The genomic integration of HIV into cells results in long-term persistence of virally infected cell populations. This integration event acts as a heritable mark that can be tracked to monitor infected cells that persist over time. Previous reports have documented clonal expansion in people and have linked them to proto-oncogenes; however, their significance or contribution to the latent reservoir has remained unclear. Here, we demonstrate that a directed pattern of clonal expansion occurs in vivo, specifically in gene pathways important for viral replication and persistence. These biological processes include cellular division, transcriptional regulation, RNA processing, and posttranslational modification pathways. This indicates preferential expansion when integration events occur within genes or biological pathways beneficial for HIV replication and persistence. Additionally, these expansions occur quickly during unsuppressed viral replication in vivo, reinforcing the importance of early intervention for individuals to limit reservoir seeding of clonally expanded HIV-infected cells.
Kevin G. Haworth, Lauren E. Schefter, Zachary K. Norgaard, Christina Ironside, Jennifer E. Adair, Hans-Peter Kiem
Success of immune checkpoint inhibitors in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has invigorated their use in the neoadjuvant setting for early-stage disease. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the early immune responses to therapy remain poorly understood. Through an integrated analysis of early-stage NSCLC patients and a Kras mutant mouse model, we show a prevalent programmed cell death 1/programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) axis exemplified by increased intratumoral PD-1+ T cells and PD-L1 expression. Notably, tumor progression was associated with spatiotemporal modulation of the immune microenvironment with dominant immunosuppressive phenotypes at later phases of tumor growth. Importantly, PD-1 inhibition controlled tumor growth, improved overall survival, and reprogrammed tumor-associated lymphoid and myeloid cells. Depletion of T lymphocyte subsets demonstrated synergistic effects of those populations on PD-1 inhibition of tumor growth. Transcriptome analyses revealed T cell subset–specific alterations corresponding to degree of response to the treatment. These results provide insights into temporal evolution of the phenotypic effects of PD-1/PD-L1 activation and inhibition and motivate targeting of this axis early in lung cancer progression.
Geoffrey J. Markowitz, Lauren S. Havel, Michael J.P. Crowley, Yi Ban, Sharrell B. Lee, Jennifer S. Thalappillil, Navneet Narula, Bhavneet Bhinder, Olivier Elemento, Stephen T.C. Wong, Dingcheng Gao, Nasser K. Altorki, Vivek Mittal
The maintenance of effective immunity over time is dependent on the capacity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to sustain the pool of immunocompetent mature cells. Decline of immune competence with old age may stem from HSC defects, including reduced self-renewal potential and impaired lymphopoiesis, as suggested in murine models. To obtain further insights into aging-related alteration of hematopoiesis, we performed a comprehensive study of blood hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) from older humans. In the elderly, HPCs present active oxidative phosphorylation and are pressed to enter cell cycling. However, p53-p21 and p15 cell senescence pathways, associated with telomerase activity deficiency, strong telomere attrition, and oxidative stress, are engaged, thus limiting cell cycling. Moreover, survival of old HPCs is impacted by pyroptosis, an inflammatory form of programmed cell death. Lastly, telomerase activity deficiency and telomere length attrition of old HPCs may be passed on to progeny cells such as naive T lymphocytes, further highlighting the poor hematopoietic potential of the elderly. This pre-senescent profile is characteristic of the multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting HPCs in elderly individuals and represents a major obstacle in terms of immune reconstitution and efficacy with advanced age.
Tinhinane Fali, Véronique Fabre-Mersseman, Takuya Yamamoto, Charles Bayard, Laura Papagno, Solène Fastenackels, Rima Zoorab, Richard A. Koup, Jacques Boddaert, Delphine Sauce, Victor Appay
Coinhibitory receptors play an important role in the prevention of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), by limiting T cell activation. B and T lymphocyte attenuator (BTLA) is an inhibitory receptor, similar to cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death 1 (PD1), that negatively regulates the immune response. The role of BTLA in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases in humans and, more specifically, in SLE is largely unknown. We investigated BTLA expression on various T cell subsets, and we did not observe significant variations of BTLA expression between lupus patients and healthy controls. However, the enhancement of BTLA expression after activation was significantly lower in SLE patients compared with that in healthy controls. Furthermore, we found an impaired capacity of BTLA to inhibit T cell activation in SLE due to a poor BTLA recruitment to the immunological synapse following T cell stimulation. Finally, we demonstrated that defective BTLA function can be corrected by restoring intracellular trafficking and by normalizing the lipid metabolism in lupus CD4+ T cells. Collectively, our results evidence that the BTLA signaling pathway is altered in SLE T cells and highlight the potential of targeting this pathway for the development of new therapeutic strategies in lupus.
