Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC) represent a recently discovered cell type in the immune system that possesses a number of functions contributing to innate and adaptive immunity, including production of type 1 and 2 IFNs, IL-12, natural killing, and ultimately antigen presentation to naïve T-cells. Here, we compared in vitro and in vivo responses of mouse IKDC, conventional dendritic cells and natural killer cells to murine cytomegalovirus infection and found distinct functions among these cell subsets. Upon recognition of infected fibroblasts, IKDC, as well as NK, produced high level of IFN-γ, but unlike NK, IKDC simultaneously produced IL-12p40 and upregulated MHC class II and costimulatory molecules. Using MHC-II molecule expression as a phenotypic marker to distinguish activated IKDC from activated NK, we further demonstrated that highly purified MHC-II+ IKDC but not NK, cross-present MHC class I-restricted antigens derived from MCMV-infected targets to CD8+ T-cells in vitro and in vivo. Our findings emphasize the unique nature of IKDC as a killer antigen presenting cell directly linking innate and adaptive immunity.
IKDC and cross-presentation; Dendritic cell; Antigen presentation; Natural killer
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDCs) have been described as possessing the lytic potential of NK cells and the antigen-presenting capacity of dendritic cells (DCs). In this study, we examine the lytic function and antigen-presenting capacity of mouse spleen IKDCs, including those found in DC preparations. IKDCs efficiently killed NK cell targets, without requiring additional activation stimuli. However, in our hands, when exposed to protein antigen or to MHC class II peptide, IKDCs induced little or no T cell proliferation relative to conventional DCs or plasmacytoid DCs, either before or after activation with CpG, or in several disease models. Certain developmental features indicated that IKDCs resembled NK cells more than DCs. IKDCs, like NK cells, did not express the transcription factor PU.1 and were absent from recombinase activating gene-2–null, common γ-chain–null (Rag2−/−Il2rg−/−) mice. When cultured with IL-15 and -18, IKDCs proliferated extensively, like NK cells. Under these conditions, a proportion of expanded IKDCs and NK cells expressed high levels of surface MHC class II. However, even such MHC class II+ IKDCs and NK cells induced poor T cell proliferative responses compared with DCs. Thus, IKDCs resemble NK cells functionally, and neither cell type could be induced to be effective antigen-presenting cells.
Lower respiratory tract infections caused by the paramyxoviruses human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are characterized by short-lasting virus-specific immunity and often long term airway morbidity, both of which may be the result of alterations in the antigen presenting function of the lung which follow these infections. In this study, we investigated whether hMPV and RSV experimental infections alter the phenotype and function of dendritic cells (DC) subsets which are recruited to the lung. Characterization of lung DC trafficking demonstrated a differential recruitment of plasmacytoid DC (pDC), conventional DC (cDC) and interferon-producing killer DC (IKDC) to the lung and draining lymph nodes after hMPV and RSV infection. In vitro infection of lung DC indicated that in pDC, production of IFN-α, TNF-α, and CCL5 was induced only by hMPV while CCL3 and CCL4 were induced by both viruses. In cDC, a similar repertoire of cytokines was induced by hMPV and RSV, except for IFN-β, which was not induced by RSV. The function of lung pDC was altered following hMPV or RSV infection in vivo, as we demonstrated a reduced capacity of lung pDC to produce IFN-α as well as other cytokines including IL-6, TNF-α, CCL2, CCL3 and CCL4 in response to TLR9 agonist. Moreover, we observed an impaired capacity of cDC from infected mice to present Ag to CD4+ T cells, an effect that lasted beyond the acute phase of infection. Our findings suggest that acute paramyxovirus infections can alter the long term immune function of pulmonary DC.
Dendritic cells; Lung; Viral; Cytokines; Cell trafficking
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDCs) are a recently described subset of CD11cloB220+ cells that share phenotypic and functional properties of DCs and natural killer (NK) cells (Chan, C.W., E. Crafton, H.N. Fan, J. Flook, K. Yoshimura, M. Skarica, D. Brockstedt, T.W. Dubensky, M.F. Stins, L.L. Lanier, et al. 2006. Nat. Med. 12:207–213; Taieb, J., N. Chaput, C. Menard, L. Apetoh, E. Ullrich, M. Bonmort, M. Pequignot, N. Casares, M. Terme, C. Flament, et al. 2006. Nat. Med. 12:214–219). IKDC development appears unusual in that cytokines using the interleukin (IL)-2 receptor β (IL-2Rβ) chain but not those using the common γ chain (γc) are necessary for their generation. By directly comparing Rag2−/−γc−/y, Rag2−/−IL-2Rβ−/−, Rag2−/−IL-15−/−, and Rag2−/−IL-2−/− mice, we demonstrate that IKDC development parallels NK cell development in its strict IL-15 dependence. Moreover, IKDCs uniformly express NK-specific Ncr-1 transcripts (encoding NKp46), whereas NKp46+ cells are absent in Ncr1gfp/+γc−/y mice. Distinguishing features of IKDCs (CD11cloB220+MHC-II+) were carefully examined on developing NK cells in the bone marrow and on peripheral NK cells. As B220 expression was heterogeneous, defining B220lo versus B220hi NK1.1+ NK cells could be considered as arbitrary, and few phenotypic differences were noted between NK1.1+ NK cells bearing different levels of B220. CD11c expression did not correlate with B220 or major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (MHC-II) expression, and most MHC-II+ NK1.1+ cells did not express B220 and were thus not IKDCs. Finally, CD11c, MHC-II, and B220 levels were up-regulated on NK1.1+ cells upon activation in vitro or in vivo in a proliferation-dependent fashion. Our data suggest that the majority of CD11cloB220+ “IKDC-like” cells represent activated NK cells.
Natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DCs) have been shown to link the innate and adaptive immune systems. Likewise, a new innate cell subset, interferon-producing killer DCs (IKDCs), shares phenotypic and functional characteristics with both DCs and NK cells. Here, we show IKDCs play an essential role in the resolution of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) upon treatment with the tolerizing agent, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), genetically fused to reovirus protein σ1 (termed MOG-pσ1). Activated IKDCs were recruited subsequent MOG-pσ1 treatment of EAE, and disease resolution was abated upon NK1.1 cell depletion. These IKDCs were able to kill activated CD4+ T cells and mature dendritic DCs, thus, contributing to EAE remission. In addition, IKDCs were responsible for MOG-pσ1-mediated MOG-specific regulatory T cell recruitment to the CNS. The IKDCs induced by MOG-pσ1 expressed elevated levels of HVEM for interactions with cognate ligand-positive cells: LIGHT+ NK and Teff cells and BTLA+ B cells. Further characterization revealed these activated IKDCs being MHC class IIhigh, and upon their adoptive transfer (CD11c+NK1.1+MHC class IIhigh), IKDCs, but not CD11c+NK1.1+MHC class IIintermediate/low (unactivated) cells, conferred protection against EAE. These activated IKDCs showed enhanced CD107a, PD-L1, and granzyme B expression and could present OVA, unlike unactivated IKDCs. Thus, these results demonstrate the interventional potency induced HVEM+ IKDCs to resolve autoimmune disease.
EAE; tolerance; Treg cells; IKDC; HVEM
Migratory lung dendritic cells (DCs) transport viral antigen from the lungs to the draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs) during influenza virus infection to initiate the adaptive immune response. Two major migratory DC subsets, CD103+ DCs and CD11bhigh DCs participate in this function and it is not clear if these antigen presenting cell (APC) populations become directly infected and if so whether their activity is influenced by the infection. In these experiments we show that both subpopulations can become infected and migrate to the draining MLN but a difference in their response to type I interferon (I-IFN) signaling dictates the capacity of the virus to replicate. CD103+ DCs allow the virus to replicate to significantly higher levels than do the CD11bhigh DCs, and they release infectious virus in the MLNs and when cultured ex-vivo. Virus replication in CD11bhigh DCs is inhibited by I-IFNs, since ablation of the I-IFN receptor (IFNAR) signaling permits virus to replicate vigorously and productively in this subset. Interestingly, CD103+ DCs are less sensitive to I-IFNs upregulating interferon-induced genes to a lesser extent than CD11bhigh DCs. The attenuated IFNAR signaling by CD103+ DCs correlates with their described superior antigen presentation capacity for naïve CD8+ T cells when compared to CD11bhigh DCs. Indeed ablation of IFNAR signaling equalizes the competency of the antigen presenting function for the two subpopulations. Thus, antigen presentation by lung DCs is proportional to virus replication and this is tightly constrained by I-IFN. The “interferon-resistant” CD103+ DCs may have evolved to ensure the presentation of viral antigens to T cells in I-IFN rich environments. Conversely, this trait may be exploitable by viral pathogens as a mechanism for systemic dissemination.
Migratory lung dendritic cells (DCs) control the initiation of the adaptive immune responses to influenza virus by expanding virus-specific T cells in draining lymph nodes (MLNs) that will subsequently clear the pathogen from the respiratory tract. Here we demonstrate that both subsets of lung DCs, CD103+ DCs and CD11bhigh DCs become infected by influenza virus in vivo and migrate to the MLNs, but only CD103+ DCs support productive virus replication. Enhanced virus replication in CD103+ DCs compared to CD11bhigh DCs was responsible for their superior antigen presentation efficacy for naïve CD8+ T cells and originated from a difference in sensitivity of the two DC populations to type I interferon (I-IFN). These data show that in contrast to most other immune cell types, DCs can become productively infected with influenza virus and I-IFN operates as a master regulator controlling which DC subset will present antigen during a viral infection. A deeper understanding of basic innate and adaptive immune response mechanisms regulated by I-FN may lead to the development of cutting edge therapies and improve vaccine efficacy against influenza and other viruses.
