, et al.
Tumor MICA status predicts the efficacy of immunotherapy with cytokine-induced killer cells for patients with gastric cancer.
Immunol Res. 2016; 64(1):251-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study, we determine the relationship between the expression of major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA) in gastric cancer tumors after D2 gastrectomy and the clinical outcome of a CIK-containing adjuvant therapy. Ninety-five consecutive patients with gastric cancer after D2 gastrectomy who received adjuvant chemotherapy combined with CIK cell therapy were enrolled. The MICA expression of their tumors was determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC). High expression of MICA protein was documented by IHC in 38 of 95 tumor samples (40.0 %). The MICA status was significantly associated with the age and stage, p = 0.008 and 0.023, respectively. Analysis of NKG2D on in vitro expanded CIK cells showed that the percentages of NKG2D+ in CD3+/CD56+, CD3-/CD56+, and CD3+/CD8+ cells populations were 97.2 ± 1.4, 97.9 ± 1.8, and 95.6 ± 2.1 %, respectively. For patient with high MICA-expressing tumors, the median DFS and OS were longer than for the patients with tumors with low expression of MICA; 46.0 versus 41.0 months (p = 0.027), and 48.0 versus 42.0 months (p = 0.031), respectively. In a multivariate analysis, stage and MICA expression were independent prognostic factors for DFS and OS. Our findings show that adjuvant chemotherapy plus CIK therapy treatment is a promising modality for treating gastric cancer patients after D2 gastrectomy. Especially, those who have tumors with high expression of MICA were more likely to benefit from such a treatment strategy. Subsequent studies in clinical trial cohorts will be required to confirm the clinical utility of these markers.

Labani-Motlagh A, Israelsson P, Ottander U, et al.
Differential expression of ligands for NKG2D and DNAM-1 receptors by epithelial ovarian cancer-derived exosomes and its influence on NK cell cytotoxicity.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):5455-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancers constitutively produce and secrete into the blood and other biofluids 30-150 nm-sized endosomal vehicles called exosomes. Cancer-derived exosomes exhibit powerful influence on a variety of biological mechanisms to the benefit of the tumors that produce them. We studied the immunosuppressive ability of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) exosomes on two cytotoxic pathways of importance for anticancer immunity-the NKG2D receptor-ligand pathway and the DNAM-1-PVR/nectin-2 pathway. Using exosomes, isolated from EOC tumor explant and EOC cell-line culture supernatants, and ascitic fluid from EOC patients, we studied the expression of NKG2D and DNAM-1 ligands on EOC exosomes and their ability to downregulate the cognate receptors. Our results show that EOC exosomes differentially and constitutively express NKG2D ligands from both MICA/B and ULBP families on their surface, while DNAM-1 ligands are more seldom expressed and not associated with the exosomal membrane surface. Consequently, the NKG2D ligand-bearing EOC exosomes significantly downregulated the NKG2D receptor expression on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) while the DNAM-1 receptor was unaffected. The downregulation of NKG2D receptor expression was coupled to inhibition of NKG2D receptor-ligand-mediated degranulation and cytotoxicity measured in vitro with OVCAR-3 and K562 cells as targets. The EOC exosomes acted as a decoy impairing the NKG2D mediated cytotoxicity while the DNAM-1 receptor-ligand system remained unchanged. Taken together, our results support and explain the mechanism behind the recently reported finding that in EOC, NK-cell recognition and killing of tumor cells was mainly dependent on DNAM-1 signaling while the contribution of the NKG2D receptor-ligand pathway was complementary and uncertain.

