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
Epithelial cells are the first line of defense against external dangers, and contribute to induction of adaptive immunity including Th17 responses. However, it is unclear whether specific epithelial signaling pathways are essential for the development of robust IL-17–mediated immune responses. In mice, the development of psoriatic inflammation induced by imiquimod required keratinocyte TRAF6. Conditional deletion of TRAF6 in keratinocytes abrogated dendritic cell activation, IL-23 production, and IL-17 production by γδ T cells at the imiquimod-treated sites. In contrast, hapten-induced contact hypersensitivity and papain-induced IgE production were not affected by loss of TRAF6. Loss of psoriatic inflammation was not solely due to defective imiquimod sensing, as subcutaneous administration of IL-23 restored IL-17 production but did not reconstitute psoriatic pathology in the mutant animals. Thus, TRAF6 was required for the full development of IL-17–mediated inflammation. Therefore, epithelial TRAF6 signaling plays an essential role in both triggering and propagating IL-17–mediated psoriatic inflammation.
Reiko Matsumoto, Teruki Dainichi, Soken Tsuchiya, Takashi Nomura, Akihiko Kitoh, Matthew S. Hayden, Ken J. Ishii, Mayuri Tanaka, Tetsuya Honda, Gyohei Egawa, Atsushi Otsuka, Saeko Nakajima, Kenji Sakurai, Yuri Nakano, Takashi Kobayashi, Yukihiko Sugimoto, Kenji Kabashima
Severe lung inflammation and alveolar hemorrhage can be life-threatening in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients if not treated early and aggressively. Neutrophil influx is the driver key of this pathology, but little is known regarding the molecular events regulating this recruitment. Here, we uncover a role for IL-16/mir-125a in this pathology and show not only that IL-16 is a target for miR-125a but that reduced miR-125a expression in SLE patients associates with lung involvement. Furthermore, in the pristane model of acute “SLE-like” lung inflammation and alveolar hemorrhage, we observed reduced pulmonary miR-125a and enhanced IL-16 expression. Neutrophil infiltration was markedly reduced in the peritoneal lavage of pristane-treated IL-16–deficient mice and elevated following i.n. delivery of IL-16. Moreover, a miR-125a mimic reduced pristane-induced IL-16 expression and neutrophil recruitment and rescued lung pathology. Mechanistically, IL-16 acts directly on the pulmonary epithelium and markedly enhances neutrophil chemoattractant expression both in vitro and in vivo, while the miR-125a mimic can prevent this. Our results reveal a role for miR-125a/IL-16 in regulating lung inflammation and suggest this axis may be a therapeutic target for management of acute lung injury in SLE.
Siobhan Smith, Pei Wen Wu, Jane J. Seo, Thilini Fernando, Mengyao Jin, Jorge Contreras, Erica N. Montano, Joan Ní Gabhann, Kyle Cunningham, Amro Widaa, Eoghan M. McCarthy, Eamonn S. Molloy, Grainne Kearns, Conor C. Murphy, Weiping Kong, Harry Björkbacka, Hardy Kornfeld, Lindsy Forbess, Swamy Venuturupalli, Mariko Ishimori, Daniel Wallace, Michael H. Weisman, Caroline A. Jefferies
Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is among the most challenging of the JIA subtypes to treat. Even with current biologic therapies, the disease remains difficult to control in a substantial subset of patients, highlighting the need for new therapies. The aim of this study was to use the high dimensionality afforded by mass cytometry with phospho-specific antibodies to delineate signaling abnormalities in immune cells from treatment-naive polyarticular JIA patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 17 treatment-naive polyarticular JIA patients, 10 of the patients after achieving clinical remission, and 19 healthy controls. Samples were stimulated for 15 minutes with IL-6 or IFN-γ and analyzed by mass cytometry. Following IFN-γ stimulation, increased STAT1 and/or STAT3 phosphorylation was observed in subsets of CD4 T cells and classical monocytes from treatment-naive patients. The enhanced IFN-γ signaling was associated with increased expression of JAK1 and SOCS1 in CD4 T cells. Furthermore, substantial heterogeneity in surface marker expression was observed among the subsets of CD4 T cells and classical monocytes with increased IFN-γ responsiveness. The identification of enhanced IFN-γ signaling in CD4 T cells and classical monocytes from treatment-naive polyarticular JIA patients provides mechanistic support for investigations into therapies that attenuate IFN-γ signaling in this disease.
