In this issue, Yoshida et al. explore the role of protein folding and degradation in the endoplasmic reticulum in kidney podocytes. Using mice with podocyte-specific loss of SEL1L, a component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase that is required for endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation, they uncover severe defects in slit diaphragm formation and glomerular filtration function due to impairments in nephrin maturation. The cover image is a false-colored, ultra-high-resolution scanning electron micrograph of podocytes from a conditional knockout mouse.
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Background. Recent studies have reported T cell immunity to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in unexposed donors, possibly due to cross-recognition by T-cells specific for common cold coronaviruses (CCCs). True T-cell cross-reactivity, defined as the recognition by a single TCR of more than one distinct peptide-MHC ligand, has never been shown in the context of SARS-CoV-2. Methods. We used the ViraFEST platform to identify T cell responses cross-reactive for the spike (S) glycoproteins of SARS-CoV-2 and CCCs at the T cell receptor (TCR) clonotype level in convalescent COVID-19 patients (CCPs) and SARS-CoV-2-unexposed donors. Confirmation of SARS-CoV-2/CCC cross-reactivity and assessments of functional avidity were performed using a TCR cloning and transfection system. Results. Memory CD4+ T-cell clonotypes that cross-recognized the S proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and at least one other CCC were detected in 65% of CCPs and unexposed donors. Several of these TCRs were shared among multiple donors. Cross-reactive T-cells demonstrated significantly impaired SARS-CoV-2-specific proliferation in vitro relative to mono-specific CD4+ T-cells, which was consistent with lower functional avidity of their TCRs for SARS CoV-2 relative to CCC. Conclusions. For the first time, our data confirm the existence of unique memory CD4+ T cell clonotypes cross-recognizing SARS-CoV-2 and CCCs. The lower avidity of cross-reactive TCRs for SARS-CoV-2 may be the result of antigenic imprinting, such that pre-existing CCC-specific memory T cells have reduced expansive capacity upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further studies are needed to determine how these cross-reactive T-cell responses impact clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.
Arbor G. Dykema, Boyang Zhang, Bezawit A. Woldemeskel, Caroline C. Garliss, Laurene S. Cheung, Dilshad Choudhury, Jiajia Zhang, Luis Aparicio, Sadhana Bom, Rufiaat Rashid, Justina X. Caushi, Emily Han-Chung Hsiue, Katherine Cascino, Elizabeth A. Thompson, Abena K. Kwaa, Dipika Singh, Sampriti Thapa, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Andrew Pekosz, Franco R. D'Alessio, Jonathan D. Powell, Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian, Shibin Zhou, Drew M. Pardoll, Hongkai Ji, Andrea L. Cox, Joel N. Blankson, Kellie N. Smith
A complete carcinogen, Ultraviolet B radiation (290-320 nm; UVB), is the major cause of skin cancer. UVB-induced systemic immunosuppression that contributes to photocarcinogenesis is due to the glycerophosphocholine-derived lipid mediator Platelet-activating factor. A major question in photobiology is how UVB radiation, which only absorbs appreciably in the epidermal layers of skin, can generate systemic effects. UVB exposure and PAF Receptor (PAFR) activation in keratinocytes induce large amounts of microvesicle particle (extracellular vesicles 100-1000nm; MVP) release. MVPs released from skin keratinocytes in vitro in response to UVB (UVB-MVP) are dependent upon the keratinocyte PAFR. The present studies used both pharmacologic and genetic approaches in cells and mice to determine that both the PAFR and enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) were necessary for UVB-MVP generation. Discovery that the calcium-sensing receptor is a keratinocyte-selective MVP marker allowed us to determine that UVB-MVP leaving the keratinocyte can be found systemically in mice and in human subjects following UVB. Moreover, UVB-MVP contain bioactive contents including PAFR agonists which allow them to serve as effectors for UVB downstream effects, in particular UVB-mediated systemic immunosuppression.