The combined phenotypic expression of CD11clow B220+ CD122+ DX5+ has been used to define a novel cell type, termed interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC). IKDC readily produce IFN-γ and demonstrate spontaneous cytotoxic activity towards tumors, suggesting that a modulation of IKDC number may be beneficial in cancer treatment. We examined various mouse strains and found that IKDC number was highly variable between the different strains. A linkage analysis associated the distal arm of chromosome 7 with variations in IKDC number. The genetic contribution of chromosome 7 to the regulation of IKDC number was confirmed through the use of congenic mice. We further demonstrate that IKDC proportion is regulated by intrinsic hematopoietic factors. We discuss the role of various candidate genes in the regulation of this newly described cell type and its implication in therapy.
Dendritic Cells; Natural Killer Cells; Tumor Immunity
Influenza virus produces a protein, NS1, that inhibits infected cells from releasing type I interferon (IFN) and blocks maturation of conventional dendritic cells (DCs). As a result, influenza virus is a poor activator of both mouse and human DCs in vitro. However, in vivo a strong immune response to virus infection is generated in both species, suggesting that other factors may contribute to the maturation of DCs in vivo. It is likely that the environment in which a DC encounters a virus would contain multiple pro-inflammatory molecules, including type I IFN. Type I IFN is a critical component of the viral immune response that initiates an antiviral state in cells, primarily by triggering a broad transcriptional program that interferes with the ability of virus to establish infection in the cell. In this study, we have examined the activation profiles of both conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (cDCs and pDCs) in response to an influenza virus infection in the context of a type I IFN-containing environment. We found that both cDCs and pDCs demonstrate a greater activation response to influenza virus when pre-exposed to IFN-β (IFN priming); although, the priming kinetics are different in these two cell types. This strongly suggests that type I IFN functions not only to reduce viral replication in these immune cells, but also to promote greater DC activation during influenza virus infections.
Influenza infection leads to a serious respiratory infection of the lung epithelium. Lying directly below the epithelial cells are immune system sentinels known as dendritic cells. These cells interact with the virus and carry parts of the virus to draining lymph nodes to activate killer T cells. In order to effectively carry out this function, DCs must perceive the presence of a virus using receptors specially adapted for this function. However, when DCs are mixed with influenza virus in the laboratory, no activation occurs because the virus produces a protein called NS1 that blocks the receptors. Yet, patients infected with influenza virus develop a strong adaptive response that leads to recovery from infection. This observation suggests that additional factors must be present that contribute to the activation of the DCs. The most likely contributor is type I interferon, a ubiquitous protein released from many cells upon exposure to virus. In this study, we mixed influenza virus with DCs in the presence of type I interferon and found that this greatly enhanced their activation. Treatment with interferon allowed the DC to bypass the block in activation mediated by the influenza NS1 protein. Our data suggest that the production of type I interferon within an infected patient may endow the DCs with the ability to fully respond to influenza virus.
Interferon-producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC) were first described for their outstanding anti-tumoral properties. The “IKDC” terminology implied the description of a novel DC subset and initiated a debate on their cellular lineage origin. This debate shifted the focus away from their notable anti-tumoral potential. IKDC were recently redefined as precursors to mature NK (mNK) cells and consequently renamed pre-mNK cells. Importantly, a putative human equivalent of pre-mNK cells was recently associated with improved disease outcome in cancer patients. It is thus timely to revisit the functional attributes as well as the therapeutic potential of pre-mNK cells in line with their newly defined NK-cell precursor function.
natural killer cells; cellular differentiation; pre-mNK cells; anti-tumoral activity; human; mouse
Respiratory viruses can induce acute respiratory disease. Clinical symptoms and manifestations are dependent on interactions between the virus and host immune system. Dendritic cells (DCs), along with alveolar macrophages, constitute the first line of sentinel cells in the innate immune response against respiratory viral infection. DCs play an essential role in regulating the immune response by bridging innate and adaptive immunity. In the steady state, lung DCs can be subdivided into CD103+ conventional DCs (cDCs), CD11b+ cDCs, and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). In the inflammatory state, like a respiratory viral infection, monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) are recruited to the lung. In inflammatory lung, discrimination between moDCs and CD11b+ DCs in the inflamed lung has been a critical challenge in understanding their role in the antiviral response. In particular, CD103+ cDCs migrate from the intraepithelial base to the draining mediastinal lymph nodes to primarily induce the CD8+ T cell response against the invading virus. Lymphoid CD8α+ cDCs, which have a developmental relationship with CD103+ cDCs, also play an important role in viral antigen presentation. Moreover, pDCs have been reported to promote an antiviral response by inducing type I interferon production rather than adaptive immunity. However, the role of these cells in respiratory infections remains unclear. These different DC subsets have functional specialization against respiratory viral infection. Under certain viral infection, contextually controlling the balance of these specialized DC subsets is important for an effective immune response and maintenance of homeostasis.
