An association between inducible costimulator ligand (ICOS-L) expression and interleukin (IL)-10 production by dendritic cells (DCs) has been commonly found in infectious disease. DCs with higher ICOS-L expression and IL-10 production are reportedly more efficient in inducing regulatory T cells (Tregs). Here we use the Chlamydia muridarum (Cm) lung infection model in IL-10 knockout (KO) mice to test the relationship between IL-10 production and ICOS-L expression by DCs. We examined ICOS-L expression, the development of T-cell subsets, including Treg, Th17 and Th1 cell, in the background of IL-10 deficiency and its relationship with ICOS-L/ICOS signaling after infection. Surprisingly, we found that the IL-10 KO mice exhibited significantly higher ICOS-L expression by DCs. Moreover, IL-10 KO mice showed lower Tregs but higher Th17 and Th1 responses, but only the Th17 response depended on ICOS signaling. Consistently, most of the Th17 cells were ICOS+, whereas most of the Th1 cells were ICOS− in the infected mice. Furthermore, neutralization of IL-17 in IL-10 KO mice significantly exacerbated lung infection. The data suggest that ICOS-L expression on DC may be negatively regulated by IL-10 and that ICOS-L expression on DC in the presence or absence of IL-10 costimulation may promote Treg or Th17 response, without significant impact on Th1.
Inducible Costimulator (ICOS) is an important regulator of Th2 lymphocyte function and a potential immunotherapeutic target for allergy and asthma. A SNP in the ICOS 5′ promoter in humans is associated with increased atopy and serum IgE in a founder population and increased ICOS surface expression and Th2 cytokine production from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. However, it is unknown if increased ICOS expression contributes to disease progression or is a result of disease pathology.
We developed a mouse model in which ICOS surface expression levels are genetically predetermined to test our hypothesis that genetic regulation of ICOS expression controls the severity of Th2 responses in vivo. Using ICOS+/+ and ICOS+/− mice in a Th2 model of airway inflammation, we found that T cells from the ICOS+/− mice had reduced ICOS expression and decreased Th2-mediated inflammation in vivo. Although the activation status of the T cells did not differ, T cells isolated from the lungs and draining lymph nodes of ICOS+/− mice at the peak of inflammation produced less Th2 cytokines upon stimulation ex vivo. Using 4get mice, which express GFP upon IL-4 transcription, we determined that the decreased Th2 cytokines in ICOS+/− is due to reduced percentage of Th2 cells and not a defect in their ability to produce IL-4.
These data suggest that in both mice and humans, the level of ICOS surface expression regulates the magnitude of the in vivo Th2 response, perhaps by influencing Th2 differentiation.
The effect of preexistent virus-neutralizing antibodies on the active induction of antiviral T cell responses was studied in two model infections in mice. Against the noncytopathic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), pretreatment with neutralizing antibodies conferred immediate protection against systemic virus spread and controlled the virus below detectable levels. However, presence of protective antibody serum titers did not impair induction of antiviral cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses after infection with 102 PFU of LCMV. These CTLs efficiently protected mice independent of antibodies against challenge with LCMV–glycoprotein recombinant vaccinia virus; they also protected against otherwise lethal lymphocytic choriomeningitis caused by intracerebral challenge with LCMV-WE, whereas transfused antibodies alone did not protect, and in some cases even enhanced, lethal lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Against the cytopathic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), specific CTLs and Th cells were induced in the presence of high titers of VSV-neutralizing antibodies after infection with 106 PFU of VSV, but not at lower virus doses. Taken together, preexistent protective antibody titers controlled infection but did not impair induction of protective T cell immunity. This is particularly relevant for noncytopathic virus infections since both virus-neutralizing antibodies and CTLs are essential for continuous virus control. Therefore, to vaccinate against such viruses parallel or sequential passive and active immunization may be a suitable vaccination strategy to combine advantages of both virus-neutralizing antibodies and CTLs.
