Antimicrobial peptides are effector molecules of the innate immune system and contribute to host defense and regulation of inflammation. The human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37/hCAP-18 is expressed in leukocytes and epithelial cells and secreted into wound and airway surface fluid. Here we show that LL-37 induces angiogenesis mediated by formyl peptide receptor–like 1 expressed on endothelial cells. Application of LL-37 resulted in neovascularization in the chorioallantoic membrane assay and in a rabbit model of hind-limb ischemia. The peptide directly activates endothelial cells, resulting in increased proliferation and formation of vessel-like structures in cultivated endothelial cells. Decreased vascularization during wound repair in mice deficient for CRAMP, the murine homologue of LL-37/hCAP-18, shows that cathelicidin-mediated angiogenesis is important for cutaneous wound neovascularization in vivo. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that LL-37/hCAP-18 is a multifunctional antimicrobial peptide with a central role in innate immunity by linking host defense and inflammation with angiogenesis and arteriogenesis.
Rembert Koczulla, Georges von Degenfeld, Christian Kupatt, Florian Krötz, Stefan Zahler, Torsten Gloe, Katja Issbrücker, Pia Unterberger, Mohamed Zaiou, Corinna Lebherz, Alexander Karl, Philip Raake, Achim Pfosser, Peter Boekstegers, Ulrich Welsch, Pieter S. Hiemstra, Claus Vogelmeier, Richard L. Gallo, Matthias Clauss, Robert Bals
The absence of immune defects that occurs in the syndrome of long-term nonprogressive (LTNP) HIV infection offers insights into the pathophysiology of HIV-induced immune disease. The (H[F/S]RIG)2 domain of viral protein R (Vpr) induces apoptosis and may contribute to HIV-induced T cell depletion. We demonstrate a higher frequency of R77Q Vpr mutations in patients with LTNP than in patients with progressive disease. In addition, T cell infections using vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G) pseudotyped HIV-1 Vpr R77Q result in less (P = 0.01) T cell death than infections using wild-type Vpr, despite similar levels of viral replication. Wild-type Vpr-associated events, including procaspase-8 and -3 cleavage, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (Δψm), and DNA fragmentation factor activation are attenuated by R77Q Vpr. These data highlight the pathophysiologic role of Vpr in HIV-induced immune disease and suggest a novel mechanism of LTNP.
Julian J. Lum, Oren J. Cohen, Zilin Nie, Joel G. Weaver, Timothy S. Gomez, Xiao-Jian Yao, David Lynch, André A. Pilon, Nanci Hawley, John E. Kim, Zhaoxia Chen, Michael Montpetit, Jaime Sanchez-Dardon, Eric A. Cohen, Andrew D. Badley
Stat3 plays an essential role in IL-10 signaling pathways. A myeloid cell-specific deletion of Stat3 resulted in inflammatory cytokine production and development of chronic enterocolitis with enhanced Th1 responses in mice. In this study, we analyzed the mechanism by which a Stat3 deficiency in myeloid cells led to the induction of chronic enterocolitis in vivo. Even in the absence of Stat1, which is essential for IFN-γ signaling pathways, Stat3 mutant mice developed chronic enterocolitis. TNF-α/Stat3 double-mutant mice developed severe chronic enterocolitis with enhanced Th1 cell development. IL-12p40/Stat3 double-mutant mice, however, showed normal Th1 responses and no inflammatory change in the colon. RAG2/Stat3 double-mutant mice did not develop enterocolitis, either. These findings indicate that overproduction of IL-12p40, which induces potent Th1 responses, is essential for the development of chronic enterocolitis in Stat3 mutant mice. Furthermore, enterocolitis was significantly improved and IFN-γ production by T cells was reduced in TLR4/Stat3 double-mutant mice, indicating that TLR4-mediated recognition of microbial components triggers aberrant IL-12p40 production by myeloid cells, leading to the development of enterocolitis. Thus, this study clearly established a sequential innate and acquired immune mechanism for the development of Th1-dependent enterocolitis.
Masaya Kobayashi, Mi-Na Kweon, Hirotaka Kuwata, Robert D. Schreiber, Hiroshi Kiyono, Kiyoshi Takeda, Shizuo Akira
Azathioprine and its metabolite 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) are immunosuppressive drugs that are used in organ transplantation and autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn disease. However, their molecular mechanism of action is unknown. In the present study, we have identified a unique and unexpected role for azathioprine and its metabolites in the control of T cell apoptosis by modulation of Rac1 activation upon CD28 costimulation. We found that azathioprine and its metabolites induced apoptosis of T cells from patients with Crohn disease and control patients. Apoptosis induction required costimulation with CD28 and was mediated by specific blockade of Rac1 activation through binding of azathioprine-generated 6-thioguanine triphosphate (6-Thio-GTP) to Rac1 instead of GTP. The activation of Rac1 target genes such as mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK), NF-κB, and bcl-xL was suppressed by azathioprine, leading to a mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Azathioprine thus converts a costimulatory signal into an apoptotic signal by modulating Rac1 activity. These findings explain the immunosuppressive effects of azathioprine and suggest that 6-Thio-GTP derivates may be useful as potent immunosuppressive agents in autoimmune diseases and organ transplantation.
