Experimental data indicate that FOXP3+ Tregs can markedly curtail host antitumor immune responses, but the properties of human intratumoral Tregs are still largely unknown, in part due to significant methodologic problems. We studied the phenotypic, functional, epigenetic, and transcriptional features of Tregs in 92 patients with non–small-cell lung cancer, comparing the features of Tregs within tumors versus corresponding blood, lung, and lymph node samples. Intratumoral Treg numbers and suppressive function were significantly increased compared with all other sites but did not display a distinctive phenotype by flow cytometry. However, by undertaking simultaneous evaluation of mRNA and protein expression at the single-cell level, we demonstrated that tumor Tregs have a phenotype characterized by upregulated expression of FOXP3 mRNA and protein as well as significantly increased expression of EOS, IRF4, SATB1, and GATA1 transcription factor mRNAs. Expression of these “Treg-locking” transcription factors was positively correlated with levels of FOXP3 mRNA, with highest correlations for EOS and SATB1. EOS had an additional, FOXP3 mRNA–independent, positive correlation with FOXP3 protein in tumor Tregs. Our study identifies distinctive features of intratumoral Tregs and suggests that targeting Treg-locking transcription factors, especially EOS, may be of clinical importance for antitumor Treg-based therapy.
Tatiana Akimova, Tianyi Zhang, Dmitri Negorev, Sunil Singhal, Jason Stadanlick, Abhishek Rao, Michael Annunziata, Matthew H. Levine, Ulf H. Beier, Joshua M. Diamond, Jason D. Christie, Steven M. Albelda, Evgeniy B. Eruslanov, Wayne W. Hancock
BACKGROUND. Deficiency of IL-1 receptor antagonist (DIRA) is a rare autoinflammatory disease that presents with life-threatening systemic inflammation, aseptic multifocal osteomyelitis, and pustulosis responsive to IL-1–blocking treatment. This study was performed (a) to investigate rilonacept, a long-acting IL-1 inhibitor, in maintaining anakinra-induced inflammatory remission in DIRA patients, (b) to determine doses needed to maintain remission, and (c) to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of rilonacept in young children (<12 years). METHODS. Six mutation-positive DIRA patients (children, ages 3–6 years), treated with daily anakinra, were enrolled into an open-label pilot study of subcutaneous rilonacept for 24 months. Clinical symptoms and inflammatory blood parameters were measured at all visits. A loading dose (4.4 mg/kg) was administered, followed by once weekly injections (2.2 mg/kg) for 12 months. Dose escalation (4.4 mg/kg) was allowed if inflammatory remission was not maintained. Subjects in remission at 12 months continued rilonacept for an additional 12 months. RESULTS. Five of six patients required dose escalation for findings of micropustules. Following dose escalation, all patients were in remission on weekly rilonacept administration, with stable laboratory parameters for the entire study period of 24 months. All children are growing at normal rates and have normal heights and weights. Quality of life improved while on rilonacept. No serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION. Rilonacept was found to maintain inflammatory remission in DIRA patients. The once weekly injection was well tolerated and correlated with increased quality of life, most likely related to the lack of daily injections. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01801449. FUNDING. NIH, NIAMS, and NIAID.
Megha Garg, Adriana A. de Jesus, Dawn Chapelle, Paul Dancey, Ronit Herzog, Rafael Rivas-Chacon, Theresa L. Wampler Muskardin, Ann Reed, James C. Reynolds, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, Gina A. Montealegre Sanchez
GPCR expression was intensively studied in bulk cDNA of leukocyte populations, but limited data are available with respect to expression in individual cells. Here, we show a microfluidic-based single-cell GPCR expression analysis in primary T cells, myeloid cells, and endothelial cells under naive conditions and during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the mouse model of multiple sclerosis. We found that neuroinflammation induces characteristic changes in GPCR heterogeneity and patterning, and we identify various functionally relevant subgroups with specific GPCR profiles among spinal cord–infiltrating CD4 T cells, macrophages, microglia, or endothelial cells. Using GPCRs CXCR4, S1P1, and LPHN2 as examples, we show how this information can be used to develop new strategies for the functional modulation of Th17 cells and activated endothelial cells. Taken together, single-cell GPCR expression analysis identifies functionally relevant subpopulations with specific GPCR repertoires and provides a basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies in immune disorders.
