Although B7 on APCs has a well-recognized role in T cell costimulation, little is known about the functional significance of constitutive and activation-induced B7 expression that also occurs on T cells. To analyze the role of B7 on T cells, B7-1/B7-2-deficient mice (B7 double knockout) and mice overexpressing B7-2 exclusively on T cells (B7-2 transgenic) were used as T cell donors for allogeneic transplant recipients, and graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) was assessed. B7 double-knockout T cells resulted in significant GVHD acceleration compared with wild-type T cells. Conversely, B7-2 transgenic donor T cells mediated reduced GVHD mortality compared with wild-type T cells. Data indicated that B7 expression on T cells down-regulated alloresponses through CTLA-4 ligation. This study is the first to provide definitive in vivo data illustrating the importance of T cell-associated B7 as a negative regulator of immune responses in a clinically relevant murine model of GVHD. The up-regulation of B7 on T cells may be an important component of normal immune homeostasis.
BACKGROUND: Several lines of evidence indicate that T-cell responses influence the progression of atherosclerotic disease. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-producing T cells specific for lesional antigens, including oxidized LDLs and heat shock protein 60 (HSP60), may promote lesion development as well as plaque instability. B7-1 and B7-2 are closely related molecules expressed on antigen-presenting cells that provide costimulatory signals for T-cell activation. This study tested the hypothesis that the ability of T cells to influence atherosclerosis depends on B7-1/B7-2 costimulation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: B7-1/B7-2/LDL receptor (LDLR)-deficient mice and LDLR-deficient control mice were fed a 1.25% cholesterol or control diet for 8 and 20 weeks. Total serum cholesterol levels and extent and phenotype of atherosclerosis were analyzed. Splenic and lymph node CD4+ T cells from the animals were cultured with mouse recombinant HSP60 or media and antigen-presenting cells and analyzed for IFN-gamma and interleukin-4 production. The absence of B7-1 and B7-2 significantly reduced early cholesterol diet-induced atherosclerotic lesion development in LDLR-deficient mice compared with B7-1/B7-2-expressing control mice. Furthermore, CD4+ T cells from the cholesterol-fed B7-deficient mice secreted a significantly lower amount of IFN-gamma in response to mouse HSP60 in vitro than did T cells from B7-expressing control mice.
CONCLUSIONS: The data show that B7-1 and B7-2 regulated the development of atherosclerotic lesions and the priming of lesional antigen-specific T cells. This study highlights the B7-CD28 pathway as a potentially important target for immunomodulation of atherosclerosis.
Mice deficient in OX40 or 4-1BB costimulatory pathways show defects in T cell recall responses, with predominant effects on CD4 vs CD8 T cells, respectively. However, OX40L can also stimulate CD8 T cells and 4-1BBL can influence CD4 T cells, raising the possibility of redundancy between the two TNFR family costimulators. To test this possibility, we generated mice deficient in both 4-1BBL and OX40L. In an adoptive transfer model, CD4 T cells expressed 4-1BB and OX40 sequentially in response to immunization, with little or no overlap in the timing of their expression. Under the same conditions, CD8 T cells expressed 4-1BB, but no detectable OX40. Thus, in vivo expression of 4-1BB and OX40 can be temporally and spatially segregated. In the absence of OX40L, there were decreased CD4 T cells late in the primary response and no detectable secondary expansion of adoptively transferred CD4 T cells under conditions in which primary expansion was unaffected. The 4-1BBL had a minor effect on the primary response of CD4 T cells in this model, but showed larger effects on the secondary response, although 4-1BBL(-/-) mice show less impairment in CD4 secondary responses than OX40L(-/-) mice. The 4-1BBL(-/-) and double knockout mice were similarly impaired in the CD8 T cell response, whereas OX40L(-/-) and double knockout mice were similarly impaired in the CD4 T cell response to both protein Ag and influenza virus. Thus, 4-1BB and OX40 act independently and nonredundantly to facilitate robust CD4 and CD8 recall responses.
Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) plays a critical role in downregulating T cell responses. A number of autoimmune diseases have shown genetic linkage to the CTLA-4 locus. We have cloned and expressed an alternatively spliced form of CTLA-4 that has genetic linkage with type I diabetes in the NOD mice. This splice variant of CTLA-4, named ligand-independent CTLA-4 (liCTLA-4), lacks exon2 including the MYPPPY motif essential for binding to the costimulatory ligands B7-1 and B7-2. Here we show that liCTLA-4 is expressed as a protein in primary T cells and strongly inhibits T cell responses by binding and dephosphorylating the TcRzeta chain. Expression of liCTLA-4, but not full-length CTLA-4 (flCTLA-4), was higher in memory/regulatory T cells from diabetes-resistant NOD congenic mice compared to susceptible NOD mice. These data suggest that increased expression and negative signaling delivered by the liCTLA-4 may regulate development of T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.
Signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM), a glycoprotein expressed on activated lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells, has been shown to be a coregulator of antigen-driven T cell responses and is one of the two receptors for measles virus. Here we show that T cell receptor-induced interleukin (IL)-4 secretion by SLAM(-/-) CD4(+) cells is down-regulated, whereas interferon gamma production by CD4(+) T cells is only slightly up-regulated. Although SLAM controls production of IL-12, tumor necrosis factor, and nitric oxide in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) by macrophages, SLAM does not regulate phagocytosis and responses to peptidoglycan or CpG. Thus, SLAM acts as a coreceptor that regulates signals transduced by the major LPS receptor Toll-like receptor 4 on the surface of mouse macrophages. A defective macrophage function resulted in an inability of SLAM(-/-) C57Bl/6 mice to remove the parasite Leishmania major. We conclude that the coreceptor SLAM plays a central role at the interface of acquired and innate immune responses.
Helper T cell differentiation involves silencing as well as activation of gene expression. We have identified a conserved silencer of the gene encoding interleukin 4 (Il4) marked by DNase I hypersensitivity (HS IV) and permissive chromatin structure in all helper T cells. Deletion of HS IV increased Il4 and Il13 transcription by naive T cells and led to T helper type 2 skewing in vitro. HS IV controlled Il4 silencing during T helper type 1 differentiation, as HS IV-deficient T helper type 1 cells that expressed interferon-gamma also produced abundant interleukin 4 in vitro and in vivo. Despite mounting a vigorous interferon-gamma response, HS IV-deficient mice were more susceptible to Leishmania major infection than were wild-type littermate control mice, showing a critical function for Il4 silencing in T helper type 1-mediated immunity.
Kidney podocytes and their slit diaphragms form the final barrier to urinary protein loss. This explains why podocyte injury is typically associated with nephrotic syndrome. The present study uncovered an unanticipated novel role for costimulatory molecule B7-1 in podocytes as an inducible modifier of glomerular permselectivity. B7-1 in podocytes was found in genetic, drug-induced, immune-mediated, and bacterial toxin-induced experimental kidney diseases with nephrotic syndrome. The clinical significance of our results is underscored by the observation that podocyte expression of B7-1 correlated with the severity of human lupus nephritis. In vivo, exposure to low-dose LPS rapidly upregulates B7-1 in podocytes of WT and SCID mice, leading to nephrotic-range proteinuria. Mice lacking B7-1 are protected from LPS-induced nephrotic syndrome, suggesting a link between podocyte B7-1 expression and proteinuria. LPS signaling through toll-like receptor-4 reorganized the podocyte actin cytoskeleton in vitro, and activation of B7-1 in cultured podocytes led to reorganization of vital slit diaphragm proteins. In summary, upregulation of B7-1 in podocytes may contribute to the pathogenesis of proteinuria by disrupting the glomerular filter and provides a novel molecular target to tackle proteinuric kidney diseases. Our findings suggest a novel function for B7-1 in danger signaling by nonimmune cells.
Donor-specific transfusion (DST) can synergize with T cell co-stimulatory blockade in inducing tolerance in several transplant models, but the mechanism of action of DST is poorly characterized. This study used genetically altered mice in an established model of cardiac transplantation to study the role of MHC and co-stimulatory molecule expression on DST cells in mediating the immunomodulatory effects of DST. In addition, to examine the role of indirect antigen presentation in the effect of DST, experiments used recipient mice that do not express MHC class II molecules on peripheral antigen-presenting cells, but do have functional CD4(+) T cells (II(-)4(+)). As previously reported, treatment with DST from wild-type donors in combination with CD154 blockade induced tolerance in wild-type recipients of cardiac allografts. Tolerance in this model is also induced despite the absence of MHC class I and II, CD40, or B7 molecules on transfused cells. In contrast, eliminating the indirect pathway using II(-)4(+) recipients blocked the induction of long-term cardiac allograft survival by DST. These results indicate that the indirect antigen recognition pathway mediates the immunomodulatory effect of DST in inducing transplantation tolerance in vivo.
Both positive and negative regulatory roles have been suggested for the B7 family member PD-L1(B7-H1). PD-L1 is expressed on antigen-presenting cells (APCs), activated T cells, and a variety of tissues, but the functional significance of PD-L1 on each cell type is not yet clear. To dissect the functions of PD-L1 in vivo, we generated PD-L1-deficient (PD-L1(-/-)) mice. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses were markedly enhanced in PD-L1(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice in vitro and in vivo. PD-L1(-/-) dendritic cells stimulated greater wild-type CD4(+) T cell responses than wild-type dendritic cells, and PD-L1(-/-) CD4(+) T cells produced more cytokines than wild-type CD4(+) T cells in vitro, demonstrating an inhibitory role for PD-L1 on APCs and T cells. In vivo CD8(+) T cell responses also were significantly enhanced, indicating that PD-L1 has a role in limiting the expansion or survival of CD8(+) T cells. Studies using the myelin oligodendrocyte model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis showed that PD-L1 on T cells and in host tissues limits responses of self-reactive CD4(+) T cells in vivo. PD-L1 deficiency converted the 129S4/SvJae strain from a resistant to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis-susceptible strain. Transfer of encephalitogenic T cells from wild-type mice into PD-L1(-/-) recipients led to exacerbated disease. Disease was even more severe in PD-L1(-/-) recipients of PD-L1(-/-) T cells. These results demonstrate that PD-L1 on T cells, APCs, and host tissue inhibits naïve and effector T cell responses and plays a critical role in T cell tolerance.