BACKGROUND: Atopic diseases, including asthma, exacerbate type 2 immune responses and involve a number of immune cell types, including regulatory T (Treg) cells and the emerging type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s). Although ILC2s are potent producers of type 2 cytokines, the regulation of ILC2 activation and function is not well understood.
OBJECTIVE: In the present study, for the first time, we evaluate how Treg cells interact with pulmonary ILC2s and control their function.
METHODS: ILC2s and Treg cells were evaluated by using in vitro suppression assays, cell-contact assays, and gene expression panels. Also, human ILC2s and Treg cells were adoptively transferred into NOD SCID γC-deficient mice, which were given isotype or anti-inducible T-cell costimulator ligand (ICOSL) antibodies and then challenged with IL-33 and assessed for airway hyperreactivity.
RESULTS: We show that induced Treg cells, but not natural Treg cells, effectively suppress the production of the ILC2-driven proinflammatory cytokines IL-5 and IL-13 both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, our data reveal the necessity of inducible T-cell costimulator (ICOS)-ICOS ligand cell contact for Treg cell-mediated ILC2 suppression alongside the suppressive cytokines TGF-β and IL-10. Using a translational approach, we then demonstrate that human induced Treg cells suppress syngeneic human ILC2s through ICOSL to control airway inflammation in a humanized ILC2 mouse model.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that peripheral expansion of induced Treg cells can serve as a promising therapeutic target against ILC2-dependent asthma.
CD48 (SLAMF2) is an adhesion and costimulatory molecule constitutively expressed on hematopoietic cells. Polymorphisms in CD48 have been linked to susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS), and altered expression of the structurally related protein CD58 (LFA-3) is associated with disease remission in MS. We examined CD48 expression and function in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of MS. We found that a subpopulation of CD4(+) T cells highly upregulated CD48 expression during EAE and were enriched for pathogenic CD4(+) T cells. These CD48(++)CD4(+) T cells were predominantly CD44(+) and Ki67(+), included producers of IL-17A, GM-CSF, and IFN-γ, and were most of the CD4(+) T cells in the CNS. Administration of anti-CD48 mAb during EAE attenuated clinical disease, limited accumulation of lymphocytes in the CNS, and reduced the number of pathogenic cytokine-secreting CD4(+) T cells in the spleen at early time points. These therapeutic effects required CD48 expression on CD4(+) T cells but not on APCs. Additionally, the effects of anti-CD48 were partially dependent on FcγRs, as anti-CD48 did not ameliorate EAE or reduce the number of cytokine-producing effector CD4(+) T cells in Fcεr1γ(-/-) mice or in wild-type mice receiving anti-CD16/CD32 mAb. Our data suggest that anti-CD48 mAb exerts its therapeutic effects by both limiting CD4(+) T cell proliferation and preferentially eliminating pathogenic CD48(++)CD4(+) T cells during EAE. Our findings indicate that high CD48 expression is a feature of pathogenic CD4(+) T cells during EAE and point to CD48 as a potential target for immunotherapy.
Follicular regulatory T cells (TFR cells) inhibit follicular helper T cell (TFH cell)-mediated antibody production. The mechanisms by which TFR cells exert their key immunoregulatory functions are largely unknown. Here we found that TFR cells induced a distinct suppressive state in TFH cells and B cells, in which effector transcriptional signatures were maintained but key effector molecules and metabolic pathways were suppressed. The suppression of B cell antibody production and metabolism by TFR cells was durable and persisted even in the absence of TFR cells. This durable suppression was due in part to epigenetic changes. The cytokine IL-21 was able to overcome TFR cell-mediated suppression and inhibited TFR cells and stimulated B cells. By determining mechanisms of TFR cell-mediated suppression, we have identified methods for modulating the function of TFR cells and antibody production.
The T cell costimulatory receptor CD28 is required for the full activation of naïve T cells and for the development and maintenance of Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells. We showed that the cytoplasmic domain of CD28 was bound to the plasma membrane in resting cells and that ligand binding to CD28 resulted in its release. Membrane binding by the CD28 cytoplasmic domain required two clusters of basic amino acid residues, which interacted with the negatively charged inner leaflet of the plasma membrane. These same clusters of basic residues also served as interaction sites for Lck, a Src family kinase critical for CD28 function. This signaling complex was further stabilized by the Lck-mediated phosphorylation of CD28 Tyr(207) and the subsequent binding of the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain of Lck to this phosphorylated tyrosine. Mutation of the basic clusters in the CD28 cytoplasmic domain reduced the recruitment to the CD28-Lck complex of protein kinase Cθ (PKCθ), which serves as a key effector kinase in the CD28 signaling pathway. Consequently, mutation of either a basic cluster or Tyr(207) impaired CD28 function in mice as shown by the reduced thymic differentiation of FoxP3(+) Treg cells. On the basis of these results, we propose a previously undescribed model for the initiation of CD28 signaling.