Denise Tischner, Myriam Grimm, Harmandeep Kaur, Daniel Staudenraus, Jorge Carvalho, Mario Looso, Stefan Günther, Florian Wanke, Sonja Moos, Nelly Siller, Johanna Breuer, Nicholas Schwab, Frauke Zipp, Ari Waisman, Florian C. Kurschus, Stefan Offermanns, Nina Wettschureck
Gut-associated lymphoid tissues are enriched in CCR6+ Th17-polarized CD4+ T cells that contribute to HIV-1 persistence during antiretroviral therapy (ART). This raises the need for Th17-targeted immunotherapies. In an effort to identify mechanisms governing HIV-1 permissiveness/persistence in gut-homing Th17 cells, we analyzed the transcriptome of CCR6+ versus CCR6– T cells exposed to the gut-homing inducer retinoic acid (RA) and performed functional validations in colon biopsies of HIV-infected individuals receiving ART (HIV+ART). Although both CCR6+ and CCR6– T cells acquired gut-homing markers upon RA exposure, the modulation of unique sets of genes coincided with preferential HIV-1 replication in RA-treated CCR6+ T cells. This molecular signature included the upregulation of HIV-dependency factors acting at entry/postentry levels, such as the CCR5 and PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 signaling pathways. Of note, mTOR expression/phosphorylation was distinctively induced by RA in CCR6+ T cells. Consistently, mTOR inhibitors counteracted the effect of RA on HIV replication in vitro and viral reactivation in CD4+ T cells from HIV+ART individuals via postentry mechanisms independent of CCR5. Finally, CCR6+ versus CCR6– T cells infiltrating the colons of HIV+ART individuals expressed unique molecular signatures, including higher levels of CCR5, integrin β7, and mTOR phosphorylation. Together, our results identify mTOR as a druggable key regulator of HIV permissiveness in gut-homing CCR6+ T cells.
Delphine Planas, Yuwei Zhang, Patricia Monteiro, Jean-Philippe Goulet, Annie Gosselin, Nathalie Grandvaux, Thomas J. Hope, Ariberto Fassati, Jean-Pierre Routy, Petronela Ancuta
Clinical responses to infection or vaccination and the development of effective immunity are characterized in humans by a marked interindividual variability. To gain an insight into the factors affecting this variability, we used a controlled human infection system to study early immune events following primary infection of healthy human volunteers with blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria. By day 4 of infection, a dichotomous pattern of high or low expression of a defined set of microRNAs (miRs) emerged in volunteers that correlated with variation in parasite growth rate. Moreover, high-miR responders had higher numbers of activated CD4+ T cells, and developed significantly enhanced antimalarial antibody responses. Notably, a set of 17 miRs was identified in the whole blood of low-miR responders prior to infection that differentiated them from high-miR responders. These data implicate preexisting host factors as major determinants in the ability to effectively respond to primary malaria infection.
Julie G. Burel, Simon H. Apte, Penny L. Groves, Michelle J. Boyle, Christine Langer, James G. Beeson, James S. McCarthy, Denise L. Doolan
Cellular and humoral constituents of the immune system differ significantly between children and adults, yet very little is known about the impact of early-life pathogen exposure on this immunologic transition. We examined CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets defined by CCR7 and CD45RA expression in two longitudinal pediatric cohorts experiencing divergent levels of pathogen burden. Using multiparameter flow cytometry, along with serological, cytokine, and transcriptomic data, we show that cumulative pathogen burden promotes the development of atypical CD8dim T cells with an innate-like profile (Granzyme Bhi, IFNγlow, TNFαlow, PLFZhi, ID2hi, IKZF2hi) in contrast to age-matched children residing in a low pathogen–exposure area who display a more conventional CD8bright profile (IFNγ+, TNFα+, CCL4+). Furthermore, these unconventional T cells had stunted proliferation, distinct transcriptional programs, and impaired T cell receptor signaling and were enriched in hallmark TNFα, NF-κB, and IL-6 gene signaling pathways, reminiscent of NK cells and type-1 innate lymphoid cells. Our findings suggest that these unconventional CD8dim T cells arise in a very particular immunological context and may provide a deeper understanding of the heterogeneity in human immune responses.
Yves T. Falanga, Michela Frascoli, Yasin Kaymaz, Catherine Forconi, John Michael Ong’echa, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Leslie J. Berg, Ann M. Moormann
Evaluation of T lymphocyte frequency provides prognostic information for patients with oral squamous cell cancer (OSCC). However, the effect of simultaneously evaluating T cell frequency and assessing suppressive elements and defects in antigen-processing machinery (APM) has not been clarified. Simultaneous characterization of CD3+, CD8+, FoxP3+, CD163+, and PD-L1+ cells using multispectral imaging was performed on sections from 119 patients with HPV– OSCC. Expression of β2-microglobulin, MHC class I heavy chain, and large multifunctional peptidase 10 was quantified, and all data were correlated with patient outcome. We found that, consistent with previous reports, high numbers of CD8+ T cells at the invasive margin correlated significantly with prolonged overall survival (OS), while the number of FoxP3+ or PD-L1+ cells did not. Compiling the number of FoxP3+ or PD-L1+ cells within 30 μm of CD8+ T cells identified a significant association with a high number of suppressive elements close to CD8+ T cells and reduced OS. Integrating this information into a cumulative suppression index (CSI) increased correlation with OS. Incorporating tumor expression levels of APM components with CSI further improved prognostic power. This multiparametric immune profiling may be useful for stratifying patients with OSCC for clinical trials.
