Nuclear receptor NR2F6 inhibition potentiates responses to PD-L1/PD-1 cancer immune checkpoint blockade

Nat Commun. 2018 Apr 18;9(1):1538. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04004-2.


Analyzing mouse tumor models in vivo, human T cells ex vivo, and human lung cancer samples, we provide direct evidence that NR2F6 acts as an immune checkpoint. Genetic ablation of Nr2f6, particularly in combination with established cancer immune checkpoint blockade, efficiently delays tumor progression and improves survival in experimental mouse models. The target genes deregulated in intratumoral T lymphocytes upon genetic ablation of Nr2f6 alone or together with PD-L1 blockade reveal multiple advantageous transcriptional alterations. Acute Nr2f6 silencing in both mouse and human T cells induces hyper-responsiveness that establishes a non-redundant T-cell-inhibitory function of NR2F6. NR2F6 protein expression in T-cell-infiltrating human NSCLC is upregulated in 54% of the cases (n = 303) and significantly correlates with PD-1 and CTLA-4 expression. Our data define NR2F6 as an intracellular immune checkpoint that suppresses adaptive anti-cancer immune responses and set the stage for clinical validation of targeting NR2F6 for next-generation immuno-oncological regimens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Biopsy
  • COUP Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • COUP Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Silencing
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Receptors, Steroid / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Up-Regulation


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • CD274 protein, human
  • COUP Transcription Factors
  • Cd274 protein, mouse
  • NR2F6 protein, human
  • Nr2f6 protein, mouse
  • PDCD1 protein, human
  • Pdcd1 protein, mouse
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Repressor Proteins