B-cell-biased lymphoid progenitors (BLPs) and Pre-pro B cells lie at a critical juncture between B cell specification and commitment. However, both of these populations are heterogenous, which hampers investigation into the molecular changes that occur as lymphoid progenitors commit to the B cell lineage. Here, we demonstrate that there are PDCA-1+Siglec H+ plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) that co-purify with BLPs and Pre-pro B cells, which express little or no CD11c or Ly6C. Removal of PDCA-1+ pDCs separates B cell progenitors that express high levels of a Rag1-GFP reporter from Rag1-GFPlow/neg pDCs within the BLP and Pre-pro B populations. Analysis of Flt3-ligand knockout and IL-7Rα knockout mice revealed that there is a block in B cell development at the all-lymphoid progenitor (ALP) stage, as the majority of cells within the BLP or Pre-pro B gates were PDCA-1+ pDCs. Thus, removal of PDCA-1+ pDCs is critical for analysis of BLP and Pre-pro B cell populations. Analysis of B cell potential within the B220+CD19− fraction demonstrated that AA4.1+Ly6D+PDCA-1− Pre-pro B cells gave rise to CD19+ B cells at high frequency, while PDCA-1+ pDCs in this fraction did not. Interestingly, the presence of PDCA-1+ pDCs within CLPs may help to explain the conflicting results regarding the origin of these cells.
Dap12 and FcRγ, the two transmembrane ITAM-containing signaling adaptors expressed in dendritic cells (DC), are implicated in the regulation of DC function. Several activating and adhesion receptors including integrins require these chains for their function in triggering downstream signaling and effector pathways, however the exact role(s) for Dap12 and FcRγ remains elusive as their loss can lead to both attenuating and enhancing effects. Here, we report that mice congenitally lacking both Dap12 and FcRγ chains (DF) show a massively enhanced effector CD8+ T cell response to protein antigen immunization or West Nile Virus (WNV) infection. Thus, immunization of DF mice with MHCI-restricted OVA peptide leads to accumulation of IL-12-producing monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DC) in draining lymph nodes, followed by vastly enhanced generation of antigen-specific IFNγ-producing CD8+ T cells. Moreover, DF mice show increased viral clearance in the WNV infection model. Depletion of CCR2+ monocytes/macrophages in vivo by administration anti-CCR2 antibodies or clodronate liposomes completely prevents the exaggerated CD8+ T cell response in DF mice. Mechanistically, we show that the loss of Dap12 and FcRγ-mediated signals in Mo-DC leads to a disruption of GM-CSF receptor-induced STAT5 activation resulting in upregulation of expression of IRF8, a transcription factor. Consequently, Dap12- and FcRγ-deficiency exacerbates GM-CSF-driven monocyte differentiation and production of inflammatory Mo-DC. Our data suggest a novel cross-talk between DC-ITAM and GM-CSF signaling pathways, which controls Mo-DC differentiation, IL-12 production, and CD8+ T cell responses.
We have investigated the effect of different maturation stimuli on the ability of mature dendritic cells (DCs) to cross-present newly acquired particulate antigens. Cross-presentation was impaired in DCs matured by treatment with TNF-α, CpG and LPS, but was less affected upon CD40L-induced maturation. The difference could not be explained by decreased antigen uptake or translocation into the cytosol, but decreased cross-presentation ability did correlate with increased phagosomal/lysosomal acidification. Nevertheless, intra-phagosomal degradation of OVA was not increased in matured samples, suggesting that decreasing phagosomal pH may also regulate cross-presentation by a mechanism other than enhancing degradation.
Migration of resident dendritic cells (DC) from the skin to local lymph nodes (LN) triggers T cell-mediated immune responses during cutaneous infection, autoimmune disease and vaccination. Here we investigated whether the development and migration of skin resident DC were regulated by interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4), a transcription factor that is required for the development of CD11b+ splenic DC. We found that the skin of naïve IRF4−/− mice contained normal numbers of epidermal Langerhans cells (eLC) and increased numbers of CD11b+ and CD103+ dermal DC populations, indicating that tissue DC development and skin residency is not disrupted by IRF4 deficiency. In contrast, numbers of migratory eLC and CD11b+ dermal DC were significantly reduced in the cutaneous LN of IRF4−/− mice, suggesting a defect in constitutive migration from the dermis during homeostasis. Upon induction of skin inflammation, CD11b+ dermal DC in IRF4−/− mice did not express the chemokine receptor CCR7, and failed to migrate to cutaneous LN, while the migration of eLC was only mildly impaired. Thus, while dispensable for their development, IRF4 is crucial for the CCR7-mediated migration of CD11b+ dermal DC, a predominant population in murine and human skin that plays a vital role in normal and pathogenic cutaneous immunity.