Naive T cell stimulation activates anabolic metabolism to fuel the transition from quiescence to growth and proliferation. Here we show that naive CD4(+) T cell activation induces a unique program of mitochondrial biogenesis and remodeling. Using mass spectrometry, we quantified protein dynamics during T cell activation. We identified substantial remodeling of the mitochondrial proteome over the first 24 hr of T cell activation to generate mitochondria with a distinct metabolic signature, with one-carbon metabolism as the most induced pathway. Salvage pathways and mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism, fed by serine, contribute to purine and thymidine synthesis to enable T cell proliferation and survival. Genetic inhibition of the mitochondrial serine catabolic enzyme SHMT2 impaired T cell survival in culture and antigen-specific T cell abundance in vivo. Thus, during T cell activation, mitochondrial proteome remodeling generates specialized mitochondria with enhanced one-carbon metabolism that is critical for T cell activation and survival.
The NCI Bladder Cancer Task Force convened a Clinical Trials Planning Meeting (CTPM) Workshop focused on Novel Therapeutics for Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC). Meeting attendees included a broad and multi-disciplinary group of clinical and research stakeholders and included leaders from NCI, FDA, National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), advocacy and the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. The meeting goals and objectives were to: 1) create a collaborative environment in which the greater bladder research community can pursue future optimally designed novel clinical trials focused on the theme of molecular targeted and immune-based therapies in NMIBC; 2) frame the clinical and translational questions that are of highest priority; and 3) develop two clinical trial designs focusing on immunotherapy and molecular targeted therapy. Despite successful development and implementation of large Phase II and Phase III trials in bladder and upper urinary tract cancers, there are no active and accruing trials in the NMIBC space within the NCTN. Disappointingly, there has been only one new FDA approved drug (Valrubicin) in any bladder cancer disease state since 1998. Although genomic-based data for bladder cancer are increasingly available, translating these discoveries into practice changing treatment is still to come. Recently, major efforts in defining the genomic characteristics of NMIBC have been achieved. Aligned with these data is the growing number of targeted therapy agents approved and/or in development in other organ site cancers and the multiple similarities of bladder cancer with molecular subtypes in these other cancers. Additionally, although bladder cancer is one of the more immunogenic tumors, some tumors have the ability to attenuate or eliminate host immune responses. Two trial concepts emerged from the meeting including a window of opportunity trial (Phase 0) testing an FGFR3 inhibitor and a second multi-arm multi-stage trial testing combinations of BCG or radiotherapy and immunomodulatory agents in patients who recur after induction BCG (BCG failure).
Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) interaction with PD-1 induces T cell exhaustion and is a therapeutic target to enhance immune responses against cancer and chronic infections. In murine bone marrow transplant models, PD-L1 expression on host target tissues reduces the incidence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). PD-L1 is also expressed on T cells; however, it is unclear whether PD-L1 on this population influences immune function. Here, we examined the effects of PD-L1 modulation of T cell function in GVHD. In patients with severe GVHD, PD-L1 expression was increased on donor T cells. Compared with mice that received WT T cells, GVHD was reduced in animals that received T cells from Pdl1-/- donors. PD-L1-deficient T cells had reduced expression of gut homing receptors, diminished production of inflammatory cytokines, and enhanced rates of apoptosis. Moreover, multiple bioenergetic pathways, including aerobic glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and fatty acid metabolism, were also reduced in T cells lacking PD-L1. Finally, the reduction of acute GVHD lethality in mice that received Pdl1-/- donor cells did not affect graft-versus-leukemia responses. These data demonstrate that PD-L1 selectively enhances T cell-mediated immune responses, suggesting a context-dependent function of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis, and suggest selective inhibition of PD-L1 on donor T cells as a potential strategy to prevent or ameliorate GVHD.
IFN-γ-producing CD4 T cells are required for protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection, but the extent to which IFN-γ contributes to overall CD4 T cell-mediated protection remains unclear. Furthermore, it is not known if increasing IFN-γ production by CD4 T cells is desirable in Mtb infection. Here we show that IFN-γ accounts for only ~30% of CD4 T cell-dependent cumulative bacterial control in the lungs over the first six weeks of infection, but >80% of control in the spleen. Moreover, increasing the IFN-γ-producing capacity of CD4 T cells by ~2 fold exacerbates lung infection and leads to the early death of the host, despite enhancing control in the spleen. In addition, we show that the inhibitory receptor PD-1 facilitates host resistance to Mtb by preventing the detrimental over-production of IFN-γ by CD4 T cells. Specifically, PD-1 suppressed the parenchymal accumulation of and pathogenic IFN-γ production by the CXCR3+KLRG1-CX3CR1- subset of lung-homing CD4 T cells that otherwise mediates control of Mtb infection. Therefore, the primary role for T cell-derived IFN-γ in Mtb infection is at extra-pulmonary sites, and the host-protective subset of CD4 T cells requires negative regulation of IFN-γ production by PD-1 to prevent lethal immune-mediated pathology.
