Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) are critical to synovial aggression and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in RA is largely unknown. Here, we identified a lncRNA, LERFS (lowly expressed in rheumatoid fibroblast-like synoviocytes), that negatively regulates the migration, invasion, and proliferation of FLSs through interaction with heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein Q (hnRNP Q). Under healthy conditions, by binding to the mRNA of RhoA, Rac1, and CDC42 — the small GTPase proteins that control the motility and proliferation of FLSs — the LERFS–hnRNP Q complex decreased the stability or translation of target mRNAs and downregulated their protein levels. But in RA FLSs, decreased LERFS levels induced a reduction of the LERFS–hnRNP Q complex, which reduced the binding of hnRNP Q to target mRNA and therefore increased the stability or translation of target mRNA. These findings suggest that a decrease in synovial LERFS may contribute to synovial aggression and joint destruction in RA and that targeting the lncRNA LERFS may have therapeutic potential in patients with RA.
Yaoyao Zou, Siqi Xu, Youjun Xiao, Qian Qiu, Maohua Shi, Jingnan Wang, Liuqin Liang, Zhongping Zhan, Xiuyan Yang, Nancy Olsen, Song Guo Zheng, Hanshi Xu
Chronic inflammatory diseases are characterized by recurrent inflammatory attacks in the tissues mediated by autoreactive T cells. Identity and functional programming of CD8+ T cells at the target site of inflammation still remain elusive. One key question is whether, in these antigen-rich environments, chronic stimulation leads to CD8+ T cell exhaustion comparable to what is observed in infectious disease contexts. In the synovial fluid (SF) of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients, a model of chronic inflammation, an overrepresentation of PD-1+CD8+ T cells was found. Gene expression profiling, gene set enrichment analysis, functional studies, and extracellular flux analysis identified PD-1+CD8+ T cells as metabolically active effectors, with no sign of exhaustion. Furthermore, PD-1+CD8+ T cells were enriched for a tissue-resident memory (Trm) cell transcriptional profile and demonstrated increased clonal expansion compared with the PD-1– counterpart, suggesting antigen-driven expansion of locally adapted cells. Interestingly, this subset was also found increased in target tissues in other human chronic inflammatory diseases. These data indicate that local chronic inflammation drives the induction and expansion of CD8+ T cells endowed with potential detrimental properties. Together, these findings lay the basis for investigation of PD-1–expressing CD8+ T cell targeting strategies in human chronic inflammatory diseases.
Alessandra Petrelli, Gerdien Mijnheer, David P. Hoytema van Konijnenburg, Maria M. van der Wal, Barbara Giovannone, Enric Mocholi, Nadia Vazirpanah, Jasper C. Broen, Dirkjan Hijnen, Bas Oldenburg, Paul J. Coffer, Sebastian J. Vastert, Berent J. Prakken, Eric Spierings, Aridaman Pandit, Michal Mokry, Femke van Wijk
Despite the success of T cell checkpoint blockade against melanoma, many “cold” tumors such as prostate cancer remain unresponsive. We find that hypoxic zones are prevalent across pre-clinical prostate cancer and resist T cell infiltration even in the context of CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade. We show that the hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 reduces or eliminates hypoxia in these tumors. Combination therapy with this hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade cooperate to cure more than 80% of TRAMP-C2 prostate tumors. Immunofluorescence imaging shows that TH-302 drives an influx of T cells into hypoxic zones, which are then amplified by checkpoint blockade. Further, combination therapy reduces myeloid-derived suppressor cell density by more than 50%, and causes a persistent defect in the capacity of the tumor to replenish the granulocytic subset. Spontaneous prostate tumors in TRAMP transgenic mice, which are completely resistant to checkpoint blockade, show minimal adenocarcinoma tumor burden at 36 weeks of age and no evidence of neuroendocrine tumors. Survival of Pb-Cre4, Ptenpc−/−Smad4pc−/− mice with highly aggressive prostate adenocarcinoma is also significantly extended by the combination of hypoxia-prodrug and checkpoint blockade. This combination of hypoxia disruption and T cell checkpoint blockade may render some of the most therapeutically resistant cancers sensitive to immunotherapy.
