Since the proper activation of T cells requires the physical interaction with target cells through the formation of immunological synapses (IS), an alteration at this level could be a reason why tumors escape the immune response. As part of their life cycle, it is thought that T cells alternate between a static phase, the IS, and a dynamic phase, the immunological kinapse (IK), depending on high or low antigen sensing. Our investigation performed in tissue samples of human glioma shows that T cells are able to establish synapsing interactions not only with glioma tumorigenic cells, but also with stromal myeloid cells. Particularly, the IS displaying a T cell receptor–rich (TCR-rich) central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC) is preferentially established with stromal cells, as opposed to malignant cells. Conversely, T cells in the malignant areas showed distinct morphometric parameters compared with nonneoplastic tissue — the former characterized by an elongated shape, well-suited to kinaptic dynamics. Importantly, high-resolution 3-dimensional analyses demonstrated the existence of bona-fide IK preferentially arranged in malignant areas of the tumor. This imbalance of IS/IK states between these 2 microenvironments reveals the low antigenic sensing of T cells when patrolling tumorigenic cells and reflects the immunoevasive environment of the tumor.
Laura R. Díaz, Elena Saavedra-López, Leire Romarate, Izaskun Mitxitorena, Paola V. Casanova, George P. Cribaro, José M. Gallego, Ana Pérez-Vallés, Jerónimo Forteza-Vila, Clara Alfaro-Cervello, José M. García-Verdugo, Carlos Barcia Sr., Carlos Barcia Jr.
Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have an antigen-binding domain fused to transmembrane, costimulatory, and CD3ζ domains. Two CARs with regulatory approval include a CD28 or 4-1BB costimulatory domain. While both CARs achieve similar clinical outcomes, biologic differences have become apparent but not completely understood. Therefore, in this study we aimed to identify mechanistic differences between 4-1BB and CD28 costimulation that contribute to the biologic differences between the 2 CARs and could be exploited to enhance CAR T cell function. Using CD19-targeted CAR T cells with 4-1BB we determined that enhancement of T cell function is driven by NF-κB. Comparison to CAR T cells with CD28 also revealed that 4-1BB is associated with more antiapoptotic proteins and dependence on persistence for B cell killing. While TNF receptor–associated factor 2 (TRAF2) has been presupposed to be required for 4-1BB costimulation in CAR T cells, we determined that TRAF1 and TRAF3 are also critical. We observed that TRAFs impacted CAR T viability and proliferation, as well as cytotoxicity and/or cytokines, in part by regulating NF-κB. Our study demonstrates how 4-1BB costimulation in CAR T cells impacts antitumor eradication and clinical outcomes and has implications for enhanced CAR design.
Gongbo Li, Justin C. Boucher, Hiroshi Kotani, Kyungho Park, Yongliang Zhang, Bishwas Shrestha, Xuefeng Wang, Lawrence Guan, Nolan Beatty, Daniel Abate-Daga, Marco L. Davila
BACKGROUND. Neutrophils and their inflammatory mediators are key pathogenic components in multiple autoimmune diseases, while their role in human type 1 diabetes (T1D), a disease that progresses sequentially through identifiable stages prior to the clinical onset, is not well understood. We previously reported that the number of circulating neutrophils is reduced in patients with T1D and in presymptomatic at-risk subjects. The aim of the present work was to identify possible changes in circulating and pancreas-residing neutrophils throughout the disease course to better elucidate neutrophil involvement in human T1D. METHODS. Data collected from 389 subjects at risk of developing T1D, and enrolled in 4 distinct studies performed by TrialNet, were analyzed with comprehensive statistical approaches to determine whether the number of circulating neutrophils correlates with pancreas function. To obtain a broad analysis of pancreas-infiltrating neutrophils throughout all disease stages, pancreas sections collected worldwide from 4 different cohorts (i.e., nPOD, DiViD, Siena, and Exeter) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Finally, circulating neutrophils were purified from unrelated nondiabetic subjects and donors at various T1D stages and their transcriptomic signature was determined by RNA sequencing. RESULTS. Here, we show that the decline in β cell function is greatest in individuals with the lowest peripheral neutrophil numbers. Neutrophils infiltrate the pancreas prior to the onset of symptoms and they continue to do so as the disease progresses. Of interest, a fraction of these pancreas-infiltrating neutrophils also extrudes neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), suggesting a tissue-specific pathogenic role. Whole-transcriptome analysis of purified blood neutrophils revealed a unique molecular signature that is distinguished by an overabundance of IFN-associated genes; despite being healthy, said signature is already present in T1D-autoantibody-negative at-risk subjects. CONCLUSIONS. These results reveal an unexpected abnormality in neutrophil disposition both in the circulation and in the pancreas of presymptomatic and symptomatic T1D subjects, implying that targeting neutrophils might represent a previously unrecognized therapeutic modality. FUNDING. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), NIH, Diabetes UK.
