Introduction: The interaction of programmed cell death ligand 2 (PD-L2) with programmed cell death 1 is implicated in tumor immune escape. The regulation of PD-L2 expression in tumor cells has remained unclear, however. We here examined intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of PD-L2 expression in NSCLC. Methods: PD-L2 expression was evaluated by reverse transcription and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis and by flow cytometry. Results: BEAS-2B cells stably expressing an activated mutant form of EGFR or the echinoderm microtubule associated protein like 4 (EML4)–ALK receptor tyrosine kinase fusion oncoprotein manifested increased expression of PD-L2 at both the mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, treatment of NSCLC cell lines that harbor such driver oncogenes with corresponding EGFR or ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors or depletion of EGFR or ALK by small interfering RNA transfection suppressed expression of PD-L2, demonstrating that activating EGFR mutations or echinoderm microtubule associated protein like 4 gene (EML4)–ALK receptor tyrosine kinase gene (ALK) fusion intrinsically induce PD-L2 expression. We also found that interferon gamma (IFN-γ) extrinsically induced expression of PD-L2 through signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 signaling in NSCLC cells. Oncogene-driven expression of PD-L2 in NSCLC cells was inhibited by knockdown of the transcription factors signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) or c-FOS. IFN-γ also activated STAT3 and c-FOS, suggesting that these proteins may also contribute to the extrinsic induction of PD-L2 expression. Conclusions: Expression of PD-L2 is induced intrinsically by activating EGFR mutations or EML4-ALK fusion and extrinsically by IFN-γ, with STAT3 and c-FOS possibly contributing to both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Our results thus provide insight into the complexity of tumor immune escape in NSCLC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine