SIRPγ-expressing cancer stem-like cells promote immune escape of lung cancer via Hippo signaling

Chuan Xu, Guoxiang Jin, Hong Wu, Wei Cui, Yu Hui Wang, Rajesh Kumar Manne, Guihua Wang, Weina Zhang, Xian Zhang, Fei Han, Zhen Cai, Bo Syong Pan, Che Chia Hsu, Yiqiang Liu, Anmei Zhang, Jie Long, Hongbo Zou, Shuang Wang, Xiaodan Ma, Jinling DuanBin Wang, Weihui Liu, Haitao Lan, Qing Xiong, Gang Xue, Zhongzhu Chen, Zhigang Xu, Mark E. Furth, Sarah Haigh Molina, Yong Lu, Dan Xie, Xiu Wu Bian, Hui Kuan Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cancer stem-like cells (CSLCs) acquire enhanced immune checkpoint responses to evade immune cell killing and promote tumor progression. Here we showed that signal regulatory protein γ (SIRPγ) determined CSLC properties and immune evasiveness in a small population of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) cancer cells. A SIRPγhi population displayed CSLC properties and transmitted the immune escape signal through sustaining CD47 expression in both SIRPγhi and SIRPγlo/- tumor cells. SIRPγ bridged MST1 and PP2A to facilitate MST1 dephosphorylation, resulting in Hippo/YAP activation and leading to cytokine release by CSLCs, which stimulated CD47 expression in LUAD cells and consequently inhibited tumor cell phagocytosis. SIRPγ promoted tumor growth and metastasis in vivo through YAP signaling. Notably, SIRPγ targeting with genetic SIRPγ knockdown or a SIRPγ-neutralizing antibody inhibited CSLC phenotypes and elicited phagocytosis that suppressed tumor growth in vivo. SIRPG was upregulated in human LUAD and its overexpression predicted poor survival outcome. Thus, SIRPγhi cells serve as CSLCs and tumor immune checkpoint-initiating cells, propagating the immune escape signal to the entire cancer cell population. Our study identifies Hippo/YAP signaling as the first mechanism by which SIRPγ is engaged and reveals that targeting SIRPγ represents an immune- and CSLC-targeting strategy for lung cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere141797
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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