Cellular therapies based on permanent genetic modification of conventional T cells have emerged as a promising strategy for cancer. However, it remains unknown if modification of T cell subsets, such as Tregs, could be useful in other settings, such as allograft transplantation. Here, we use a modular system based on a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that binds covalently modified mAbs to control Treg activation in vivo. Transient expression of this mAb-directed CAR (mAbCAR) in Tregs permitted Treg targeting to specific tissue sites and mitigated allograft responses, such as graft-versus-host disease. mAbCAR Tregs targeted to MHC class I proteins on allografts prolonged islet allograft survival and also prolonged the survival of secondary skin grafts specifically matched to the original islet allograft. Thus, transient genetic modification to produce mAbCAR T cells led to durable immune modulation, suggesting therapeutic targeting strategies for controlling alloreactivity in settings such as organ or tissue transplantation.
Antonio Pierini, Bettina P. Iliopoulou, Heshan Peiris, Magdiel Pérez-Cruz, Jeanette Baker, Katie Hsu, Xueying Gu, Ping-Ping Zheng, Tom Erkers, Sai-Wen Tang, William Strober, Maite Alvarez, Aaron Ring, Andrea Velardi, Robert S. Negrin, Seung K. Kim, Everett H. Meyer
T cells are central to the detrimental alloresponses that develop in autoimmunity and transplantation, with CD28 costimulatory signals being key to T cell activation and proliferation. CTLA4-Ig molecules that bind CD80/86 and inhibit CD28 costimulation offer an alternative immunosuppressive treatment, free from some of the chronic toxicities associated with calcineurin inhibition. However, CD80/86 blockade by CTLA4-Ig also results in the loss of coinhibitory CTLA4 signals that are critical to the regulation of T cell activation. Here, we show that a nonactivating monovalent anti-CD28 that spares CTLA4 signaling is an effective immunosuppressant in a clinically relevant humanized mouse transplant model. We demonstrate that selective CD28 blockade prolongs human skin allograft survival through a mechanism that includes a reduction in the cellular graft infiltrate. Critically, selective CD28 blockade promotes Treg function in vivo and synergizes with adoptive Treg therapy to promote transplant survival. In contrast to CTLA4-Ig treatment, selective CD28 blockade promotes regulation of alloimmune responses and facilitates Treg-based cellular therapy.
Masaaki Zaitsu, Fadi Issa, Joanna Hester, Bernard Vanhove, Kathryn J. Wood
Foxp3+ Tregs possess potent immunosuppressive activity, which is critical for maintaining immune homeostasis and self-tolerance. Defects in Treg development or function result in inadvertent immune activation and autoimmunity. Despite recent advances in Treg biology, we still do not completely understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing the development and suppressive function of these cells. Here, we have demonstrated an essential role of the dedicator of cytokinesis 8 (DOCK8), guanine nucleotide exchange factors required for cytoskeleton rearrangement, cell migration, and immune cell survival in controlling Treg fitness and their function. Treg-specific DOCK8 deletion led to spontaneous multiorgan inflammation in mice due to uncontrolled T cell activation and production of proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, we show that DOCK8-deficient Tregs are defective in competitive fitness and in vivo suppressive function. Furthermore, DOCK8 controls IL-2 signaling, crucial for maintenance and competitive fitness of Tregs, via a STAT5-dependent manner. Our study provides potentially novel insights into the essential function of DOCK8 in Tregs and immune regulation, and it explains the autoimmune manifestations associated with DOCK8 deficiency.