Miyashita T, Miki K, Kamigaki T, et al.
Low-dose gemcitabine induces major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A/B expression and enhances an antitumor innate immune response in pancreatic cancer.
Clin Exp Med. 2017; 17(1):19-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
We investigated the effect of gemcitabine (GEM), a key drug for pancreatic cancer treatment, on the expression of cell surface MICA/B in pancreatic cancer cells and resulting cytotoxicity of γδ T cells. We assessed the effect of GEM on the upregulation of cell surface MICA/B expression by flow cytometry, utilizing six pancreatic cancer cell lines. MICA and CD16 expressions from resected pancreatic cancer patient specimens, which received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) with GEM, were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. GEM could increase MICA/B expression on cell surface in pancreatic cancer cell lines (in 2 of 6 cell lines). This effect was most effectively at concentration not affecting cell growth of GEM (0.001 μM), because MICA/B negative population was appeared at concentration at cytostatic and cytotoxic effect to cell growth (0.1 and 10 μM). The cytotoxic activity of γδ T cells against PANC-1 was detected and functions through interactions between NKG2D and MICA/B. However, the enhancement of NKG2D-dependent cytotoxicity with increased MICA/B expression, by GEM treatment, was not observed. In addition, soluble MIC molecules were released from pancreatic cancer cell lines in culture supernatant with GEM treatment. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that MICA expression in tumor cells and CD16 positive cells surrounding tumors were significantly higher in the NAC group compared to that of the control group. There was a significant correlation between NAC and MICA expression, as well as NAC and CD16 positive cell expression. The present results indicate that low-dose GEM-induced MICA/B expression enhances innate immune function rather than cytotoxicity in pancreatic cancer. In addition, our result suggests that the inhibition of cleavage and release of MIC molecules from the tumor surface could potentially improve NKG2D-dependent cytotoxicity.

Okita R, Wolf D, Yasuda K, et al.
Contrasting Effects of the Cytotoxic Anticancer Drug Gemcitabine and the EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Gefitinib on NK Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity via Regulation of NKG2D Ligand in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(10):e0139809 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Several cytotoxic anticancer drugs inhibit DNA replication and/or mitosis, while EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors inactivate EGFR signalling in cancer cell. Both types of anticancer drugs improve the overall survival of the patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although tumors often become refractory to this treatment. Despite several mechanisms by which the tumors become resistant having been described the effect of these compounds on anti-tumor immunity remains largely unknown.
METHODS: This study examines the effect of the cytotoxic drug Gemcitabine and the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor Gefitinib on the expression of NK group 2 member D (NKG2D) ligands as well as the sensitivity of NSCLC cells to the NK-mediated lysis.
RESULTS: We demonstrate that Gemcitabine treatment leads to an enhanced expression, while Gefitinib downregulated the expression of molecules that act as key ligands for the activating receptor NKG2D and promote NK cell-mediated recognition and cytolysis. Gemcitabine activated ATM and ATM- and Rad-3-related protein kinase (ATR) pathways. The Gemcitabine-induced phosphorylation of ATM as well as the upregulation of the NKG2D ligand expression could be blocked by an ATM-ATR inhibitor. In contrast, Gefitinib attenuated NKG2D ligand expression. Silencing EGFR using siRNA or addition of the PI3K inhibitor resulted in downregulation of NKG2D ligands. The observations suggest that the EGFR/PI3K pathway also regulates the expression of NKG2D ligands. Additionally, we showed that both ATM-ATR and EGFR regulate MICA/B via miR20a.
CONCLUSION: In keeping with the effect on NKG2D expression, Gemcitabine enhanced NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity while Gefitinib attenuated NK cell killing in NSCLC cells.

Zhang X, Yan L, Jiao W, et al.
The clinical and biological significance of MICA in clear cell renal cell carcinoma patients.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(2):2153-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Major histocompatibility complex class I-related chains A (MICA), a ligand of Natural killer group 2, member D (NKG2D) receptor, is broadly upregulated in epithelial originated tumor cells. MICA plays a critical role in the immune surveillance against tumor cells and is associated with the prognosis of several malignancies. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical and biological significance of MICA in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). The expression of MICA was analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Both MICA mRNA and protein levels were upregulated in ccRCC tissues, compared with normal tissues. IHC staining revealed a homogenous pattern of MICA staining within each tumor, which combined both membrane staining and granular cytoplasmic staining. Furthermore, high MICA expression was associated with lymph node metastasis and advanced clinical stage and predicted poor prognosis in patients with ccRCC. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed using RNA-sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network (TCGA) to elucidate the biological role of MICA in ccRCC and revealed that MICA was significantly associated with the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) gene set, which was further confirmed by qRT-PCR. Our findings contribute to the studies on biomarkers of kidney cancers and the mechanism of renal cancer progression driven by EMT pathway.

