Chronic HBV (CHB) infection suppresses virus-specific T cells, but its impact on humoral immunity has been poorly analyzed. Here, we developed a dual-staining method that utilizes hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigens (HBsAg) labeled with fluorochromes as “baits” for specific ex vivo detection of HBsAg-specific B cells and analysis of their quantity, function, and phenotype. We studied healthy vaccinated subjects (n = 18) and patients with resolved (n = 21), acute (n = 11), or chronic (n = 96) HBV infection and observed that frequencies of circulating HBsAg-specific B cells were independent of HBV infection status. In contrast, the presence of serum HBsAg affected function and phenotype of HBsAg-specific B cells that were unable to mature in vitro into Ab-secreting cells and displayed an increased expression of markers linked to hyperactivation (CD21lo) and exhaustion (PD-1). Importantly, B cell alterations were not limited to HBsAg-specific B cells, but affected the global B cell population. HBsAg-specific B cell maturation could be partially restored by a method involving the combination of the cytokines IL-2 and IL-21 and CD40L-expressing feeder cells and was further boosted by the addition of anti–PD-1 Abs. In conclusion, HBV infection has a marked impact on global and HBV-specific humoral immunity, yet HBsAg-specific B cells are amenable to a partial rescue by B cell–maturing cytokines and PD-1 blockade.
Loghman Salimzadeh, Nina Le Bert, Charles-A. Dutertre, Upkar S. Gill, Evan W. Newell, Christian Frey, Magdeleine Hung, Nikolai Novikov, Simon Fletcher, Patrick T.F. Kennedy, Antonio Bertoletti
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for maintaining immune homeostasis. However, current Treg immunotherapies do not optimally treat inflammatory diseases in patients. Understanding the cellular processes that control Treg function may allow for the augmentation of therapeutic efficacy. In contrast to activated conventional T cells, in which protein kinase C-θ (PKC-θ) localizes to the contact point between T cells and antigen-presenting cells, in human and mouse Tregs, PKC-θ localizes to the opposite end of the cell in the distal pole complex (DPC). Here, using a phosphoproteomic screen, we identified the intermediate filament vimentin as a PKC-θ phospho target and show that vimentin forms a DPC superstructure on which PKC-θ accumulates. Treatment of mouse Tregs with either a clinically relevant PKC-θ inhibitor or vimentin siRNA disrupted vimentin and enhanced Treg metabolic and suppressive activity. Moreover, vimentin-disrupted mouse Tregs were significantly better than controls at suppressing alloreactive T cell priming in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and GVHD lethality, using a complete MHC-mismatch mouse model of acute GVHD (C57BL/6 donor into BALB/c host). Interestingly, vimentin disruption augmented the suppressor function of PKC-θ–deficient mouse Tregs. This suggests that enhanced Treg activity after PKC-θ inhibition is secondary to effects on vimentin, not just PKC-θ kinase activity inhibition. Our data demonstrate that vimentin is a key metabolic and functional controller of Treg activity and provide proof of principle that disruption of vimentin is a feasible, translationally relevant method to enhance Treg potency.