Dendritic cells; Influenza; Respiratory syncytial virus; Lung; Infection
Although dendritic cells (DCs) play an important role in mediating protection against influenza virus, the precise role of lung DC subsets, such as CD11b− and CD11b+ conventional DCs or plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), in different lung compartments is currently unknown. Early after intranasal infection, tracheal CD11b−CD11chi DCs migrated to the mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs), acquiring co-stimulatory molecules in the process. This emigration from the lung was followed by an accumulation of CD11b+CD11chi DCs in the trachea and lung interstitium. In the MLNs, the CD11b+ DCs contained abundant viral nucleoprotein (NP), but these cells failed to present antigen to CD4 or CD8 T cells, whereas resident CD11b−CD8α+ DCs presented to CD8 cells, and migratory CD11b−CD8α− DCs presented to CD4 and CD8 T cells. When lung CD11chi DCs and macrophages or langerin+CD11b−CD11chi DCs were depleted using either CD11c–diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) or langerin-DTR mice, the development of virus-specific CD8+ T cells was severely delayed, which correlated with increased clinical severity and a delayed viral clearance. 120G8+ CD11cint pDCs also accumulated in the lung and LNs carrying viral NP, but in their absence, there was no effect on viral clearance or clinical severity. Rather, in pDC-depleted mice, there was a reduction in antiviral antibody production after lung clearance of the virus. This suggests that multiple DCs are endowed with different tasks in mediating protection against influenza virus.
Immune responses at mucosal sites are thought to be initiated in the draining lymph nodes, where dendritic cells present viral antigens and induce naive T cells to proliferate and to become effectors. Formal proof that antigen-presenting cells (APC) do indeed localize to the regional lymph nodes has been lacking for viral infections of the respiratory tract. Influenza virus was detected in the draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN) early after intranasal inoculation, with peak virus titers in this tissue measured at 2 days postinfection. Virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses were first detected in the MLN 1 day later. Macrophages, dendritic cells, and B lymphocytes were isolated from influenza virus-infected mice and assayed for the capacity to stimulate a major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted virus-specific T-cell hybridoma. All APC populations from lungs and MLN contained virus and thus had the potential to present antigen to CD8+ T cells. The APC recovered from the lungs of influenza virus-infected mice and dendritic cells from the MLN were able to stimulate virus-specific responses. The lack of a virus-specific T-cell response to B cells corresponds to the small number of virus-positive B lymphocytes in the MLN. These results indicate that dendritic cells and macrophages are antigen positive in mice acutely infected with an influenza A virus and that dendritic cells are probably responsible for initiating the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response to influenza virus in the draining lymph nodes.
In the respiratory tract, different dendritic cell (DC) populations guard a tight balance between tolerance and immunity to infectious or harmless materials to which the airways are continuously exposed. For infectious and noninfectious antigens administered via different routes, different subsets of DC might contribute during the induction of T-cell tolerance and immunity. We studied the impact of primary respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection on respiratory DC composition in C57BL/6 mice. We also tracked the migration of respiratory DC to the lymph nodes and studied antigen presentation by lung-derived and lymph node-resident DC to CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. We observed a massive influx of mainly CD103− CD11bhigh CD11c+ conventional DC (cDC) and plasmacytoid DC during the first 7 days of RSV infection, while CD103+ CD11blow CD11c+ cDC disappeared from the lung. The two major subsets of lung tissue DC, CD103+ CD11blow CD11c+ and CD103− CD11bhigh CD11c+ cDC, both transported RSV RNA to the lung-draining lymph node. Furthermore, these lung-derived cDC subsets as well as resident LN DC, which did not contain viral RNA, displayed viral antigen by major histocompatibility complex class I and class II to CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Taken together, our data indicate that during RSV infections, at least three DC subsets might be involved during the activation of lymph node-homing naïve and memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.
Influenza A viral infections have been identified as the etiologic agents for historic pandemics, and contribute to the annual mortality associated with acute viral pneumonia. While both innate and acquired immunity are important in combating influenza virus infection, the mechanism connecting these arms of the immune system remains unknown. Recent data have indicated that the Notch system is an important bridge between antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and T cell communication circuits and plays a central role in driving the immune system to overcome disease. In the present study, we examine the role of Notch signaling during influenza H1N1 virus infection, focusing on APCs. We demonstrate here that macrophages, but not dendritic cells (DCs), increased Notch ligand Delta-like 1 (Dll1) expression following influenza virus challenge. Dll1 expression on macrophages was dependent on retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) induced type-I IFN pathway, and not on the TLR3-TRIF pathway. We also found that IFNα-Receptor knockout mice failed to induce Dll1 expression on lung macrophages and had enhanced mortality during influenza virus infection. Our results further showed that specific neutralization of Dll1 during influenza virus challenge induced higher mortality, impaired viral clearance, and decreased levels of IFN-γ. In addition, we blocked Notch signaling by using γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI), a Notch signaling inhibitor. Intranasal administration of GSI during influenza infection also led to higher mortality, and higher virus load with excessive inflammation and an impaired production of IFN-γ in lungs. Moreover, Dll1 expression on macrophages specifically regulates IFN-γ levels from CD4+and CD8+T cells, which are important for anti-viral immunity. Together, the results of this study show that Dll1 positively influences the development of anti-viral immunity, and may provide mechanistic approaches for modifying and controlling the immune response against influenza H1N1 virus infection.
