First Thesis Advisor
Kenneth L. Rock, M.D.
Antigen presentation, tumor immunology, MHC
The major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) antigen presentation pathway is necessary for the immune system to be able to detect, control, and eliminate cancers. MHC-I binds oligopeptides derived from cellular proteins and presents them on the cell surface to CD8+ T cells. Consequently, the CD8+ T cells can monitor whether any cells are making abnormal proteins and, if so, can destroy those cells. Because MHC-I presentation is not essential for cell viability, immune selection pressure often leads to cancers that are MHC-I low as they can better evade CD8+ T cell recognition. It is, therefore, important to fully understand the mechanisms of MHC-I presentation as this will identify new ways to target and exploit the pathway for cancer therapeutics. Although several components of the MHC-I pathway have already been characterized, some knowledge gaps remain. Unbiased forward genetic screens from our lab identified some novel gene candidates, such as IRF2, which positively regulate MHC-I presentation. In this dissertation, I will reveal which antigen presentation pathway genes are transcriptionally controlled by IRF2 and contribute to the MHC-I presentation deficiency observed in cells lacking IRF2 and I will also show that IRF2 negatively regulates PD-L1 expression. By influencing both MHC-I antigen presentation and PD-L1 expression in this manner, cancers lacking IRF2 (of which there are many) are both harder to see and more difficult to eliminate.
Kriegsman, B. Elucidating the Roles of Novel Genes in MHC-I Presentation. (2019). University of Massachusetts Medical School. GSBS Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1018. DOI: 10.13028/5zvj-1c17. https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/gsbs_diss/1018
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Available for download on Wednesday, May 06, 2020