In a successful pregnancy, the semiallogeneic fetus is not rejected by the maternal immune system, which implies tolerance mechanisms protecting fetal tissues from maternal immune attack. Here we report that the ICOS-B7h costimulatory pathway plays a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium at the fetomaternal interface. Blockade of this pathway increased fetal resorption and decreased fetal survival in an allogeneic pregnancy model (CBA female × B6 male). Locally in the placenta, levels of regulatory markers such as IDO and TGF-β1 were reduced after anti-B7h monoclonal antibody treatment, whereas levels of effector cytokines (eg, IFN-γ) were significantly increased. In secondary lymphoid organs, enhanced IFN-γ and granzyme B production (predominantly by CD8(+) T cells) was observed in the anti-B7h-treated group. The deleterious effect of B7h blockade in pregnancy was maintained only in CD4 knockout mice, not in CD8 knockout mice, which suggests a role for CD8(+) T cells in immune regulation by the ICOS-B7h pathway. In accord, regulatory CD8(+) T cells (in particular, CD8(+)CD103(+) cells) were significantly decreased after anti-B7h monoclonal antibody treatment, and adoptive transfer of this subset abrogated the deleterious effect of B7h blockade in fetomaternal tolerance. Taken together, these data support the hypothesis that B7h blockade abrogates tolerance at the fetomaternal interface by enhancing CD8(+) effector response and reducing local immunomodulation mediated by CD8(+) regulatory T cells.
OBJECTIVE: CTLA-4 is a negative regulator of the immune response expressed by regulatory T (Treg) cells and activated T cells. Polymorphisms in the CTLA4 gene have been associated with autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus. Disease-associated polymorphisms have been shown to affect the production of the different CTLA-4 variants through an effect on alternative splicing. This study was undertaken to evaluate the role of the 1/4 CTLA-4 isoform in lupus-prone mice.
METHODS: We generated an MRL/lpr mouse strain that transgenically overexpresses a short isoform of CTLA-4 (1/4 CTLA-4) by backcrossing C57BL/6.1/4CTLA-4-transgenic mice to the MRL/lpr strain for 9 generations. A new antibody was generated to detect the expression of the 1/4 CTLA-4 isoform. Routine methods were used to evaluate kidney damage, humoral immunity, and cellular immunity.
RESULTS: Expression of the 1/4 CTLA-4 isoform accelerated autoimmune disease. Transgenic mice died earlier, had more severe renal disease, and had higher titers of anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies than wild-type MRL/lpr mice. The acceleration of autoimmunity and disease pathology associated with the presence of the short (1/4) isoform of CTLA-4 was linked to increased numbers of activated T cells and B cells and heightened interferon-γ production, but not to altered expression of the full-length CTLA-4 molecule or Treg cell numbers.
CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that the presence of the alternatively spliced 1/4 CTLA-4 isoform can further promote autoimmunity and autoimmune pathology in lupus-prone mice and suggest that altered splicing of CTLA4 contributes to the expression of autoimmune disease.
Circulatory antigens transit through the small intestine via the fenestrated capillaries in the lamina propria prior to entering into the draining lymphatics. But whether or how this process controls mucosal immune responses remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that dendritic cells (DCs) of the lamina propria can sample and process both circulatory and luminal antigens. Surprisingly, antigen cross-presentation by resident CX3CR1(+) DCs induced differentiation of precursor cells into CD8(+) T cells that expressed interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-13, and IL-9 and could migrate into adjacent compartments. We conclude that lamina propria CX3CR1(+) DCs facilitate the surveillance of circulatory antigens and act as a conduit for the processing of self- and intestinally absorbed antigens, leading to the induction of CD8(+) T cells, that partake in the control of T cell activation during mucosal immune responses.