Federica Vecchio, Nicola Lo Buono, Angela Stabilini, Laura Nigi, Matthew J. Dufort, Susan Geyer, Paola Maria Rancoita, Federica Cugnata, Alessandra Mandelli, Andrea Valle, Pia Leete, Francesca Mancarella, Peter S. Linsley, Lars Krogvold, Kevan C. Herold, Helena Elding Larsson, Sarah J. Richardson, Noel G. Morgan, Knut Dahl-Jørgensen, Guido Sebastiani, Francesco Dotta, Emanuele Bosi, the DRI_Biorepository Group, the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Study Group, Manuela Battaglia
When draining lymph nodes become infected by Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), a massive influx of phagocytic cells occurs, resulting in distended and necrotic structures known as buboes. The bubonic stage of the Y. pestis life cycle precedes septicemia, which is facilitated by trafficking of infected mononuclear phagocytes through these buboes. However, how Y. pestis convert these immunocytes recruited by host to contain the pathogen into vehicles for bacterial dispersal and the role of immune cell death in this context are unknown. We show that the lymphatic spread requires Yersinia outer protein J (YopJ), which triggers death of infected macrophages by downregulating a suppressor of receptor-interacting protein kinase 1–mediated (RIPK1-mediated) cell death programs. The YopJ-triggered cell death was identified as necroptotic, which released intracellular bacteria, allowing them to infect new neighboring cell targets. Dying macrophages also produced chemotactic sphingosine 1-phosphate, enhancing cell-to-cell contact, further promoting infection. This necroptosis-driven expansion of infected macrophages in buboes maximized the number of bacteria-bearing macrophages reaching secondary lymph nodes, leading to sepsis. In support, necrostatins confined bacteria within macrophages and protected mice from lethal infection. These findings define necrotization of buboes as a mechanism for bacterial spread and a potential target for therapeutic intervention.
Mohammad Arifuzzaman, W.X. Gladys Ang, Hae Woong Choi, Matthew L. Nilles, Ashley L. St. John, Soman N. Abraham
Adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) immunotherapy benefits from early differentiated stem cell memory T (Tscm) cells capable of persisting in the long term and generating potent antitumor effectors. Due to their paucity ex vivo, Tscm cells can be derived from naive precursors, but the molecular signals at the basis of Tscm cell generation are ill-defined. We found that less differentiated human circulating CD8+ T cells display substantial antioxidant capacity ex vivo compared with more differentiated central and effector memory T cells. Limiting ROS metabolism with antioxidants during naive T cell activation hindered terminal differentiation, while allowing expansion and generation of Tscm cells. N-acetylcysteine (NAC), the most effective molecule in this regard, induced transcriptional and metabolic programs characteristic of self-renewing memory T cells. Upon ACT, NAC-generated Tscm cells established long-term memory in vivo and exerted more potent antitumor immunity in a xenogeneic model when redirected with CD19-specific CAR, highlighting the translational relevance of NAC as a simple and inexpensive method to improve ACT.
Karolina Pilipow, Eloise Scamardella, Simone Puccio, Sanjivan Gautam, Federica De Paoli, Emilia M.C. Mazza, Gabriele De Simone, Sara Polletti, Marta Buccilli, Veronica Zanon, Pietro Di Lucia, Matteo Iannacone, Luca Gattinoni, Enrico Lugli
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are activated at sites of local tissue injury, or globally during vaso-occlusive episodes of sickle cell disease (SCD). Tissue damage stimulates production of CD1d-restricted lipid antigens that activate iNKT cells to produce Th1- and Th2-type cytokines. Here, we show that circulating iNKT cells in SCD patients express elevated levels of the ectonucleoside triphosphate diphosphosphohydrolase, CD39, as well the adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR). We also investigated the effects of stimulating cultured human iNKT cells on the expression of genes involved in the regulation of purinergic signaling. iNKT cell stimulation caused induction of ADORA2A, P2RX7, CD38, CD39, ENPP1, CD73, PANX1, and ENT1. Transcription of ADA, which degrades adenosine, was reduced. Induction of CD39 mRNA was associated with increased ecto-ATPase activity on iNKT cells that was blocked by POM1. Exposure of iNKT cells to A2AR agonists during stimulation reduced production of IFN-γ and enhanced production of IL-13 and CD39. Based on these findings, we define “purinergic Th2-type cytokine bias” as an antiinflammatory purinergic response to iNKT cell stimulation resulting from changes in the transcription of several genes involved in purine release, extracellular metabolism, and signaling.