Matthieu Sawaf, Jean-Daniel Fauny, Renaud Felten, Flora Sagez, Jacques-Eric Gottenberg, Hélène Dumortier, Fanny Monneaux
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) causes acute and chronic rheumatologic disease. Pathogenic CHIKV strains persist in joints of immunocompetent mice, while the attenuated CHIKV strain 181/25 is cleared by adaptive immunity. We analyzed the draining lymph node (dLN) to define events in lymphoid tissue that may contribute to CHIKV persistence or clearance. Acute 181/25 infection resulted in dLN enlargement and germinal center (GC) formation, while the dLN of mice infected with pathogenic CHIKV became highly disorganized and depleted of lymphocytes. Using CHIKV strains encoding ovalbumin-specific TCR epitopes, we found that lymphocyte depletion was not due to impaired lymphocyte proliferation. Instead, the accumulation of naive lymphocytes transferred from the vasculature to the dLN was reduced, which was associated with fewer high endothelial venule cells and decreased CCL21 production. Following NP-OVA immunization, NP-specific GC B cells in the dLN were decreased during pathogenic, but not attenuated, CHIKV infection. Our data suggest that pathogenic, persistent strains of CHIKV disable the development of adaptive immune responses within the dLN.
Mary K. McCarthy, Bennett J. Davenport, Glennys V. Reynoso, Erin D. Lucas, Nicholas A. May, Susan A. Elmore, Beth A. Tamburini, Heather D. Hickman, Thomas E. Morrison
The peripheral blood represents only a small fraction of the total number of lymphocytes in the body. To develop a more thorough understanding of T cell dynamics, including the effects of SIV/SHIV/HIV infection on immune cell depletion and immune reconstitution following combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), one needs to utilize approaches that allow direct visualization of lymphoid tissues. In the present study, noninvasive in vivo imaging of the CD4+ T cell pool has revealed that the timing of the CD4+ T cell pool reconstitution following initiation of ART in SIV-infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) appears seemingly stochastic among clusters of lymph nodes within the same host. At 4 weeks following initiation or interruption of cART, the changes observed in peripheral blood (PB) are primarily related to changes in the whole-body CD4 pool rather than changes in lymphocyte trafficking. Lymph node CD4 pools in long-term antiretroviral-treated and plasma viral load–suppressed hosts appear suboptimally reconstituted compared with healthy controls, while splenic CD4 pools appear similar between the 2 groups.
Michele Di Mascio, Sharat Srinivasula, Insook Kim, Gorka Duralde, Alexis St. Claire, Paula DeGrange, Marisa St. Claire, Keith A. Reimann, Erin E. Gabriel, Jorge Carrasquillo, Richard C. Reba, Chang Paik, Henry C. Lane
Recent years have witnessed the groundbreaking success of immune checkpoint blockage (ICB) in metastasized malignant melanoma. However, biomarkers predicting the response to ICB are still urgently needed. In the present study, we investigated CTLA4 promoter methylation (mCTLA4) in 470 malignant melanoma patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (non-ICB cohort) and in 50 individuals with metastasized malignant melanomas under PD-1/CTLA-4–targeted immunotherapy (ICB cohort). mCTLA4 levels were quantified using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (non-ICB cohort) and methylation-specific quantitative real-time PCR in DNA formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues (ICB cohort). Methylation levels were associated with molecular and clinicopathological variables and analyzed with respect to response (irRECIST) and overall survival. CTLA-4 mRNA and mCTLA4 showed a significant inverse correlation (non-ICB cohort: Spearman’s ρ = –0.416, P < 0.001). In ICB-treated melanoma patients, low mCTLA4 was further strongly correlated with response to therapy (P = 0.009, ANOVA) and overall survival (hazard ratio = 2.06 [95% CI: 1.29–3.29], P = 0.003). Our data strongly support the assumption that mCTLA4 predicts response to both anti–PD-1 and anti–CTLA-4 targeted ICB in melanoma and provides paramount information for the selection of patients likely to respond to ICB.
