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Understanding the costimulatory signaling that enhances the activity of cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) could identify potential targets for immunotherapy. Here, we report that CD2 costimulation plays a critical role in target cell killing by freshly isolated human CD8+ T cells, which represent a challenging but valuable model to gain insight into CTL biology. We found that CD2 stimulation critically enhanced signaling by the T cell receptor in the formation of functional immune synapses by promoting the polarization of lytic granules toward the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). To gain insight into the underlying mechanism, we explored the CD2 signaling network by phosphoproteomics, which revealed 616 CD2-regulated phosphorylation events in 373 proteins implicated in the regulation of vesicular trafficking, cytoskeletal organization, autophagy, and metabolism. Signaling by the master metabolic regulator AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was a critical node in the CD2 network, which promoted granule polarization toward the MTOC in CD8+ T cells. Granule trafficking was driven by active AMPK enriched on adjacent lysosomes, revealing previously uncharacterized signaling cross-talk between vesicular compartments in CD8+ T cells. Our results thus establish CD2 signaling as key for mediating cytotoxic killing and granule polarization in freshly isolated CD8+ T cells and strengthen the rationale to choose CD2 and AMPK as therapeutic targets to enhance CTL activity.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/scisignal.aaz1965

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science signaling

Publication Date

12/05/2020

Volume

13

Addresses

Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, via Aldo Moro 2, Siena 53100, Italy.