Processing of antigens for presentation to helper T cells by MHC class II involves HLA-DM (DM) and HLA-DO (DO) accessory molecules. A mechanistic understanding of DO in this process has been missing. The leading model on its function proposes that DO inhibits the effects of DM. To directly study DO functions, we designed a recombinant soluble DO and expressed it in insect cells. The kinetics of binding and dissociation of several peptides to HLA-DR1 (DR1) molecules in the presence of DM and DO were measured. We found that DO reduced binding of DR1 to some peptides, and enhanced the binding of some other peptides to DR1. Interestingly, these enhancing and reducing effects were observed in the presence, or absence, of DM. We found that peptides that were negatively affected by DO were DM-sensitive, whereas peptides that were enhanced by DO were DM-resistant. The positive and negative effects of DO could only be measured on binding kinetics as peptide dissociation kinetics were not affected by DO. Using Surface Plasmon Resonance, we demonstrate direct binding of DO to a peptide-receptive, but not a closed conformation of DR1. We propose that DO imposes another layer of control on epitope selection during antigen processing.
Immune cells and hematopoietic progenitors express estrogen receptors (ER). As ligand-activated transcription factors that modulate chromatin structure, ER regulate transcriptional programs that direct the development or functional responses of immune cells. ER-regulated immune responses likely contribute to significant sex biases in infection, autoimmunity and other inflammatory diseases, and changes in immune function during the female hormonal cycle and pregnancy. Here we summarize our own and others’ studies showing that ERα signaling regulates the development of dendritic cells (DCs), antigen-presenting cells crucial for initiation of innate and adaptive immunity. During inflammation, elevated GM-CSF directs the development of new DCs from monocytes or other precursors that infiltrate tissues and lymphoid organs, and these de novo populations of inflammatory DCs have critical roles in programming T cell-mediated responses during infection and autoimmunity. Estradiol acting via ERα, but not ERβ, promotes the GM-CSF-mediated inflammatory pathway of DC differentiation, leading to the development of DCs with increased functional capacity. Estradiol/ERα signaling acts directly in GM-CSF-stimulated myeloid progenitors to induce elevated levels of IRF4, a transcription factor that directs a developmental program underlying CD11b+ DC differentiation. In contrast, during homeostatic Flt3 Ligand-driven DC development, ERα signaling decreases numbers of myeloid progenitors and differentiated DCs, yet promotes more functionally competent DCs. Thus ERα signaling regulates the response of DC progenitors to the external cytokine environment, thereby altering the strength or integrity of DC developmental pathways. The development of increased numbers of DCs during inflammation will likely increase the magnitude of DC-mediated functional responses including cytokine production, processing and MHC-mediated presentation of antigens, and activation and polarization of T and B lymphocytes; these functions also may be regulated directly by ERα signaling. In sum, via profound effects on DC development and ensuing functional responses, ERα signaling can regulate the quality of the adaptive immune responses and influence the resolution of infection or chronic inflammatory diseases.