CXCR3, expressed mainly on activated T and NK cells, is implicated in a host of immunological conditions and can contribute either to disease resolution or pathology. We report the generation and characterization of a novel CXCR3 internal ribosome entry site bicistronic enhanced GFP reporter (CIBER) mouse in which enhanced GFP expression correlates with surface levels of CXCR3. Using CIBER mice, we identified two distinct populations of innate CD8(+) T cells based on constitutive expression of CXCR3. We demonstrate that CXCR3(+) innate CD8(+) T cells preferentially express higher levels of Ly6C and CD122, but lower levels of CCR9 compared with CXCR3(-) innate CD8(+) T cells. Furthermore, we show that CXCR3(+) innate CD8(+) T cells express higher transcript levels of antiapoptotic but lower levels of proapoptotic factors, respond more robustly to IL-2 and IL-15, and produce significantly more IFN-γ and granzyme B. Interestingly, CXCR3(+) innate CD8(+) T cells do not respond to IL-12 or IL-18 alone, but produce significant amounts of IFN-γ on stimulation with a combination of these cytokines. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that CXCR3(+) and CXCR3(-) innate CD8(+) T cells are phenotypically and functionally distinct. These newly generated CIBER mice provide a novel tool for studying the role of CXCR3 and CXCR3-expressing cells in vivo.
There is evidence indicating that invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells play an important role in defense against influenza A virus (IAV). However, the effect of inhibitory receptor, programmed death-1 (PD-1), and its ligands, programmed death ligand (PD-L) 1 and 2 on iNKT cells in protection against IAV remains to be elucidated. Here we investigated the effects of these co-stimulatory molecules on iNKT cells in the response to influenza. We discovered that compare to the wild type, PD-L1 deficient mice show reduced sensitivity to IAV infection as evident by reduced weight loss, decreased pulmonary inflammation and cellular infiltration. In contrast, PD-L2 deficient mice showed augmented weight loss, pulmonary inflammation and cellular infiltration compare to the wild type mice after influenza infection. Adoptive transfer of iNKT cells from wild type, PD-L1 or PD-L2 deficient mice into iNKT cell deficient mice recapitulated these findings. Interestingly, in our transfer system PD-L1(-/-)-derived iNKT cells produced high levels of interferon-gamma whereas PD-L2(-/-)-derived iNKT cells produced high amounts of interleukin-4 and 13 suggesting a role for these cytokines in sensitivity to influenza. We identified that PD-L1 negatively regulates the frequency of iNKT cell subsets in the lungs of IAV infected mice. Altogether, these results demonstrate that lack of PD-L1 expression by iNKT cells reduces the sensitivity to IAV and that the presence of PD-L2 is important for dampening the deleterious inflammatory responses after IAV infection. Our findings potentially have clinical implications for developing new therapies for influenza.
CD4(+)CXCR5(+)Foxp3(+) follicular regulatory T cells (T(FR) cells) inhibit humoral immunity mediated by CD4(+)CXCR5(+)Foxp3(-) follicular helper T cells (T(FH) cells). Although the inhibitory receptor PD-1 is expressed by both cell types, its role in the differentiation of T(FR) cells is unknown. Here we found that mice deficient in PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 had a greater abundance of T(FR) cells in the lymph nodes and that those T(FR) cells had enhanced suppressive ability. We also found substantial populations of T(FR) cells in mouse blood and demonstrated that T(FR) cells in the blood homed to lymph nodes and potently inhibited T(FH) cells in vivo. T(FR) cells in the blood required signaling via the costimulatory receptors CD28 and ICOS but were inhibited by PD-1 and PD-L1. Our findings demonstrate mechanisms by which the PD-1 pathway regulates antibody production and help reconcile inconsistencies surrounding the role of this pathway in humoral immunity.
There have been significant advances with regard to BRAF-targeted therapies against metastatic melanoma. However, the majority of patients receiving BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) manifest disease progression within a year. We have recently shown that melanoma patients treated with BRAFi exhibit an increase in melanoma-associated antigens and in CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in response to therapy. To characterize such a T-cell infiltrate, we analyzed the complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) of rearranged T-cell receptor (TCR) β chain-coding genes in tumor biopsies obtained before the initiation of BRAFi and 10-14 d later. We observed an increase in the clonality of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in 7 of 8 patients receiving BRAFi, with a statistically significant 21% aggregate increase in clonality. Over 80% of individual T-cell clones detected after initiation of BRAFi treatment were new clones. Interestingly, the comparison of tumor infiltrates with clinical responses revealed that patients who had a high proportion of pre-existing dominant clones after the administration of BRAFi responded better to therapy than patients who had a low proportion of such pre-existing dominant clones following BRAFi. These data suggest that although the inhibition of BRAF in melanoma patients results in tumor infiltration by new lymphocytes, the response to treatment appears to be related to the presence of a pre-existing population of tumor-infiltrating T-cell clones.