Zipei Feng, Daniel Bethmann, Matthias Kappler, Carmen Ballesteros-Merino, Alexander Eckert, R. Bryan Bell, Allen Cheng, Tuan Bui, Rom Leidner, Walter J. Urba, Kent Johnson, Clifford Hoyt, Carlo B. Bifulco, Juergen Bukur, Claudia Wickenhauser, Barbara Seliger, Bernard A. Fox
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) induces pathological damage in peripheral target organs leading to well-characterized, organ-specific clinical manifestations. Patients with GVHD, however, can also have behavioral alterations that affect overall cognitive function, but the extent to which GVHD alters inflammatory and biochemical pathways in the brain remain poorly understood. In the current study, we employed complementary murine GVHD models to demonstrate that alloreactive donor T cells accumulate in the brain and affect a proinflammatory cytokine milieu that is associated with specific behavioral abnormalities. Host IL-6 was identified as a pivotal cytokine mediator, as was host indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO-1), which was upregulated in GVHD in an IL-6–dependent manner in microglial cells and was accompanied by dysregulated tryptophan metabolism in the dorsal raphe nucleus and prefrontal cortex. Blockade of the IL-6 signaling pathway significantly reduced donor T cell accumulation, inflammatory cytokine gene expression, and host microglial cell expansion, but did not reverse GVHD-induced tryptophan metabolite dysregulation. Thus, these results indicate that inhibition of IL-6 signaling attenuates neuroinflammation, but does not reverse all of the metabolic abnormalities in the brain during GVHD, which may also have implications for the treatment of neurotoxicity occurring after other T cell–based immune therapies with IL-6–directed approaches.
Ludovic Belle, Vivian Zhou, Kara L. Stuhr, Margaret Beatka, Emily M. Siebers, Jennifer M. Knight, Michael W. Lawlor, Casey Weaver, Misato Hashizume, Cecilia J. Hillard, William R. Drobyski
The role of negative regulators or suppressors of the damage-associated molecular pattern–mediated (DAMP-mediated) stimulation of innate immune responses is being increasingly appreciated. However, the presence and function of suppressors of DAMP-mediated effects on T cells, and whether they can be targeted to mitigate T cell–dependent immunopathology remain unknown. Sialic acid–binding immunoglobulin-like lectin G (Siglec-G) is a negative regulator of DAMP-mediated responses in innate immune cells, but its T cell–autonomous role is unknown. Utilizing loss-of-function–based (genetic knockout) and gain-of-function–based (agonist) approaches, we demonstrate that in the presence of certain DAMPs, Siglec-G suppressed in vitro and in vivo T cell responses. We also demonstrate that its T cell–autonomous role is critical for modulating the severity of the T cell–mediated immunopathology, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Enhancing the Siglec-G signaling in donor T cells with its agonist, a CD24Fc fusion protein, ameliorated GVHD while preserving sufficient graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects in vivo. Collectively, these data demonstrate that Siglec-G is a potentially novel negative regulator of T cell responses, which can be targeted to mitigate GVHD.
Tomomi Toubai, Corinne Rossi, Katherine Oravecz-Wilson, Cynthia Zajac, Chen Liu, Thomas Braun, Hideaki Fujiwara, Julia Wu, Yaping Sun, Stuart Brabbs, Hiroya Tamaki, John Magenau, Pang Zheng, Yang Liu, Pavan Reddy
Despite influencing many aspects of T cell biology, the kinetics of T cell receptor (TCR) binding to peptide-major histocompatibility molecules (pMHC) remain infrequently determined in patient monitoring or for adoptive T cell therapy. Using specifically designed reversible fluorescent pMHC multimeric complexes, we performed a comprehensive study of TCR-pMHC off-rates combined with various functional assays on large libraries of self/tumor– and virus-specific CD8+ T cell clones from melanoma patients and healthy donors. We demonstrate that monomeric TCR-pMHC dissociation rates accurately predict the extent of cytotoxicity, cytokine production, polyfunctionality, cell proliferation, activating/inhibitory receptor expression, and in vivo antitumor potency of naturally occurring antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Our data also confirm the superior binding avidities of virus-specific T cells as compared with self/tumor–specific T cell clonotypes (n > 300). Importantly, the TCR-pMHC off-rate is a more stable and robust biomarker of CD8+ T cell potency than the frequently used functional assays/metrics that depend on the T cell’s activation state, and therefore show major intra- and interexperimental variability. Taken together, our data show that the monomeric TCR-pMHC off-rate is highly useful for the ex vivo high-throughput functional assessment of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses and a strong candidate as a biomarker of T cell therapeutic efficacy.
Mathilde Allard, Barbara Couturaud, Laura Carretero-Iglesia, Minh Ngoc Duong, Julien Schmidt, Gwennaëlle C. Monnot, Pedro Romero, Daniel E. Speiser, Michael Hebeisen, Nathalie Rufer
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