Fionda C, Abruzzese MP, Zingoni A, et al.
The IMiDs targets IKZF-1/3 and IRF4 as novel negative regulators of NK cell-activating ligands expression in multiple myeloma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(27):23609-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) have potent anti-tumor activities in multiple myeloma (MM) and are able to enhance the cytotoxic function of natural killer (NK) cells, important effectors of the immune response against MM. Here, we show that these drugs can enhance the expression of the NKG2D and DNAM-1 activating receptor ligands MICA and PVR/CD155 in human MM cell lines and primary malignant plasma cells. Depletion of cereblon (CRBN) by shRNA interference strongly impaired upregulation of these ligands and, more interestingly, IMiDs/CRBN-mediated downregulation of the transcription factors Ikaros (IKZF1), Aiolos (IKZF3) and IRF4 was critical for these regulatory mechanisms. Indeed, shRNA knockdown of IKZF1 or IKZF3 expression was both necessary and sufficient for the upregulation of MICA and PVR/CD155 expression, suggesting that these transcription factors can repress these genes; accordingly, the direct interaction and the negative role of IKZF1 and IKZF3 proteins on MICA and PVR/CD155 promoters were demonstrated. Finally, MICA expression was enhanced in IRF4-silenced cells, indicating a specific suppressive role of this transcription factor on MICA gene expression in MM cells.Taken together, these findings describe novel molecular pathways involved in the regulation of MICA and PVR/CD155 gene expression and identify the transcription factors IKZF-1/IKZF-3 and IRF4 as repressors of these genes in MM cells.

Matsuura K, Tanaka Y
Host genetic variants influencing the clinical course of hepatitis C virus infection.
J Med Virol. 2016; 88(2):185-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
The clinical course of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection greatly differs in individuals. Various viral, host, and environmental factors influence the natural history of HCV infection. Recent genome-wide association studies identified several host genetic factors influencing treatment efficacy or clinical course in HCV infection. A landmark discovery was that IFNL3-IFNL4 variants are strongly associated with responses to interferon-based treatment. Genetic variants in IFNL3-IFNL4 as well as those in HLA class II loci influence the spontaneous clearance of acute HCV infection. Interestingly, these genetic variants also affect the activity of hepatitis, or disease progression in chronic hepatitis C. In addition, polymorphisms in apoptosis-related genes such as RNF7, TULP1, and MERTK are associated with fibrosis progression, and DEPDC5 and MICA variants are associated with HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma. Understanding the genetic factors associated with the clinical course of HCV infection is essential for personalized treatment and surveillance of disease progression and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Siew YY, Neo SY, Yew HC, et al.
Oxaliplatin regulates expression of stress ligands in ovarian cancer cells and modulates their susceptibility to natural killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity.
Int Immunol. 2015; 27(12):621-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Selected cytotoxic chemicals can provoke the immune system to recognize and destroy malignant tumors. Most of the studies on immunogenic cell death are focused on the signals that operate on a series of receptors expressed by dendritic cells to induce tumor antigen-specific T-cell responses. Here, we explored the effects of oxaliplatin, an immunogenic cell death inducer, on the induction of stress ligands and promotion of natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cytotoxicity in human ovarian cancer cells. The results indicated that treatment of tumor cells with oxaliplatin induced the production of type I interferons and chemokines and enhanced the expression of major histocompatibility complex class I-related chains (MIC) A/B, UL16-binding protein (ULBP)-3, CD155 and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-R1/R2. Furthermore, oxaliplatin but not cisplatin treatment enhanced susceptibility of ovarian cancer cells to NK cell-mediated cytolysis. In addition, activated NK cells completely abrogated the growth of cancer cells that were pretreated with oxaliplatin. However, cancer cells pretreated with the same concentration of oxaliplatin alone were capable of potentiating regrowth over a period of time. These results suggest an advantage in combining oxaliplatin and NK cell-based therapy in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Further investigation on such potential combination therapy is warranted.

