The Journal of biological chemistry

Neuropilin-1 mediates neutrophil elastase uptake and cross-presentation in breast cancer cells.

PMID 28468826


Neutrophil elastase (NE) can be rapidly taken up by tumor cells that lack endogenous NE expression, including breast cancer, which results in cross-presentation of PR1, an NE-derived HLA-A2-restricted peptide that is an immunotherapy target in hematological and solid tumor malignancies. The mechanism of NE uptake, however, remains unknown. Using the mass spectrometry-based approach, we identify neuropilin-1 (NRP1) as a NE receptor that mediates uptake and PR1 cross-presentation in breast cancer cells. We demonstrated that soluble NE is a specific, high-affinity ligand for NRP1 with a calculated Kd of 38.7 nm Furthermore, we showed that NRP1 binds to the RRXR motif in NE. Notably, NRP1 knockdown with interfering RNA or CRISPR-cas9 system and blocking using anti-NRP1 antibody decreased NE uptake and, subsequently, susceptibility to lysis by PR1-specific cytotoxic T cells. Expression of NRP1 in NRP1-deficient cells was sufficient to induce NE uptake. Altogether, because NRP1 is broadly expressed in tumors, our findings suggest a role for this receptor in immunotherapy strategies that target cross-presented antigens.