Cameron McDonald-Hyman, James T. Muller, Michael Loschi, Govindarajan Thangavelu, Asim Saha, Sudha Kumari, Dawn K. Reichenbach, Michelle J. Smith, Guoan Zhang, Brent H. Koehn, Jiqiang Lin, Jason S. Mitchell, Brian T. Fife, Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Colby J. Feser, Andrew Kemal Kirchmeier, Mark J. Osborn, Keli L. Hippen, Ameeta Kelekar, Jonathan S. Serody, Laurence A. Turka, David H. Munn, Hongbo Chi, Thomas A. Neubert, Michael L. Dustin, Bruce R. Blazar
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) are inflammatory neuropathies that affect humans and are characterized by peripheral nerve myelin destruction and macrophage-containing immune infiltrates. In contrast to the traditional view that the peripheral nerve is simply the target of autoimmunity, we report here that peripheral nerve Schwann cells exacerbate the autoimmune process through extracellular matrix (ECM) protein induction. In a spontaneous autoimmune peripheral polyneuropathy (SAPP) mouse model of inflammatory neuropathy and CIDP nerve biopsies, the ECM protein periostin (POSTN) was upregulated in affected sciatic nerves and was primarily expressed by Schwann cells. Postn deficiency delayed the onset and reduced the extent of neuropathy, as well as decreased the number of macrophages infiltrating the sciatic nerve. In an in vitro assay, POSTN promoted macrophage chemotaxis in an integrin-AM (ITGAM) and ITGAV-dependent manner. The PNS-infiltrating macrophages in SAPP-affected nerves were pathogenic, since depletion of macrophages protected against the development of neuropathy. Our findings show that Schwann cells promote macrophage infiltration by upregulating Postn and suggest that POSTN is a novel target for the treatment of macrophage-associated inflammatory neuropathies.
Denise E. Allard, Yan Wang, Jian Joel Li, Bridget Conley, Erin W. Xu, David Sailer, Caellaigh Kimpston, Rebecca Notini, Collin-Jamal Smith, Emel Koseoglu, Joshua Starmer, Xiaopei L. Zeng, James F. Howard Jr., Ahmet Hoke, Steven S. Scherer, Maureen A. Su
The E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF8 plays critical roles in maintaining genomic stability by promoting the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) through ubiquitin signaling. Abnormal activation of Notch signaling and defective repair of DSBs promote breast cancer risk. Here, we found that low expression of the full-length RNF8 correlated with poor prognosis for breast cancer patients. Our data revealed that in addition to its role in the repair of DSBs, RNF8 regulated Notch1 signaling and cell-fate determination of mammary luminal progenitors. Mechanistically, RNF8 acted as a negative regulator of Notch signaling by ubiquitylating the active NOTCH1 protein (N1ICD), leading to its degradation. Consistent with abnormal activation of Notch signaling and impaired repair of DSBs in Rnf8-mutant mammary epithelial cells, we observed increased risk of mammary tumorigenesis in mouse models for RNF8 deficiency. Notably, deficiency of RNF8 sensitized breast cancer cells to combination of pharmacological inhibitors of Notch signaling and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), suggesting implications for treatment of breast cancer associated with impaired RNF8 expression or function.
Li Li, Kiran Kumar Naidu Guturi, Brandon Gautreau, Parasvi S. Patel, Amine Saad, Mayako Morii, Francesca Mateo, Luis Palomero, Haithem Barbour, Antonio Gomez, Deborah Ng, Max Kotlyar, Chiara Pastrello, Hartland W. Jackson, Rama Khokha, Igor Jurisica, El Bachir Affar, Brian Raught, Otto Sanchez, Moulay Alaoui-Jamali, Miguel A. Pujana, Anne Hakem, Razq Hakem
The M2 isoform of pyruvate kinase (PKM2) is highly expressed in most cancer cells, and has been studied extensively as a driver of oncogenic metabolism. In contrast, the role of PKM2 in nontransformed cells is little studied, and nearly nothing is known of its role, if any, in quiescent cells. We show here that endothelial cells express PKM2 almost exclusively over PKM1. In proliferating endothelial cells, PKM2 is required to suppress p53 and maintain cell cycle progression. In sharp contrast, PKM2 has a strikingly different role in quiescent endothelial cells, where inhibition of PKM2 leads to degeneration of tight junctions and barrier function. Mechanistically, PKM2 regulates barrier function independently of its canonical activity as a pyruvate kinase. Instead, PKM2 suppresses NF-kB and its downstream target, the vascular permeability factor angiopoietin 2. As a consequence, loss of endothelial cell PKM2 in vivo predisposes mice to VEGF-induced vascular leak, and to severe bacteremia and death in response to sepsis. Together, these data demonstrate new roles of PKM2 in quiescent cells, and highlight the need for caution in developing cancer therapies that target PKM2.