Akhilesh K. Singh, Ahmet Eken, David Hagin, Khushbu Komal, Gauri Bhise, Azima Shaji, Tanvi Arkatkar, Shaun W. Jackson, Estelle Bettelli, Troy R. Torgerson, Mohamed Oukka
Patients deficient in the guanine nucleotide exchange factor DOCK8 have decreased numbers and impaired in vitro function of Tregs and make autoantibodies, but they seldom develop autoimmunity. We show that, similarly, Dock8–/– mice have decreased numbers and impaired in vitro function of Tregs but do not develop autoimmunity. In contrast, mice with selective DOCK8 deficiency in Tregs develop lymphoproliferation, autoantibodies, and gastrointestinal inflammation, despite a normal percentage and in vitro function of Tregs, suggesting that deficient T effector cell function might protect DOCK8-deficient patients from autoimmunity. We demonstrate that DOCK8 associates with STAT5 and is important for IL-2–driven STAT5 phosphorylation in Tregs. DOCK8 localizes within the lamellar actin ring of the Treg immune synapse (IS). Dock8–/– Tregs have abnormal TCR-driven actin dynamics, decreased adhesiveness, an altered gene expression profile, an unstable IS with decreased recruitment of signaling molecules, and impaired transendocytosis of the costimulatory molecule CD86. These data suggest that DOCK8 enforces immunological tolerance by promoting IL-2 signaling, TCR-driven actin dynamics, and the IS in Tregs.
Erin Janssen, Sudha Kumari, Mira Tohme, Sumana Ullas, Victor Barrera, Jeroen M.J. Tas, Marcela Castillo-Rama, Roderick T. Bronson, Shariq M. Usmani, Darrell J. Irvine, Thorsten R. Mempel, Raif S. Geha
BACKGROUND. Our goal was to identify changes in the metabolome in multiple sclerosis (MS) and how vitamin D supplementation alters metabolic profiles in MS patients and healthy controls. METHODS. We applied global untargeted metabolomics to plasma from a cross-sectional cohort of age- and sex-matched MS patients and controls and a second longitudinal cohort of MS patients and healthy controls who received 5,000 IU cholecalciferol daily for 90 days. We applied partial least squares discriminant analysis, weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA), and pathway analysis to the metabolomics data. Generalized estimating equations models were used to assess change in WGCNA-identified module scores or metabolite pathways with vitamin D supplementation. RESULTS. Utilizing multiple analytical techniques, we identified metabolic alterations in oxidative stress (γ-glutamyl amino acid, glutathione) and xenobiotic metabolism (benzoate, caffeine) in MS patients compared with healthy controls in the first cohort. In the vitamin D supplementation cohort, we identified two sets of metabolites altered differentially between MS patients and healthy controls with vitamin D supplementation. The first included markers of oxidative stress and protein oxidation (P = 0.006), while the second contained lysolipids and fatty acids (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS. Using metabolomics, we identified alterations in oxidative stress and xenobiotic metabolism in MS patients and subsequently demonstrated a reduction of oxidative stress markers with vitamin D supplementation in healthy controls but not in MS patients. We demonstrate the utility of metabolomics in identifying aberrant metabolic processes and in monitoring the ability of therapeutic interventions to correct these abnormalities. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01667796. FUNDING. This study was supported by NIH grant K23 NS067055, grants from the Race to Erase MS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Academy of Neurology, and North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis.
Pavan Bhargava, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Peter A. Calabresi, Ellen M. Mowry
Subsets of mature B cell neoplasms are linked to infection with intracellular pathogens such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), or Helicobacter pylori. However, the association between infection and the immunoglobulin-secreting (Ig-secreting) B proliferative disorders remains largely unresolved. We investigated whether the monoclonal IgG (mc IgG) produced by patients diagnosed with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or multiple myeloma (MM) targets infectious pathogens. Antigen specificity of purified mc IgG from a large patient cohort (n = 244) was determined using a multiplex infectious-antigen array (MIAA), which screens for reactivity to purified antigens or lysates from 9 pathogens. Purified mc IgG from 23.4% of patients (57 of 244) specifically recognized 1 pathogen in the MIAA. EBV was the most frequent target (15.6%), with 36 of 38 mc IgGs recognizing EBV nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1). MM patients with EBNA-1–specific mc IgG (14.0%) showed substantially greater bone marrow plasma cell infiltration and higher β2-microglobulin and inflammation/infection–linked cytokine levels compared with other smoldering myeloma/MM patients. Five other pathogens were the targets of mc IgG: herpes virus simplex-1 (2.9%), varicella zoster virus (1.6%), cytomegalovirus (0.8%), hepatitis C virus (1.2%), and H. pylori (1.2%). We conclude that a dysregulated immune response to infection may underlie disease onset and/or progression of MGUS and MM for subsets of patients.
