Calcineurin links calcium signaling to transcriptional responses in the immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems. To determine the function of the calcipressins, a family of putative calcineurin inhibitors, we assessed the calcineurin-dependent process of T cell activation in mice engineered to lack the gene encoding calcipressin 1 (Csp1). Csp1 regulated calcineurin in vivo, and genes triggered in an immune response had unique transactivation thresholds for T cell receptor stimulation. In the absence of Csp1, the apparent transactivation thresholds for all these genes were shifted because of enhanced calcineurin activity. This unbridled calcineurin activity drove Fas ligand expression, which normally requires high T cell receptor stimulation and results in the premature death of T helper type 1 cells. Thus, calcipressins modulate the pattern of calcineurin-dependent transcription, and may influence calcineurin activity beyond calcium to integrate a broad array of signals into the cellular response.
Asthma is caused by T-helper cell 2 (Th2)-driven immune responses, but the immunological mechanisms that protect against asthma development are poorly understood. T-cell tolerance, induced by respiratory exposure to allergen, can inhibit the development of airway hyperreactivity (AHR), a cardinal feature of asthma, and we show here that regulatory T (T(R)) cells can mediate this protective effect. Mature pulmonary dendritic cells in the bronchial lymph nodes of mice exposed to respiratory allergen induced the development of T(R) cells, in a process that required T-cell costimulation via the inducible costimulator (ICOS-ICOS-ligand pathway. The T(R) cells produced IL-10, and had potent inhibitory activity; when adoptively transferred into sensitized mice, T(R) cells blocked the development of AHR. Both the development and the inhibitory function of regulatory cells were dependent on the presence of IL-10 and on ICOS-ICOS-ligand interactions. These studies demonstrate that T(R) cells and the ICOS-ICOS-ligand signaling pathway are critically involved in respiratory tolerance and in downregulating pulmonary inflammation in asthma.
The B7-1/B7-2-CD28/CTLA-4 pathway is crucial in regulating T-cell activation and tolerance. New B7 and CD28 molecules have recently been discovered and new pathways have been delineated that seem to be important for regulating the responses of previously activated T cells. Several B7 homologues are expressed on cells other than professional antigen-presenting cells, indicating new mechanisms for regulating T-cell responses in peripheral tissues. Some B7 homologues have unknown receptors, indicating that other immunoregulatory pathways remain to be described. Here, we summarize our current understanding of the new members of the B7 and CD28 families, and discuss their therapeutic potential.
Engagement of CTLA-4 is critical for inhibiting T cell immune responses. Recent studies have shown that CTLA-4 plays a key role in regulating peripheral T cell tolerance. It has been suggested that one mechanism by which CTLA-4 performs this function is by regulating cell cycle progression. Here, we investigate in depth the role of CTLA-4 in regulating cell cycle progression in naive T cells by comparing the immune responses in the absence or presence of CTLA-4. In the absence of CLTA-4, T cells exhibit marked increases in T cell proliferation, IL-2 mRNA and protein secretion, and cells cycling in the S and G2-M phase. Analyses of cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinases, and cell cycle inhibitors involved in the transition from the G1 to S phase reveal that cell cycle progression is prolonged in the absence of CTLA-4. This is due to the early exit from the G1 phase, entry into the S phase, and prolonged S phase period. Re-expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p27(kip1) is delayed in the absence of CTLA-4. These studies demonstrate that the B7 : CTLA-4 pathway exerts its major effects on T cell immune responses via regulation of the cell cycle.
The CD28 family member inducible costimulator protein (ICOS) has an important role in T cell differentiation and Ig class switching. To investigate the role of ICOS in vivo, ICOS-/- mice were infected s.c. with Leishmania mexicana. While wild-type mice developed large, cutaneous lesions, the growth of lesions and tissue histopathology was significantly delayed in ICOS-/- mice. ICOS-/- mice exhibited marked decreases in both Th1 and Th2 cytokine production and profound defects in L. mexicana-specific Ig isotype class switching to IgG1 and IgG2a and reduced total IgE levels. Our findings indicate that ICOS is a key regulator of both Th1 and Th2 responses and has a role in controlling cutaneous L. mexicana infection.