Estrogen; Estrogen Receptor; Sex Hormone; SERM; Immunoendocrinology; Dendritic Cells; Antigen-presenting cells; Cellular differentiation; Inflammation; Hematopoiesis
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infects the gastric mucosa and persists for the life of the host. Bacterial persistence may be due to the induction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) whichmay have protective effects against other diseases such as asthma. It has been shown that H. pylori modulates the T cell response through dendritic cell reprogramming but the molecular pathways involved are relatively unknown. The goal of this study was to identify critical elements of dendritic cell (DC) activation and evaluate potential influence on immune activation. Microarray analysis was used to demonstrate limited gene expression changes in H. pylori stimulated bone marrow derived DCs (BMDCs) compared to the BMDCs stimulated with E. coli. IRAK-M, a negative regulator of TLR signaling, was upregulated and we selectedit for investigation of its role in modulating the DC and T cell responses. IRAK-M−/− and wild type BMDC were compared for their response to H. pylori. Cells lacking IRAK-M produced significantly greater amounts of proinflammatory MIP-2 and reduced amounts of immunomodulatory IL-10 than wild type BMDC. IRAK-M−/− cells also demonstrated increased MHC II expression upon activation. However, IRAK-M−/− BMDCs were comparable to wild type BMDCs in inducing T-helper 17 (TH17) and Treg responses as demonstrated in vitro using BMDC CD4+ T cells co-culture assays,and in vivo though the adoptive transfer of CD4+ FoxP3-GFP T cells into H. pylori infected IRAK-M−/− mice. These results suggest that H. pylori infection leads to the upregulation of anti-inflammatory molecules like IRAK-M and that IRAK-M has a direct impact on innate functions in DCs such as cytokine and costimulation molecule upregulation but may not affect T cell skewing.
Bcl11a is a transcription factor known to regulate lymphoid and erythroid development. Recent bioinformatic analysis of global gene expression patterns has suggested a role for Bcl11a in the development of dendritic cell (DC) lineages. We tested this hypothesis by analyzing the development of DC and other lineages in Bcl11a−/− mice. We found that Bcl11a was required for expression of IL-7 receptor (IL-7R) and Flt3 in early hematopoietic progenitor cells. In addition, we found severely decreased numbers of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in Bcl11a−/− fetal livers and in the bone marrow of Bcl11a−/− fetal liver chimeras. Moreover, Bcl11a−/− cells showed severely impaired in vitro development of Flt3L-derived pDCs and classical DCs (cDCs). In contrast, we found normal in vitro development of DCs from Bcl11a−/− fetal liver cells treated with GM-CSF. These results suggest that the persistent cDC development observed in Bcl11a−/− fetal liver chimeras reflects derivation from a Bcl11a- and Flt3-independent pathway in vivo.
Steady state dendritic cells (DC) found in non-lymphoid tissue sites under normal physiologic conditions play a pivotal role in triggering T cell responses upon immune provocation. CD11b+ and CD103+ DC have received considerable attention in this regard. However, still unknown is whether such CD11b+ and CD103+ DC even exist in the ocular mucosa, and if so, what functions they have in shaping immune responses. We herein identified in the ocular mucosa of normal wild-type (WT) and Flt3-/- mice the presence of a CD11b+ DC (i.e., CD11c+ MHCII+ CD11b+ CD103- F4/80+ Sirp-a+). CD103+ DC (i.e. CD11c+ MHCII+ CD11b low CD103+ CD8a+ DEC205+ Langerin+) were also present in WT, but not in Flt3-/- mice. These CD103+ DC expressed high levels of Id2 and Flt3 mRNA; whereas CD11b+ DC expressed high Irf4, Csfr, and Cx3cr1 mRNA. Additionally, the functions of these DC differed in response to allergic immune provocation. This was assessed utilizing a previously validated model, which includes transferring specific populations of exogenous DC into the ocular mucosa of ovalbumin (OVA)/alum-primed mice. Interestingly, in such mice, topical OVA instillation following engraftment of exogenous CD11b+ DC led to dominant allergic T cell responses and clinical signs of ocular allergy relative to those engrafted with CD103+ DC. Thus, although CD11b+ and CD103+ DC are both present in the normal ocular mucosa, the CD11b+ DC subset plays a dominant role in a mouse model of ocular allergy.
The type I interferon (IFN) family comprises 15 cytokines (in human 13α, 1β, 1ω), which exert several cellular functions through binding to a common receptor. Despite initial activation of the same Jak/Stat signalling pathway, the cellular response may differ depending on type I IFN subtype. We investigated the activity of six type I IFN subtypes - IFNα1, α2, α8, α21, ω and β- to promote the differentiation of dendritic cells (DC). Transcriptome analyses identified two distinct groups, the IFNα/ω-DC and the IFNβ-DC. In addition, the expression level of seven chemokines and several cell surface markers characteristic of DC distinguished IFNα-DC and IFNβ-DC. These differences are unlikely to impact the efficacy of T cell functional response since IFNα2-DC and IFNβ-DC were equipotent in inducing the proliferation and the polarization of allogenic naïve CD4 T cells into Th1 cells and in stimulating autologous antigen specific CD4 or CD8 T cells. Of the functional parameters analysed, the only one that showed a modest differential was the phagocytic uptake of dead cells which was higher for IFNα2-DC.
