Kunitz-type protease inhibitor TFPI2 remodels stemness and immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment in glioblastoma

Lizhi Pang, Madeline Dunterman, Songlin Guo, Fatima Khan, Yang Liu, Erfan Taefi, Atousa Bahrami, Changiz Geula, Wen Hao Hsu, Craig Horbinski, Charles David James, Peiwen Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Glioblastoma (GBM) tumors consist of multiple cell populations, including self-renewing glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) and immunosuppressive microglia. Here we identified Kunitz-type protease inhibitor TFPI2 as a critical factor connecting these cell populations and their associated GBM hallmarks of stemness and immunosuppression. TFPI2 promotes GSC self-renewal and tumor growth via activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase–signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 pathway. Secreted TFPI2 interacts with its functional receptor CD51 on microglia to trigger the infiltration and immunosuppressive polarization of microglia through activation of STAT6 signaling. Inhibition of the TFPI2–CD51–STAT6 signaling axis activates T cells and synergizes with anti-PD1 therapy in GBM mouse models. In human GBM, TFPI2 correlates positively with stemness, microglia abundance, immunosuppression and poor prognosis. Our study identifies a function for TFPI2 and supports therapeutic targeting of TFPI2 as an effective strategy for GBM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1654-1670
Number of pages17
JournalNature Immunology
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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