Early recognition of neoantigen-expressing cells is complex, involving multiple immune cell types. In this study, in vivo, we examined how antigen-presenting cell subtypes coordinate and induce an immunological response against neoantigen-expressing cells, particularly in the absence of a pathogen-associated molecular pattern, which is normally required to license antigen-presenting cells to present foreign or self-antigens as immunogens. Using two reductionist models of neoantigen-expressing cells and two cancer models, we demonstrated that natural IgM is essential for the recognition and initiation of adaptive immunity against neoantigen-expressing cells. Natural IgM antibodies form a cellular immune complex with the neoantigen-expressing cells. This immune complex licenses surveying monocytes to present neoantigens as immunogens to CD4+ T cells. CD4+ T helper cells, in turn, use CD40L to license cross-presenting CD40+ Batf3+ dendritic cells to elicit a cytotoxic T cell response against neoantigen-expressing cells. Any break along this immunological chain reaction results in the escape of neoantigen-expressing cells. This study demonstrates the surprising, essential role of natural IgM as the initiator of a sequential signaling cascade involving multiple immune cell subtypes. This sequence is required to coordinate an adaptive immune response against neoantigen-expressing cells.
Keywords: Ly6C+ monocytes; XCR1+ Batf3+ dendritic cells; cancer; natural IgM; neoantigens.