Adrien Bosseboeuf, Delphine Feron, Anne Tallet, Cédric Rossi, Cathy Charlier, Laurent Garderet, Denis Caillot, Philippe Moreau, Marina Cardó-Vila, Renata Pasqualini, Wadih Arap, Alfreda Destea Nelson, Bridget S. Wilson, Hélène Perreault, Eric Piver, Pierre Weigel, François Girodon, Jean Harb, Edith Bigot-Corbel, Sylvie Hermouet
Blockade of immune checkpoint proteins (e.g., CTLA-4, PD-1) improves overall survival in advanced melanoma; however, therapeutic benefit is limited to only a subset of patients. Because checkpoint blockade acts by “removing the brakes” on effector T cells, the efficacy of checkpoint blockade may be constrained by the limited pool of melanoma-reactive T cells in the periphery. In the thymus, autoimmune regulator (Aire) promotes deletion of T cells reactive against self-antigens that are also expressed by tumors. Thus, while protecting against autoimmunity, Aire also limits the generation of melanoma-reactive T cells. Here, we show that Aire deficiency in mice expands the pool of CD4+ T cells capable of melanoma cell eradication and has additive effects with anti–CTLA-4 antibody in slowing melanoma tumor growth and increasing survival. Moreover, pharmacologic blockade of central T cell tolerance and peripheral checkpoint blockade in combination enhanced antimelanoma immunity in a synergistic manner. In melanoma patients treated with anti–CTLA-4 antibody, clinical response to therapy was associated with a human Aire polymorphism. Together, these findings suggest that Aire-mediated central tolerance constrains the efficacy of peripheral checkpoint inhibition and point to simultaneous blockade of Aire and checkpoint inhibitors as a novel strategy to enhance antimelanoma immunity.
Pearl Bakhru, Meng-Lei Zhu, Hsing-Hui Wang, Lee K. Hong, Imran Khan, Maria Mouchess, Ajay S. Gulati, Joshua Starmer, Yafei Hou, David Sailer, Sandra Lee, Fengmin Zhao, John M. Kirkwood, Stergios Moschos, Lawrence Fong, Mark S. Anderson, Maureen A. Su
Checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated efficacy in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, the majority of patients do not benefit from these agents. To improve the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, intratumoral (i.t.) injection with innate immune activators, TLR7 and TLR9 agonists, were tested along with programmed death-1 receptor (PD-1) blockade. The combination therapy suppressed tumor growth at the primary injected and distant sites in human papillomavirus–negative (HPV-negative) SCC7 and MOC1, and HPV-positive MEER syngeneic mouse models. Abscopal effects and suppression of secondary challenged tumor suggest that local treatment with TLR agonists in combination with anti–PD-1 provided systemic adaptive immunity. I.t. treatment with a TLR7 agonist increased the ratio of M1 to M2 tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and promoted the infiltration of tumor-specific IFNγ-producing CD8+ T cells. Anti–PD-1 treatment increased T cell receptor (TCR) clonality of CD8+ T cells in tumors and spleens of treated mice. Collectively, these experiments demonstrate that combination therapy with i.t. delivery of TLR agonists and PD-1 blockade activates TAMs and induces tumor-specific adaptive immune responses, leading to suppression of primary tumor growth and prevention of metastasis in HNSCC models.
