Mammalian TLRs are central mediators of the innate immune system that instruct cells of the innate and adaptive response to clear microbial infections. Here, we demonstrate that human epithelial TLR4 directly protected the oral mucosa from fungal infection via a process mediated by polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). In an in vitro epithelial model of oral candidiasis, the fungal pathogen Candida albicans induced a chemoattractive and proinflammatory cytokine response but failed to directly modulate the expression of genes encoding TLRs. However, the addition of PMNs to the C. albicans–infected model strongly upregulated cytoplasmic and cell-surface epithelial TLR4 expression, which correlated directly with protection against fungal invasion and cell injury. C. albicans invasion and cell injury was restored by the addition of TLR4-specific neutralizing antibodies and knockdown of TLR4 using RNA interference, even in the presence of PMNs, demonstrating the direct role of epithelial TLR4 in the protective process. Furthermore, treatment with neutralizing antibodies specific for TNF-α resulted in strongly reduced TLR4 expression accompanied by augmented epithelial cell damage and fungal invasion. To our knowledge, this is the first description of such a PMN-dependent, TLR4-mediated protective mechanism at epithelial surfaces, which may provide significant insights into how microbial infections are managed and controlled in the oral mucosa.
Günther Weindl, Julian R. Naglik, Susanne Kaesler, Tilo Biedermann, Bernhard Hube, Hans Christian Korting, Martin Schaller
TNF-α antagonists are widely used in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, but their use is associated with reactivation of latent infections. This highlights the importance of TNF-α in immunity to certain pathogens and raises concerns that critical aspects of immune function are impaired in its absence. Unfortunately, the role of TNF-α in the regulation of T cell responses is clouded by a myriad of contradictory reports. Here, we show a role for TNF-α and its receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2, specifically in antitumor immunity. TNF-α–deficient mice exhibited normal antiviral responses associated with strong inflammation. However, TNF-α/TNFR1–mediated signals on APCs and TNF-α/TNFR2 signals on T cells were critically required for effective priming, proliferation, and recruitment of tumor-specific T cells. Furthermore, in the absence of TNF-α signaling, tumor immune surveillance was severely abrogated. Finally, treatment with a CD40 agonist alone or in combination with TLR2 stimuli was able to rescue proliferation of TNF-α–deficient T cells. Therefore, TNF-α signaling may be required only for immune responses in conditions of limited immunostimulatory capacity, such as tumor surveillance. Importantly, these results suggest that prolonged continuous TNF-α blockade in patients may have long-term complications, including potential tumor development or progression.
Thomas Calzascia, Marc Pellegrini, Håkan Hall, Laurent Sabbagh, Nobuyuki Ono, Alisha R. Elford, Tak W. Mak, Pamela S. Ohashi
DCs activate NK cells during innate immune responses to viral infections. However, the composition and kinetics of the immunological synapse mediating this interaction are largely unknown. Here, we report the rapid formation of an immunological synapse between human resting NK cells and mature DCs. Although inhibitory NK cell receptors were polarized to this synapse, where they are known to protect mature DCs from NK cell lysis, the NK cell also received activation signals that induced mobilization of intracellular calcium and CD69 upregulation. The high-affinity component of the receptor for IL-15, IL-15Rα, accumulated at the synapse center on NK cells, and blocking of IL-15Rα increased NK cell apoptosis and diminished NK cell survival during their interaction with DCs. Furthermore, IL-15Rα–deficient NK cells, obtained from donors with a history of infectious mononucleosis, showed diminished survival in culture with DCs. Synapse formation was required for IL-15Rα–mediated NK cell survival, because synapse disruption by adhesion molecule blocking decreased DC-induced NK cell survival. These results identify what we believe to be a novel regulatory NK cell synapse with hallmarks of spatially separated inhibitory and activating interactions at its center. We suggest that this synapse formation enables optimal NK cell activation by DCs during innate immune responses.