Zhao YK, Jia CM, Yuan GJ, et al.
Expression and clinical value of the soluble major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A molecule in the serum of patients with renal tumors.
Genet Mol Res. 2015; 14(2):7233-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
We investigated the expression and clinical value of the soluble major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A (sMICA) molecule in the serum of patients with renal tumors. Sixty patients diagnosed with renal tumors were enrolled in the experimental group, whereas 20 healthy volunteers served as the control group. The sMICA levels were measured via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the results were analyzed in combination with data from pathol-ogy examination. The experimental group had a statistically significant higher sMICA level (P < 0.05) than the control group. The sMICA level was higher in patients with malignant tumors than in those with be-nign tumors. We also observed a positive relationship among different tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) pathological stages with more advanced diseases exhibiting higher sMICA levels. As a tumor-associated antigen, MICA has a close relationship with renal tumorigenesis and immune es-cape. Our results indicated that sMICA levels were related to tumor pathol-ogy, TNM stage, and metastasis. Therefore, sMICA might be a potential marker for tumor characteristics, prognosis, and recurrence prediction.

Xuan XY, Zhang JF, Hu GM, et al.
Upregulated expression of NKG2D and its ligands give potential therapeutic targets for patients with thymoma.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2015; 22(7):368-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
The activating receptor NKG2D (natural killer group 2, member D) of natural killer (NK) cells promotes tumor immune surveillance by targeting ligands selectively induced on cancer cells, and thus having an important role in antitumor immune response. Because these ligands are not widely expressed on healthy adult tissue, NKG2D ligands may present as useful target for immunotherapeutic approaches in cancer. In this study, to elucidate the role of NKG2D-NKG2D ligand interaction in thymoma tissues and to evaluate the potential role of NKG2D ligands as therapeutic target for thymoma, we examined the expression of NKG2D and its specific ligands: MICA (major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related protein A), MICB (major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related protein B) and ULBP (UL16-binding protein) in 36 thymomas (6 subtype A, 6 subtype AB, 8 subtype B1, 5 subtype B2, 6 subtype B3 and 5 subtype C), 15 thymic atrophy and 8 thymic hyperplasia by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-real-time-PCR methods. We demonstrated that both mRNA and protein levels of NKG2D, MICA, MICB and ULBP were upregulated in six types of thymomas compared with those in atrophic thymus or proliferating thymus. Furthermore, the NKG2D ligands were found to be frequently coexpressed on thymoma cells. Furthermore, the expression of MICA, MICB and ULBP in subtype C was higher compared with those in subtype A, AB, B1, B2 and B3. Thus, we concluded that high expressions of NKG2D, MICA, MICB and ULBP1 were shown in patients with thymoma, and this may enhance the recognition function of NK cells to eliminate tumor cells. MICA, MICB and ULBP presented an attractive target for thymoma therapy. The abnormal expression of NKG2D, MICA, MICB and ULBP1 can provide us with evidence of the occurrence of thymoma and could also be used as a target in the treatment of thymoma.

Zingoni A, Cecere F, Vulpis E, et al.
Genotoxic Stress Induces Senescence-Associated ADAM10-Dependent Release of NKG2D MIC Ligands in Multiple Myeloma Cells.
J Immunol. 2015; 195(2):736-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genotoxic stress can promote antitumor NK cell responses by upregulating the surface expression of activating ligands on cancer cells. Moreover, a number of studies suggested a role for soluble NK group 2D ligands in the impairment of NK cell tumor recognition and killing. We investigated whether genotoxic stress could promote the release of NK group 2D ligands (MHC class I-related chain [MIC]A and MICB), as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying this event in human multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Our results show that genotoxic agents used in the therapy of MM (i.e., doxorubicin and melphalan) selectively affect the shedding of MIC molecules that are sensitive to proteolytic cleavage, whereas the release of the short MICA*008 allele, which is frequent in the white population, is not perturbed. In addition, we found that a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 expression is upregulated upon chemotherapeutic treatment both in patient-derived CD138(+)/CD38(+) plasma cells and in several MM cell lines, and we demonstrate a crucial role for this sheddase in the proteolytic cleavage of MIC by means of silencing and pharmacological inhibition. Interestingly, the drug-induced upregulation of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 on MM cells is associated with a senescent phenotype and requires generation of reactive oxygen species. Moreover, the combined use of chemotherapeutic drugs and metalloproteinase inhibitors enhances NK cell-mediated recognition of MM cells, preserving MIC molecules on the cell surface and suggesting that targeting of metalloproteinases in conjunction with chemotherapy could be exploited for NK cell-based immunotherapeutic approaches, thus contributing to avoid the escape of malignant cells from stress-elicited immune responses.