B7-1/B7-2 interactions are required for many Th2-cell mediated primary immune responses including the response that follows infection with the intestinal nematode parasite, Heligmosomoides polygyrus. However, few studies have examined the role of B7-1/B7-2/CD28 interactions in the development of a Th2 memory immune response. We examined the development of the memory Th2 response to H. polygyrus in BALB/c mice deficient in both B7-1 and B7-2 (B7-1/B7-2(-/-)) and in BALB/c mice deficient in CD28 (CD28(-/-)). Following primary inoculation with H. polygyrus, adult worms in the gut were cleared with an anti-helminthic drug and mice were subsequently challenge-inoculated with H. polygyrus larvae. The memory Th2 response is readily distinguished by its inhibitory effect on adult worm maturation, resulting in marked reductions in adult worm egg production that are not observed during the primary immune response. Following H. polygyrus challenge inoculation, comparable decreases in egg production and similar increases in mesenteric lymph node cell IL-4 production were observed in B7-1/B7-2(-/-) and B7-1/B7-2(+/+) mice. However, elevations in total serum IgG1 and IgE were reduced, while increases in serum Ag-specific IgG1 and IgE and germinal center formation were blocked in H. polygyrus-challenged B7-1/B7-2(-/-) mice. In contrast, in H. polygyrus-challenged CD28(-/-) mice, marked elevations in Ag-specific IgG1 and IgE and increased germinal center formation were observed. The results of these studies demonstrate that effector Th2 memory cells that produce IL-4 and mediate host defense can develop when B7-1/B7-2 interactions, and associated effector Th2 cell development, are blocked during priming. However, humoral immunity is impaired and differentially affected in B7-1/B7-2(-/-) mice and CD28(-/-) mice following H. polygyrus challenge.
The past year has seen significant advances in our understanding of critical roles of negative immunoregulatory signals delivered through the B7-CD28 superfamily in regulating T cell activation and tolerance. Structural data on CTLA-4 have provided novel insights into the inhibitory functions of CTLA-4. Initial characterization of the PD-1-PD-1-ligand pathway has revealed that this pathway can downregulate TCR- and CD28-mediated signals. Recent studies indicate that ICOS exerts distinct effects at different phases of an immune response: ICOS can inhibit as well as stimulate T cell responses.
The contribution of the costimulatory molecules B7-1 and B7-2 to the in vivo differentiation of Th cells remains controversial. The infection of resistant and susceptible strains of mice with the parasite Leishmania major provides a well-established model for studying in vivo differentiation of CD4+ T cells. We have infected B7-1/B7-2-deficient mice on the BALB/c and 129 background with L. major and subsequently examined different parameters of infection and cytokine responses upon restimulation of lymph node cells in vitro. BALB/c B7-2-deficient and B7-1/B7-2-double deficient mice are resistant to L. major, whereas BALB/c B7-1-deficient mice remain as susceptible as wild-type BALB/c mice. Differential expression of B7-1 and B7-2 can explain the distinct roles observed for these B7 costimulators in L. major infection.
Protective immunity to the fungus Candida albicans is mediated by Ag-specific Th1 cells. Paradoxically, some Th2 cytokines are required for the maintenance of Th1-mediated immune resistance to the fungus. Therefore, in addition to the Th1/Th2 balance, other mechanisms seem to be involved in the regulation of Th1 immunity to the fungus. Here we show that CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, negatively regulating antifungal Th1 reactivity, are generated in mice with candidiasis. CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells were not generated in B7-2- or CD28-deficient mice or in condition of IL-10 signaling deficiency. Accordingly, although capable of efficiently restricting the fungal growth, these mice experienced inflammatory pathology and were incapable of resistance to reinfection. CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells poorly proliferated in vitro; were highly enriched for cells producing IL-4, IL-10, and TGF-beta; and required IL-10-producing, Candida hypha-activated dendritic cells for generation. Adoptive transfer of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells or IL-10-producing dendritic cells restored resistance to reinfection and decreased inflammation in B7-2-deficient mice. These results show that oral tolerance induced by Candida hyphae is required for the occurrence of long-lasting protective immunity after yeast priming. The implication is that preventing reactivation rather than favoring sterilizing immunity to ubiquitous fungal pathogens may represent the ultimate expectation of vaccine-based strategies.