Imke Tiede, Gerhard Fritz, Susanne Strand, Daniela Poppe, Radovan Dvorsky, Dennis Strand, Hans Anton Lehr, Stefan Wirtz, Christoph Becker, Raja Atreya, Jonas Mudter, Kai Hildner, Brigitte Bartsch, Martin Holtmann, Richard Blumberg, Henning Walczak, Heiko Iven, Peter R. Galle, Mohammad Reza Ahmadian, Markus F. Neurath
Experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) is a disease of the neural retina induced by immunization with retinal antigens, such as interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) and arrestin (retinal soluble antigen, S-Ag). EAU serves as a model for human autoimmune uveitic diseases associated with major histocompatibility complex (HLA) genes, in which patients exhibit immunological responses to retinal antigens. Here we report the development of a humanized EAU model in HLA transgenic (TG) mice. HLA-DR3, -DR4, -DQ6, and -DQ8 TG mice were susceptible to IRBP-induced EAU. Importantly, HLA-DR3 TG mice developed severe EAU with S-Ag, to which wild-type mice are highly resistant. Lymphocyte proliferation was blocked by anti-HLA antibodies, confirming that antigen is functionally presented by the human MHC molecules. Disease could be transferred by immune cells with a Th1-like cytokine profile. Antigen-specific T cell repertoire, as manifested by responses to overlapping peptides derived from S-Ag or IRBP, differed from that of wild-type mice. Interestingly, DR3 TG mice, but not wild-type mice, recognized an immunodominant S-Ag epitope between residues 291 and 310 that overlaps with a region of S-Ag recognized by uveitis patients. Thus, EAU in HLA TG mice offers a new model of uveitis that should represent human disease more faithfully than currently existing models.
Giuseppina Pennesi, Mary J. Mattapallil, Shu-Hui Sun, Dody Avichezer, Phyllis B. Silver, Zaruhi Karabekian, Chella S. David, Paul A. Hargrave, J. Hugh McDowell, W. Clay Smith, Barbara Wiggert, Larry A. Donoso, Chi-Chao Chan, Rachel R. Caspi
Death receptor–mediated activation-induced apoptosis of antigen-specific T cells is a major mechanism of peripheral tolerance induction and immune homeostasis. Failure to undergo activation-induced cell death (AICD) is an important underlying cause of many autoimmune diseases. Thus, enhancing the T cell’s own suicide mechanism may provide an efficient therapy for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Bisindolylmaleimide VIII (Bis VIII), a PKC inhibitor, can sensitize T cells for death receptor–induced apoptosis and thus can inhibit the development of T cell–mediated autoimmune disease in vivo. In this study, we have analyzed the functional consequences of accelerated suicide for a protective CD8+ T cell–mediated immune response. Our data indicate that CD8+ T cells are sensitized by Bis VIII to AICD, both in vitro and in vivo. The sensitizing effect of Bis VIII appears to be mediated by specific downmodulation of the antiapoptotic molecule cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (cFLIPL). Importantly, Bis VIII administration during an acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection causes the depletion of virus-specific CD8+ T cells and subsequently impaired cytotoxicity and virus clearance. We conclude that resistance to death receptor–induced apoptosis is crucial for the efficient induction of a protective immune response, and that Bis VIII–based immunotherapies have to be applied under well-controlled conditions to avoid the induction of immune incompetence and the inability to respond to pathogen infection.
Christoph Wasem, Diana Arnold, Leslie Saurer, Nadia Corazza, Sabine Jakob, Simon Herren, Claudio Vallan, Christoph Mueller, Thomas Brunner
During ascent to high altitude and pulmonary edema, the alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) are exposed to hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia inhibits alveolar fluid reabsorption and decreases Na,K-ATPase activity in AEC. We report here that exposure of AEC to hypoxia induced a time-dependent decrease of Na,K-ATPase activity and a parallel decrease in the number of Na,K-ATPase α1 subunits at the basolateral membrane (BLM), without changing its total cell protein abundance. These effects were reversible upon reoxygenation and specific, because the plasma membrane protein GLUT1 did not decrease in response to hypoxia. Hypoxia caused an increase in mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels that was inhibited by antioxidants. Antioxidants prevented the hypoxia-mediated decrease in Na,K-ATPase activity and protein abundance at the BLM. Hypoxia-treated AEC deficient in mitochondrial DNA (ρ0 cells) did not have increased levels of ROS, nor was the Na,K-ATPase activity inhibited. Na,K-ATPase α1 subunit was phosphorylated by PKC in hypoxia-treated AEC. In AEC treated with a PKC-ζ antagonist peptide or with the Na,K-ATPase α1 subunit lacking the PKC phosphorylation site (Ser-18), hypoxia failed to decrease Na,K-ATPase abundance and function. Accordingly, we provide evidence that hypoxia decreases Na,K-ATPase activity in AEC by triggering its endocytosis through mitochondrial ROS and PKC-ζ–mediated phosphorylation of the Na,K-ATPase α1 subunit.
