Adaptive immunity requires that T cells efficiently scan diverse cell surfaces to identify cognate Ag. However, the basic cellular mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we investigated this process using vascular endothelial cells, APCs that possess a unique and extremely advantageous, planar morphology. High-resolution imaging revealed that CD4 memory/effector T cells dynamically probe the endothelium by extending submicron-scale, actin-rich "invadosome/podosome-like protrusions" (ILPs). The intimate intercellular contacts enforced by ILPs consistently preceded and supported T cell activation in response to endothelial MHC class II/Ag. The resulting calcium flux stabilized dense arrays of ILPs (each enriched in TCR, protein kinase C-θ, ZAP70, phosphotyrosine, and HS1), forming what we term a podo-synapse. Similar findings were made using CD8 CTLs on endothelium. Furthermore, careful re-examination of both traditional APC models and professional APCs suggests broad relevance for ILPs in facilitating Ag recognition. Together, our results indicate that ILPs function as sensory organelles that serve as actuators of immune surveillance.
When compared to spleen or lymph node cells, resident peritoneal cavity cells respond poorly to T-cell activation in vitro. The greater proportional representation of macrophages in this cell source has been shown to actively suppress the T-cell response. Peritoneal macrophages exhibit an immature phenotype (MHC class II(lo), B7(lo)) that reduces their efficacy as antigen-presenting cells. Furthermore, these cells readily express inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), an enzyme that promotes T-cell tolerance by catabolism of the limiting amino acid arginine. Here, we investigate the ability of exogenous T-cell costimulation to recover the peritoneal T-cell response. We show that CD28 ligation failed to recover the peritoneal T-cell response and actually suppressed responses that had been recovered by inhibiting iNOS. As indicated by cytokine ELISpot and neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment, this 'cosuppression' response was due to CD28 ligation increasing the number of interferon (IFN)-γ-secreting cells. Our results illustrate that cellular composition and cytokine milieu influence T-cell costimulation biology.Cellular & Molecular Immunology advance online publication, 23 April 2012; doi:10.1038/cmi.2012.13.
Germinal center (GC) B cells and T follicular helper (T(FH)) cells interact in the production of high-affinity long-lived plasma cells (PCs) and memory B cells, although the mechanisms regulating the formation of these long-lived populations remain unclear. Because CD80 is one of the few markers shared by human and murine memory B cells, we investigated its role in the development of GCs, memory cells, and PCs. In CD80-deficient mice, fewer long-lived PCs were generated upon immunization compared with that in B6 controls. In concert, the absence of CD80 resulted in an increase in apoptotic GC B cells during the contraction phase of the GC. CD80(-/-) mice had fewer T(FH) cells compared with that of B6, and residual T(FH) cells failed to mature, with decreased ICOS and PD-1 expression and decreased synthesis of IL-21 mRNA. Mixed bone marrow chimeras demonstrated a B cell-intrinsic requirement for CD80 expression for normal T(FH) cell and PC development. Therefore, B cell expression of CD80 plays a critical role in regulating B-T interactions in both early and late GC responses. This, in turn, results in impaired ability to produce long-lived PCs. These data provide new insights into the development of GCs and Ab-forming cells and the functions of CD80 in humoral immunity.
Follicular helper T cells (Tfh cells) are the major producers of interleukin-4 (IL-4) in secondary lymphoid organs where humoral immune responses develop. Il4 regulation in Tfh cells appears distinct from the classical T helper 2 (Th2) cell pathway, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. We found that hypersensitivity site V (HS V; also known as CNS2), a 3' enhancer in the Il4 locus, is essential for IL-4 production by Tfh cells. Mice lacking HS V display marked defects in type 2 humoral immune responses, as evidenced by abrogated IgE and sharply reduced IgG1 production in vivo. In contrast, effector Th2 cells that are involved in tissue responses were far less dependent on HS V. HS V facilitated removal of repressive chromatin marks during Th2 and Tfh cell differentiation and increased accessibility of the Il4 promoter. Thus, Tfh and Th2 cells utilize distinct but overlapping molecular mechanisms to regulate Il4, a finding with important implications for understanding the molecular basis of allergic diseases.
CTLA-4 is a potent inhibitor of T cell activation, primarily upon binding to its costimulatory ligands (B7.1 and B7.2) expressed on APCs. However, variants of CTLA-4 can also function independently of B7 molecules. 1/4CTLA-4 is a highly conserved isoform encoded by exons 1 and 4 of the Ctla4 gene that lacks the ligand-binding and the transmembrane domains, and as yet, its function is not known. To investigate the function of 1/4CTLA-4, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice overexpressing this variant. Cytokine production by 1/4CTLA-4 Tg T cells was elevated compared with wild type T cells. The frequency of CD44(high) memory T cells in 1/4CTLA-4 Tg mice was increased, and as the mice aged, the frequency further increased. 1/4CTLA-4 Tg mice >1 y old had increased expression of T cell activation markers and developed spontaneous autoimmunity, including elevated production of autoantibodies. In contrast with young 1/4CTLA-4 Tg mice, aged 1/4CTLA-4 Tg mice had elevated frequencies of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells, but the regulatory T cells from these mice were not able to inhibit colitis development. Collectively, these data suggest that the function of the 1/4CTLA-4 isoform is distinct from that of CTLA-4 in that it enhances T cell activation and promotes autoimmunity rather than inhibiting immune responses.