Previous work has shown ICOS can function independently of CD28, but whether either molecule can compensate for the other in vivo is not known. Since ICOS is a potent inducer of Th2 cytokines and linked to allergy and elevated serum IgE in humans, we hypothesized that augmenting ICOS costimulation in murine allergic airway disease may overcome CD28 deficiency. While ICOS was expressed on T cells from CD28−/− mice, Th2-mediated airway inflammation was not induced in CD28−/− mice by increased ICOS costimulation. Further, we determined if augmenting CD28 costimulation could compensate for ICOS deficiency. ICOS−/− mice had a defect in airway eosinophilia that was not overcome by augmenting CD28 costimulation. CD28 costimulation also did not fully compensate for ICOS for antibody responses, germinal center formation or the development of follicular B helper T cells. CD28 and ICOS play complementary non-overlapping roles in the development of Th2 immunity in vivo.
Costimulation; CD28; ICOS; follicular B helper T cells; Rodent; Th2 Cells; Antibodies; Allergy; Asthma
Normal mice infected with 10(5) infectious doses of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV, WE isolate) generated a reduced or no T cell-independent IgM and/or T cell-dependent IgG response to a subsequent vesicular stomatitis virus Indiana (VSV-IND) injection; this transient immune suppression lasted for weeks to months. Connatally infected LCMV-carrier mice or acutely infected T cell-deficient nude mice had normal anti-VSV IgM and IgG or IgM responses respectively. LCMV-infected nude mice transfused with helper cell-depleted LCMV- specific immune spleen cells were immunosuppressed. Normal mice infected with LCMV but treated with a rat anti-CD8 mAb (that had been shown previously to eliminate cytotoxic T cells in vivo) and then infected with VSV exhibited a normal anti-VSV IgM and IgG response. Since no IFN-alpha or -beta was detected on, or after, day 6 of LCMV infection, neither LCMV alone, nor IFN induced by it caused the observed immune suppression; the presented evidence suggests that LCMV- immune CD8+ T cells were responsible for it. It is conceivable that a similar pathogenesis where virus-specific cytotoxic T cells may destroy virus-infected cells essentially involved in an immune response (APC, T helper cells, etc.) may be involved in other virally triggered immune suppression or in AIDS.
We and others reported that Inducible costimulator-deficient (ICOS−/−) mice manifest a defect in Th2-mediated airway inflammation, which was attributed to reduced Th2 differentiation in the absence of ICOS signaling. Interestingly, the number of CD4 T cells present in the airways and lungs after sensitization and challenge is significantly reduced in ICOS−/− mice. We now show that this reduction is not attributable simply to a reduced proliferation of ICOS−/− cells, because significantly more ICOS−/− than wild-type activated CD4 T cells are present in the lymph nodes, suggesting that more ICOS−/− CD4 T cells than wild-type CD4 T cells migrated into the lymph nodes. Further investigation revealed that activated ICOS−/− CD4 T cells express higher concentrations of the lymph node homing receptors, CCR7 and CD62L, than do wild-type CD4 T cells, leading to a preferential return of ICOS−/− cells to the nondraining lymph nodes rather than the lungs. Blocking reentry into the lymph nodes after the initiation of Th2-mediated airway inflammation equalized the levels of CD4 and granulocyte infiltration in the lungs of wild-type and ICOS−/− mice. Our results demonstrate that in wild-type CD4 T cells, co-stimulation with ICOS promotes the down-regulation of CCR7 and CD62L after activation, leading to a reduced return of activated CD4 T cells to the lymph nodes and a more efficient entry into the lungs.
ICOS; co-stimulation; Th2; airway inflammation; T-cell migration
We have addressed the role of the inducible costimulator (ICOS) in the development of T cell help for B cells and in the generation, survival and reactivation of memory CD4 T cells and B cells. We find that while T cell help for all antibody isotypes (including IgG2c) is impaired in ICOS knockout (ICOS-KO) mice, the IFN-γ response is little affected, indicating a defect in helper function that is unrelated to cytokine production. In addition, the ICOS-negative T cells do not accumulate in B cell follicles. Secondary (memory), but not primary, clonal proliferation of antigen-specific B cells is impaired in ICOS-KO mice, as is the generation of secondary antibody-secreting cells. Analysis of endogenous CD4 memory cells in ICOS-KO mice, using MHC class II tetramers, reveals normal primary clonal expansion, formation of memory clones and long-term (10 wk) survival of memory cells, but defective expansion upon reactivation in vivo. The data point to a role of ICOS in supporting secondary, memory and effector T cell responses, possibly by influencing cell survival. The data also highlight differences in ICOS dependency of endogenous T cell proliferation in vivo compared to that of adoptively transferred TCR-transgenic T cells.
