The human IgM B7-DC XAb protects mice from tumors in both therapeutic and prophylactic settings. Its mechanism of action is mediated by its binding to B7-DC/PD-L2 molecules on the surface of dendritic cells (DCs) to induce a multimolecular cap and subsequent activation of signaling cascades that determine a unique combination of DC phenotypes. One such phenotype, the B7-DC XAb-induced antigen accumulation in mTLR-matured DCs, has been linked to signaling through TREM-2, but the signals required for other DC phenotypes critical for the therapeutic effects in animal models remain unclear. Here, FRET and co-immunoprecipitation studies show that CD40 is recruited to the multi-molecular complex by B7-DC XAb. Signals emanating from CD40 are important, as CD40−/− DCs treated with B7-DC XAb (DCXAb) activated DAP12, but failed to activate NFκB, and were not protected from cell death upon cytokine withdrawal or treatment with Vitamin D3. CD40−/− DCXAb also failed to secrete IL-6 and were unable to support the conversion of T regulatory cells into IL-17+ effector T cells in vitro. Importantly, the expression of CD40 was required for the overall ability of B7-DC XAb to induce anti-tumor CTL, to provide protection from a number of tumor types, and for DCXAb to be effective anti-tumor vaccines in vivo. These results indicate that B7-DC XAb modulation of DC phenotypes is through its ability to indirectly recruit common signaling molecules and elements of their endogenous signaling pathways through targeted binding to a cell-specific surface determinant
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