Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), a critical immune checkpoint ligand, is a transmembrane protein synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum of tumor cells and transported to the plasma membrane to interact with programmed death 1 (PD-1) expressed on T cell surface. This interaction delivers coinhibitory signals to T cells, thereby suppressing their function and allowing evasion of antitumor immunity. Most companion or complementary diagnostic devices for assessing PD-L1 expression levels in tumor cells used in the clinic or in clinical trials require membranous staining. However, the mechanism driving PD-L1 translocation to the plasma membrane after de novo synthesis is poorly understood. Herein, we showed that mind bomb homolog 2 (MIB2) is required for PD-L1 transportation from the trans-Golgi network (TGN) to the plasma membrane of cancer cells. MIB2 deficiency led to fewer PD-L1 proteins on the tumor cell surface and promoted antitumor immunity in mice. Mechanistically, MIB2 catalyzed nonproteolytic K63-linked ubiquitination of PD-L1, facilitating PD-L1 trafficking through Ras-associated binding 8–mediated (RAB8-mediated) exocytosis from the TGN to the plasma membrane, where it bound PD-1 extrinsically to prevent tumor cell killing by T cells. Our findings demonstrate that nonproteolytic ubiquitination of PD-L1 by MIB2 is required for its transportation to the plasma membrane and tumor cell immune evasion.
Xinfang Yu, Wei Li, Haidan Liu, Xu Wang, Cristian Coarfa, Chao Cheng, Xinlian Yu, Zhaoyang Zeng, Ya Cao, Ken H. Young, Yong Li