B cells; Cell differentiation; Costimulation; Memory; T cells
CD4+ helper Th cells play a major role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Th cell activation, differentiation, and immune function are regulated by costimulatory molecules. Inducible costimulator (ICOS) is a novel costimulatory receptor expressed on activated T cells. We, as well as others, recently demonstrated its importance in Th2 cytokine expression and Ab class switching by B cells. In this study, we examined the role of ICOS in rheumatoid arthritis using a collagen-induced arthritis model. We found that ICOS knockout mice on the DBA/1 background were completely resistant to collagen-induced arthritis and exhibited absence of joint tissue inflammation. These mice, when immunized with collagen, exhibited reduced anti-collagen IgM Ab’s in the initial stage and IgG2a Ab’s at the effector phase of collagen-induced arthritis. Furthermore, ICOS regulates the in vitro and in vivo expression of IL-17, a proinflammatory cytokine implicated in rheumatoid arthritis. These data indicate that ICOS is essential for collagen-induced arthritis and may suggest novel means for treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Inducible costimulator (ICOS) is expressed on activated T cells and plays a key role in sustaining and enhancing the effector function of CD4 T cells. Given the function of this molecule in sustaining T-cell responses, we reasoned that ICOS might play an important role in a prolonged infection model, such as Salmonella infection of mice. To test this hypothesis, wild-type (WT) and ICOS-deficient (ICOS−/−) mice were infected systemically with a Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain expressing the chicken ovalbumin gene (Salmonella-OVA). ICOS−/− mice exhibited greater splenomegaly than WT mice and showed delayed bacterial clearance. The acquired immune response in this model was slow to develop. Maximal T-cell responses to Salmonella-OVA were detected at 3 weeks postinfection in both WT and ICOS−/− mice. CD4 T-cell-dependent gamma interferon production and a class switch to immunoglobulin G2a were severely reduced in ICOS−/− mice. ICOS−/− mice also exhibited a substantial defect in antigen-specific CD8 T-cell responses. In vitro, the effect of anti-ICOS on CD8 T-cell division was greater when CD8 T cells rather than CD4 T cells expressed ICOS, suggesting that the in vivo effects of ICOS on CD8 T cells could be direct. Taken together, these studies show that ICOS plays a critical role in control of Salmonella infection in mice, with effects on antibody, Th1, and CD8 T-cell responses.
Interaction between inducible costimulator (ICOS) and its ligand is implicated in the induction of cell-mediated and humoral immune responses. However, the molecular details of this interaction are unknown. We report here a mutagenesis analysis of residues in ICOS that are critical for ligand binding. A three-dimensional model of the extracellular immunoglobulin-like domain of ICOS was used to map the residues conserved within the CD28 family. This analysis identified a surface patch containing the characteristic “PPP” sequence and is conserved in human and mouse ICOS. Mutations in this region of human ICOS reduce or abolish ligand binding. Our results suggest that the ligand binding site in ICOS maps to a region overlapping yet distinct from the CD80/CD86 binding sites in CD28 and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA)-4. Thus, the analysis suggests that differences in ligand binding specificity between these related costimulatory molecules have evolved by utilization of overlapping regions with different patterns of conserved and nonconserved residues. Two site-specific mutants generated in the course of our studies bound ICOS ligand with higher avidity than wild-type ICOS. An S76E mutant protein of ICOS blocked T cell costimulatory function of ICOS ligand and inhibited T cell response to allogeneic antigens superior to wild-type ICOS. Our studies thus identified critical residues involving in ICOS receptor–ligand interaction and provide new modulators for immune responses.