Chen D, Cui T, Ek WE, et al.
Analysis of the genetic architecture of susceptibility to cervical cancer indicates that common SNPs explain a large proportion of the heritability.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(9):992-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The genetic architecture of susceptibility to cervical cancer is not well-understood. By using a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1034 cervical cancer patients and 3948 controls with 632668 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we estimated that 24.0% [standard error (SE) = 5.9%, P = 3.19×10(-6)] of variation in liability to cervical cancer is captured by autosomal SNPs, a bit lower than the heritability estimated from family study (27.0%), suggesting that a substantial proportion of the heritability is tagged by common SNPs. The remaining missing heritability most probably reflects incomplete linkage disequilibrium between causal variants and the genotyped SNPs. The variance explained by each chromosome is not related to its length (R (2) = 0.020, P = 0.516). Published genome-wide significant variants only explain 2.1% (SE = 1.5%, P = 0) of phenotypic variance, which reveals that most of the heritability has not been detected, presumably due to small individual effects. Another 2.1% (SE = 1.1%, P = 0.013) of variation is attributable to biological pathways associated with risk of cervical cancer, supporting that pathway analysis can identify part of the hidden heritability. Except for human leukocyte antigen genes and MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A (MICA), none of the 82 candidate genes/regions reported in other association studies contributes to the heritability of cervical cancer in our dataset. This study shows that risk of cervical cancer is influenced by many common germline genetic variants of small effects. The findings are important for further study design to identify the hiding heritability that has not yet been revealed. More susceptibility loci are yet to be found in GWASs with higher power.

Lanier LL
NKG2D Receptor and Its Ligands in Host Defense.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2015; 3(6):575-82 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
NKG2D is an activating receptor expressed on the surface of natural killer (NK) cells, CD8(+) T cells, and subsets of CD4(+) T cells, invariant NKT cells (iNKT), and γδ T cells. In humans, NKG2D transmits signals by its association with the DAP10 adapter subunit, and in mice alternatively spliced isoforms transmit signals either using DAP10 or DAP12 adapter subunits. Although NKG2D is encoded by a highly conserved gene (KLRK1) with limited polymorphism, the receptor recognizes an extensive repertoire of ligands, encoded by at least eight genes in humans (MICA, MICB, RAET1E, RAET1G, RAET1H, RAET1I, RAET1L, and RAET1N), some with extensive allelic polymorphism. Expression of the NKG2D ligands is tightly regulated at the level of transcription, translation, and posttranslation. In general, healthy adult tissues do not express NKG2D glycoproteins on the cell surface, but these ligands can be induced by hyperproliferation and transformation, as well as when cells are infected by pathogens. Thus, the NKG2D pathway serves as a mechanism for the immune system to detect and eliminate cells that have undergone "stress." Viruses and tumor cells have devised numerous strategies to evade detection by the NKG2D surveillance system, and diversification of the NKG2D ligand genes likely has been driven by selective pressures imposed by pathogens. NKG2D provides an attractive target for therapeutics in the treatment of infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Jia HY, Liu JL, Yuan MZ, et al.
Regulation Roles of MICA and NKG2D in Human Renal Cancer Cells.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015; 16(9):3901-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to investigation the roles of MHC class I chain-related gene A(MICA) and natural killer cell group 2D(NKG2D) in human renal cancer cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The expression of membrane MICA (mMICA) on renal cells and NKG2D on NK cells were detected by flow cytometry (FCM); the content of sMICA were detected by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the distribution of mMICA on renal tumor tissues by immunohistochemistry; the interaction between MICA and NKG2D was observed by antibody closed method.
RESULTS: Our results showed that the expression of mMICA in renal cancer tissues was significantly higher than in controls, where the soluble MICA was not expressed. Cytotoxic activity of NK cells was significantly reduced after exposure to NKG2D and MICA antibodies (P<0.05), and serum containing sMICA can obviously lower the function of NKG2D (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The interaction of mMICA and NKG2D play important roles in mediation of cytotoxicity of NK cells in RCC. On the other hand, sMICA may mediate tumor immune escape through down- regulated NKG2D expression.

