Antitumor activity of CD8+ T cells is potentially restrained by a variety of negative regulatory pathways that are triggered in the tumor microenvironment, yet, the exact mechanisms remain incompletely defined. Here, we report that intrinsic RIG-I in CD8+ T cells represents such a factor, as evidenced by observations that the tumor-restricting effect of endogenous or adoptively transferred CD8+ T cells was enhanced by intrinsic Rig-I deficiency or inhibition, with the increased accumulation, survival, and cytotoxicity of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells. Mechanistically, T cell activation–induced RIG-I upregulation restrained STAT5 activation via competitive sequestering of HSP90. In accordance with this, the frequency of RIG-I+ tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells in human colon cancer positively correlated with attenuated survival and effector signatures of CD8+ T cells as well as poor prognosis. Collectively, these results implicate RIG-I as a potentially druggable factor for improving CD8+ T cell–based tumor immunotherapy.


Xinyi Jiang, Jian Lin, Chengfang Shangguan, Xiaoyao Wang, Bin Xiang, Juan Chen, Hezhou Guo, Wu Zhang, Jun Zhang, Yan Shi, Jiang Zhu, Hui Yang


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