ICOS; CD28; molecular model; mutagenesis; avidity
Although initial reports linked the costimulatory molecule ICOS preferentially with the deelopment of Th2 cells, there is evidence that it is not required for protective type 2 immunity to helminths and that it contributes to Th1 and Th2 responses to other parasites. To address the role of ICOS in the development of infection-induced polarized Th cells, ICOS-/- mice were infected with Trichuris muris or Toxoplasma gondii. Wild-type mice challenged with T. muris developed Th2 responses and expelled these helminths by day 18 postinfection, whereas ICOS-/- mice failed to clear worms and produced reduced levels of type 2 cytokines. However, by day 35 postinfection, ICOS-/- mice were able to mount an effective Th2 response and worms were expelled. This delay in protective immunity was associated with a defect in infection-induced increases in the number of activated and proliferating CD4+ T cells. Similarly, following challenge with T. gondii ICOS was required for optimal proliferation by CD4+ T cells. However, the reduced number of activated CD4+ T cells and associated defect in the production of IFN-γ did not result in increased susceptibility to T. gondii, but rather resulted in decreased CNS pathology during the chronic phase of this infection. Taken together, these data are consistent with a model in which ICOS is not involved in dictating polarity of the Th response but rather regulates the expansion of these subsets.
Mice lacking Itk, a T-cell-specific protein tyrosine kinase, have reduced numbers of T cells and reduced responses to allogeneic major histocompatibility molecules. This study analyzed antiviral immune responses in mice deficient for Itk. Primary cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses were analyzed after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), vaccinia virus (VV), and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Ex vivo CTL activity was consistently reduced by a factor of two to six for the different viruses. CTL responses after restimulation in vitro were similarly reduced unless exogenous cytokines were added. In the presence of interleukin-2 or concanavalin A supernatant, Itk-deficient and control mice responded similarly. Interestingly, while LCMV was completely eliminated by day 8 in both Itk-deficient and control mice, VV cleared from itk-/- mice with delayed kinetics. Antibody responses were evaluated after VSV infection. Both the T-cell-independent neutralizing immunoglobulin M (IgM) and the T-cell-dependent IgG responses were similar in Itk-deficient and control mice. Taken together, the results show that CTL responses are reduced in the absence of Itk whereas antiviral B-cell responses are not affected.
The CD28 family molecules, CD28, and inducible costimulator (ICOS) all provide positive costimulatory signals. However, unlike CD28, ICOS does not costimulate IL-2 secretion. The YMNM motif that exists in the CD28 cytoplasmic domain is a known binding site for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and Grb2. ICOS possesses the YMFM motif in the corresponding region of CD28 that binds PI3-K but not Grb2. We postulated that the reason that ICOS does not have the ability to induce IL-2 production is because it fails to recruit Grb2. To verify this hypothesis, we generated a mutant ICOS gene that contains the CD28 YMNM motif and measured IL-2 promoter activation after ICOS ligation. The results indicated that ICOS became competent to activate the IL-2 promoter by this single alteration. Further analysis demonstrated that Grb2 binding to ICOS was sufficient to activate the NFAT/AP-1 site in the IL-2 promoter and that the cytoplasmic domain of CD28 outside of the YMNM motif is required for activation of the CD28RE/AP-1 and NF-κB sites. Together, these observations lead us to believe that the difference of a single amino acid, which affects Grb2 binding ability, may define a functional difference between the CD28- and ICOS-mediated costimulatory signals.