Influenza viruses cause annual epidemics and occasional pandemics that have claimed the lives of millions. Both innate and acquired immunity are essential for protection against influenza virus, and Notch and Notch ligands provide a key bridge between innate and acquired immunity. However, the role of Notch system during influenza virus infection is unknown. Here, we show that Notch ligand Delta-like 1 (Dll1) expression was up-regulated in influenza virus H1N1 challenged macrophages, and was dependent on both retinoic-acid–inducible protein I (RIG-I) and IFNα receptor (IFNαR)-mediated pathways. IFNαR-deficient mice challenged with influenza virus in vivo also display a profoundly impaired Dll1 expression with increased mortality and abrogated IFN-γ production. Treatment of WT mice during influenza infection, with either neutralizing antibodies specific for Dll1 or a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI), which blocks Notch signaling, resulted in increased mortality, impaired viral clearance, and lower IFN-γ production. In addition, Dll1 specifically regulated IFN-γ production from both CD4+and CD8+T cells in vitro. Together, these results suggest that Notch signaling through macrophage-dependent Dll1 is critical in providing an anti-viral response during influenza infection by linking innate and acquired immunity.
Each year, influenza virus infection causes severe morbidity and mortality, particularly in the most susceptible groups including children, the elderly (>65 years-old) and people with chronic respiratory diseases. Among the several factors that contribute to the increased susceptibility in elderly populations are the higher prevalence of chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes) and the senescence of the immune system.
In this study, aged and adult mice were infected with sublethal doses of influenza virus (A/Puerto Rico/8/1934). Differences in weight loss, morbidity, virus titer and the kinetics of lung infiltration with cells of the innate and adaptive immune responses were analyzed. Additionally, the main cytokines and chemokines produced by these cells were also assayed.
Compared to adult mice, aged mice had higher morbidity, lost weight more rapidly, and recovered more slowly from infection. There was a delay in the accumulation of granulocytic cells and conventional dendritic cells (cDCs), but not macrophages in the lungs of aged mice compared to adult animals. The delayed infiltration kinetics of APCs in aged animals correlated with alteration in their activation (CD40 expression), which also correlated with a delayed detection of cytokines and chemokines in lung homogenates. This was associated with retarded lung infiltration by natural killer (NK), CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells. Furthermore, the percentage of activated (CD69+) influenza-specific and IL-2 producer CD8+ T-cells was higher in adult mice compared to aged ones. Additionally, activation (CD69+) of adult B-cells was earlier and correlated with a quicker development of neutralizing antibodies in adult animals.
Overall, alterations in APC priming and activation lead to delayed production of cytokines and chemokines in the lungs that ultimately affected the infiltration of immune cells following influenza infection. This resulted in delayed activation of the adaptive immune response and subsequent delay in clearance of virus and prolonged illness in aged animals. Since the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population in developed countries, a better understanding of the changes that occur in the immune system during the aging process is a priority for the development of new vaccines and adjuvants to improve the immune responses in this population.
Understanding the mechanisms that help promote protective immune responses to pathogens is a major challenge in biomedical research and an important goal for the design of innovative therapeutic or vaccination strategies. While natural killer (NK) cells can directly contribute to the control of viral replication, whether, and how, they may help orchestrate global antiviral defense is largely unknown. To address this question, we took advantage of the well-defined molecular interactions involved in the recognition of mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) by NK cells. By using congenic or mutant mice and wild-type versus genetically engineered viruses, we examined the consequences on antiviral CD8 T cell responses of specific defects in the ability of the NK cells to control MCMV. This system allowed us to demonstrate, to our knowledge for the first time, that NK cells accelerate CD8 T cell responses against a viral infection in vivo. Moreover, we identify the underlying mechanism as the ability of NK cells to limit IFN-α/β production to levels not immunosuppressive to the host. This is achieved through the early control of cytomegalovirus, which dramatically reduces the activation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) for cytokine production, preserves the conventional dendritic cell (cDC) compartment, and accelerates antiviral CD8 T cell responses. Conversely, exogenous IFN-α administration in resistant animals ablates cDCs and delays CD8 T cell activation in the face of NK cell control of viral replication. Collectively, our data demonstrate that the ability of NK cells to respond very early to cytomegalovirus infection critically contributes to balance the intensity of other innate immune responses, which dampens early immunopathology and promotes optimal initiation of antiviral CD8 T cell responses. Thus, the extent to which NK cell responses benefit the host goes beyond their direct antiviral effects and extends to the prevention of innate cytokine shock and to the promotion of adaptive immunity.