C57BL/6 (B6) mice infected with LP-BM5 retroviruses develop disease, including an immunodeficiency similar to AIDS. This disease, murine AIDS (MAIDS), is inhibited by in vivo anti-CD154 monoclonal antibody treatment. The similar levels of insusceptibility of CD40(-/-) and CD154(-/-) B6 mice indicate that CD154/CD40 molecular interactions are required for MAIDS. CD4(+) T and B cells, respectively, provide the CD154 and CD40 expression needed for MAIDS induction. Here, the required CD154/CD40 interaction is shown to be independent of CD80 and CD86 expression: CD80/CD86(-/-) B6 mice develop MAIDS after LP-BM5 infection.
To find out whether polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), abundantly recruited in disseminated Candida albicans infection, could directly affect the activation of Th cells we addressed the issues as to whether murine PMN, like their human counterparts, express costimulatory molecules and the functional consequence of this expression in terms of antifungal immune resistance. To this purpose, we assessed 1) the expression of CD80 (B7-1) and CD86 (B7-2) molecules on peripheral, splenic, and inflammatory murine Gr-1+ PMN; 2) its modulation upon interaction with C. albicans in vitro, in vivo, and in human PMN; 3) the effect of Candida exposure on the ability of murine PMN to affect CD4+ Th1 cell proliferation and cytokine production; and 4) the mechanism responsible for this effect. Murine PMN constitutively expressed CD80 molecules on both the surface and intracellularly; however, in both murine and human PMN, CD80 expression was differentially modulated upon interaction with Candida yeasts or hyphae in vitro as well as in infected mice. The expression of the CD86 molecule was neither constitutive nor inducible upon exposure to the fungus. In vitro, Gr-1+ PMN were found to inhibit the activation of IFN-gamma-producing CD4+ T cells and to induce apoptosis through a CD80/CD28-dependent mechanism. A population of CD80+Gr-1+ myeloid cells was found to be expanded in conventional as well as in bone marrow-transplanted mice with disseminated candidiasis, but its depletion increased the IFN-gamma-mediated antifungal resistance. These data indicate that alternatively activated PMN expressing CD80 may adversely affect Th1-dependent resistance in fungal infections.
T cell activation and cytokine secretion are important mediators of inflammation in allergic asthma. The costimulatory pathway CD28/CD80/CD86 has been shown to play an important role in T cell activation in allergic asthma, but less is known about the effect of other costimulatory molecules in allergy. The costimulatory molecule OX40 ligand (OX40L), a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, has been shown to be important in T cell priming and cytokine production. We investigated the role of OX40L in a murine model of allergic inflammation using OX40L(-/-) mice. In this model, following OVA sensitization and challenge, mice develop features of allergic inflammation including elevated levels of total serum IgE, pulmonary eosinophils, cytokines, and pulmonary inflammation. In the absence of OX40L, total serum IgE, pulmonary eosinophils, cytokines, and pulmonary inflammation were all significantly reduced compared to wild-type controls. Levels of eotaxin mRNA, an eosinophil-specific chemoattractant, were also markedly reduced, paralleling the significant reduction in pulmonary eosinophils. Levels of allergen-induced Th1 as well as Th2 cytokines were also significantly reduced. Together, the data support a critical role for OX40L signals in allergic responses.
Although APC activation via CD40-CD40L signaling plays a critical role in enabling CD4(+) T cells to provide the "help" necessary for cross-priming of naive CTL, it is unclear how this makes the APC competent for priming. We have investigated the roles of B7-1/B7-2 and their receptors [corrected] CD28/CTLA-4 in cross-priming of CD4-dependent CTL in vivo. We find that both CD28 and B7-1/B7-2 are required for CD40-activated APC to cross-prime CTL, and that priming by CD40-activated APC was prevented by blockade of CD28. Conversely, augmenting CD28 signals with an agonistic Ab bypassed the requirement for CD4(+) T help or CD40 activation. Interestingly, blockade of the negative regulatory B7 receptor CTLA-4 failed to prime CTL in the absence of T help. These results support a model in which activation-induced up-regulation of B7 molecules on APC leads to increased CD28 signaling and a commitment to cross-priming of CD4-dependent CTL.
Although CTLA-4 (CD152) has potent inhibitory effects on T cell function, the signaling events affected by this coreceptor remain to be fully defined. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) act as crucial regulators of multiple aspects of cell function. Ab ligation studies have reported an inhibitory effect of CTLA-4 on TCR-induced ERK and JNK activation. In this study, we have re-examined the specificity of CTLA-4 inhibition of MAPKs by using natural ligand with ex vivo-purified CD4(+) T cells deficient in CD80 and CD86 (double knockout), or CTLA-4, CD80, and CD86 (triple knockout). Under these conditions, CTLA-4 ligation was found to up-regulate and sustain JNK activation, while inhibiting ERK activity. At the same time, JNK activation could not account for CTLA-4 induction of TGF-beta production. Our findings demonstrate that CTLA-4 cosignaling is more complex than previously appreciated, with an ability to differentially regulate members of the MAPK family in T cells.
