T cells expressing constitutively active Akt resist multiple tumor-associated inhibitory mechanisms

Jiali Sun, Gianpietro Dotti, Leslie E. Huye, Aaron E. Foster, Barbara Savoldo, Maria M. Gramatges, David M. Spencer, Cliona M. Rooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Adoptive transfer of antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes has shown promise for the therapy of cancer. However, tumor-specific T cells are susceptible to diverse inhibitory signals from the tumor microenvironment. The Akt/protein kinase B plays a central role in T-cell proliferation, function, and survival and we hypothesized that expression of constitutively active Akt (caAkt) in T cells could provide resistance to many of these tumor-associated inhibitory mechanisms. caAkt expression in activated human T cells increased proliferation and cytokine production, a likely result of their sustained expression of nuclear factor-B (NF-B) and provided resistance to apoptosis by upregulating antiapoptotic molecules. caAkt expressing T cells (caAkt-T-cells) were also relatively resistant to suppression by and conversion into regulatory T cells (Tregs). These characteristics provided a survival advantage to T cells cocultured with tumor cells in vitro; CD3/28-stimulated T cells expressing a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) specific for disialoganglioside (GD2) that redirected their activity to the immunosuppressive, GD2-expressing neuroblastoma cell line, LAN-1, resisted tumor-induced apoptosis when co-expressing transgenic caAkt. In conclusion, caAkt-transduced T cells showed resistance to several evasion strategies employed by tumors and may therefore enhance the antitumor activity of adoptively transferred T lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2006-2017
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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