Immune responses need to be controlled for optimal protective immunity and tolerance. Coinhibitory pathways in the B7-CD28 family provide critical inhibitory signals that regulate immune homeostasis and defense and protect tissue integrity. These coinhibitory signals limit the strength and duration of immune responses, thereby curbing immune-mediated tissue damage, regulating resolution of inflammation, and maintaining tolerance to prevent autoimmunity. Tumors and microbes that cause chronic infections can exploit these coinhibitory pathways to establish an immunosuppressive microenvironment, hindering their eradication. Advances in understanding T cell coinhibitory pathways have stimulated a new era of immunotherapy with effective drugs to treat cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases, and transplant rejection. In this review we discuss the current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the coinhibitory functions of pathways in the B7-CD28 family, the diverse functional consequences of these inhibitory signals on immune responses, and the overlapping and unique functions of these key immunoregulatory pathways.
The immune system is capable of recognizing tumors and eliminates many early malignant cells. However, tumors evolve to evade immune attack, and the tumor microenvironment is immunosuppressive. Immune responses are regulated by a number of immunological checkpoints that promote protective immunity and maintain tolerance. T cell coinhibitory pathways restrict the strength and duration of immune responses, thereby limiting immune-mediated tissue damage, controlling resolution of inflammation, and maintaining tolerance to prevent autoimmunity. Tumors exploit these coinhibitory pathways to evade immune eradication. Blockade of the PD-1 and CTLA-4 checkpoints is proving to be an effective and durable cancer immunotherapy in a subset of patients with a variety of tumor types, and additional combinations are further improving response rates. In this review we discuss the immunoregulatory functions of coinhibitory pathways and their translation to effective immunotherapies for cancer.
We have made major advances in the treatment of melanoma through the use of targeted therapy and immune checkpoint blockade; however, clinicians are posed with therapeutic dilemmas regarding timing and sequence of therapy. There is a growing appreciation of the impact of antitumor immune responses to these therapies, and we performed studies to test the hypothesis that clinical patterns and immune infiltrates differ at progression on these treatments. We observed rapid clinical progression kinetics in patients on targeted therapy compared to immune checkpoint blockade. To gain insight into possible immune mechanisms behind these differences, we performed deep immune profiling in tumors of patients on therapy. We demonstrated low CD8(+) T-cell infiltrate on targeted therapy and high CD8(+) T-cell infiltrate on immune checkpoint blockade at clinical progression. These data have important implications, and suggest that antitumor immune responses should be assessed when considering therapeutic options for patients with melanoma.
CD48, a member of the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule family, participates in adhesion and activation of immune cells. Although constitutively expressed on most hematopoietic cells, CD48 is upregulated on subsets of activated cells. CD48 can have activating roles on T cells, antigen presenting cells and granulocytes, by binding to CD2 or bacterial FimH, and through cell intrinsic effects. Interactions between CD48 and its high affinity ligand CD244 are more complex, with both stimulatory and inhibitory outcomes. CD244:CD48 interactions regulate target cell lysis by NK cells and CTLs, which are important for viral clearance and regulation of effector/memory T cell generation and survival. Here we review roles of CD48 in infection, tolerance, autoimmunity, and allergy, as well as the tools used to investigate this receptor. We discuss stimulatory and regulatory roles for CD48, its potential as a therapeutic target in human disease, and current challenges to investigation of this immunoregulatory receptor.
Pathogen exposure elicits production of high-affinity antibodies stimulated by T follicular helper (Tfh) cells in the germinal center reaction. Tfh cells provide both costimulation and stimulatory cytokines to B cells to facilitate affinity maturation, class switch recombination, and plasma cell differentiation within the germinal center. Under normal circumstances, the germinal center reaction results in antibodies that precisely target foreign pathogens while limiting autoimmunity and excessive inflammation. In order to have this degree of control, the immune system ensures Tfh-mediated B-cell help is regulated locally in the germinal center. The recently identified T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cell subset can migrate to the germinal center and inhibit Tfh-mediated B-cell activation and antibody production. Although many aspects of Tfr cell biology are still unclear, recent data have begun to delineate the specialized roles of Tfr cells in controlling the germinal center reaction. Here we discuss the current understanding of Tfr-cell differentiation and function and how this knowledge is providing new insights into the dynamic regulation of germinal centers, and suggesting more efficacious vaccine strategies and ways to treat antibody-mediated diseases.