Priyamvada Jayaprakash, Midan Ai, Arthur Liu, Pratha Budhani, Todd Bartkowiak, Jie Sheng, Casey R. Ager, Courtney Nicholas, Ashvin R. Jaiswal, Yanqiu Sun, Krishna Shah, Sadhana Balasubramanyam, Nan Li, Guocan Wang, Jing Ning, Anna Zal, Tomasz Zal, Michael A. Curran
Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers are a major correlate of protection for influenza-related illness. The influenza virus hemagglutinin possesses antigenic sites that are the targets of HI active antibodies. Here, a panel of mutant viruses each lacking a classically defined antigenic site was created to compare the species-specific immunodominance of the antigenic sites in a clinically relevant hemagglutinin. HI active antibodies of antisera from influenza-virus infected mice targeted sites Sb and Ca2. HI active antibodies of guinea pigs were not directed against any specific antigenic site, although trends were observed towards Sb, Ca2, and Sa. HI titers of antisera from infected ferrets were significantly affected by site Sa. HI active antibodies of adult humans followed yet another immunodominance pattern, where sites Sb and Sa were immunodominant. When comparing the HI profiles between different species by antigenic cartography, animals and humans grouped separately. This study provides characterizations of the antibody-mediated immune responses against the head domain of a recent H1 hemagglutinin in animals and humans.
Sean T.H. Liu, Mohammad Amin Behzadi, Weina Sun, Alec W. Freyn, Wen-Chun Liu, Felix Broecker, Randy A. Albrecht, Nicole M. Bouvier, Viviana Simon, Raffael Nachbagauer, Florian Krammer, Peter Palese
SMAD4 is the only common SMAD (co-SMAD) in transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling that usually impedes immune cell activation in the tumor microenvironment. However, here we demonstrated that selective deletion of Smad4 in natural killer (NK) cells actually led to dramatically reduced tumor cell rejection and augmented tumor cell metastases, reduced murine cytomegalovirus clearance, as well as impeded NK cell homeostasis and maturation. This was associated with a downregulation of granzyme B (Gzmb), Kit and Prdm1 in Smad4-deficient NK cells. We further unveiled the mechanism by which SMAD4 promoted Gzmb expression. Gzmb was identified as a direct target of a transcriptional complex formed by SMAD4 and JUNB. A JUNB binding site distinct from that for SMAD4 in the proximal Gzmb promoter was required for transcriptional activation by the SMAD4/JUNB complex. In a Tgfbr2 and Smad4 NK cell-specific double conditional knockout model, SMAD4-mediated events were found to be independent of canonical TGF-β signaling. Our study identifies and mechanistically characterizes unusual functions and pathways for SMAD4 in governing innate immune responses to cancer and viral infection, as well as NK cell development.
Youwei Wang, Jianhong Chu, Ping Yi, Wenjuan Dong, Jennifer N. Saultz, Yufeng Wang, Hongwei Wang, Steven D. Scoville, Jianying Zhang, Lai-Chu Wu, Youcai Deng, Xiaoming He, Bethany L. Mundy-Bosse, Aharon G. Freud, Li-Shu Wang, Michael A. Caligiuri, Jianhua Yu
The host immune system plays a pivotal role in the emergence of tumor cells that are refractory to multiple clinical interventions including immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Here, we examined the molecular mechanisms by which the immune system triggers cross-resistance to these interventions. By examining the biological changes in murine and tumor cells subjected to sequential rounds of in vitro or in vivo immune selection via cognate cytotoxic T lymphocytes, we found that multimodality resistance arises through a core metabolic reprogramming pathway instigated by epigenetic loss of the ATP synthase subunit ATP5H, which leads to ROS accumulation and HIF-1α stabilization under normoxia. Furthermore, this pathway confers to tumor cells a stem-like and invasive phenotype. In vivo delivery of antioxidants reverses these phenotypic changes and resensitizes tumor cells to therapy. ATP5H loss in the tumor is strongly linked to failure of therapy, disease progression, and poor survival in patients with cancer. Collectively, our results reveal a mechanism underlying immune-driven multimodality resistance to cancer therapy and demonstrate that rational targeting of mitochondrial metabolic reprogramming in tumor cells may overcome this resistance. We believe these results hold important implications for the clinical management of cancer.