Human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) is a common virus with a worldwide distribution that has been associated with multiple sclerosis. Whether HHV-6A can replicate in dendritic cells (DC) and how the infection might modulate the functional properties of the cell are currently not well known and need further investigations. Here, we show that a non-productive infection of HHV-6A in DC leads to the up-regulation of HLA-ABC, via autocrine IFN-α signaling, as well as the up-regulation of HLA-DR and CD86. However, HHV-6A exposure reduces IL-8 secretion by DC and their capacity to stimulate allogenic T cell proliferation. The ability to suppress DC functions important for activation of innate and adaptive immune responses might be one successful strategy by which HHV-6A avoids the induction of appropriate host defense mechanisms, and thus facilitating persistent infection.
Toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) is an important pattern recognition receptor with the ability to drive potent innate immune responses and also to modulate adaptive immune responses needed for long term protection. Activation of TLR4 by its ligands is mediated by engagement of the adapter proteins MyD88 (myeloid differentiation factor 88) and TRIF (Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain-containing adapter inducing interferon-beta). Previously, we showed that TRIF, but not MyD88, plays an important role in allowing TLR4 agonists to adjuvant early T cell responses. In this study, we investigated the T cell priming events that are regulated specifically by the TRIF signaling branch of TLR4. We found that TRIF deficiency prevented the TLR4 agonist lipid A from enhancing T cell proliferation and survival in an adoptive transfer model of T cell priming. TRIF deficient DC showed defective maturation as evidenced by their failure to upregulate co-stimulatory molecules in response to lipid A stimulation. Importantly, TRIF alone caused CD86 and CD40 upregulation on splenic DC, but both TRIF and MyD88 were required for CD80 upregulation. The impairment of T cell adjuvant effects and defective DC maturation in TRIF lps/lps mice after TLR4 stimulation was mainly due to loss of type I IFN production, indicating that type I interferons are central to TLR4's adjuvant effects. These results are useful for the continued development of TLR4 based vaccine adjuvants that avoid inflammatory risks while retaining beneficial immune response.
The spontaneous destruction of insulin producing pancreatic beta cells in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice provides a valuable model of type 1 diabetes. As in humans, disease susceptibility is controlled by the classical MHC class II genes that guide CD4+ T cell responses to self and foreign antigens. It has long been suspected that the dedicated class II chaperone designated HLA-DM in humans or H-2M in mice also makes an important contribution, but due to tight linkage within the MHC, a possible role played by DM peptide editing has not been previously tested by conventional genetic approaches. Here we exploited newly established germ-line competent NOD ES cells to engineer a loss of function allele. DM deficient NOD mice display defective class II peptide occupancy and surface expression, and are completely protected against type 1 diabetes. Interestingly the mutation results in increased proportional representation of CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells and the absence of pathogenic CD4+ T effectors. Overall, this striking phenotype establishes that DM-mediated peptide selection plays an essential role in the development of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as critical regulators of many cellular responses, through the action of miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC)- or miRNA ribonucleoprotein complex (miRNP)-mediated gene repression. Here we studied the role of miRNAs in the development of dendritic cells (DCs), an important immune cell type that is divided into conventional DC (cDC) and plasmacytoid DC (pDC) subsets. We found that miR-22 was highly expressed in mouse CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDCs compared to pDCs, and was induced in DC progenitor cell cultures with GM-CSF, which stimulate CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDC differentiation. Enforced overexpression of miR-22 during DC development enhanced CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDC generation at the expense of pDCs, while miR-22 knockdown demonstrated opposite effects. Moreover, overexpression and knockdown of miR-22 showed significant effects on the mRNA abundance of Irf8, which encodes the transcription factor IRF8 that plays essential roles in DC development. Luciferase reporter assays confirmed that miR-22 binds directly to the 3′UTR of the mouse Irf8 mRNA. Collectively, these results suggest that miR-22 targets Irf8 mRNA for posttranscriptional repression and controls DC subset differentiation.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a generalized autoimmune disease characterized by abnormal B cell activation and the occurrence of increased frequencies of circulating plasma cells (PC). The molecular characteristics and nature of circulating PC and B cells in SLE have not been completely characterized. Microarray analysis of gene expression was used to characterize circulating PC in subjects with active SLE. Flow cytometry was used to sort PC and comparator B cell populations from active SLE blood, normal blood and normal tonsil. The gene expression profiles of the sorted B cell populations were then compared.