Programmed death 1 (PD-1) and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, play an important role in the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. We explored the role of PD-1 ligands in regulating graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Both PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression were upregulated in the spleen, liver, colon, and ileum of GVHD mice. Whereas PD-L2 expression was limited to hematopoietic cells, hematopoietic and endothelial cells expressed PD-L1. PD-1/PD-L1, but not PD-1/PD-L2, blockade markedly accelerated GVHD-induced lethality. Chimera studies suggest that PD-L1 expression on host parenchymal cells is more critical than hematopoietic cells in regulating acute GVHD. Rapid mortality onset in PD-L1-deficient hosts was associated with increased gut T-cell homing and loss of intestinal epithelial integrity, along with increased donor T-cell proliferation, activation, Th1 cytokine production, and reduced apoptosis. Bioenergetics profile analysis of proliferating alloreactive donor T-cells demonstrated increased aerobic glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation in PD-L1-deficient hosts. Donor T-cells exhibited a hyperpolarized mitochondrial membrane potential, increased superoxide production, and increased expression of a glucose transporter in PD-L1-deficient hosts. Taken together, these data provide new insight into the differential roles of host PD-L1 and PD-L2 and their associated cellular and metabolic mechanisms controlling acute GVHD.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) persistence is facilitated by exhaustion of CD8+ T cells that express the inhibitory receptor programmed cell death 1 (PD-1). Blockade of PD-1 signaling improves in vitro proliferation of HCV-specific T lymphocytes, but whether antiviral function can be restored in infected individuals is unknown. To address this question, chimpanzees with persistent HCV infection were treated with anti-PD-1 antibodies. A significant reduction in HCV viremia was observed in one of three treated animals without apparent hepatocellular injury. Viremia rebounded in the responder animal when antibody treatment was discontinued. Control of HCV replication was associated with restoration of intrahepatic CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell immunity against multiple HCV proteins. The responder animal had a history of broader T-cell immunity to multiple HCV proteins than the two chimpanzees that did not respond to PD-1 therapy. The results suggest that successful PD-1 blockade likely requires a critical threshold of preexisting virus-specific T cells in liver and warrants consideration of therapeutic vaccination strategies in combination with PD-1 blockade to broaden narrow responses. Anti-PD-1 immunotherapy may also facilitate control of other persistent viruses, notably the hepatitis B virus where options for long-term control of virus replication are limited.
Malaria is a highly prevalent disease caused by infection by Plasmodium spp., which infect hepatocytes and erythrocytes. Blood-stage infections cause devastating symptoms and can persist for years. Antibodies and CD4(+) T cells are thought to protect against blood-stage infections. However, there has been considerable difficulty in developing an efficacious malaria vaccine, highlighting our incomplete understanding of immunity against this disease. Here, we used an experimental rodent malaria model to show that PD-1 mediates up to a 95% reduction in numbers and functional capacity of parasite-specific CD8(+) T cells. Furthermore, in contrast to widely held views, parasite-specific CD8(+) T cells are required to control both acute and chronic blood-stage disease even when parasite-specific antibodies and CD4(+) T cells are present. Our findings provide a molecular explanation for chronic malaria that will be relevant to future malaria-vaccine design and may need consideration when vaccine development for other infections is problematic.
Lipid metabolism is tightly controlled by the nutritional state of the organism. Nutrient-rich conditions increase lipogenesis, whereas nutrient deprivation promotes fat oxidation. In this study, we identify the mitochondrial sirtuin, SIRT4, as a regulator of lipid homeostasis. SIRT4 is active in nutrient-replete conditions to repress fatty acid oxidation while promoting lipid anabolism. SIRT4 deacetylates and inhibits malonyl CoA decarboxylase (MCD), an enzyme that produces acetyl CoA from malonyl CoA. Malonyl CoA provides the carbon skeleton for lipogenesis and also inhibits fat oxidation. Mice lacking SIRT4 display elevated MCD activity and decreased malonyl CoA in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue. Consequently, SIRT4 KO mice display deregulated lipid metabolism, leading to increased exercise tolerance and protection against diet-induced obesity. In sum, this work elucidates SIRT4 as an important regulator of lipid homeostasis, identifies MCD as a SIRT4 target, and deepens our understanding of the malonyl CoA regulatory axis.