SOX10 Inhibits T Cell Recognition by Inducing Expression of the Immune Checkpoint Molecule PD-L1 in A375 Melanoma Cells

Anticancer Res. 2023 Apr;43(4):1477-1484. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.16296.


Background/aim: Malignant melanoma is a fatal skin cancer and is among the most immunogenic malignancies expressing melanoma-differentiation antigens and neoantigens. SRY-related HMG-box 10 (SOX10) is a transcription factor and a neural-crest differentiation marker that is used as a diagnostic marker for melanoma whilst playing a role in melanoma initiation through activation of the SOX10-MITF axis. SOX10 was shown to play a role in melanoma initiation by inducing expression of immune checkpoint molecules (e.g., HVEM and CEACAM1). In this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between SOX10 and the expression an immune checkpoint molecule, programmed death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1).

Materials and methods: SOX10 overexpression and knockdown was performed using SOX10 gene transfection and SOX10 siRNA transfection into A375 melanoma cells. PD-L1 expression was assessed by flow cytometry and western blotting. T cell response was evaluated using NY-ESO-1 specific TCR-transduced T (TCR-T) cells by IFNγ ELISPOT assay.

Results: SOX10 overexpression increased the expression of PD-L1, whereas SOX10 knockdown, using siRNA, decreased its expression. IFNγ ELISPOT assay revealed that overexpression of SOX10 decreased the susceptibility of cells to NY-ESO-1-specific TCR-T cells.

Conclusion: SOX10 has a role in the intrinsic immune suppressive mechanisms of melanoma through expression of PD-L1.

Keywords: Melanoma; PD-L1; SOX10; immunological resistance.

MeSH terms

  • B7-H1 Antigen / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins*
  • Ligands
  • Melanoma* / metabolism
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • SOXE Transcription Factors / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Ligands
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • SOX10 protein, human
  • SOXE Transcription Factors