Kwon-Ho Song, Jae-Hoon Kim, Young-Ho Lee, Hyun Cheol Bae, Hyo-Jung Lee, Seon Rang Woo, Se Jin Oh, Kyung-Mi Lee, Cassian Yee, Bo Wook Kim, Hanbyoul Cho, Eun Joo Chung, Joon-Yong Chung, Stephen M. Hewitt, Tae-Wook Chung, Ki-Tae Ha, Young-Ki Bae, Chih-Ping Mao, Andrew Yang, T.C. Wu, Tae Woo Kim
Chronic allergic inflammatory diseases are a major cause of morbidity, allergic asthma alone affecting over 300 million people worldwide. Epidemiological studies demonstrate that environmental stimuli are associated with either promotion or prevention of disease. Major reductions in asthma prevalence are documented in European and US farming communities. Protection is associated with exposure of mothers during pregnancy to microbial breakdown products present in farm dusts and unprocessed foods, and enhancement of innate immune competence in the children. We sought to develop a scientific rationale for progressing these findings towards clinical application for primary disease prevention. Treatment of pregnant mice with a defined clinically-approved immune-modulator was shown to markedly reduce susceptibility of their offspring to development of the hallmark clinical features of allergic airway inflammatory disease. Mechanistically, offspring displayed enhanced dendritic cell-dependent airway mucosal immune surveillance function, which resulted in more efficient generation of mucosal-homing T-regulatory cells in response to local inflammatory challenge. We provide evidence that the principal target for maternal treatment effects was the fetal dendritic cell progenitor compartment, equipping the offspring for accelerated functional maturation of the airway mucosal dendritic cell network following birth. These data provide proof-of-concept supporting the rationale for development of transplacental immune reprogramming approaches for primary disease prevention.
Kyle T. Mincham, Naomi M. Scott, Jean-Francois Lauzon-Joset, Jonatan Leffler, Alexander N. Larcombe, Philip A. Stumbles, Sarah A. Robertson, Christian Pasquali, Patrick G. Holt, Deborah H. Strickland
It is suggested that subtyping of complex inflammatory diseases can be based on genetic susceptibility and relevant environmental exposure (G+E). We propose that using matched cellular phenotypes in human subjects and corresponding pre-clinical models with the same G+E combinations are useful to this end. As an example, defective Paneth cells can subtype Crohn's disease (CD) subjects; Paneth cell defects have been linked to multiple CD susceptibility genes and are associated with poor outcome. We hypothesized that CD susceptibility genes interact with cigarette smoking, a major CD environmental risk factor, to trigger Paneth cell defects. We found that both CD subjects and mice with ATG16L1T300A (T300A; a prevalent CD susceptibility allele) developed Paneth cell defects triggered by tobacco smoke. Transcriptional analysis of full thickness ileum and Paneth cell-enriched crypt base cells showed the T300A-smoking combination altered distinct pathways, including pro-apoptosis, metabolic dysregulation, and selective down-regulation of the PPARγ pathway. Pharmacologic intervention by either apoptosis inhibitor or PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone prevented smoking-induced crypt apoptosis and Paneth cell defects in T300A mice and mice with conditional Paneth cell-specific knockout of Atg16l1. This study demonstrates how explicit G+E can drive disease relevant phenotype, and provides rational strategies to identify actionable targets.
