Research ArticleCancer Immunology

Tumor-Induced STAT3 Signaling in Myeloid Cells Impairs Dendritic Cell Generation by Decreasing PKCβII Abundance

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Sci. Signal.  18 Feb 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 313, pp. ra16
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004656

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A major mechanism by which cancers escape control by the immune system is by blocking the differentiation of myeloid cells into dendritic cells (DCs), immunostimulatory cells that activate antitumor T cells. Tumor-dependent activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling in myeloid progenitor cells is thought to cause this block in their differentiation. In addition, a signaling pathway through protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) is essential for the differentiation of myeloid cells into DCs. We found in humans and mice that breast cancer cells substantially decreased the abundance of PKCβII in myeloid progenitor cells through a mechanism involving the enhanced activation of STAT3 signaling by soluble, tumor-derived factors (TDFs). STAT3 bound to previously undescribed negative regulatory elements within the promoter of PRKCB, which encodes PKCβII. We also found a previously undescribed counter-regulatory mechanism through which the activity of PKCβII inhibited tumor-dependent STAT3 signaling by decreasing the abundance of cell surface receptors, such as cytokine and growth factor receptors, that are activated by TDFs. Together, these data suggest that a previously unrecognized cross-talk mechanism between the STAT3 and PKCβII signaling pathways provides the molecular basis for the tumor-induced blockade in the differentiation of myeloid cells, and suggest that enhancing PKCβII activity may be a therapeutic strategy to alleviate cancer-mediated suppression of the immune system.

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