Grb2; Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; NFAT; AP-1; NF-κb
The T cell costimulatory molecule ICOS regulates Th2 effector function in allergic airway disease. Recently, several studies with ICOS−/− mice have also demonstrated a role for ICOS in Th2 differentiation. To determine the effects of ICOS on the early immune response, we investigated augmenting ICOS costimulation in a Th2-mediated immune response to Schistosoma mansoni antigens. We found that augmenting ICOS costimulation with B7RP-1-Fc increased the accumulation of T and B cells in the draining lymph nodes post-immunization. Interestingly, the increased numbers were due in part to increased migration of undivided antigen-specific TCR transgenic T cells and surprisingly B cells, as well as non-TCR transgenic T cells. B7RP-1-Fc also increased the levels of the chemokines, CCL21 and CXCL13, in the draining lymph node, suggesting ICOS costimulation contributes to migration by direct or indirect effects on, dendritic cells, stromal cells and high endothelial venules. Further, the effects of B7RP-1-Fc were not dependent on immunization. Our data support a model in which ICOS costimulation augments the pool of lymphocytes in the draining lymph nodes leading to an increase in the frequency of potentially reactive T and B cells.
Costimulation; Th1/Th2 cells; B cells; Rodent; Spleen and Lymph Nodes
Seasonal influenza vaccine protects 60 to 90% of healthy young adults from influenza infection. The immunological events that lead to the induction of protective antibody responses remain poorly understood in humans. We identified the type of CD4+ T cells associated with protective antibody responses after seasonal influenza vaccinations. The administration of trivalent split-virus influenza vaccines induced a temporary increase of CD4+ T cells expressing ICOS, which peaked at day 7, as did plasmablasts. The induction of ICOS was largely restricted to CD4+ T cells co-expressing the chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CXCR5, a subpopulation of circulating memory T follicular helper cells. Up to 60% of these ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells were specific for influenza antigens and expressed interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-10, IL-21, and interferon-γ upon antigen stimulation. The increase of ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells in blood correlated with the increase of preexisting antibody titers, but not with the induction of primary antibody responses. Consistently, purified ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells efficiently induced memory B cells, but not naïve B cells, to differentiate into plasma cells that produce influenza-specific antibodies ex vivo. Thus, the emergence of blood ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells correlates with the development of protective antibody responses generated by memory B cells upon seasonal influenza vaccination.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is a noncytopathic arenavirus shown to infect a broad range of different cell types. Here, we combined the beneficial characteristics of the LCMV glycoprotein (LCMV-GP) and those of retroviral vectors to generate a new, safe, and efficient gene transfer system. These LCMV-GP pseudotypes were systematically compared with vectors containing the widely used amphotropic murine leukemia virus envelope (A-MLVenv) or the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G). Production of LCMV-GP-pseudotyped oncoretroviral and lentiviral vectors by transient transfection resulted in vector titers similar to those with A-MLVenv or VSV-G. In contrast to A-MLVenv particles, LCMV-GP pseudotypes could be efficiently concentrated by ultracentrifugation without loss of vector titer. Unlike the cell-toxic VSV-G, a stable retroviral packaging cell line constitutively expressing LCMV-GP could be established. Vectors pseudotyped with LCMV-GP efficiently transduced many cell lines from different species and tissues relevant for gene therapy. Transduction of human glioma cells was studied in detail. These cells are a major target for cancer gene therapy and were transduced more efficiently with LCMV-GP-pseudotyped vectors than with the generally used A-MLVenv particles. The high stability, low toxicity, and broad host range make LCMV-GP-pseudotyped vectors attractive for gene transfer applications. The recombinant LCMV-GP-pseudotyped vectors will also allow functional characterization of naturally occurring and recombinant LCMV-GP variants.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the fifth most common cause of cancer death among women. Despite its immunogenicity, effective antitumor responses are limited, due, in part, to the presence of forkhead box protein 3–positive (Foxp3+) T regulatory (Treg) cells in the tumor microenvironment. However, the mechanisms that regulate the accumulation and the suppressive function of these Foxp3+ Treg cells are poorly understood. Here, we found that the majority of Foxp3+ Treg cells accumulating in the tumor microenvironment of EOCs belong to the subset of Foxp3+ Treg cells expressing inducible costimulator (ICOS). The expansion and the suppressive function of these cells were strictly dependent on ICOS-L costimulation provided by tumor plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC). Accordingly, ICOS+Foxp3+Treg cells were found to localize in close vicinity of tumor pDCs, and their number directly correlated with the numbers of pDCs in the tumors. Furthermore, pDCs and ICOS+ Foxp3+Treg cells were found to be strong predictors for disease progression in patients with ovarian cancer, with ICOS+Treg cell subset being a stronger predictor than total Foxp3+Treg cells. These findings suggest an essential role for pDCs and ICOS-L in immunosuppression mediated by ICOS+ Foxp3+ Treg cells, leading to tumor progression in ovarian cancer.