Schneider MA, Granzow M, Warth A, et al.
Glycodelin: A New Biomarker with Immunomodulatory Functions in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(15):3529-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: In recent years, immune therapeutic strategies against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) based on tissue-derived biomarkers, for example PD1/PD-L1 (CD274), have evolved as novel and promising treatment options. However, the crosstalk between tumor and immune cells is poorly understood. Glycodelin (gene name PAEP), initially described in the context of pregnancy and trophoblastic implantation, is a secreted immunosuppressive glycoprotein with an as-of-yet largely unknown function in lung cancer.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In this study, we characterized the expression and role of glycodelin in NSCLC through mRNA and protein expression analyses, functional knockdown experiments, and correlations with clinicopathologic parameters.
RESULTS: Glycodelin mRNA expression was significantly elevated in tumors (n = 336) compared with matched normal tissue (P < 0.0001). Overall survival (OS) was significantly reduced in NSCLC with high glycodelin mRNA levels in women but not in men. Glycodelin was detected in the sera of patients, and the levels correlated with recurrence and metastatic disease. Knockdown of glycodelin with siRNAs in NSCLC cell lines resulted in significant upregulation of immune system modulatory factors such as PDL1, CXCL5, CXCL16, MICA/B, and CD83 as well as proliferation stimulators EDN1 and HBEGF. Furthermore, decreased migration of tumor cells was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, the comprehensive characterization of glycodelin in NSCLC provides strong support for its use as a biomarker with immune modulatory function.

Schilling D, Kühnel A, Tetzlaff F, et al.
NZ28-induced inhibition of HSF1, SP1 and NF-κB triggers the loss of the natural killer cell-activating ligands MICA/B on human tumor cells.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2015; 64(5):599-608 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The activity of natural killer (NK) cells is regulated by activating and inhibiting receptors, whereby the C-type lectin natural killer group 2D (NKG2D) receptor serves as the major activating receptor on NK cells which recognizes major histocompatibility class I chain-related proteins A and B (MICA/B). The MICA/B expression has been described to be regulated by the transcription factor heat shock factor 1 (HSF1). Inhibition of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is known to induce the heat shock response via activation of HSF1 which is associated with tumor development, metastasis and therapy resistance and also with an increased susceptibility to NK cell-mediated lysis. Therefore, we compared the effects of Hsp90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922, HSF1 inhibitor NZ28 and HSF1 knockdown on the sensitivity of lung (H1339) and breast (MDA-MB-231, T47D) cancer cells to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and the expression of the NKG2D ligands MICA/B. Although NVP-AUY922 activates HSF1, neither the MICA/B surface density on tumor cells nor their susceptibility to NK cell-mediated lysis was affected. A single knockdown of HSF1 by shRNA decreased the surface expression of MICB but not that of MICA, and thereby, the NK cell-mediated lysis was only partially blocked. In contrast, NZ28 completely blocked the MICA/B membrane expression on tumor cells and thereby strongly inhibited the NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. This effect might be explained by a simultaneous inhibition of the transcription factors HSF1, Sp1 and NF-κB by NZ28. These findings suggest that new anticancer therapeutics should be investigated with respect to their effects on the innate immune system.