Fumi Sato-Kaneko, Shiyin Yao, Alast Ahmadi, Shannon S. Zhang, Tadashi Hosoya, Megan M. Kaneda, Judith A. Varner, Minya Pu, Karen S. Messer, Cristiana Guiducci, Robert L. Coffman, Kazutaka Kitaura, Takaji Matsutani, Ryuji Suzuki, Dennis A. Carson, Tomoko Hayashi, Ezra E.W. Cohen
V-domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA) is a recently discovered immune checkpoint ligand that functions to suppress T cell activity. The therapeutic potential of activating this immune checkpoint pathway to reduce inflammatory responses remains untapped, largely due to the inability to derive agonists targeting its unknown receptor. A dimeric construct of the IgV domain of VISTA (VISTA-Fc) was shown to suppress the activation of T cells in vitro. However, this effect required its immobilization on a solid surface, suggesting that VISTA-Fc may display limited efficacy as a VISTA-receptor agonist in vivo. Herein, we have designed a stable pentameric VISTA construct (VISTA.COMP) by genetically fusing its IgV domain to the pentamerization domain from the cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). In contrast to VISTA-Fc, VISTA.COMP does not require immobilization to inhibit the proliferation of CD4+ T cells undergoing polyclonal activation. Furthermore, we show that VISTA.COMP, but not VISTA-Fc, functions as an immunosuppressive agonist in vivo capable of prolonging the survival of skin allografts in a mouse transplant model as well as rescuing mice from acute concanavalin-A–induced hepatitis. Collectively, we believe our data demonstrate that VISTA.COMP is a checkpoint receptor agonist and the first agent to our knowledge targeting the putative VISTA-receptor to suppress T cell–mediated immune responses.
Aaron Prodeus, Aws Abdul-Wahid, Amanda Sparkes, Nicholas W. Fischer, Marzena Cydzik, Nicholas Chiang, Mays Alwash, Alessandra Ferzoco, Nathalie Vacaresse, Michael Julius, Reginald M. Gorczysnki, Jean Gariépy
BACKGROUND. Inflammation and monocytes are thought to be important to human malaria pathogenesis. However, the relationship of inflammation and various monocyte functions to acute malaria, recovery from acute malaria, and asymptomatic parasitemia in endemic populations is poorly understood. METHODS. We evaluated plasma cytokine levels, monocyte subsets, monocyte functional responses, and monocyte inflammatory transcriptional profiles of 1- to 10-year-old Kenyan children at the time of presentation with acute uncomplicated malaria and at recovery 6 weeks later; these results were compared with analogous data from asymptomatic children and adults in the same community. RESULTS. Acute malaria was marked by elevated levels of proinflammatory and regulatory cytokines and expansion of the inflammatory “intermediate” monocyte subset that returned to levels of healthy asymptomatic children 6 weeks later. Monocytes displayed activated phenotypes during acute malaria, with changes in surface expression of markers important to innate and adaptive immunity. Functionally, acute malaria monocytes and monocytes from asymptomatic infected children had impaired phagocytosis of P. falciparum–infected erythrocytes relative to asymptomatic children with no blood-stage infection. Monocytes from both acute malaria and recovery time points displayed strong and equivalent cytokine responsiveness to innate immune agonists that were independent of infection status. Monocyte transcriptional profiles revealed regulated and balanced proinflammatory and antiinflammatory and altered phagocytosis gene expression patterns distinct from malaria-naive monocytes. CONCLUSION. These observations provide insights into monocyte functions and the innate immune response during uncomplicated malaria and suggest that asymptomatic parasitemia in children is not clinically benign. FUNDING. Support for this work was provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01AI095192-05), the Burroughs Wellcome Fund/American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation.
Katherine R. Dobbs, Paula Embury, John Vulule, Peter S. Odada, Bruce A. Rosa, Makedonka Mitreva, James W. Kazura, Arlene E. Dent
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