Exhausted T cells express multiple co-inhibitory molecules that impair their function and limit immunity to chronic viral infection. Defining novel markers of exhaustion is important both for identifying and potentially reversing T cell exhaustion. Herein, we show that the ectonucleotidse CD39 is a marker of exhausted CD8+ T cells. CD8+ T cells specific for HCV or HIV express high levels of CD39, but those specific for EBV and CMV do not. CD39 expressed by CD8+ T cells in chronic infection is enzymatically active, co-expressed with PD-1, marks cells with a transcriptional signature of T cell exhaustion and correlates with viral load in HIV and HCV. In the mouse model of chronic Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus infection, virus-specific CD8+ T cells contain a population of CD39high CD8+ T cells that is absent in functional memory cells elicited by acute infection. This CD39high CD8+ T cell population is enriched for cells with the phenotypic and functional profile of terminal exhaustion. These findings provide a new marker of T cell exhaustion, and implicate the purinergic pathway in the regulation of T cell exhaustion.
Blocking the programmed death-1 (PD-1) pathway has clinical benefit in metastatic cancer and has led to the approval of the mAbs pembrolizumab and nivolumab to treat melanoma and nivolumab for non-small cell lung cancer. Expression of PD-L1 on the cell surface of either tumor cells or infiltrating immune cells is associated with a higher likelihood of response to PD-1 blockade in multiple studies. Most mAbs to PD-L1 in use are directed to its extracellular domain and immunohistochemically stain tumor tissue with a mixture of cytoplasmic and membrane staining. Cytoplasmic staining obscures the interpretation of a positive reaction on the tumor cell membrane, and thus affects the accuracy of PD-L1 scoring systems. We developed a mAb to the cytoplasmic domain of PD-L1, 405.9A11 (9A11), which is both more selective for membranous PD-L1 and more sensitive in IHC and Western blotting, compared with previous mAbs specific for the PD-L1 extracellular domain. Here, we compare immunohistochemical staining patterns of PD-L1 expression in five types of tumors, using five PD-L1 mAbs: 9A11, 7G11, and three commercially available mAbs. We demonstrate that 9A11, as well as two other cytoplasmic domain-specific mAbs, E1L3N and SP142, can clearly delineate the membrane of PD-L1-positive cells in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue and facilitate interpretation of staining results.
The tumor microenvironment is profoundly immunosuppressive. We show that multiple tumor types create intratumoral immune suppression driven by a specialized form of regulatory T cell (Treg) activation dependent on the PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) lipid phosphatase. PTEN acted to stabilize Tregs in tumors, preventing them from reprogramming into inflammatory effector cells. In mice with a Treg-specific deletion of PTEN, tumors grew slowly, were inflamed, and could not create an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. In normal mice, exposure to apoptotic tumor cells rapidly elicited PTEN-expressing Tregs, and PTEN-deficient mice were unable to maintain tolerance to apoptotic cells. In wild-type mice with large established tumors, pharmacologic inhibition of PTEN after chemotherapy or immunotherapy profoundly reconfigured the tumor microenvironment, changing it from a suppressive to an inflammatory milieu, and tumors underwent rapid regression. Thus, the immunosuppressive milieu in tumors must be actively maintained, and tumors become susceptible to immune attack if the PTEN pathway in Tregs is disrupted.
Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) has received considerable attention as a key regulator of CD8(+) T cell exhaustion during chronic infection and cancer because blockade of this pathway partially reverses T cell dysfunction. Although the PD-1 pathway is critical in regulating established "exhausted" CD8(+) T cells (TEX cells), it is unclear whether PD-1 directly causes T cell exhaustion. We show that PD-1 is not required for the induction of exhaustion in mice with chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. In fact, some aspects of exhaustion are more severe with genetic deletion of PD-1 from the onset of infection. Increased proliferation between days 8 and 14 postinfection is associated with subsequent decreased CD8(+) T cell survival and disruption of a critical proliferative hierarchy necessary to maintain exhausted populations long term. Ultimately, the absence of PD-1 leads to the accumulation of more cytotoxic, but terminally differentiated, CD8(+) TEX cells. These results demonstrate that CD8(+) T cell exhaustion can occur in the absence of PD-1. They also highlight a novel role for PD-1 in preserving TEX cell populations from overstimulation, excessive proliferation, and terminal differentiation.
A metabolic organ, the liver also has a central role in tolerance induction. Stromal cells lining the hepatic sinusoids, such as liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) and hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), are the first liver cells to encounter gut-derived and systemic antigens, thereby shaping local and systemic tolerance. Recent studies have demonstrated that stromal cells can modulate immune responses by antigen-dependent and independent mechanisms. Stromal cells interfere with the function of other antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and induce non-responsive T cells as well as regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). The immunosuppressive microenvironment thus created provides a means to protect the liver from tissue damage. Such tolerized surroundings, however, can be exploited by certain pathogens, promoting persistent liver infections.