B7 costimulatory molecules play an important role in inducing autoimmunity, tumor immunity, and transplant rejection, and therapeutic manipulation of B7 is being investigated in human diseases. To determine whether B7 costimulation is essential for inducing autoimmunity on different genetic backgrounds, we backcrossed B7.1/B7.2 deficient ((-/-)) mice on to the C57BL/6 (B6) and SJL backgrounds and induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in these mice. B7.1/B7.2(-/-) mice on the B6 background were resistant to EAE induced with MOG 35-55, whereas the SJL B7.1/B7.2(-/-) mice were susceptible to PLP 139-151 or PLP 178-191-induced EAE. The SJL B7.1/B7.2(-/-) mice had a qualitatively different lesion pattern in that they showed increased white matter vacuolation compared to wild-type SJL mice when immunized with either PLP 139-151 or PLP 178-191. (B6xSJL)F1 B7.1/B7.2(+/+) mice were susceptible to EAE whereas (B6xSJL)F1 B7.1/B7.2(-/-) mice were resistant to EAE induced with either encephalitogenic peptide. Thus, genetic background determines the B7 requirement for inducing autoimmunity. These data have important implications for developing B7-based immunotherapies for human diseases.
Th2 immune responses to a number of infectious pathogens are dependent on B7-1/B7-2 costimulatory molecule interactions. We have now examined the Th2 immune response to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (Nb) in B7-1/B7-2(-/-) mice and show that Th2 effector cells develop that can mediate worm expulsion and produce substantial Th2 cytokines comparable with wild-type infected mice; however, in marked contrast, B cell Ag-specific Ab production is abrogated after B7 blockade. To examine the mechanism of T cell activation, OVA-specific DO11.10 T cells were transferred to recipient mice, which were then immunized with a combination of Nb plus OVA or either alone. Only the combination of Nb plus OVA triggered T cell differentiation to OVA-specific Th2 cells, suggesting that Nb acts as an adjuvant to stimulate Ag-specific naive T cells to differentiate to effector Th2 cells. Furthermore, using the DO11.10 TCR-transgenic T cell adoptive transfer model, we show that blocking B7-1/B7-2 interactions does not impair nonparasite Ag-specific DO11.10 Th2 cell differentiation; however, DO11.10 T cell cycle progression and migration to the B cell zone are inhibited.
To examine whether B7 costimulation can be mediated by a molecule on T cells that is neither CD28 nor CTLA4, we generated mice lacking both of these receptors. CD28/CTLA4(-/-) mice resemble CD28(-/-) mice in having decreased expression of T-cell activation markers in vivo and decreased T-cell proliferation in vitro, as compared with wild-type mice. Using multiple approaches, we find B7-dependent costimulation in CD28/CTLA4(-/-) mice. The proliferation of CD28/CTLA4(-/-) T cells is inhibited by CTLA4-Ig and by the use of antigen-presenting cells lacking both B7-1 and B7-2. CD28/CTLA4(-/-) T-cell proliferation is increased by exposure to Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with B7-1 or B7-2. Finally, administration of CTLA4-Ig to CD28/CTLA4(-/-) cardiac allograft recipients significantly prolongs graft survival. These data support the existence of an additional receptor for B7 molecules that is neither CD28 nor CTLA4.
The requirement for CTLA-4 during the induction of peripheral T cell tolerance in vivo was investigated using naive TCR transgenic T cells lacking CTLA-4. CTLA-4(-/-) T cells are resistant to tolerance induction, as demonstrated by their proliferative responses, IL-2 production, and progression into the cell cycle. Following exposure to a tolerogenic stimulus in vivo and restimulation in vitro, wild-type T cells are blocked at the late G1 to S restriction point of the cell cycle. In contrast, CTLA-4(-/-) T cells enter into the S phase of the cell cycle, as shown by downregulation of p27(kip1), elevated cdk2 kinase activity, and Rb hyperphosphorylation. Thus, CTLA-4 has an essential role in determining the outcome of T cell encounter with a tolerogenic stimulus.