Campillo JA, López-Hernández R, Martínez-Banaclocha H, et al.
MHC class I chain-related gene a diversity in patients with cutaneous malignant melanoma from southeastern Spain.
Dis Markers. 2015; 2015:831864 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A limited number of studies have been performed so far on the polymorphism in the transmembrane region (exon 5) of the major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA) in patients with melanoma. However, the influence of MICA polymorphism in extracellular domains (exons 2, 3, and 4) has not been investigated on melanoma disease. This study aims to characterize the influence of extracellular MICA polymorphism, and its previously described linkage disequilibrium with HLA-B locus, on patients with cutaneous melanoma from southeastern Spain. For this purpose, MICA and HLA-B genotyping was performed in 233 patients and 200 ethnically matched controls by luminex technology. Patients were classified according to the presence of methionine or valine at codon 129 of MICA gene. We found a high frequency of MICA(*)009 in melanoma patients compared with controls (P = 0.002, Pc = 0.03). Our results also showed an association between MICA(*)009 and HLA-B(*)51 alleles in both patients and controls. This association was stronger in patients than controls (P = 0.015). However, a multivariate logistic regression model showed that neither MICA(*)009 nor the combination MICA(*)009/HLA-B(*)51 was associated with melanoma susceptibility. No relationship was observed between MICA-129 dimorphism and melanoma nor when MICA polymorphism was evaluated according to clinical findings at diagnosis.

Amin PJ, Shankar BS
Sulforaphane induces ROS mediated induction of NKG2D ligands in human cancer cell lines and enhances susceptibility to NK cell mediated lysis.
Life Sci. 2015; 126:19-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: The goal of this study is to investigate the tumor cytotoxic effects of sulforaphane (SFN) and ionizing radiation (IR) as well as their ability to up-regulate natural killer group 2, member D (NKG2D) ligands and modulate the susceptibility of tumor cells to natural killer (NK) cell-mediated killing.
MAIN METHODS: Expression of MHC class I-related chain molecules A and B (MICA/MICB) and total reactive oxygen species (ROS) were assessed by flow cytometry following labeling with appropriate dyes or antibodies. NK cell cytotoxicity was determined by calcein release of target cells.
KEY FINDINGS: The expression of NKG2D ligands MICA/MICB was found to vary in all the four tumor cell lines tested (MCF7 < A549 < MDA-MB-231 < U937). Exposure of these cells to IR and SFN resulted in a differential induction of these ligands. IR induced an increase in expression of MICA/MICB in MCF7 cells and SFN induced MICA/MICB expression in A549 and MDA-MB-231 cells. This SFN induced increase in receptor expression resulted in increased susceptibility to NK cell mediated killing of tumor cells which was abrogated by blocking with anti-MICA/MICB antibody. SFN induced increase in MICA/MICB expression as well as increased susceptibility to NK cell mediated killing was abrogated by N-acetyl cysteine in A549 and MDA-MB-231 cells suggesting a ROS mediated mechanism.
SIGNIFICANCE: Our results indicate that SFN has an immunotherapeutic potential to be used in cancer therapy.

Baragaño Raneros A, Martín-Palanco V, Fernandez AF, et al.
Methylation of NKG2D ligands contributes to immune system evasion in acute myeloid leukemia.
Genes Immun. 2015 Jan-Feb; 16(1):71-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
Engagement of the activating receptor NKG2D (natural killer group 2 member D) with its ligands (NKG2DL) major histocompatibility complex class I related-A and -B (MICA/B), UL-16 binding protein families (ULBPs 1-6) is important to ensure the innate immunity to tumor cells. However, these cells have developed strategies to downregulate NKG2DL expression and avoid immune recognition. We demonstrate that DNA methylation can contribute to the absence of NKG2DL expression during tumor progression. We analyzed the DNA methylation profiles for each NKG2DL by pyrosequencing in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), hepatocellular carcinoma (HC), breast cancer and colon cancer cell lines. High levels of DNA methylation for NKG2DL were found in some tumor cell lines, mainly in AML cells. This hypermethylation was correlated with the absence of transcription for NKG2DL. Higher DNA methylation levels for MICA, ULBP1 and ULBP2 were observed in AML patients (n=60) compared with healthy donors (n=25). However, no DNA methylation for NKG2DL was found in colon cancer patients (n=44). Treatment with demethylating agents (5-azacytidine and 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine) restored the expression of NKG2DL on the cell surface of AML cells, leading to an enhanced recognition by NKG2D-expressing cells. Our data suggest that NKG2DL may be aberrantly silenced by DNA methylation as a consequence of tumor development in AML patients.

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