Urokinase-mediated recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and their suppressive mechanisms are blocked by MUC1/sec

Dan Ilkovitch, Diana M. Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The transmembrane isoform of mucin 1 (MUC1/TM) is a well-recognized tumor antigen, contributing to tumorigenesis and immune evasion. Although MUC1/TM has been correlated with malignancy, we have previously reported on antitumor properties and prevention of tumor development by a secreted splice variant of MUC1 (MUC1/sec). Because myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) play a critical role in tumor-induced immunosuppression, we investigated their recruitment by tumor cells expressing either MUC1/TM or MUC1/sec. DA-3 tumor cells expressing MUC1/sec recruit dramatically lower levels of MDSCs, relative to MUC1/TM-expressing DA-3 cells. Because MUC1/sec was previously shown to downregulate tumor expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), a protease linked to tumor aggressiveness and metastasis, the potential role of uPAin MDSC recruitment was investigated. Tumor-derived uPA is capable of recruiting MDSCs, and correlates with tumor development. In addition to diminishing recruitment of MDSCs, the effect of MUC1/sec on MDSC-suppressive mechanisms was investigated. MUC1/sec, or its unique immunoenhancing peptide, is capable of blocking expression of arginase 1 and production of reactive oxygen species in MDSCs, implicated in the suppression of T cells. These findings demonstrate a new mechanism of MDSC recruitment, and provide evidence that MUC1/sec has antitumor properties affecting MDSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4729-4739
Number of pages11
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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