To fight viral infections, vertebrates have developed a battery of innate and adaptive immune responses aimed at inhibiting viral replication or at killing infected cells. These responses include the early production of innate antiviral cytokines, especially interferons α and β (IFN-α/β), and the activation of cytotoxic lymphocytes such as the innate natural killer (NK) cells and the adaptive CD8 T cells. While critical for antiviral defense, cytokine or CD8 T cell responses can be detrimental or even fatal to the host when deregulated. Therefore, we need to better understand how the different arms of antiviral immunity are regulated. In particular, NK cells are proposed to play a protective role in a variety of viral infection in humans, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, in a mouse model of cytomegalovirus infection, we demonstrate that NK cells prevent an excessive production of IFN-α/β and promote more efficient antiviral CD8 T cell responses. We thus show that NK cells can help promote health over disease during viral infections by regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses. It will be important to examine in humans whether NK cells control innate cytokine production to prevent immunopathology and to promote adaptive immunity against herpesviruses, HIV-1, influenza, or SARS.
Dengue is a growing global concern with 390 million people infected each year. Dengue virus (DENV) is transmitted by mosquitoes, thus host cells in the skin are the first point of contact with the virus. Human skin contains several populations of antigen-presenting cells which could drive the immune response to DENV in vivo: epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs), three populations of dermal dendritic cells (DCs), and macrophages. Using samples of normal human skin we detected productive infection of CD14+ and CD1c+ DCs, LCs and dermal macrophages, which was independent of DC-SIGN expression. LCs produced the highest viral titers and were less sensitive to IFN-β. Nanostring gene expression data showed significant up-regulation of IFN-β, STAT-1 and CCL5 upon viral exposure in susceptible DC populations. In mice infected intra-dermally with DENV we detected parallel populations of infected DCs originating from the dermis and migrating to the skin-draining lymph nodes. Therefore dermal DCs may simultaneously facilitate systemic spread of DENV and initiate the adaptive anti-viral immune response.
Dengue virus (DENV) is transmitted by mosquitoes with skin as point of entry for the virus. Here, we investigated DENV infection in primary human skin cells and their initial immune response. Using skin from normal human donors for infection with DENV in vitro we identified antigen-presenting cells (APCs) as main targets of DENV. Further analysis showed that only distinct subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages were infected and efficiently produced viral progeny. Langerhans cells were most susceptible to infection despite lacking DC-SIGN, a previously described DENV receptor. Infection of the other DC subsets and macrophages was also independent of DC-SIGN expression. Genes of the interferon pathway and CCL5, a chemokine attracting immune cells to sites of inflammation, were highly up-regulated in the infected DC subsets. Using a mouse infection model, we showed that murine dermal DCs were also susceptible to DENV and migrated to draining lymph nodes. At the same time infiltrating monocytes differentiated into monocyte-derived cells at the site of infection and became an additional target for DENV in vivo. These data demonstrate that DENV differentially infects and activates primary human skin APCs and that infected cell types individually contribute to inflammation and the adaptive response.
One important function of conventional dendritic cells (cDC) is their high capacity to capture, process and present Ag to T lymphocytes. Mouse splenic cDC subtypes, including CD8α+ and CD8α− cDC, are not identical in their Ag presenting and T cell priming functions. Surprisingly, few studies have reported functional differences between CD4− and CD4+ CD8α− cDC subsets. We show that, when loaded in vitro with OVA peptide or whole protein, and in steady-state conditions, splenic CD4− and CD4+ cDC are equivalent in their capacity to prime and direct CD4+ and CD8+ T cell differentiation. In contrast, in response to α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), CD4− and CD4+ cDC differentially activate invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells, a population of lipid-reactive non-conventional T lymphocytes. Both cDC subsets equally take up α-GalCer in vitro and in vivo to stimulate the iNKT hybridoma DN32.D3, the activation of which depends solely on TCR triggering. On the other hand, and relative to their CD4+ counterparts, CD4− cDC more efficiently stimulate primary iNKT cells, a phenomenon likely due to differential production of co-factors (including IL-12) by cDC. Our data reveal a novel functional difference between splenic CD4+ and CD4− cDC subsets that may be important in immune responses.
Conventional DCs from mice lacking zDC (also known as Zbtb46) express more MHCII and produce more VEGF in the steady state.