Fabienne Brilot, Till Strowig, Susanne M. Roberts, Frida Arrey, Christian Münz
Oxidative burst, a critical antimicrobial mechanism of neutrophils, involves the rapid generation and release of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs) by the NADPH oxidase complex. Genetic mutations in an NADPH oxidase subunit, gp91 (also referred to as NOX2), are associated with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), which is characterized by recurrent and life-threatening microbial infections. To combat such infections, ROIs are produced by neutrophils after stimulation by integrin-dependent adhesion to the ECM in conjunction with stimulation from inflammatory mediators, or microbial components containing pathogen-associated molecular patterns. In this report, we provide genetic evidence that both the Vav family of Rho GTPase guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and phospholipase C–γ2 (PLC-γ2) are critical mediators of adhesion-dependent ROI production by neutrophils in mice. We also demonstrated that Vav was critically required for neutrophil-dependent host defense against systemic infection by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 2 common pathogens associated with fatal cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia. We identified a molecular pathway in which Vav GEFs linked integrin-mediated signaling with PLC-γ2 activation, release of intracellular Ca2+ cations, and generation of diacylglycerol to control assembly of the NADPH oxidase complex and ROI production by neutrophils. Taken together, our data indicate that integrin-dependent signals generated during neutrophil adhesion contribute to the activation of NADPH oxidase by a variety of distinct effector pathways, all of which require Vav.
Daniel B. Graham, Charles M. Robertson, Jhoanne Bautista, Francesca Mascarenhas, M. Julia Diacovo, Vivianne Montgrain, Siu Kit Lam, Viviana Cremasco, W. Michael Dunne, Roberta Faccio, Craig M. Coopersmith, Wojciech Swat
The decline in adaptive immunity, T lymphocyte output, and the contraction of the TCR repertoire with age is largely attributable to thymic involution. The loss of thymic function with age may be due to diminished numbers of progenitors and the loss of critical cytokines and hormones from the thymic microenvironment. We have previously demonstrated that the orexigenic hormone ghrelin is expressed by immune cells and regulates T cell activation and inflammation. Here we report that ghrelin and ghrelin receptor expression within the thymus diminished with progressive aging. Infusion of ghrelin into 14-month-old mice significantly improved the age-associated changes in thymic architecture and thymocyte numbers, increasing recent thymic emigrants and improving TCR diversity of peripheral T cell subsets. Ghrelin-induced thymopoiesis during aging was associated with enhanced early thymocyte progenitors and bone marrow–derived Lin–Sca1+cKit+ cells, while ghrelin- and growth hormone secretagogue receptor–deficient (GHS-R–deficient) mice displayed enhanced age-associated thymic involution. Leptin also enhanced thymopoiesis in aged but not young mice. Our findings demonstrate what we believe to be a novel role for ghrelin and its receptor in thymic biology and suggest a possible therapeutic benefit of harnessing this pathway in the reconstitution of thymic function in immunocompromised subjects.
Vishwa Deep Dixit, Hyunwon Yang, Yuxiang Sun, Ashani T. Weeraratna, Yun-Hee Youm, Roy G. Smith, Dennis D. Taub
Development of persistent Th2 responses in asthma and chronic helminth infections are a major health concern. IL-10 has been identified as a critical regulator of Th2 immunity, but mechanisms for controlling Th2 effector function remain unclear. IL-10 also has paradoxical effects on Th2-associated pathology, with IL-10 deficiency resulting in increased Th2-driven inflammation but also reduced airway hyperreactivity (AHR), mucus hypersecretion, and fibrosis. We demonstrate that increased IL-13 receptor α 2 (IL-13Rα2) expression is responsible for the reduced AHR, mucus production, and fibrosis in BALB/c IL-10–/– mice. Using models of allergic asthma and chronic helminth infection, we demonstrate that IL-10 and IL-13Rα2 coordinately suppress Th2-mediated inflammation and pathology, respectively. Although IL-10 was identified as the dominant antiinflammatory mediator, studies with double IL-10/IL-13Rα2–deficient mice illustrate an indispensable role for IL-13Rα2 in the suppression of AHR, mucus production, and fibrosis. Thus, IL-10 and IL-13Rα2 are both required to control chronic Th2-driven pathological responses.
Mark S. Wilson, Eldad Elnekave, Margaret M. Mentink-Kane, Marcus G. Hodges, John T. Pesce, Thirumalai R. Ramalingam, Robert W. Thompson, Masahito Kamanaka, Richard A. Flavell, Andrea Keane-Myers, Allen W. Cheever, Thomas A. Wynn
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Immunization of B10.PL mice with the Ac1–9 peptide, the immunodominant determinant of myelin basic protein (MBP), produced a single episode of EAE followed by recovery and resistance to reinduction of disease. Using the CDR3 length spectratyping technique, we characterized the clonal composition of the Ac1–9–specific T cell repertoire from induction through onset and resolution of disease. Two clonally restricted subsets within a heterogeneous self-reactive repertoire were found in mouse lymph nodes, spleen, and spinal cord soon after immunization, before any sign of EAE. These clonotypes, designated BV8S2/BJ2S7 and BV16/BJ2S5, were present in all mice examined and thus considered public. BV8S2/BJ2S7 was found in far greater excess; was exclusively Th1 polarized; disappeared from the spinal cord, spleen, and lymph nodes concomitantly with recovery; and transferred disease to naive recipients. In contrast, BV16/BJ2S5 and numerous private clonotypes were either Th1 or Th2 and persisted following recovery. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the public clonotype BV8S2/BJ2S7 is a driver of disease and necessary for its propagation.