PD-1, a member of the CD28 family of immune regulatory molecules, is expressed on activated T cells, interacts with its ligands, PD-L1/B7-H1 and PD-L2/B7-DC, on other cells, and delivers inhibitory signals to the T cell. We studied the role of this pathway in modulating autoreactive T cell responses in two models of myocarditis. In a CD8(+) T cell-mediated adoptive transfer model, we found that compared with Pd1(+/+) CD8(+) T cells, Pd1(-/-) CD8(+) T cells cause enhanced disease, with increased inflammatory infiltrate, particularly rich in neutrophils. Additionally, we show enhanced proliferation in vivo and enhanced cytotoxic activity of PD-1-deficient T lymphocytes against myocardial endothelial cells in vitro. In experimental autoimmune myocarditis, a disease model dependent on CD4(+) T cells, we show that mice lacking PD-1 develop enhanced disease compared with wild-type mice. PD-1-deficient mice displayed increased inflammation, enhanced serum markers of myocardial damage, and an increased infiltration of inflammatory cells, including CD8(+) T cells. Together, these studies show that PD-1 plays an important role in limiting T cell responses in the heart.
CD28 is the major costimulatory receptor required for activation of naïve T cells, yet CD28 costimulation affects the expression level of surprisingly few genes over those altered by TCR stimulation alone. Alternate splicing of genes adds diversity to the proteome and contributes to tissue-specific regulation of genes. Here we demonstrate that CD28 costimulation leads to major changes in alternative splicing during activation of naïve T cells, beyond the effects of TCR alone. CD28 costimulation affected many more genes through modulation of alternate splicing than by modulation of transcription. Different families of biological processes are over-represented among genes alternatively spliced in response to CD28 costimulation compared to those genes whose transcription is altered, suggesting that alternative splicing regulates distinct biological effects. Moreover, genes dependent upon hnRNPLL, a global regulator of splicing in activated T cells, were enriched in T cells activated through TCR plus CD28 as compared to TCR alone. We show that hnRNPLL expression is dependent on CD28 signaling, providing a mechanism by which CD28 can regulate splicing in T cells and insight into how hnRNPLL can influence signal-induced alternative splicing in T cells. The effects of CD28 on alternative splicing provide a newly appreciated means by which CD28 can regulate T cell responses.
Interleukin-27 (IL-27) is a key immunosuppressive cytokine that counters T helper 17 (Th17) cell-mediated pathology. To identify mechanisms by which IL-27 might exert its immunosuppressive effect, we analyzed genes in T cells rapidly induced by IL-27. We found that IL-27 priming of naive T cells upregulated expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in a signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1)-dependent manner. When cocultured with naive CD4(+) T cells, IL-27-primed T cells inhibited the differentiation of Th17 cells in trans through a PD-1-PD-L1 interaction. In vivo, coadministration of naive TCR transgenic T cells (2D2 T cells) with IL-27-primed T cells expressing PD-L1 inhibited the development of Th17 cells and protected from severe autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Thus, these data identify a suppressive activity of IL-27, by which CD4(+) T cells can restrict differentiation of Th17 cells in trans.
OBJECTIVES: During mouse retina maturation, the final number of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is determined by highly regulated programmed cell death. Previous studies demonstrated that the immunoregulatory receptor programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) promotes developmental RGC death. To identify the functional signaling partner(s) for PD-1, we identified retinal expression of PD-1 ligands and examined the effect of PD-1 ligand expression on RGC number. We also explored the hypothesis that PD-1 signaling promotes the development of functional visual circuitry.
METHODS: Characterization of retinal and brain programmed cell death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression were examined by immunofluorescence on tissue sections. The contribution of PD-ligands, PD-L1, and programmed cell death-1 ligand 2 (PD-L2) to RGC number was examined in PD-ligand knockout mice lacking 1 or both ligands. Retinal architecture was assessed by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, and retinal function was analyzed by electroretinography in wild-type and PD-L1/L2 double-deficient mice.
RESULTS: PD-L1 expression is found throughout the neonatal retina and persists in adult RGCs, bipolar interneurons, and Müller glia. In the absence of both PD-ligands, there is a significant numerical increase in RGCs (34% at postnatal day 2 [P2] and 18% in adult), as compared to wild type, and PD-ligands have redundant function in this process. Despite the increased RGC number, adult PD-L1/L2 double-knockout mice have normal retinal architecture and outer retina function.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that PD-L1 and PD-L2 together impact the final number of RGCs in adult mice and supports a novel role for active promotion of neuronal cell death through PD-1 receptor-ligand engagement.
Understanding immunoregulatory mechanisms is essential for the development of novel interventions to improve long-term allograft survival. Programmed death 1 (PD-1) and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, have emerged as critical inhibitory signaling pathways that regulate T cell response and maintain peripheral tolerance. PD-1 signaling inhibits alloreactive T cell activation, and can promote induced regulatory T cell development. Furthermore, the upregulation of PD-L1 on nonhematopoietic cells of the allograft may actively participate in the inhibition of immune responses and provide tissue-specific protection. In murine transplant models, this pathway has been shown to be critical for the induction and maintenance of graft tolerance. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge of the immunoregulatory functions of PD-1 and its ligands and their therapeutic potential in transplantation.