Allison A. Throm, Halima Moncrieffe, Amir B. Orandi, Jeanette T. Pingel, Theresa L. Geurs, Hannah L. Miller, Allyssa L. Daugherty, Olga N. Malkova, Daniel J. Lovell, Susan D. Thompson, Alexei A. Grom, Megan A. Cooper, Stephen T. Oh, Anthony R. French
Alloreactive T lymphocytes are the primary mediators of immune responses in transplantation, both in the graft-versus-host and host-versus-graft directions. While essentially all clones comprising the human T cell repertoire have been selected on self-peptide presented by self–human leukocyte antigens (self-HLAs), much remains to be understood about the nature of clones capable of responding to allo-HLA molecules. Quantitative tools to study these cells are critical to understand fundamental features of this important response; however, the large size and diversity of the alloreactive T cell repertoire in humans presents a great technical challenge. We have developed a high-throughput T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing approach to characterize the human alloresponse. We present a statistical method to model T cell clonal frequency distribution and quantify repertoire diversity. Using these approaches, we measured the diversity and frequency of distinct alloreactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations in HLA-mismatched responder-stimulator pairs. Our findings indicate that the alloimmune repertoire is highly specific for a given pair of individuals, that most alloreactive clones circulate at low frequencies, and that a high proportion of TCRs is likely able to recognize alloantigens.
Susan DeWolf, Boris Grinshpun, Thomas Savage, Sai Ping Lau, Aleksandar Obradovic, Brittany Shonts, Suxiao Yang, Heather Morris, Julien Zuber, Robert Winchester, Megan Sykes, Yufeng Shen
CD4+ Tregs impede T cell responses to tumors. They express multiple inhibitory receptors that support their suppressive functions, including T cell Ig and ITIM domain (TIGIT). In melanoma patients, we show that Tregs exhibit increased TIGIT expression and decreased expression of its competing costimulatory receptor CD226 as compared with CD4+ effector T cells, resulting in an increased TIGIT/CD226 ratio. Tregs failed to upregulate CD226 upon T cell activation. TIGIT+ Tregs are highly suppressive, stable, and enriched in tumors. TIGIT and CD226 oppose each other to augment or disrupt, respectively, Treg suppression and stability. A high TIGIT/CD226 ratio in Tregs correlates with increased Treg frequencies in tumors and poor clinical outcome upon immune checkpoint blockade. Altogether, our findings show that a high TIGIT/CD226 ratio in Tregs regulates their suppressive function and stability in melanoma. They provide the rationale for novel immunotherapies to activate CD226 in Tregs together with TIGIT blockade to counteract Treg suppression in cancer patients.
Julien Fourcade, Zhaojun Sun, Joe-Marc Chauvin, Mignane Ka, Diwakar Davar, Ornella Pagliano, Hong Wang, Sofiane Saada, Carmine Menna, Rada Amin, Cindy Sander, John M. Kirkwood, Alan J. Korman, Hassane M. Zarour
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
BACKGROUND. Immune checkpoint inhibitors provide significant clinical benefit to a subset of patients, but novel prognostic markers are needed to predict which patients will respond. This study was initiated to determine if features of patient T cell repertoires could provide insights into the mechanisms of immunotherapy, while also predicting outcomes. METHODS. We examined T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires in peripheral blood of 25 metastatic pancreatic cancer patients treated with ipilimumab with or without GVAX (a pancreatic cancer vaccine), as well as peripheral blood and tumor biopsies from 32 patients treated with GVAX and mesothelin-expressing Listeria monocytogenes with or without nivolumab. Statistics from these repertoires were then tested for their association with clinical response and treatment group. RESULTS. We demonstrate that, first, the majority of patients receiving these treatments experience a net diversification of their peripheral TCR repertoires. Second, patients receiving ipilimumab experienced larger changes in their repertoires, especially in combination with GVAX. Finally, both a low baseline clonality and a high number of expanded clones following treatment were associated with significantly longer survival in patients who received ipilimumab but not in patients receiving nivolumab. CONCLUSIONS. We show that these therapies have measurably different effects on the peripheral repertoire, consistent with their mechanisms of action, and demonstrate the potential for TCR repertoire profiling to serve as a biomarker of clinical response in pancreatic cancer patients receiving immunotherapy. In addition, our results suggest testing sequential administration of anti–CTLA-4 and anti–PD-1 antibodies to achieve optimal therapeutic benefit. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Samples used in this study were collected from the NCT00836407 and NCT02243371 clinical trials. FUNDING. Research supported by a Stand Up To Cancer Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team Translational Research grant (SU2C-AACR-DT14-14). Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation administered by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Additional clinical trial funding was provided by AACR-Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Research Acceleration Network grant (14-90-25-LE), NCI SPORE in GI Cancer (CA062924), Quick-Trials for Novel Cancer Therapies: Exploratory Grants (R21CA126058-01A2), and the US Food and Drug Administration (R01FD004819). Research collaboration and financial support were provided by Adaptive Biotechnologies.
Alexander C. Hopkins, Mark Yarchoan, Jennifer N. Durham, Erik C. Yusko, Julie A. Rytlewski, Harlan S. Robins, Daniel A. Laheru, Dung T. Le, Eric R. Lutz, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
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
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