Beclin 1 (Becn1) is a key molecule in the autophagy pathway and has been implicated in cancer development. Due to the embryonic lethality of homozygous Becn1-deficient mice, the precise mechanisms and cell type–specific roles of Becn1 in regulating inflammation and cancer immunity remain elusive. Here, we report that myeloid-deficient Becn1 (Becn1ΔM) mice developed neutrophilia, were hypersusceptible to LPS-induced septic shock, and had a high risk of developing spontaneous precursor B cell (pre-B cell) lymphoma with elevated expressions of immunosuppressive molecules programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and IL-10. Becn1 deficiency resulted in the stabilization of MEKK3 and aberrant p38 activation in neutrophils, and mediated neutrophil–B cell interaction through Cxcl9/Cxcr3 chemotaxis. Neutrophil–B cell interplay further led to the activation of IL-21/STAT3/IRF1 and CD40L/ERK signaling and PD-L1 expression and thus suppressed CD8+ T cell function. Ablation of p38 in Becn1ΔM mice prevented neutrophil inflammation and B cell tumorigenesis. Importantly, the low expression of Becn1 in human neutrophils was significantly correlated with the PD-L1 levels in pre-B acute lymphoblastic lymphoma (ALL) patients. Our findings have identified myeloid Becn1 as a key regulator of cancer immunity and therapeutic target for pre-B cell lymphomas.
Peng Tan, Lian He, Changsheng Xing, Jingrong Mao, Xiao Yu, Motao Zhu, Lixia Diao, Leng Han, Yubin Zhou, James M. You, Helen Y. Wang, Rong-Fu Wang