Laura A. Dada, Navdeep S. Chandel, Karen M. Ridge, Carlos Pedemonte, Alejandro M. Bertorello, Jacob I. Sznajder
Among infectious agents, measles virus (MV) remains a scourge responsible for 1 million deaths per year and is a leading cause of childhood deaths in developing countries. Although MV infection itself is not commonly lethal, MV-induced suppression of the immune system results in a greatly increased susceptibility to opportunistic bacterial infections that are largely responsible for the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. Despite its clinical importance, the underlying mechanisms of MV-induced immunosuppression remain unresolved. To begin to understand the basis of increased susceptibility to bacterial infections during MV infection, we inoculated transgenic mice expressing the MV receptor, CD46, with MV and Listeria monocytogenes. We found that MV-infected mice were more susceptible to infection with Listeria and that this corresponded with significantly decreased numbers of macrophages and neutrophils in the spleen and substantial defects in IFN-γ production by CD4+ T cells. The reduction in CD11b+ macrophages and IFN-γ–producing T cells was due to reduced proliferative expansion and not to enhanced apoptosis or to altered distribution of these cells between spleen, blood, and the lymphatic system. These results document that MV infection can suppress both innate and adaptive immune responses and lead to increased susceptibility to bacterial infection.
Mark K. Slifka, Dirk Homann, Antoinette Tishon, Robb Pagarigan, Michael B.A. Oldstone
We have shown that cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific for PR1, an HLA-A2–restricted nonopeptide derived from proteinase 3, kill leukemia cells and may contribute to the elimination of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) after treatment with IFN or allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Some patients with persistent disease also have circulating PR1-specific T cells, however, suggesting the likelihood of immune tolerance. Here we show that both high- and low-avidity PR1-specific T cells from the peripheral blood of healthy donors can be identified and selectively expanded in vitro. Although high-avidity PR1-specific T cells killed CML more effectively than low-avidity T cells, only high-avidity T cells underwent apoptosis when stimulated with high PR1 peptide concentration or when exposed to leukemia that overexpressed proteinase 3. No high-avidity PR1-specific T cells could be identified or expanded from newly diagnosed leukemia patients, whereas low-avidity T cells were readily expanded. Circulating high-avidity PR1-specific T cells were identified in IFN-sensitive patients in cytogenetic remission, however. These results provide evidence that CML shapes the host immune response and that leukemia outgrowth may result in part from leukemia-induced selective deletion of high-avidity PR1-specific T cells.
Jeffrey J. Molldrem, Peter P. Lee, Shreya Kant, Eric Wieder, Weidong Jiang, Sijie Lu, Changqing Wang, Mark M. Davis
Stat3 is the most pleiotropic member of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) family of transcription factors and mediates pivotal responses for the cytokine family. In resting cells, STATs, including Stat3, reside largely in the cytoplasm. Upon cytokine stimulation, they rapidly translocate to the nucleus, where they promote the expression of target genes. During the subsequent period of signal decay they are re-exported back to the cytoplasm in preparation for the next round of signaling. This process of nuclear export can be blocked by the fungal toxin leptomycin B (LMB). In contrast to what appears to be the case for Stat1, LMB treatment not only blocks the poststimulation export of Stat3 from the nucleus back to the cytoplasm, but also promotes the nuclear accumulation of Stat3 in resting cells. Remarkably, the LMB-dependent nuclear accumulation of Stat3 in resting cells is independent of tyrosine phosphorylation, highlighting the existence of a “basal” signaling pathway. Subsequent studies identified three nuclear export signal (NES) elements. Two of these elements, Stat3306–318 and Stat3404–414, corresponded to those recently identified in Stat1, and a third, Stat3524–535, is novel. Stat3306–318 appears to be important in the rapid nuclear export seen after stimulation (poststimulation export), whereas the Stat3404–414 and Stat3524–535 play a more important role in regulating basal nuclear export. In summary, these studies indicate that the process of Stat3 nuclear export is dependent on multiple NES elements.
Samita Bhattacharya, Christian Schindler