The tumour immune microenvironment is a crucial mediator of lung tumourigenesis, and characterizing the immune landscape of patient tumours may guide immunotherapy treatment regimens and uncover novel intervention points. We sought to identify the landscape of tumour-infiltrating immune cells in the context of long non-coding RNA (lncRNAs), known regulators of gene expression. We examined the lncRNA profiles of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) tumours by interrogating RNA sequencing data from microdissected and non-microdissected samples (BCCRC and TCGA). Subsequently, analysis of single-cell RNA sequencing data from lung tumours and flow-sorted healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells identified lncRNAs in immune cells, highlighting their biological and prognostic relevance. We discovered lncRNA expression patterns indicative of regulatory relationships with immune-related protein-coding genes, including the relationship between AC008750.1 and NKG7 in NK cells. Activation of NK cells in vitro was sufficient to induce AC008750.1 expression. Finally, siRNA-mediated knockdown of AC008750.1 significantly impaired both the expression of NKG7 and the anti-tumour capacity of NK cells. We present an atlas of cancer-cell extrinsic immune cell-expressed lncRNAs, in vitro evidence for a functional role of lncRNAs in anti-tumour immune activity, which upon further exploration may reveal novel clinical utility as markers of immune infiltration.
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