Boa Kim, Cholsoon Jang, Harita Dharaneeswaran, Jian Li, Mohit Bhide, Steven Yang, Kristina Li, Zolt Arany
The resolution of inflammation is an active process that is coordinated by endogenous mediators. Previous studies have demonstrated the immunomodulatory properties of the axonal guidance proteins in the initial phase of acute inflammation. We hypothesized that the neuronal guidance protein neogenin (Neo1) modulates mechanisms of inflammation resolution. In murine peritonitis, Neo1 deficiency (Neo1–/–) resulted in higher efficacies in reducing neutrophil migration into injury sites, increasing neutrophil apoptosis, actuating PMN phagocytosis, and increasing the endogenous biosynthesis of specialized proresolving mediators, such as lipoxin A4, maresin-1, and protectin DX. Neo1 expression was limited to Neo1-expressing Ly6Chi monocytes, and Neo1 deficiency induced monocyte polarization toward an antiinflammatory and proresolving phenotype. Signaling network analysis revealed that Neo1–/– monocytes mediate their immunomodulatory effects specifically by activating the PI3K/AKT pathway and suppressing the TGF-β pathway. In a cohort of 59 critically ill, intensive care unit (ICU) pediatric patients, we found a strong correlation between Neo1 blood plasma levels and abdominal compartment syndrome, Pediatric Risk of Mortality III (PRISM-III) score, and ICU length of stay and mortality. Together, these findings identify a crucial role for Neo1 in regulating tissue regeneration and resolution of inflammation, and determined Neo1 to be a predictor of morbidity and mortality in critically ill children affected by clinical inflammation.
Martin Schlegel, Andreas Körner, Torsten Kaussen, Urs Knausberg, Carmen Gerber, Georg Hansmann, Hulda Soffia Jónasdóttir, Martin Giera, Valbona Mirakaj
Interrupting T cell costimulatory signals as a strategy to control undesired immune responses, such as occur in autoimmunity or transplantation, has the potential to alleviate many of the unwanted side effects associated with current immunosuppressive therapies. Belatacept, a high-affinity version of CTLA4-Ig that blocks ligand ligation to CD28, has been approved for use in kidney transplant recipients. Despite the long-term benefits associated with its use, such as improved renal function and lower cardiovascular risk, a subset of patients treated with belatacept experience elevated rates of acute T cell–mediated rejection, tempering enthusiasm for its use. Here we demonstrate that costimulation-independent T cell alloreactivity relies on signaling through CD122, the shared IL-2 and IL-15 receptor β-chain. Combined costimulatory and CD122 blockade improved survival of transplanted tissue in mice and nonhuman primates by controlling proliferation and effector function of CD8+ T cells. The high-affinity IL-2 receptor was dispensable for memory CD8+ T cell responses, whereas signaling through CD122 as a component of the high-affinity IL-15 receptor was critical for costimulation-independent memory CD8+ T cell recall, distinguishing specific roles for IL-2 and IL-15 in T cell activation. These studies outline a novel approach for clinical optimization of costimulatory blockade strategies in transplantation by targeting CD122.
David V. Mathews, Ying Dong, Laura B. Higginbotham, Steven C. Kim, Cynthia P. Breeden, Elizabeth A. Stobert, Joseph Jenkins, J. Yun Tso, Christian P. Larsen, Andrew B. Adams
B cells are increasingly recognized as playing an important role in the ongoing control of hepatitis B virus (HBV). The development of antibodies against the viral surface antigen (HBV surface antigen [HBsAgs]) constitutes the hallmark of resolution of acute infection and is a therapeutic goal for functional cure of chronic HBV (CHB). We characterized B cells directly ex vivo from the blood and liver of patients with CHB to investigate constraints on their antiviral potential. Unexpectedly, we found that HBsAg-specific B cells persisted in the blood and liver of many patients with CHB and were enriched for T-bet, a signature of antiviral potential in B cells. However, purified, differentiated HBsAg-specific B cells from patients with CHB had defective antibody production, consistent with undetectable anti-HBs antibodies in vivo. HBsAg-specific and global B cells had an accumulation of CD21–CD27– atypical memory B cells (atMBC) with high expression of inhibitory receptors, including PD-1. These atMBC demonstrated altered signaling, homing, differentiation into antibody-producing cells, survival, and antiviral/proinflammatory cytokine production that could be partially rescued by PD-1 blockade. Analysis of B cells within healthy and HBV-infected livers implicated the combination of this tolerogenic niche and HBV infection in driving PD-1hiatMBC and impairing B cell immunity.
