JAML immunotherapy targets recently activated tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells

Cell Rep. 2023 Jan 25;42(2):112040. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112040. Online ahead of print.


Junctional adhesion molecule-like protein (JAML) serves as a co-stimulatory molecule in γδ T cells. While it has recently been described as a cancer immunotherapy target in mice, its potential to cause toxicity, specific mode of action with regard to its cellular targets, and whether it can be targeted in humans remain unknown. Here, we show that JAML is induced by T cell receptor engagement, reveal that this induction is linked to cis-regulatory interactions between the CD3D and JAML gene loci. When compared with other immunotherapy targets plagued by low target specificity and end-organ toxicity, we find JAML to be mostly restricted to and highly expressed by tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells in multiple cancer types. By delineating the key cellular targets and functional consequences of agonistic anti-JAML therapy in a murine melanoma model, we show its specific mode of action and the reason for its synergistic effects with anti-PD-1.

Keywords: CP: Cancer; CP: Immunology; JAML; TRM cells; agonistic antibody; cancer immunotherapy; co-stimulatory molecule; tumor immunology.