Influenza virus infection results in strong, mainly T-dependent, extrafollicular and germinal center B cell responses, which provide lifelong humoral immunity against the homotypic virus strain. Follicular T helper cells (TFH) are key regulators of humoral immunity. Questions remain regarding the presence, identity, and function of TFH subsets regulating early extrafollicular and later germinal center B cell responses. This study demonstrates that ICOS but not CXCR5 marks T cells with B helper activity induced by influenza virus infection and identifies germinal center T cells (TGC) as lymph node-resident CD4+ ICOS+ CXCR4+ CXCR5+ PSGL-1lo PD-1hi cells. The CXCR4 expression intensity further distinguished their germinal center light and dark zone locations. This population emerged strongly in regional lymph nodes and with kinetics similar to those of germinal center B cells and were the only TFH subsets missing in influenza virus-infected, germinal center-deficient SAP−/− mice, mice which were shown previously to lack protective memory responses after a secondary influenza virus challenge, thus indicting the nonredundant functions of CXCR4- and CXCR5-coexpressing CD4 helper cells in antiviral B cell immunity. CXCR4-single-positive T cells, present in B cell-mediated autoimmunity and regarded as “extrafollicular” helper T cells, were rare throughout the response, despite prominent extrafollicular B cell responses, revealing fundamental differences in autoimmune- and infection-induced T-dependent B cell responses. While all ICOS+ subsets induced similar antibody levels in vitro, CXCR5-single-positive T cells were superior in inducing B cell proliferation. The regulation of T cell localization, marked by the single and coexpression of CXCR4 and CXCR5, might be an important determinant of TFH function.
The question of whether virus-induced immunosuppression includes the antibody response against the infecting virus itself was evaluated in a model situation. Transgenic mice expressing the T-cell receptor (TCR) specific for peptide 32-42 of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein 1 presented by Db reacted with a strong transgenic cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response starting on day 3 after infection with a high dose (10(6) PFU intravenously [i.v.]) of the WE strain of LCMV (LCMV-WE); LCMV-specific antibody production in the spleen was suppressed in these mice. Low-dose (10(2) PFU i.v.) infection resulted in an antiviral antibody response comparable to that of the transgene-negative littermates. The induction of suppression of LCMV-specific antibody responses was specifically mediated by CD8+ TCR transgenic CTLs, since the LCMV-8.7 variant virus (which is not recognized by transgenic TCR-expressing CTLs because of a point mutation) did not induce suppression. In addition, treatment with CD8 monoclonal antibody in vivo abrogated suppression. Once suppression had been established, it was found to be nonspecific. The abrogation of antibody responses depended on the relative kinetics of the antibody response involved and the kinetics of the anti-LCMV CTL response. Analysis of T- and B-cell subpopulations showed no significant changes, but immunohistochemical analysis of spleens revealed extensive destruction of follicular organization in lymphoid tissue by day 4 in transgenic mice infected with LCMV-WE but not in those infected with the CTL escape mutant LCMV-8.7. Impairment of antigen presentation rather than of T or B cells was also suggested by adoptive transfer experiments, showing that transferred infected macrophages may improve the anti-LCMV antibody response in LCMV-immunosuppressed transgenic recipients; also, T and B cells from suppressed transgenic mice did respond in irradiated and virus-infected nontransgenic mice with antibody formation to LCMV. Such virus-triggered, T-cell-mediated immunopathology causing the suppression of B cells and of protective antibody responses, including those against the infecting virus itself, may permit certain viruses to establish persistent infections.
