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.
Although CD4 T cells are required for host resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they may also contribute to pathology. In this study, we examine the role of the inhibitory receptor PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 during M. tuberculosis infection. After aerosol exposure, PD-1 knockout (KO) mice develop high numbers of M. tuberculosis-specific CD4 T cells but display markedly increased susceptibility to infection. Importantly, we show that CD4 T cells themselves drive the increased bacterial loads and pathology seen in infected PD-1 KO mice, and PD-1 deficiency in CD4 T cells is sufficient to trigger early mortality. PD-L1 KO mice also display enhanced albeit less severe susceptibility, indicating that T cells are regulated by multiple PD ligands during M. tuberculosis infection. M. tuberculosis-specific CD8 T cell responses were normal in PD-1 KO mice, and CD8 T cells only had a minor contribution to the exacerbated disease in the M. tuberculosis-infected PD-1 KO and PD-L1 KO mice. Thus, in the absence of the PD-1 pathway, M. tuberculosis benefits from CD4 T cell responses, and host resistance requires inhibition by PD-1 to prevent T cell-driven exacerbation of the infection.
Costimulatory molecules regulate the functional outcome of T cell activation, and disturbance of the balance between activating and inhibitory signals results in increased susceptibility to infection or the induction of autoimmunity. Similar to the well-characterized CD28/CTLA-4 costimulatory pathway, a newly emerging pathway consisting of CD226 and T cell Ig and ITIM domain (TIGIT) has been associated with susceptibility to multiple autoimmune diseases. In this study, we examined the role of the putative coinhibitory molecule TIGIT and show that loss of TIGIT in mice results in hyperproliferative T cell responses and increased susceptibility to autoimmunity. TIGIT is thought to indirectly inhibit T cell responses by the induction of tolerogenic dendritic cells. By generating an agonistic anti-TIGIT Ab, we demonstrate that TIGIT can inhibit T cell responses directly independent of APCs. Microarray analysis of T cells stimulated with agonistic anti-TIGIT Ab revealed that TIGIT can act directly on T cells by attenuating TCR-driven activation signals.
Anti-CD3 mAb is an effective therapy that can reverse diabetes in NOD mice and has therapeutic potential in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D). We administered anti-CD3 to PDL1-/-.NOD mice in order to determine whether this treatment would reverse the development of diabetes in these mice. Mice injected with anti-CD3 mAb neonatally were protected from T1D. However, all of these anti-CD3 mAb treated PDL1-/-.NOD mice developed a wasting disease between 12 and 20 weeks of age with sudden deterioration and weight loss, leading to death within 3-5 days of development of illness. Histology revealed severe inflammation in the heart and skeletal muscles. These results suggest that deficiency of PDL1 in NOD background has the potential to lead to immune-mediated tissue damage in organs other than the pancreas, but this cannot be appreciated in PDL1-/-.NOD mice as the mice develop T1D at an early age and die from diabetes prior to manifesting other autoimmune diseases.
Several genes in an interval of human and mouse chromosome 1 are associated with a predisposition for systemic lupus erythematosus. Congenic mouse strains that contain a 129-derived genomic segment, which is embedded in the B6 genome, develop lupus because of epistatic interactions between the 129-derived and B6 genes, e.g. in B6.129chr1b mice. If a gene that is located on chromosome 1 is altered through homologous recombination in 129-derived embryonic stem cells (ES cells) and if the resultant knockout mouse is backcrossed with B6, interpretation of the phenotype of the mutant mouse may be affected by epistatic interactions between the 129 and B6 genomes. Here, we report that knockout mice of two adjacent chromosome 1 genes, Slamf1(-/-) and Slamf2(-/-), which were generated with the same 129-derived ES cell line, develop features of lupus, if backcrossed on to the B6 genetic background. By contrast, Slamf1(-/-) [BALB/c.129] and Slamf2(-/-) [BALB/c.129] do not develop disease. Surprisingly, Slamf1(-/-) [B6.129] mice develop both auto-antibodies and glomerulonephritis between 3 and 6 months of age, while disease fully develops in Slamf1(-/-) [B6.129] mice after 9-14 months. Functional analyses of CD4(+) T cells reveals that Slamf2(-/-) T cells are resistant to tolerance induction in vivo. We conclude that the Slamf2(-/-) mutation may have a unique influence on T-cell tolerance and lupus.
