Hope C, Foulcer S, Jagodinsky J, Chen SX, Jensen JL, Patel S, Leith C, Maroulakou I, Callander N, Miyamoto S, Hematti P, Apte SS, Asimakopoulos F. Blood. 2016 Aug 4;128(5):680-5. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-03-705780. PMID: 27259980
Myeloma immunosurveillance remains incompletely understood. We have demonstrated proteolytic processing of the matrix proteoglycan, versican (VCAN), in myeloma tumors. Whereas intact VCAN exerts tolerogenic activities through Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) binding, the immunoregulatory consequences of VCAN proteolysis remain unknown. Here we show that human myeloma tumors displaying CD8(+) infiltration/aggregates underwent VCAN proteolysis at a site predicted to generate a glycosaminoglycan-bereft N-terminal fragment, versikine Myeloma-associated macrophages (MAMs), rather than tumor cells, chiefly produced V1-VCAN, the precursor to versikine, whereas stromal cell-derived ADAMTS1 was the most robustly expressed VCAN-degrading protease. Purified versikine induced early expression of inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-6 by human myeloma marrow-derived MAMs. We show that versikine signals through pathways both dependent and independent of Tpl2 kinase, a key regulator of nuclear factor κB1-mediated MAPK activation in macrophages. Unlike intact VCAN, versikine-induced Il-6 production was partially independent of Tlr2. In a model of macrophage-myeloma cell crosstalk, versikine induced components of “T-cell inflammation,” including IRF8-dependent type I interferon transcriptional signatures and T-cell chemoattractant CCL2. Thus the interplay between stromal cells and myeloid cells in the myeloma microenvironment generates versikine, a novel bioactive damage-associated molecular pattern that may facilitate immune sensing of myeloma tumors and modulate the tolerogenic consequences of intact VCAN accumulation. Therapeutic versikine administration may potentiate T-cell-activating immunotherapies.