Classical dendritic cells (cDCs) process and present antigens to T cells. Under steady-state conditions, antigen presentation by cDCs induces tolerance. In contrast, during infection or inflammation, cDCs become activated, express higher levels of cell surface MHC molecules, and induce strong adaptive immune responses. We recently identified a cDC-restricted zinc finger transcription factor, zDC (also known as Zbtb46 or Btbd4), that is not expressed by other immune cell populations, including plasmacytoid DCs, monocytes, or macrophages. We define the zDC consensus DNA binding motif and the genes regulated by zDC using chromatin immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing. By deleting zDC from the mouse genome, we show that zDC is primarily a negative regulator of cDC gene expression. zDC deficiency alters the cDC subset composition in the spleen in favor of CD8+ DCs, up-regulates activation pathways in steady-state cDCs, including elevated MHC II expression, and enhances cDC production of vascular endothelial growth factor leading to increased vascularization of skin-draining lymph nodes. Consistent with these observations, zDC protein expression is rapidly down-regulated after TLR stimulation. Thus, zDC is a TLR-responsive, cDC-specific transcriptional repressor that is in part responsible for preventing cDC maturation in the steady state.
The migration of pathogen-specific T cells into nonlymphoid tissues, such as the lung, is critical to control peripheral infections. Use of in vivo intravascular labeling of leukocytes has allowed for improved discrimination between cells located in the blood from cells present within peripheral tissues, such as the lung. This is particularly important in the lung, which is comprised of an intricate network of blood vessels that harbors a large proportion of the total blood volume at any given time. Recent work has demonstrated that >80% of antigen-specific effector CD8 T cells remain in the pulmonary vasculature following an intratracheal infection with a systemic viral pathogen. However, it remains unclear what proportion of effector CD8 T cells are located within lung tissue following a localized respiratory viral infection. We confirm that most effector and memory CD8 T cells are found in the vasculature after an intranasal infection with the systemic pathogens lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) or vaccinia virus (VACV). In contrast, following pulmonary viral infections with either respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza A virus (IAV), 80 to 90% of the antigen-specific effector CD8 T cells were located within lung tissue. Similarly, the majority of antigen-specific CD4 T cells were present within lung tissue during a pulmonary viral infection. Furthermore, a greater proportion of gamma interferon-positive (IFN-γ+) effector CD8 and CD4 T cells were located within lung tissue following a localized respiratory viral infection. Our results indicate that T cells exhibit significantly altered distribution patterns dependent upon the tissue tropism of the infection.
IMPORTANCE The migration of T cells to nonlymphoid sites, such as the lung, is critical to mediate clearance of viral infections. The highly vascularized lung holds up to 40% of blood, and thus, the T cell response may be a reflection of lymphocytes localized to the pulmonary vasculature instead of lung tissue. We examined the localization of T cell responses within the lung following either a localized or systemic viral infection. We demonstrate that following intranasal infection with a systemic pathogen, most T cells are localized to the pulmonary vasculature. In contrast, T cells are primarily localized to lung tissue following a respiratory viral infection. Our results demonstrate vast differences in the localization of T cell responses within the lung parenchyma between pathogens that can replicate locally versus systemically and that intravascular antibody labeling can be utilized to assess the localization patterns of T cell responses in nonlymphoid organs.
Attempts to cure breast cancer by means of adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) have not been successful. This is primarily due to the presence of tumor-induced immune suppressive mechanisms as well as the failure of tumor-reactive T cells to provide long-term memory responses in vivo. In order to address these clinically important challenges we developed an ex vivo protocol for the expansion of tumor-reactive immune cells obtained from tumor-bearing animals prior to or after local radiation therapy. We used an antigen-free protocol which included bryostatin 1/ionomycin (B/I) and sequential common gamma-chain cytokines (IL-7/IL-15 + IL-2). The proposed protocol expanded tumor-reactive T cells as well as activated non-T cells, including NK T cells, NK cells and IFN-γ producing killer dendritic cells (IKDC). Anti-tumor efficacy of T cells depended on the presence of non-T cells. The effector non-T cells also rendered T cells resistant to myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). Radiation therapy altered phenotypic distribution and differentiation of T cells, as well as their ability to generate central memory T cells (TCM). ACT by means of the expanded cells protected animals from tumor challenge and generated long-term memory responses against the tumor, provided that leukocytes were derived from tumor-bearing animals prior to radiation therapy. The ex vivo protocol was also able to expand HER-2/neu-specific T cells derived from the PBMC of a single patient with breast carcinoma. These data suggest that the proposed ACT protocol should be studied further in breast cancer patients.
