Since 2003, rare inborn errors of human type I IFN immunity have been discovered, each underlying a few severe viral illnesses. Autoantibodies neutralizing type I IFNs due to rare inborn errors of autoimmune regulator (AIRE)–driven T cell tolerance were discovered in 2006, but not initially linked to any viral disease. These two lines of clinical investigation converged in 2020, with the discovery that inherited and/or autoimmune deficiencies of type I IFN immunity accounted for approximately 15%–20% of cases of critical COVID-19 pneumonia in unvaccinated individuals. Thus, insufficient type I IFN immunity at the onset of SARS-CoV-2 infection may be a general determinant of life-threatening COVID-19. These findings illustrate the unpredictable, but considerable, contribution of the study of rare human genetic diseases to basic biology and public health.
Jean-Laurent Casanova, Mark S. Anderson
Antigen presentation machinery and professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) are fundamental for an efficacious immune response against cancers, especially in the context of T cell–centric immunotherapy. Dendritic cells (DCs), the gold standard APCs, play a crucial role in initiating and maintaining a productive antigen-specific adaptive immunity. In recent decades, ex vivo–differentiated DCs from circulating CD14+ monocytes have become the reference for APC-based immunotherapy. DCs loaded with tumor-associated antigens, synthetic peptides, or RNA activate T cells with antitumor properties. This strategy has paved the way for the development of alternative antigen-presenting vaccination strategies, such as monocytes, B cells, and artificial APCs, that have shown effective therapeutic outcomes in preclinical cancer models. The search for alternative APC platforms was initiated by the overall limited clinical impact of DC vaccines, especially in indications such as gliomas, a primary brain tumor known for resistance to any immune intervention. In this Review, we navigate the APC immune therapeutics’ past, present, and future in the context of primary brain tumors.
Catalina Lee-Chang, Maciej S. Lesniak
This Review provides an update on ryanodine receptors (RyRs) and their role in human diseases of heart, muscle, and brain. Calcium (Ca2+) is a requisite second messenger in all living organisms. From C. elegans to mammals, Ca2+ is necessary for locomotion, bodily functions, and neural activity. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. Intracellular Ca2+ overload can result in loss of function and death. Intracellular Ca2+ release channels evolved to safely provide large, rapid Ca2+ signals without exposure to toxic extracellular Ca2+. RyRs are intracellular Ca2+ release channels present throughout the zoosphere. Over the past 35 years, our knowledge of RyRs has advanced to the level of atomic-resolution structures revealing their role in the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of human disorders of heart, muscle, and brain. Stress-induced RyR-mediated intracellular Ca2+ leak in the heart can promote heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. In skeletal muscle, RyR1 leak contributes to muscle weakness in inherited myopathies, to age-related loss of muscle function and cancer-associated muscle weakness, and to impaired muscle function in muscular dystrophies, including Duchenne. In the brain, leaky RyR channels contribute to cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease, posttraumatic stress disorder, and Huntington’s disease. Novel therapeutics targeting dysfunctional RyRs are showing promise.
Andrew R. Marks
Alphaviruses are enveloped, insect-transmitted, positive-sense RNA viruses that infect humans and other animals and cause a range of clinical manifestations, including arthritis, musculoskeletal disease, meningitis, encephalitis, and death. Over the past four years, aided by CRISPR/Cas9–based genetic screening approaches, intensive research efforts have focused on identifying entry receptors for alphaviruses to better understand the basis for cellular and species tropism. Herein, we review approaches to alphavirus receptor identification and how these were used for discovery. The identification of new receptors advances our understanding of viral pathogenesis, tropism, and evolution and is expected to contribute to the development of novel strategies for prevention and treatment of alphavirus infection.
Ofer Zimmerman, Autumn C. Holmes, Natasha M. Kafai, Lucas J. Adams, Michael S. Diamond
Epigenetic remodeling is a molecular hallmark of gliomas, and it has been identified as a key mediator of glioma progression. Epigenetic dysregulation contributes to gliomagenesis, tumor progression, and responses to immunotherapies, as well as determining clinical features. This epigenetic remodeling includes changes in histone modifications, chromatin structure, and DNA methylation, all of which are driven by mutations in genes such as histone 3 genes (H3C1 and H3F3A), isocitrate dehydrogenase 1/2 (IDH1/2), α-thalassemia/mental retardation, X-linked (ATRX), and additional chromatin remodelers. Although much of the initial research primarily identified how the epigenetic aberrations impacted glioma progression by solely examining the glioma cells, recent studies have aimed at establishing the role of epigenetic alterations in shaping the tumor microenvironment (TME). In this review, we discuss the mechanisms by which these epigenetic phenomena in glioma remodel the TME and how current therapies targeting epigenetic dysregulation affect the glioma immune response and therapeutic outcomes. Understanding the link between epigenetic remodeling and the glioma TME provides insights into the implementation of epigenetic-targeting therapies to improve the antitumor immune response.