Diane Goltz, Heidrun Gevensleben, Timo J. Vogt, Joern Dietrich, Carsten Golletz, Friedrich Bootz, Glen Kristiansen, Jennifer Landsberg, Dimo Dietrich
Tenofovir gel and dapivirine ring provided variable HIV protection in clinical trials, reflecting poor adherence and possibly biological factors. We hypothesized that vaginal microbiota modulates pharmacokinetics and tested the effects of pH, individual bacteria, and vaginal swabs from women on pharmacokinetics and antiviral activity. Tenofovir, but not dapivirine, uptake by human cells was reduced as pH increased. Lactobacillus crispatus actively transported tenofovir leading to a loss in drug bioavailability and culture supernatants from Gardnerella vaginalis, but not Atopobium vaginae, blocked tenofovir endocytosis. The inhibition of endocytosis mapped to adenine. Adenine increased from 65.5 μM in broth to 246 μM in Gardnerella, but decreased to 9.5 μM in Atopobium supernatants. This translated into a decrease in anti-HIV activity when Gardnerella supernatants or adenine were added to cultures. Dapivirine was also impacted by microbiota, as drug bound irreversibly to bacteria, resulting in decreased antiviral activity. When drugs were incubated with vaginal swabs, 30.7% ± 5.7% of dapivirine and 63.9% ± 8.8% of tenofovir were recovered in supernatants after centrifugation of the bacterial cell pellet. In contrast, no impact of microbiota on the pharmacokinetics of the prodrugs, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or tenofovir alafenamide, was observed. Together, these results demonstrate that microbiota may impact pharmacokinetics and contribute to inconsistent efficacy.
Ekaterina Taneva, Shada Sinclair, Pedro M.M. Mesquita, Brian Weinrick, Scott A. Cameron, Natalia Cheshenko, Kerry Reagle, Bruce Frank, Sujatha Srinivasan, David Fredricks, Marla J. Keller, Betsy C. Herold
Persistent fibrosis in multiple organs is the hallmark of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Recent genetic and genomic studies implicate TLRs and their damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) endogenous ligands in fibrosis. To test the hypothesis that TLR4 and its coreceptor myeloid differentiation 2 (MD2) drive fibrosis persistence, we measured MD2/TLR4 signaling in tissues from patients with fibrotic SSc, and we examined the impact of MD2 targeting using a potentially novel small molecule. Levels of MD2 and TLR4, and a TLR4-responsive gene signature, were enhanced in SSc skin biopsies. We developed a small molecule that selectively blocks MD2, which is uniquely required for TLR4 signaling. Targeting MD2/TLR4 abrogated inducible and constitutive myofibroblast transformation and matrix remodeling in fibroblast monolayers, as well as in 3-D scleroderma skin equivalents and human skin explants. Moreover, the selective TLR4 inhibitor prevented organ fibrosis in several preclinical disease models and mouse strains, and it reversed preexisting fibrosis. Fibroblast-specific deletion of TLR4 in mice afforded substantial protection from skin and lung fibrosis. By comparing experimentally generated fibroblast TLR4 gene signatures with SSc skin biopsy gene expression datasets, we identified a subset of SSc patients displaying an activated TLR4 signature. Together, results from these human and mouse studies implicate MD2/TLR4-dependent fibroblast activation as a key driver of persistent organ fibrosis. The results suggest that SSc patients with high TLR4 activity might show optimal therapeutic response to selective inhibitors of MD2/TLR4 complex formation.
Swati Bhattacharyya, Wenxia Wang, Wenyi Qin, Kui Cheng, Sara Coulup, Sherry Chavez, Shuangshang Jiang, Kirtee Raparia, Lucia Maria V. De Almeida, Christian Stehlik, Zenshiro Tamaki, Hang Yin, John Varga
Cytokines play an important role in dysregulated immune responses to infection, pancreatitis, ischemia/reperfusion injury, burns, hemorrhage, cardiopulmonary bypass, trauma, and many other diseases. Moreover, the imbalance between inflammatory and antiinflammatory cytokines can have deleterious effects. Here, we demonstrated highly selective blood-filtering devices — antibody-modified conduits (AMCs) — that selectively eliminate multiple specific deleterious cytokines in vitro. AMCs functionalized with antibodies against human vascular endothelial growth factor A or tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) selectively eliminated the target cytokines from human blood in vitro and maintained them in reduced states even in the face of ongoing infusion at supraphysiologic rates. We characterized the variables that determine AMC performance, using anti–human TNF-α AMCs to eliminate recombinant human TNF-α. Finally, we demonstrated selective cytokine elimination in vivo by filtering interleukin 1 β from rats with lipopolysaccharide-induced hypercytokinemia.
J. Brian McAlvin, Ryan G. Wylie, Krithika Ramchander, Minh T. Nguyen, Charles K. Lok, Morgan Moroi, Andre Shomorony, Nikolay V. Vasilyev, Patrick Armstrong, Jason Yang, Alexander M. Lieber, Obiajulu S. Okonkwo, Rohit Karnik, Daniel S. Kohane
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