adoptive cellular therapy; breast cancer; common gamma chain cytokines; adiation therapy of cancer; myeloid-derived suppressor cells
We evaluated the presentation of blood-derived protein antigens by antigen presenting cells (APC) in the thymus. Two conventional dendritic cells (cDC), the CD8α+Sirpα−CD11chi (CD8α+cDC) and the CD8α−Sirpα+ CD11chi cells (Sirpα+cDC), were previously identified as presenting class II-MHC bound peptides from hen egg-white lysozyme (HEL) injected intravenously. All thymic APC acquired the injected HEL, with the plasmacytoid DC (pDC) being the best, followed by the Sirpα+ cDC and the CD8α+cDC. Both cDC induced to similar extent negative selection and Tregs in HEL T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mice, indicating a redundant role of the two cDC subsets in the presentation of blood-borne HEL. Immature DC or pDC were considerably less efficient. Batf3−/− mice, with significantly reduced numbers of CD8α+cDC, were not impaired in HEL presentation by I-Ak molecules of thymic APC. Lastly, clodronate-liposome (CLOD-LIP) treatment of TCR transgenic mice depleted blood APC including Sirpα+ cDC, without affecting the number of thymic APC. In such treated mice there was no effect on negative selection or Tregs in mice when administering HEL, indicating that the T cell responses were mediated primarily by the cDC localized in the thymus.
To induce potent epitope-specific T cell immunity by a peptide-based vaccine, epitope peptides must be delivered efficiently to antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in vivo. Therefore, selecting an appropriate peptide carrier is crucial for the development of an effective peptide vaccine. In this study, we explored new peptide carriers which show enhancement in cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) induction capability.
Data from an epitope-specific in vivo CTL assay revealed that phosphatidylserine (PS) has a potent adjuvant effect among candidate materials tested. Further analyses showed that PS-conjugated antigens were preferentially and efficiently captured by professional APCs, in particular, by CD11c+CD11b+MHCII+ conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) compared to multilamellar liposome-conjugates or unconjugated antigens. In addition, PS demonstrated the stimulatory capacity of peptide-specific helper T cells in vivo.
This work indicates that PS is the easily preparable efficient carrier with a simple structure that delivers antigen to professional APCs effectively and induce both helper and cytotoxic T cell responses in vivo. Therefore, PS is a promising novel adjuvant for T cell-inducing peptide vaccines.
Type I interferons (IFNs) play a key role in linking the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Although produced rapidly in response to pathogens, IFNs are also produced at low levels in the absence of infection. In the present study we demonstrate that constitutively produced IFNs are necessary in vivo to maintain dendritic cells (DCs) in an “antigen presentation competent” state. Conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) isolated from spleens of IFN-β or IFNs receptor (IFNAR) deficient mice exhibit a highly impaired ability to present antigen and activate naive T cells. Microarray analysis of mRNA isolated from IFN-β-/- and IFNAR-/- cDCs revealed diminished expression of two genes that encoded members of the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family. Consistent with this observation, pharmacological inhibition of Hsp70 in cDCs from wild type (WT) mice impaired their T cell stimulatory capacity. Similarly, the antigen presentation ability of splenic cDCs isolated from Hsp70.1/3-/- mice was also severely impaired in comparison to WT cDCs. Thus, constitutive IFN-β expression regulates Hsp70 levels in order to help maintain DCs in a competent state for efficient priming of effector T cells in vivo.
Dendritic cells; T cells; MHC; Antigen Presentation/Processing; Tolerance
AIM: To investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract and elucidate its mechanisms for targeting the function of antigen presenting cells.
METHODS: Cinnamon extract was used to treat murine macrophage cell line (Raw 264.7), mouse primary antigen-presenting cells (APCs, MHCII+) and CD11c+ dendritic cells to analyze the effects of cinnamon extract on APC function. The mechanisms of action of cinnamon extract on APCs were investigated by analyzing cytokine production, and expression of MHC antigens and co-stimulatory molecules by quantitative real-time PCR and flow cytometry. In addition, the effect of cinnamon extract on antigen presentation capacity and APC-dependent T-cell differentiation were analyzed by [H3]-thymidine incorporation and cytokine analysis, respectively. To confirm the anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract in vivo, cinnamon or PBS was orally administered to mice for 20 d followed by induction of experimental colitis with 2,4,6 trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. The protective effects of cinnamon extract against experimental colitis were measured by checking clinical symptoms, histological analysis and cytokine expression profiles in inflamed tissue.
RESULTS: Treatment with cinnamon extract inhibited maturation of MHCII+ APCs or CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) by suppressing expression of co-stimulatory molecules (B7.1, B7.2, ICOS-L), MHCII and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. Cinnamon extract induced regulatory DCs (rDCs) that produce low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-12, interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α] while expressing high levels of immunoregulatory cytokines (IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β). In addition, rDCs generated by cinnamon extract inhibited APC-dependent T-cell proliferation, and converted CD4+ T cells into IL-10high CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, oral administration of cinnamon extract inhibited development and progression of intestinal colitis by inhibiting expression of COX-2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α), while enhancing IL-10 levels.
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests the potential of cinnamon extract as an anti-inflammatory agent by targeting the generation of regulatory APCs and IL-10+ regulatory T cells.
Cinnamon extract; Inflammation; CD4 antigen; Antigen presenting cells; Cyclooxygenase-2; Tumor necrosis factor-α; Interleukin-10; Inflammatory bowel disease