Brandon L. McClellan, Santiago Haase, Felipe J. Nunez, Mahmoud S. Alghamri, Ali A. Dabaja, Pedro R. Lowenstein, Maria G. Castro
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has revolutionized modern cancer therapy, arousing great interest in the neuro-oncology community. While several reports show that subsets of patients with glioma exhibit durable responses to immunotherapy, the efficacy of this treatment has not been observed for unselected patient populations, preventing its broad clinical implementation for gliomas and glioblastoma (GBM). To exploit the maximum therapeutic potential of ICB for patients with glioma, understanding the different aspects of glioma-related tumor immune responses is of critical importance. In this Review, we discuss contributing factors that distinguish subsets of patients with glioma who may benefit from ICB. Specifically, we discuss (a) the complex interaction between the tumor immune microenvironment and glioma cells as a potential influence on immunotherapy responses; (b) promising biomarkers for responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors; and (c) the potential contributions of peripheral immune cells to therapeutic responses.
Víctor A. Arrieta, Crismita Dmello, Daniel J. McGrail, Daniel J. Brat, Catalina Lee-Chang, Amy B. Heimberger, Dhan Chand, Roger Stupp, Adam M. Sonabend
Infections with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and vaccinations targeting the spike protein (S) offer protective immunity against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This immunity may further be shaped by cross-reactivity with common cold coronaviruses. Mutations arising in S that are associated with altered intrinsic virus properties and immune escape result in the continued circulation of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Potentially, vaccine updates will be required to protect against future variants of concern, as for influenza. To offer potent protection against future variants, these second-generation vaccines may need to redirect immunity to epitopes associated with immune escape and not merely boost immunity toward conserved domains in preimmune individuals. For influenza, efficacy of repeated vaccination is hampered by original antigenic sin, an attribute of immune memory that leads to greater induction of antibodies specific to the first-encountered variant of an immunogen compared with subsequent variants. In this Review, recent findings on original antigenic sin are discussed in the context of SARS-CoV-2 evolution. Unanswered questions and future directions are highlighted, with an emphasis on the impact on disease outcome and vaccine design.
Muriel Aguilar-Bretones, Ron A.M. Fouchier, Marion P.G. Koopmans, Gijsbert P. van Nierop
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most belligerent and frequent brain tumor in adults. Research over the past two decades has provided increased knowledge of the genomic and molecular landscape of GBM and highlighted the presence of a high degree of inter- and intratumor heterogeneity within the neoplastic compartment. It is now appreciated that GBMs are composed of multiple distinct and impressionable neoplastic and non-neoplastic cell types that form the unique brain tumor microenvironment (TME). Non-neoplastic cells in the TME form reciprocal interactions with neoplastic cells to promote tumor growth and invasion, and together they influence the tumor response to standard-of-care therapies as well as emerging immunotherapies. One of the most prevalent non-neoplastic cell types in the GBM TME are myeloid cells, the most abundant of which are of hematopoietic origin, including monocytes/monocyte-derived macrophages. Less abundant, although still a notable presence, are neutrophils of hematopoietic origin and intrinsic brain-resident microglia. In this Review we focus on neutrophils and monocytes that infiltrate tumors from the blood circulation, their heterogeneity, and their interactions with neoplastic cells and other non-neoplastic cells in the TME. We conclude with an overview of challenges in targeting these cells and discuss avenues for therapeutic exploitation to improve the dismal outcomes of patients with GBM.
Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski, Dolores Hambardzumyan
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive tumor in the central nervous system and contains a highly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Tumor-associated macrophages and microglia (TAMs) are a dominant population of immune cells in the GBM TME that contribute to most GBM hallmarks, including immunosuppression. The understanding of TAMs in GBM has been limited by the lack of powerful tools to characterize them. However, recent progress on single-cell technologies offers an opportunity to precisely characterize TAMs at the single-cell level and identify new TAM subpopulations with specific tumor-modulatory functions in GBM. In this Review, we discuss TAM heterogeneity and plasticity in the TME and summarize current TAM-targeted therapeutic potential in GBM. We anticipate that the use of single-cell technologies followed by functional studies will accelerate the development of novel and effective TAM-targeted therapeutics for GBM patients.
Fatima Khan, Lizhi Pang, Madeline Dunterman, Maciej S. Lesniak, Amy B. Heimberger, Peiwen Chen
Most proteins destined for the extracellular space or various intracellular compartments must traverse the intracellular secretory pathway. The first step is the recruitment and transport of cargoes from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen to the Golgi apparatus by coat protein complex II (COPII), consisting of five core proteins. Additional ER transmembrane proteins that aid cargo recruitment are referred to as cargo receptors. Gene duplication events have resulted in multiple COPII paralogs present in the mammalian genome. Here, we review the functions of each COPII protein, human disorders associated with each paralog, and evidence for functional conservation between paralogs. We also provide a summary of current knowledge regarding two prototypical cargo receptors in mammals, LMAN1 and SURF4, and their roles in human health and disease.
Vi T. Tang, David Ginsburg
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