Development of gastric cancer is often preceded by chronic inflammation, but the immune cellular mechanisms underlying this process are unclear. Here we demonstrated that an inflammasome molecule, absent in melanoma 2 (Aim2), was upregulated in gastric cancer patients, and in spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM) of chronically Helicobacter felis (H. felis)-infected stomachs in mice. However, we found that Aim2 was not necessary for inflammasome function during gastritis. In contrast, Aim2 deficiency led to an increase in gastric CD8+ T cell frequency, which exacerbated metaplasia. These gastric CD8+ T cells from Aim2-/- mice were found to have lost their homing receptor expression (S1pr1 and CD62l), a feature of tissue resident memory T cells (TRM). The process was not mediated by Aim2-dependent regulation of IFN-β, or by dendritic cell-intrinsic Aim2. Rather, Aim2 deficiency contributed to an increased production of Cxcl16 by B cells, which could suppress S1pr1 and CD62l in CD8+ T cells. The study describes a novel function of Aim2 that regulates CD8+ T cell infiltration and retention within chronically inflamed solid organ tissue. This function operates independently of the inflammasome, IFN-β or dendritic cells. We provide evidence that B cells can contribute to this mechanism via Cxcl16.


Mohamad El-Zaatari, Shrinivas Bishu, Min Zhang, Helmut Grasberger, Guoqing Hou, Henry R. Haley, Brock A. Humphries, Li-Jyun Syu, Andrzej Dlugosz, Kathryn E. Luker, Gary Luker, Kathryn A. Eaton, Nobuhiko Kamada, Marilia Cascalho, John Y. Kao


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