TGF-β-dependent lymphoid tissue residency of stem-like T cells limits response to tumor vaccine

Guo Li, Saranya Srinivasan, Liwen Wang, Chaoyu Ma, Kai Guo, Wenhao Xiao, Wei Liao, Shruti Mishra, Xin Zhang, Yuanzheng Qiu, Qianjin Lu, Yong Liu, Nu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


TGF-β signaling is necessary for CD8+ T cell differentiation into tissue resident memory T cells (TRM). Although higher frequency of CD8+ TRM cells in the tumor microenvironment is associated with better prognosis, TGF-β−blockade typically improves rather than worsens outcomes. Here we show that in a mouse melanoma model, in the tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN) rather than in the tumors themselves, stem-like CD8+ T cells differentiate into TRMs in a TGF-β and tumor antigen dependent manner. Following vaccination against a melanoma-specific epitope, most tumour-specific CD8+ T cells are maintained in a stem-like state, but a proportion of cells lost TRM status and differentiate into CX3CR1+ effector CD8+ T cells in the TDLN, which are subsequently migrating into the tumours. Disruption of TGF-β signaling changes the dynamics of these developmental processes, with the net result of improving effector CD8+ T cell migration into the tumours. In summary, TDLN stem-like T cells transiently switch from a TGF-β-dependent TRM differentiation program to an anti-tumor migratory effector development upon vaccination, which transition can be facilitated by targeted TGF-β blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6043
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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