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CD40L membrane retention enhances the immunostimulatory effects of CD40 ligation

Elmetwali, Taha; Salman, Asmaa; Wei, Wenbin; Hussain, Syed A.; Young, Lawrence S.; Palmer, Daniel H.

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Taha Elmetwali

Asmaa Salman

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Dr Wenbin Wei
Chief Experimental Officer (Bioinformatics)

Syed A. Hussain

Lawrence S. Young

Daniel H. Palmer


In carcinomas, the nature of CD40 ligand shapes the outcome of CD40 ligation. To date, the consequences of membrane-bound CD40L (mCD40L) on its immune-stimulatory function are unknown. Here, we examined the impact of mCD40L versus soluble CD40L (sCD40L) on T24 bladder carcinoma gene expression profiling. Of 410 differentially expressed genes, 286 were upregulated and 124 downregulated by mCD40L versus sCD40L. Gene ontology enrichment analysis revealed immune-stimulatory function as the most significant enriched biological process affected by upregulated transcripts, while those downregulated were critical for cell growth and division. Furthermore, immature dendritic cells (iDC) responded to mCD40L with enhanced maturation and activation over sCD40L evidenced by higher expression levels of CD83, CD86, HLA-DR and CD54, increased secretion of IL12 and IL10 and higher tumour-antigen (TA) uptake capacity. Furthermore, autologus CD3+ T cells responded to TA-loaded mCD40L-activated DC with increased proliferation and cytotoxic response (CD107a and IFN-γ-producing CD3+ CD8+ T cells) to the tumour-loaded autologous PBMCs compared to sCD40L. Thus, these data indicate that mCD40L enhances the immunostimulatory capacity over sCD40L. Furthermore, the ability of mCD40L to also directly induce cell death in CD40-expressing carcinomas, subsequently releasing tumour-specific antigens into the tumour microenvironment highlights the potential for mCD40L as a multi-faceted anti-cancer immunotherapeutic.


Elmetwali, T., Salman, A., Wei, W., Hussain, S. A., Young, L. S., & Palmer, D. H. (2020). CD40L membrane retention enhances the immunostimulatory effects of CD40 ligation. Scientific Reports, 10(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 24, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 15, 2020
Publication Date Jan 15, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 29, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 29, 2020
Journal Scientific Reports
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 1


Published Journal Article (2.5 Mb)

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