We previously showed that mice deficient in the Inducible Costimulator ligand (ICOSL-KO) develop more severe disease and lung pathology with delayed bacterial clearance upon respiratory infection of Chlamydia muridarum. Importantly, the exacerbation of disease in ICOSL-KO mice was seen despite heightened IFN-γ/Th1 responses, the major defense mechanisms against Chlamydia. To gain insight into the mechanism of ICOS function in this model, we presently analyzed anti-Chlamydia immune responses in mice lacking the entire ICOS (ICOS-KO) versus knock-in mice expressing a mutant ICOS (ICOS-Y181F) that has selectively lost the ability to activate phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Like ICOSL-KO mice, ICOS-KO mice showed worse disease with elevated IFN-γ/Th1 responses compared to wild-type (WT) mice. ICOS-Y181F mice developed much milder disease compared to ICOS-KO mice, yet they were still not fully protected to the WT level. This partial protection in ICOS-Y181F mice could not be explained by the magnitude of IFN-γ/Th1 responses since these mice developed a similar level of IFN-γ response compared to WT mice. It was rather IL-17/Th17 responses that reflected disease severity: IL-17/Th17 response was partially impaired in ICOS-Y181F mice compared to WT, but was substantially stronger than that of ICOS-KO mice. Consistently, we found that both polarization and expansion of Th17 cells were partially impaired in ICOS-Y181F CD4 T cells, and was further reduced in ICOS-KO CD4 T cells in vitro. Our results indicate that once the IFN-γ/Th1 response is above a threshold level, the IL-17/Th17 response becomes a limiting factor in controlling Chlamydia lung infection, and that ICOS plays an important role in promoting Th17 responses in part through the activation of PI3K.
Memory CD4 T cells play a vital role in protection against re-infection by pathogens as diverse as helminthes or influenza viruses. Inducible costimulator (ICOS) is highly expressed on memory CD4 T cells and has been shown to augment proliferation and survival of activated CD4 T cells. However, the role of ICOS costimulation on the development and maintenance of memory CD4 T cells remains controversial. Herein, we describe a significant defect in the number of effector memory (EM) phenotype cells in ICOS−/− and ICOSL−/− mice that becomes progressively more dramatic as the mice age. This decrease was not due to a defect in the homeostatic proliferation of EM phenotype CD4 T cells in ICOS−/− or ICOSL−/− mice. To determine whether ICOS regulated the development or survival of EM CD4 T cells, we utilized an adoptive transfer model. We found no defect in development of EM CD4 T cells, but long-term survival of ICOS−/− EM CD4 T cells was significantly compromised compared to wild-type cells. The defect in survival was specific to EM cells as the central memory (CM) ICOS−/− CD4 T cells persisted as well as wild type cells. To determine the physiological consequences of a specific defect in EM CD4 T cells, wild-type and ICOS−/− mice were infected with influenza virus. ICOS−/− mice developed significantly fewer influenza-specific EM CD4 T cells and were more susceptible to re-infection than wild-type mice. Collectively, our findings demonstrate a role for ICOS costimulation in the maintenance of EM but not CM CD4 T cells.
A costimulatory signal is required for the full activation of T cells, in addition to the antigen-specific signal via the T cell receptor. The inducible costimulator, ICOS is one of the costimulatory molecules that play an essential role in this process, particularly in the expansion or the development of effector T cells. As blocking of the interaction between ICOS and its ligand, B7RP-1, suppresses the T cell response, it can be applied to the treatment of allograft rejection or autoimmune diseases. Here, we isolated four scFv clones that were specific to human B7RP-1 by biopanning a human antibody phage library. We found that three of these clones inhibited the interaction between ICOS-Fc and B7RP-1-Fc. These inhibitory clones not only recognized B7RP-1 molecules expressed on B cells, as assessed by FACS, but also exhibited inhibitory activity in a proliferation assay of T cells stimulated with anti-CD3 mAb and B7RP-1-Fc. Finally, the suppression effect of the scFv on the allogenic immune response was examined using a mixed lymphocyte reaction assay, which demonstrated a successful inhibition of the allogenic reaction, in spite of the high dose needed for complete inhibition (360 nM).
