Multimodal stimulation screens reveal unique and shared genes limiting T cell fitness.


Genes limiting T cell antitumor activity may serve as therapeutic targets. It has not been systematically studied whether there are regulators that uniquely or broadly contribute to T cell fitness. We perform genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screens in primary CD8 T cells to uncover genes negatively impacting fitness upon three modes of stimulation: (1) intense, triggering activation-induced cell death (AICD); (2) acute, triggering expansion; (3) chronic, causing dysfunction. Besides established regulators, we uncover genes controlling T cell fitness either specifically or commonly upon differential stimulation. Dap5 ablation, ranking highly in all three screens, increases translation while enhancing tumor killing. Loss of Icam1-mediated homotypic T cell clustering amplifies cell expansion and effector functions after both acute and intense stimulation. Lastly, Ctbp1 inactivation induces functional T cell persistence exclusively upon chronic stimulation. Our results functionally annotate fitness regulators based on their unique or shared contribution to traits limiting T cell antitumor activity.

More about this publication

Cancer cell
  • Volume 42
  • Issue nr. 4
  • Pages 623-645.e10
  • Publication date 08-04-2024

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