Alice R. Burton, Laura J. Pallett, Laura E. McCoy, Kornelija Suveizdyte, Oliver E. Amin, Leo Swadling, Elena Alberts, Brian R. Davidson, Patrick T.F. Kennedy, Upkar S. Gill, Claudia Mauri, Paul A. Blair, Nadege Pelletier, Mala K. Maini
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a teratogenic mosquito-borne flavivirus that can be sexually transmitted from man to woman. The finding of high viral loads and prolonged viral shedding in semen suggests that ZIKV replicates within the human male genital tract, but its target organs are unknown. Using ex vivo infection of organotypic cultures, we demonstrated here that ZIKV replicates in human testicular tissue and infects a broad range of cell types, including germ cells, which we also identified as infected in semen from ZIKV-infected donors. ZIKV had no major deleterious effect on the morphology and hormonal production of the human testis explants. Infection induced a broad antiviral response but no IFN upregulation and minimal proinflammatory response in testis explants, with no cytopathic effect. Finally, we studied ZIKV infection in mouse testis and compared it to human infection. This study provides key insights into how ZIKV may persist in semen and alter semen parameters, as well as a valuable tool for testing antiviral agents.
Giulia Matusali, Laurent Houzet, Anne-Pascale Satie, Dominique Mahé, Florence Aubry, Thérèse Couderc, Julie Frouard, Salomé Bourgeau, Karim Bensalah, Sylvain Lavoué, Guillaume Joguet, Louis Bujan, André Cabié, Gleide Avelar, Marc Lecuit, Anna Le Tortorec, Nathalie Dejucq-Rainsford
Checkpoint blockade immunotherapy targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitory axis has produced remarkable results in the treatment of several types of cancer. Whereas cytotoxic T cells are known to provide important antitumor effects during checkpoint blockade, certain cancers with low MHC expression are responsive to therapy, suggesting that other immune cell types may also play a role. Here, we employed several mouse models of cancer to investigate the effect of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade on NK cells, a population of cytotoxic innate lymphocytes that also mediate antitumor immunity. We discovered that PD-1 and PD-L1 blockade elicited a strong NK cell response that was indispensable for the full therapeutic effect of immunotherapy. PD-1 was expressed on NK cells within transplantable, spontaneous, and genetically induced mouse tumor models, and PD-L1 expression in cancer cells resulted in reduced NK cell responses and generation of more aggressive tumors in vivo. PD-1 expression was more abundant on NK cells with an activated and more responsive phenotype and did not mark NK cells with an exhausted phenotype. These results demonstrate the importance of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis in inhibiting NK cell responses in vivo and reveal that NK cells, in addition to T cells, mediate the effect of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade immunotherapy.
Joy Hsu, Jonathan J. Hodgins, Malvika Marathe, Chris J. Nicolai, Marie-Claude Bourgeois-Daigneault, Troy N. Trevino, Camillia S. Azimi, Amit K. Scheer, Haley E. Randolph, Thornton W. Thompson, Lily Zhang, Alexandre Iannello, Nikhita Mathur, Karen E. Jardine, Georgia A. Kirn, John C. Bell, Michael W. McBurney, David H. Raulet, Michele Ardolino