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POSTECH Life Science

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A dietary commensal microbe enhances antitumor immunity by activating tumor macrophages to sequester iron

2024-04-29 179

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Innate immune cells generate a multifaceted antitumor immune response, including the conservation of essential nutrients such as iron. These cells can be modulated by commensal bacteria; however, identifying and understanding how this occurs is a challenge. Here we show that the food commensal Lactiplantibacillus plantarum IMB19 augments antitumor immunity in syngeneic and xenograft mouse tumor models. Its capsular heteropolysaccharide is the major effector molecule, functioning as a ligand for TLR2. In a two-pronged manner, it skews tumor-associated macrophages to a classically active phenotype, leading to generation of a sustained CD8+ T cell response, and triggers macrophage ‘nutritional immunity’ to deploy the high-affinity iron transporter lipocalin-2 for capturing and sequestering iron in the tumor microenvironment.
This process induces a cycle of tumor cell death, epitope expansion and subsequent tumor clearance. Together these data indicate that food commensals might be identified and developed into ‘oncobiotics’ for a multi-layered approach to cancer therapy.

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