Langni Liu, Azeezat A. Awoyemi, Katherine E. Fahy, Pariksha Thapa, Christina Borchers, Benita Y. Wu, Cameron L. McGlone, Benjamin Schmeusser, Zafer Sattouf, Craig A. Rohan, Amy R. Williams, Elizabeth E. Cates, Christina Knisely, Lisa E. Kelly, Ji C. Bihl, David R. Cool, Ravi P. Sahu, Jinju Wang, Yanfang Chen, Christine M. Rapp, Michael G. Kemp, R. Michael Johnson, Jeffrey B. Travers
One of the primary mechanisms of tumor cell immune evasion is the loss of antigenicity, which arises due to lack of immunogenic tumor antigens as well as dysregulation of the antigen processing machinery. In a screen for small-molecule compounds from herbal medicine that potentiate T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, we identified atractylenolide I (ATT-I) that significantly promotes tumor antigen presentation of both human and mouse colorectal cancer (CRC) cells and thereby enhances the cytotoxic response of CD8+ T cells. Cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) with multiplexed quantitative mass spectrometry identified the proteasome 26S subunit non-ATPase 4 (PSMD4), an essential component of the immunoproteasome complex, as a primary target protein of ATT-I. Binding of ATT-I with PSMD4 augments the antigen-processing activity of immunoproteasome, leading to enhanced major histocompatibility class I (MHC-I)-mediated antigen presentation on cancer cells. In syngeneic mouse CRC models and human patient-derived CRC organoid models, ATT-I treatment promotes the cytotoxicity of CD8+ T cells and thus profoundly enhances the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Collectively, we show here that targeting the function of immunoproteasome with ATT-I promotes tumor antigen presentation, empowers T-cell cytotoxicity, and thus elevates the tumor response to immunotherapy.
Hanchen Xu, Kevin Van der Jeught, Zhuolong Zhou, Lu Zhang, Tao Yu, Yifan Sun, Yujing Li, Changlin Wan, Kaman So, Degang Liu, Michael Frieden, Yuanzhang Fang, Amber L. Mosley, Xiaoming He, Xinna Zhang, George E. Sandusky, Yunlong Liu, Samy O. Meroueh, Chi Zhang, Aruna B. Wijeratne, Cheng Huang, Guang Ji, Xiongbin Lu
BACKGROUND. Recently the α1 adrenergic receptor antagonist terazosin was shown to activate PGK1, a possible target for the mitochondrial deficits in Parkinson disease related to its function as the initial enzyme in ATP synthesis during glycolysis. An epidemiologic study of terazosin users showed a lower incidence of Parkinson disease when compared to users of tamsulosin, an α1 adrenergic receptor antagonist of a different class that does not activate PGK1. However, prior research on tamsulosin has suggested that it may in fact potentiate neurodegeneration, raising the question of whether it is an appropriate control group. METHODS. To address this question, we undertook an epidemiological study on Parkinson disease occurrence rate in 113,450 individuals from the U.S.A. with > 5 years of follow-up. Patients were classified as tamsulosin users (n = 45,380), terazosin/alfuzosin/doxazosin users (n = 22,690) or controls matched on age, gender and Charlson Comorbidity Index score (n = 45,380). RESULTS. Incidence of Parkinson disease in tamsulosin users was 1.53%, which was significantly higher than that in both terazosin/alfuzosin/doxazosin users (1.10%; p<0.0001) and matched controls (1.01%; p < 0.0001). Terazosin/alfuzosin/doxazosin users did not differ in Parkinson disease risk from matched controls (p = 0.29). CONCLUSION. These results suggest that zosins may not confer a protective effect against Parkinson disease, but rather that tamsulosin may in some way potentiate Parkinson disease progression. FUNDING. This work was supported by Cerevel Therapeutics.
Rahul Sasane, Amy Bartels, Michelle Field, Maria I. Sierra, Sridhar Duvvuri, David L. Gray, Sokhom S. Pin, John J. Renger, David J. Stone
Recent studies have shown T cell cross-recognition of SARS-CoV-2 and common cold coronavirus spike proteins. However, the effect of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines on T cell responses to common cold coronaviruses remain unknown. In this study, we analyzed CD4+ T cell responses to spike peptides from SARS-CoV-2 and 3 common cold coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-OC43) before and after study participants received Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273) mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine recipients made broad T cell responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and we identified 23 distinct targeted peptides in 9 participants including one peptide that was targeted by 6 individuals. Only 4 out of these 23 targeted peptides would potentially be affected by mutations in the UK (B.1.1.7) and South African (B.1.351) variants and CD4+ T cells from vaccine recipients recognized the 2 variant spike proteins as effectively as the spike protein from the ancestral virus. Interestingly, we saw a 3-fold increase in the CD4+ T cell responses to HCoV-NL63 spike peptides post-vaccination. Our results suggest that T cell responses elicited or enhanced by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines may be able to control SARS-CoV-2 variants and lead to cross-protection from some endemic coronaviruses.
Bezawit A. Woldemeskel, Caroline C. Garliss, Joel N. Blankson
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Cancer cells in a solid tumor are supported by vasculature, extracellular matrix, nerves, and an immunological milieu collectively known as the tumor microenvironment. Elements within the tumor microenvironment can act in a coordinated fashion to support tumor growth, immune evasion, and metastasis. In this series, reviews curated by Series Editor Andrew Ewald highlight the tumor microenvironment’s complex effects in cancer, describing its modulation of immune cells and the tumor stroma as well as its role in disseminating metastases.