Titrating CD47 by mismatch CRISPR-interference reveals incomplete repression can eliminate IgG-opsonized tumors but limits induction of antitumor IgG

Phagocytic elimination of solid tumors by innate immune cells seems attractive for immunotherapy, particularly because of the possibilities for acquired immunity. However, the approach remains challenging, with blockade of the macrophage checkpoint CD47 working in immunodeficient mice and against highly immunogenic tumors but not in the clinic where tumors are poorly immunogenic. Even when mouse tumors of poorly immunogenic B16F10 melanoma are opsonized to drive engulfment with a suitable monoclonal antibody (mAb), anti-CD47 blockade remains insufficient. Using both in vitro immuno-tumoroids and in vivo mouse models, we show with CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) that a relatively uniform minimum repression of CD47 by 80% is needed for phagocytosis to dominate net growth when combined with an otherwise ineffective mAb (anti-Tyrp1). Heterogeneity enriches for CD47-high cells, but mice that eliminate tumors generate prophagocytic IgGs that increase in titer with CD47 repression and with tumor accumulation of macrophages, although deeper repression does not improve survival. Given well-known limitations of antibody permeation into solid tumors, our studies clarify benchmarks for CD47 disruption that should be more clinically feasible and safer but just as effective as complete ablation. Additionally, safe but ineffective opsonization in human melanoma trials suggests that combinations with deep repression of CD47 could prove effective and initiate durable immunity.


Cell Confinement in Solid Tumors

Nuclear Rupture Through Lipid Droplet Strain

CD47 – Sirpα Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy

Nick Ontko

Larry Dooling

Dennis Discher


Confinement plus Myosin-II suppression maximizes heritable loss of chromosomes, as revealed by live-cell ChReporters

The mechanical environment of a cell can have many effects, but whether it impacts the DNA sequence of a cell has remained unexamined. To investigate this, we developed a live-cell method to measure changes in chromosome numbers. We edited constitutive genes with GFP or RFP tags on single alleles and discovered that cells that lose Chromosome reporters (ChReporters) become non-fluorescent. We applied our new tools to confined mitosis and to inhibition of the putative tumor suppressor myosin-II. We quantified compression of mitotic chromatin in vivo and demonstrated that similar compression in vitro resulted in cell death, but also rare and heritable ChReptorter loss. Myosin-II suppression rescued lethal multipolar divisions and maximized ChReporter loss during three-dimensional (3D) compression and two-dimensional (2D) lateral confinement, but not in standard 2D culture. ChReporter loss was associated with chromosome mis-segregation, rather than just the number of divisions, and loss in vitro and in mice was selected against in subsequent 2D cultures. Inhibition of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) caused ChReporter loss in 2D culture, as expected, but not during 3D compression, suggesting a SAC perturbation. Thus, ChReporters enable diverse studies of viable genetic changes, and show that confinement and myosin-II affect DNA sequence and mechano-evolution.

Genetic heterogeneity in p53-null leukemia increases transiently with spindle assembly checkpoint inhibition and is not rescued by p53

Chromosome gains or losses often lead to copy number variations (CNV) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Both quantities are low in hematologic “liquid” cancers versus solid tumors in data of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) that also shows the fraction of a genome affected by LOH is ~ one-half of that with CNV. Suspension cultures of p53-null THP-1 leukemia-derived cells conform to these trends, despite novel evidence here of genetic heterogeneity and transiently elevated CNV after perturbation. Single-cell DNAseq indeed reveals at least 8 distinct THP-1 aneuploid clones with further intra-clonal variation, suggesting ongoing genetic evolution. Importantly, acute inhibition of the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) produces CNV levels that are typical of high-CNV solid tumors, with subsequent cell death and down-selection to novel CNV. Pan-cancer analyses show p53 inactivation associates with aneuploidy, but leukemias exhibit a weaker trend even though p53 inactivation correlates with poor survival. Overexpression of p53 in THP-1 does not rescue established aneuploidy or LOH but slightly increases cell death under oxidative or confinement stress, and triggers p21, a key p53 target, but without affecting net growth. Our results suggest that factors other than p53 exert stronger pressures against aneuploidy in liquid cancers, and identifying such CNV suppressors could be useful across liquid and solid tumor types.