Ta-Chiang Liu, Justin T. Kern, Kelli L. VanDussen, Shanshan Xiong, Gerard E. Kaiko, Craig B. Wilen, Michael W. Rajala, Roberta Caruso, Michael J. Holtzman, Feng Gao, Dermot P.B. McGovern, Gabriel Nunez, Richard D. Head, Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck
Human endogenous retroviruses (hERVs) are remnants of exogenous retroviruses that have integrated into the genome throughout evolution. We developed a computational workflow, hervQuant, which identified over 3,000 transcriptionally active hERVs within The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pan-cancer RNA-seq database. hERV expression was associated with clinical prognosis in several tumor types, most significantly clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). We explored two mechanisms by which hERV expression may influence the tumor-immune microenvironment in ccRCC: through 1) RIG-I-like signaling, and 2) retroviral antigen activation of adaptive immunity. We demonstrated the ability of hERV signatures associated with these immune mechanisms to predict patient survival in ccRCC, independent of clinical staging and molecular subtyping. We identified potential tumor-specific hERV epitopes with evidence of translational activity through the use of a ccRCC Ribo-seq dataset, validated their ability to bind HLA in vitro, and identified presence of MHC tetramer-positive T cells against predicted epitopes. hERV sequences identified through this screening approach were significantly more highly expressed in ccRCC tumors responsive to treatment with programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) inhibition. hervQuant provides new insights into the role of hERVs within the tumor-immune microenvironment as well as evidence for hERV expression-based biomarkers for patient prognosis and response to immunotherapy.
Christof C. Smith, Kathryn E. Beckermann, Dante S. Bortone, Aguirre A. de Cubas, Lisa M. Bixby, Samuel J. Lee, Anshuman Panda, Shridar Ganesan, Gyan Bhanot, Eric M. Wallen, Matthew I. Milowsky, William Y. Kim, W. Kimryn Rathmell, Ronald Swanstrom, Joel S. Parker, Jonathan S. Serody, Sara R. Selitsky, Benjamin G. Vincent
First generation immune checkpoint inhibitors including anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 antibodies have led to major clinical progress, yet resistance frequently leads to treatment failure. Thus, new targets acting on T cells are needed. CD33-related Siglecs are pattern recognition immune receptors binding to a range of sialoglycan ligands, which appear to function as self-associated molecular patterns (SAMPs) that suppress autoimmune responses. Siglecs are expressed at very low levels on normal T cells, and these receptors were not yet considered as interesting targets on T cells for cancer immunotherapy. Here, we show an upregulation of Siglecs including Siglec-9 on tumor-infiltrating T cells from non-small cell lung (NSCLC), colorectal and ovarian cancer patients. Siglec-9 expressing T cells co-expressed several inhibitory receptors including PD-1. Targeting of the sialoglycan-SAMP/Siglec pathway in vitro and in vivo resulted in increased anti-cancer immunity. T cell expression of Siglec-9 in NSCLC patients correlated with a reduced survival, and Siglec-9 polymorphisms showed associations with the risk of developing lung and colorectal cancer. Our data identify the sialoglycan-SAMP/Siglec pathway as new potential target to improve T cell activation for immunotherapy.
Michal A. Stanczak, Shoib S. Siddiqui, Marcel P. Trefny, Daniela S. Thommen, Kayluz Frias Boligan, Stephan von Gunten, Alexandar Tzankov, Lothar Tietze, Didier Lardinois, Viola Heinzelmann-Schwarz, Michael S. von Bergwelt-Baildon, Wu Zhang, Heinz-Josef Lenz, Younghan Han, Christopher I. Amos, Mohammedyaseen Syedbasha, Adrian Egli, Frank Stenner, Daniel E. Speiser, Ajit Varki, Alfred Zippelius, Heinz Läubli