Jennifer C. Yu, Gene Lin, Joshua J. Field, Joel Linden
Pneumonia represents the leading infectious cause of death in the United States. Foxp3+ regulatory T cells promote recovery from severe pneumonia in mice, but T cell responses in patients with pneumonia remain incompletely characterized because of the limited ability to serially sample the distal airspaces and perform multidimensional molecular assessments on the small numbers of recovered cells. As T cell function is governed by their transcriptional and epigenetic landscape, we developed a method to safely perform high-resolution transcriptional and DNA methylation profiling of T cell subsets from the alveoli of critically ill patients. Our method involves nonbronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage combined with multiparameter fluorescence-activated cell sorting, unsupervised low-input RNA-sequencing, and a modified reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing protocol. Here, we demonstrate the safety and feasibility of our method and use it to validate functional genomic elements that were predicted by mouse models. Because of its potential for widespread application, our techniques allow unprecedented insights into the biology of human pneumonia.
James M. Walter, Kathryn A. Helmin, Hiam Abdala-Valencia, Richard G. Wunderink, Benjamin D. Singer
Belimumab has therapeutic benefit in active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), especially in patients with high-titer anti-dsDNA antibodies. We asked whether the profound B cell loss in belimumab-treated SLE patients is accompanied by shifts in the immunoglobulin repertoire. We enrolled 15 patients who had been continuously treated with belimumab for more than 7 years, 17 matched controls, and 5 patients who were studied before and after drug initiation. VH genes of sort-purified mature B cells and plasmablasts were subjected to next-generation sequencing. We found that B cell–activating factor (BAFF) regulates the transitional B cell checkpoint, with conservation of transitional 1 (T1) cells and approximately 90% loss of T3 and naive B cells after chronic belimumab treatment. Class-switched memory B cells, B1 B cells, and plasmablasts were also substantially depleted. Next-generation sequencing revealed no redistribution of VH, DH, or JH family usage and no effect of belimumab on representation of the autoreactive VH4-34 gene or CDR3 composition in unmutated IgM sequences, suggesting a minimal effect on selection of the naive B cell repertoire. Interestingly, a significantly greater loss of VH4-34 was observed among mutated IgM and plasmablast sequences in chronic belimumab–treated subjects than in controls, suggesting that belimumab promotes negative selection of activated autoreactive B cells.
Weiqing Huang, Tam D. Quach, Cosmin Dascalu, Zheng Liu, Tungming Leung, Miranda Byrne-Steele, Wenjing Pan, Qunying Yang, Jian Han, Martin Lesser, Thomas L. Rothstein, Richard Furie, Meggan Mackay, Cynthia Aranow, Anne Davidson
Although a subset of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) patients respond to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), predictors of response remain uncertain. We investigated whether abnormal expression of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) in tumors is associated with local immune checkpoint activation (ICA) and response to ICB. Twenty potentially immunogenic ERVs (πERVs) were identified in ccRCC in The Cancer Genome Atlas data set, and tumors were stratified into 3 groups based on their expression levels. πERV-high ccRCC tumors showed increased immune infiltration, checkpoint pathway upregulation, and higher CD8+ T cell fraction in infiltrating leukocytes compared with πERV-low ccRCC tumors. Similar results were observed in ER+/HER2− breast, colon, and head and neck squamous cell cancers. ERV expression correlated with expression of genes associated with histone methylation and chromatin regulation, and πERV-high ccRCC was enriched in BAP1 mutant tumors. ERV3-2 expression correlated with ICA in 11 solid cancers, including the 4 named above. In a small retrospective cohort of 24 metastatic ccRCC patients treated with single-agent PD-1/PD-L1 blockade, ERV3-2 expression in tumors was significantly higher in responders compared with nonresponders. Thus, abnormal expression of πERVs is associated with ICA in several solid cancers, including ccRCC, and ERV3-2 expression is associated with response to ICB in ccRCC.
Anshuman Panda, Aguirre A. de Cubas, Mark Stein, Gregory Riedlinger, Joshua Kra, Tina Mayer, Christof C. Smith, Benjamin G. Vincent, Jonathan S. Serody, Kathryn E. Beckermann, Shridar Ganesan, Gyan Bhanot, W. Kimryn Rathmell
Limited understanding of the mechanisms responsible for life-threatening organ and immune failure hampers scientists’ ability to design sepsis treatments. Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) is persistently expressed in immune-tolerant monocytes of septic mice and humans and deactivates mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), the gate-keeping enzyme for glucose oxidation. Here, we show that targeting PDK with its prototypic inhibitor dichloroacetate (DCA) reactivates PDC; increases mitochondrial oxidative bioenergetics in isolated hepatocytes and splenocytes; promotes vascular, immune, and organ homeostasis; accelerates bacterial clearance; and increases survival. These results indicate that the PDC/PDK axis is a druggable mitochondrial target for promoting immunometabolic and organ homeostasis during sepsis.
Charles E. McCall, Manal Zabalawi, Tiefu Liu, Ayana Martin, David L. Long, Nancy L. Buechler, Rob J. W. Arts, Mihai Netea, Barbara K. Yoza, Peter W. Stacpoole, Vidula Vachharajani
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