Several genes within a syntenic region of human and mouse chromosome 1 are associated with predisposition to systemic lupus erythematosus. Analyses of lupus-prone congenic mice have pointed to an important role for the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule family (slamf)6 surface receptor in lupus pathogenesis. In this article, we demonstrate that a second member of the Slamf gene family, Slamf4 (Cd244), contributes to lupus-related autoimmunity. B6.Slamf4(-/-) mice spontaneously develop activated CD4 T cells and B cells and increased numbers of T follicular helper cells and a proportion develop autoantibodies to nuclear Ags. B6.Slamf4(-/-) mice also exhibit markedly increased autoantibody production in the B6.C-H-2bm12/KhEg → B6 transfer model of lupus. Although slamf4 function is best characterized in NK cells, the enhanced humoral autoimmunity of B6.Slamf4(-/-) mice is NK cell independent, as judged by depletion studies. Taken together, our findings reveal that slamf4 has an NK cell-independent negative regulatory role in the pathogenesis of lupus a normally non-autoimmune prone genetic background.
The PD1:PDL1 pathway is an essential negative costimulatory pathway that plays a key role in regulating the alloimune response. PDL1 is expressed not only on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) but also cardiac endothelium. In this study, we investigated the importance of PDL1 expression on donor cardiac allograft in acquired transplantation tolerance in a fully MHC-mismatched model. We generated PDL1 chimeric mice on B6 background that expressed PDL1 on either hematopoietic cells or nonhematopoietic cells of the heart. Sham animals were used as controls. These hearts were then transplanted into BALB/c recipients and treated with CTLA4-Ig to induce tolerance. Cardiac endothelium showed significant expression of PDL1, which was upregulated upon transplantation. While the absence of PDL1 on hematopoietic cells of the heart resulted in delayed rejection and prevented long-term tolerance in most but not all recipients, we observed an accelerated and early graft rejection of all donor allografts that lacked PDL1 on the endothelium. Moreover, PDL1-deficient endothelium hearts had significant higher frequency of IFN-γ-producing alloreactive cells as well as higher frequency of CD8(+) effector T cells. These findings demonstrate that PDL1 expression mainly on donor endothelium is functionally important in a fully allogeneic mismatched model for the induction of cardiac allograft tolerance.
OBJECTIVE: Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) is a member of the CD28 superfamily that delivers negative signals on interaction with its 2 ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. We studied the contribution of the PD-1 pathway to regulation of T cells that promote atherosclerotic lesion formation and inflammation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We show that compared with Ldlr-/- control mice, Pd1-/-Ldlr-/- mice developed larger lesions with more abundant CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and macrophages, accompanied by higher levels of serum tumor necrosis factor-α. Iliac lymph node T cells from Pd1-/-Ldlr-/- mice proliferated more to αCD3 or oxidized low-density lipoprotein stimulation compared with controls. CD8+ T cells from Pd1-/-Ldlr-/- mice displayed more cytotoxic activity compared with controls in vivo and in vitro. Administration of a blocking anti-PD-1 antibody increased lesional inflammation in hypercholesterolemic Ldlr-/- mice with more lesional T cells and more activated T cells in paraaortic lymph nodes. The changes in lesional T-cell content when PD-1 was absent or blocked were also observed in bone marrow chimeric Ldlr-/- mice lacking PD-L1 and PD-L2 on hematopoietic cells.
CONCLUSIONS: PD-1 has an important role in downregulating proatherogenic T-cell responses, and blockade of this molecule for treatment of viral infections or cancer may increase risk of cardiovascular complications.
The programmed death ligand 1 (PDL1)/programmed death 1 (PD1) costimulatory pathway plays an important role in the inhibition of alloimmune responses as well as in the induction and maintenance of peripheral tolerance. It has been demonstrated recently that PDL1 also can bind B7.1 to inhibit T cell responses in vitro. Using the bm12 into B6 heart transplant model, we investigated the functional significance of this interaction in alloimmune responses in vivo. PD1 blockade unlike PDL1 blockade failed to accelerate bm12 allograft rejection, suggesting a role for an additional binding partner for PDL1 other than PD1 in transplant rejection. PDL1 blockade was able to accelerate allograft rejection in B7.2-deficient recipients but not B7.1-deficient recipients, indicating that PDL1 interaction with B7.1 was important in inhibiting rejection. Administration of the novel 2H11 anti-PDL1 mAb, which only blocks the PDL1-B7.1 interaction, aggravated chronic injury of bm12 allografts in B6 recipients. Aggravated chronic injury was associated with an increased frequency of alloreactive IFN-γ-, IL-4-, and IL-6-producing splenocytes and a decreased percentage of regulatory T cells in the recipients. Using an in vitro cell culture assay, blockade of the interaction of PDL1 on dendritic cells with B7.1 on T cells increased IFN-γ production from alloreactive CD4(+) T cells, whereas blockade of dendritic cell B7.1 interaction with T cell PDL1 did not. These data indicate that PDL1 interaction with B7.1 plays an important role in the inhibition of alloimmune responses in vivo and suggests a dominant direction for PDL1 and B7.1 interaction.
Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) plays a critical role in T-cell regulatory function. Here, we report a newly discovered effect of PD-L1 on angiogenesis. We demonstrate that PD-L1 and its receptor CD80, but not PD-1, are expressed by primary murine lung and heart vascular endothelial cells and the miscrovascular endothelial cell line (MS1) at both the mRNA and protein levels in vitro. The inhibition of PD-L1 or CD80 expression in MS1 cells, by small-interfering RNA transfection, led to a significant up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 expression and cell proliferation levels in MS1 cells. Furthermore, MS1 cells were found to have a significantly lower proliferation and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 expression levels when they were co-cultured with PD-L1-expressing normal corneal epithelial cells, as compared to MS1 cells co-cultured with PD-L1(-/-) corneal epithelial cells. In a suture-induced corneal angiogenesis model, we observed a significantly higher level of angiogenic response in PD-L1(-/-) knockout mice as compared to wild-type mice, although there was no significant difference in the expression of inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1α, interleukin-1β, or tumor necrosis factor-α) or the infiltration of innate immune cells (neutrophils and macrophages) between the two groups. We conclude that the expression of PD-L1 in both vascular endothelial cells and corneal epithelial cells regulates corneal angiogenesis.
Programmed death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a coinhibitory molecule that negatively regulates multiple tolerance checkpoints. In the NOD mouse model, PD-L1 regulates the development of diabetes. PD-L1 has two binding partners, programmed death-1 and B7-1, but the significance of the PD-L1:B7-1 interaction in regulating self-reactive T cell responses is not yet clear. To investigate this issue in NOD mice, we have compared the effects of two anti-PD-L1 Abs that have different blocking activities. Anti-PD-L1 mAb 10F.2H11 sterically and functionally blocks only PD-L1:B7-1 interactions, whereas anti-PD-L1 mAb 10F.9G2 blocks both PD-L1:B7-1 and PD-L1:programmed death-1 interactions. Both Abs had potent, yet distinct effects in accelerating diabetes in NOD mice: the single-blocker 10F.2H11 mAb was more effective at precipitating diabetes in older (13-wk-old) than in younger (6- to 7-wk-old) mice, whereas the dual-blocker 10F.9G2 mAb rapidly induced diabetes in NOD mice of both ages. Similarly, 10F.2H11 accelerated diabetes in recipients of T cells from diabetic, but not prediabetic mice, whereas 10F.9G2 was effective in both settings. Both anti-PD-L1 mAbs precipitated diabetes in adoptive transfer models of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell-driven diabetes. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the PD-L1:B7-1 pathway inhibits potentially pathogenic self-reactive effector CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses in vivo, and suggest that the immunoinhibitory functions of this pathway may be particularly important during the later phases of diabetogenesis.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is a classic example of latent viral infection in humans and experimental animal models. The HSV-1 latency-associated transcript (LAT) plays a major role in the HSV-1 latency reactivation cycle and thus in recurrent disease. Whether the presence of LAT leads to generation of dysfunctional T cell responses in the trigeminal ganglia (TG) of latently infected mice is not known. To address this issue, we used LAT-positive [LAT(+)] and LAT-deficient [LAT(-)] viruses to evaluate the effect of LAT on CD8 T cell exhaustion in TG of latently infected mice. The amount of latency as determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) of viral DNA in total TG extracts was 3-fold higher with LAT(+) than with LAT(-) virus. LAT expression and increased latency correlated with increased mRNA levels of CD8, PD-1, and Tim-3. PD-1 is both a marker for exhaustion and a primary factor leading to exhaustion, and Tim-3 can also contribute to exhaustion. These results suggested that LAT(+) TG contain both more CD8(+) T cells and more CD8(+) T cells expressing the exhaustion markers PD-1 and Tim-3. This was confirmed by flow cytometry analyses of expression of CD3/CD8/PD-1/Tim-3, HSV-1, CD8(+) T cell pentamer (specific for a peptide derived from residues 498 to 505 of glycoprotein B [gB(498-505)]), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). The functional significance of PD-1 and its ligands in HSV-1 latency was demonstrated by the significantly reduced amount of HSV-1 latency in PD-1- and PD-L1-deficient mice. Together, these results may suggest that both PD-1 and Tim-3 are mediators of CD8(+) T cell exhaustion and latency in HSV-1 infection.