Juscilene S. Menezes, Peter van den Elzen, Jordan Thornes, Donald Huffman, Nathalie M. Droin, Emanual Maverakis, Eli E. Sercarz
Though B cells play key roles in lupus pathogenesis, the molecular circuitry and its dysregulation in these cells as disease evolves remain poorly understood. To address this, a comprehensive scan of multiple signaling axes using multiplexed Western blotting was undertaken in several different murine lupus strains. PI3K/AKT/mTOR (mTOR, mammalian target of rapamycin), MEK1/Erk1/2, p38, NF-κB, multiple Bcl-2 family members, and cell-cycle molecules were observed to be hyperexpressed in lupus B cells in an age-dependent and lupus susceptibility gene–dose–dependent manner. Therapeutic targeting of the AKT/mTOR axis using a rapamycin (sirolimus) derivative ameliorated the serological, cellular, and pathological phenotypes associated with lupus. Surprisingly, the targeting of this axis was associated with the crippling of several other signaling axes. These studies reveal that lupus pathogenesis is contingent upon the activation of an elaborate network of signaling cascades that is shared among genetically distinct mouse models and raise hope that targeting pivotal nodes in these networks may offer therapeutic benefit.
Tianfu Wu, Xiangmei Qin, Zoran Kurepa, Kirthi Raman Kumar, Kui Liu, Hasna Kanta, Xin J. Zhou, Anne B. Satterthwaite, Laurie S. Davis, Chandra Mohan
SWAP-70–like adapter of T cells (SLAT) is a novel guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rho GTPases that is upregulated in Th2 cells, but whose physiological function is unclear. We show that SLAT–/– mice displayed a developmental defect at one of the earliest stages of thymocyte differentiation, the double-negative 1 (DN1) stage, leading to decreased peripheral T cell numbers. SLAT–/– peripheral CD4+ T cells demonstrated impaired TCR/CD28-induced proliferation and IL-2 production, which was rescued by the addition of exogenous IL-2. Importantly, SLAT–/– mice were grossly impaired in their ability to mount not only Th2, but also Th1-mediated lung inflammatory responses, as evidenced by reduced airway neutrophilia and eosinophilia, respectively. Levels of Th1 and Th2 cytokine in the lungs were also markedly reduced, paralleling the reduction in pulmonary inflammation. This defect in mounting Th1/Th2 responses, which was also evident in vitro, was traced to a severe reduction in Ca2+ mobilization from ER stores, which consequently led to defective TCR/CD28-induced translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cells 1/2 (NFATc1/2). Thus, SLAT is required for thymic DN1 cell expansion, T cell activation, and Th1 and Th2 inflammatory responses.
Stéphane Bécart, Céline Charvet, Ann J. Canonigo Balancio, Carl De Trez, Yoshihiko Tanaka, Wei Duan, Carl Ware, Michael Croft, Amnon Altman
Injection of apoptotic cells can induce suppression of immune responses to cell-associated antigens. Here, we show that intravenous injection of apoptotic cells expressing a fragment of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) reduced MOG-specific T cell response and prevented the development of EAE. Since injected apoptotic cells accumulated initially in the splenic marginal zone (MZ), the role of macrophages in the MZ in immune suppression was examined using transgenic mice in which these cells could be transiently deleted by diphtheria toxin (DT) injection. DT-treated mice became susceptible to EAE even though MOG-expressing apoptotic cells were preinjected. Deletion of the macrophages caused delayed clearance of injected dying cells in the MZ. In wild-type mice, injected apoptotic cells were selectively engulfed by CD8α+ DCs, which are responsible for suppression of immune responses to cell-associated antigens. In contrast, deletion of macrophages in the MZ caused aberrant phagocytosis of injected dying cells by CD8α–CD11b+ DCs. These results indicate that macrophages in the MZ regulate not only efficient clearance of apoptotic cells but also selective engulfment of dying cells by CD8α+ DCs and that functional failure of these unique macrophages impairs suppression of immune responses to cell-associated antigens.
Yasunobu Miyake, Kenichi Asano, Hitomi Kaise, Miho Uemura, Manabu Nakayama, Masato Tanaka