costimulatory signal; B7RP-1; ICOS; T-cell proliferation; antibody fragment; scFv; allogenic reaction
The inducible costimulatory molecule (ICOS) has been suggested to play an important role in the development of interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing T helper cells (TH-17 cells) and of follicular helper cells (TFH cells), specialized helper T cells (CD4+CXCR5+ICOShigh) required for antibody class switching and germinal center formation. Here we show that ICOS, while not essential for the differentiation of TH-17 cells, was critical for maintaining effector-memory TH-17 cells as ICOS-deficient mice demonstrated a defect in the expansion of TH-17 cells after IL-23 stimulation. In addition, we found that TFH cells produced IL-17 and that ICOS-deficient mice demonstrated a reduced frequency of TFH with a defect in IL-17 production. Both TH-17 and TFH cells showed increased expression of the transcription factor c-Maf—normally associated with TH2 cells— and that loss of c-Maf results in a defect in IL-21 production, and consequently a defect in the maintenance of IL-23R expression and expansion of TH-17 and TFH cells. These data suggest that c-Maf induced by ICOS regulates IL-21 production that, in turn, regulates expansion of TH-17 cells and TFH cells.
The cellular promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) associates with the proteins of several viruses and in some cases reduces viral propagation in cell culture. To examine the role of PML in vivo, we compared immune responses and virus loads of PML-deficient and control mice infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). PML−/− mice exhibited accelerated primary footpad swelling reactions to very-low-dose LCMV, higher swelling peaks upon high-dose inoculation, and higher viral loads in the early phase of systemic LCMV infection. T-cell-mediated hepatitis and consequent mortality upon infection with a hepatotropic LCMV strain required 10- to 100-times-lower inocula despite normal cytotoxic T-lymphocyte reactivity in PML−/− mice. Furthermore, PML deficiency rendered mice 10 times more susceptible to lethal immunopathology upon intracerebral LCMV inoculation. Accordingly, 10-times-lower VSV inocula elicited specific neutralizing-antibody responses, a replication-based effect not observed with inactivated virus or after immunization with recombinant VSV glycoprotein. These in vivo observations corroborated our results showing more virus production in PML−/− fibroblasts. Thus, PML is a contributor to innate immunity, defining host susceptibility to viral infections and to immunopathology.
Inducible costimulator (ICOS), a costimulatory molecular of the CD28 family, provides positive signal to enhance T cell proliferation. Its abnormal expression can disturb the immune response and entail an increased risk of cancer. To investigate whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ICOS gene are associated with sporadic breast cancer susceptibility and progression in Chinese women, a case-control study was conducted.
In the study cohort, we genotyped five SNPs (rs11889031, rs10932029, rs4675374, rs10183087 and rs10932037) in ICOS gene among 609 breast cancer patients and 665 age-matched healthy controls. Furthermore, the positive results were replicated in an independent validation cohort of 619 patients and 682 age-matched healthy controls. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) was used to determine the genotypes.
In rs10932029, compared with TT genotype and T allele, the CT genotype and C allele showed a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (P = 0.030, OR = 1.467, 95% CI 1.037-2.077; P = 0.017, OR = 1.481, 95% CI 1.070-2.049, respectively), and the associations were also significant in the validation cohort (P = 0.002, OR = 1.693, 95% CI 1.211-2.357; P = 0.003, OR = 1.607, 95% CI 1.171-2.204, respectively). Haplotype analysis showed that CTCAC haplotype containing rs10932029 T allele had a lower frequency in cases than in controls (P = 0.015), whereas haplotype CCCAC containing rs10932029 C allele was more common in cases than in controls (P = 0.013). In the analysis of clinicopathologic features, rs11889031 CT genotype and T allele were associated with progesterone receptor (PR) status and lymph node metastasis, which were further supported by our validation cohort. Moreover, some haplotypes were associated with estrogen receptor (ER) and PR statuses.
These results indicate that ICOS gene polymorphisms may affect the risk of breast cancer and show that some SNPs are associated with breast cancer characteristics in a northern Chinese population.