Polymorphisms in the SLAM family of leukocyte cell surface regulatory molecules have been associated with lupus-like phenotypes in both humans and mice. The murine Slamf gene cluster lies within the lupus-associated Sle1b region of mouse chromosome 1. Non-autoreactive C57BL/6 (B6) mice that have had this region replaced by syntenic segments from other mouse strains (i.e. 129, NZB and NZW) are B6 congenic strains that spontaneously produce non-nephritogenic lupus-like autoantibodies. We have recently reported that genetic ablation of the SLAM family member CD48 (Slamf2) drives full-blown autoimmune disease with severe proliferative glomerulonephritis (CD48GN) in B6 mice carrying 129 sequences of the Sle1b region (B6.129CD48(-/-)). We also discovered that BALB/c mice with the same 129-derived CD48-null allele (BALB.129CD48(-/-)) have neither nephritis nor anti-DNA autoantibodies, indicating that strain specific background genes modulate the effects of CD48 deficiency. Here we further examine this novel model of lupus nephritis in which CD48 deficiency transforms benign autoreactivity into fatal nephritis. CD48GN is characterized by glomerular hypertrophy with mesangial expansion, proliferation and leukocytic infiltration. Immune complexes deposit in mesangium and in sub-endothelial, sub-epithelial and intramembranous sites along the glomerular basement membrane. Afflicted mice have low-grade proteinuria, intermittent hematuria and their progressive renal injury manifests with elevated urine NGAL levels and with uremia. In contrast to the lupus-like B6.129CD48(-/-) animals, neither BALB.129CD48(-/-) mice nor B6 × BALB/c F1.129CD48(-/-) progeny have autoimmune traits, indicating that B6-specific background genes modulate the effect of CD48 on lupus nephritis in a recessive manner.
CD4 T cells play a critical role in regulating CD8 T-cell responses during chronic viral infection. Several studies in animal models and humans have shown that the absence of CD4 T-cell help results in severe dysfunction of virus-specific CD8 T cells. However, whether function can be restored in already exhausted CD8 T cells by providing CD4 T-cell help at a later time remains unexplored. In this study, we used a mouse model of chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection to address this question. Adoptive transfer of LCMV-specific CD4 T cells into chronically infected mice restored proliferation and cytokine production by exhausted virus-specific CD8 T cells and reduced viral burden. Although the transferred CD4 T cells were able to enhance function in exhausted CD8 T cells, these CD4 T cells expressed high levels of the programmed cell death (PD)-1 inhibitory receptor. Blockade of the PD-1 pathway increased the ability of transferred LCMV-specific CD4 T cells to produce effector cytokines, improved rescue of exhausted CD8 T cells, and resulted in a striking reduction in viral load. These results suggest that CD4 T-cell immunotherapy alone or in conjunction with blockade of inhibitory receptors may be a promising approach for treating CD8 T-cell dysfunction in chronic infections and cancer.
CBA/J mice infected with the helminth Schistosoma mansoni develop severe CD4 T cell-mediated hepatic granulomatous inflammation against parasite eggs associated with a robust Th17 cell response. We investigated the requisites for Th17 cell development using novel CD4 T cells expressing a transgenic TCR specific for the major Sm-p40 egg Ag, which produce IL-17 when stimulated with live schistosome eggs. Neutralization of IL-23 or blockade of the IL-1 receptor, but not IL-6 neutralization, abrogated egg-induced IL-17 secretion by transgenic T cells, whereas exogenous IL-23 or IL-1β reconstituted their ability to produce IL-17 when stimulated by syngeneic IL-12p40-deficient dendritic cells. Kinetic analysis demonstrated that IL-17 production was initiated by IL-23 and amplified by IL-1β. Significantly, schistosome-infected IL-12p40-deficient or IL-1R antagonist-treated CBA/J mice developed markedly reduced hepatic immunopathology with a dampened egg Ag-specific IL-17 response. These results demonstrate that the IL-23-IL-1-IL-17 axis has a central role in the development of severe schistosome egg-induced immunopathology.