SLE PC exhibited a similar gene expression signature as tonsil PC. The differences in gene expression between SLE PC and normal tonsil PC and tonsil plasmablasts (PB) suggest a mature Ig secreting cell phenotype in the former population. Despite this, SLE PC differed in expression of about half the genes from previously published gene expression profiles of normal bone marrow PC, indicating that these cells had not achieved a fully mature status. Abnormal expression of several genes, including CXCR4 and S1P1, suggests a mechanism for the persistence of SLE PC in the circulation. All SLE B cell populations revealed an interferon (IFN) gene signature previously only reported in unseparated SLE peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These data indicate that SLE PC are a unique population of Ig secreting cells with a gene expression profile indicative of a mature, but not fully differentiated phenotype.
The TLR7 agonist imiquimod has been used successfully as adjuvant for skin treatment of virus-associated warts and basal cell carcinoma. The effects of skin TLR7 triggering on respiratory leukocyte populations are unknown. In a placebo-controlled experimental animal study we have used multicolour flow cytometry to systematically analyze the modulation of respiratory leukocyte subsets after skin administration of imiquimod. Compared to placebo, skin administration of imiquimod significantly increased respiratory dendritic cells (DC) and natural killer cells, whereas total respiratory leukocyte, alveolar macrophages, classical CD4+ T helper and CD8+ T killer cell numbers were not or only moderately affected. DC subpopulation analyses revealed that elevation of respiratory DC was caused by an increase of respiratory monocytic DC and CD11bhi DC subsets. Lymphocyte subpopulation analyses indicated a marked elevation of respiratory natural killer cells and a significant reduction of B lymphocytes. Analysis of cytokine responses of respiratory leukocytes after stimulation with Klebsiella pneumonia indicated reduced IFN-γ and TNF-α expression and increased IL-10 and IL-12p70 production after 7 day low dose skin TLR7 triggering. Additionally, respiratory NK cytotoxic activity was increased after 7d skin TLR7 triggering. In contrast, lung histology and bronchoalveolar cell counts were not affected suggesting that skin TLR7 stimulation modulated respiratory leukocyte composition without inducing overt pulmonary inflammation. These data suggest the possibility to modulate respiratory leukocyte composition and respiratory cytokine responses against pathogens like Klebsiella pneumonia through skin administration of a clinically approved TLR7 ligand. Skin administration of synthetic TLR7 ligands may represent a novel, noninvasive means to modulate respiratory immunity.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is able to evade the immune defenses and may persist for years, decades and even lifelong in the infected host. Mtb cell wall components may contribute to such persistence by modulating several pivotal types of immune cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells and hence play a crucial role in the initial immune response to infections by connecting the innate with the adaptive immune system.
We investigated the effects of two of the major mycobacterial cell wall-associated types of glycolipids, mannose-capped lipoarabinomannan (ManLAM) and phosphatidylinositol mannosides (PIMs) purified from the Mtb strains H37Rv and Mycobacterium bovis, on the maturation and cytokine profiles of immature human monocyte-derived DCs. ManLAM from Mtb H37Rv stimulated the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF, IL-12, and IL-6 and expression of co-stimulatory (CD80, CD86) and antigen-presenting molecules (MHC class II). ManLAM from M. bovis also induced TNF, IL-12 and IL-6 but at significantly lower levels. Importantly, while ManLAM was found to augment LPS-induced DC maturation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production, addition of PIMs from both Mtb H37Rv and M. bovis strongly reduced this stimulatory effect.
These results indicate that the mycobacterial cell wall contains macromolecules of glycolipid nature which are able to induce strong and divergent effects on human DCs; i.e while ManLAM is immune-stimulatory, PIMs act as powerful inhibitors of DC cytokine responses. Thus PIMs may be important Mtb-associated virulence factors contributing to the pathogenesis of tuberculosis disease. These findings may also aid in the understanding of some earlier conflicting reports on the immunomodulatory effects exerted by different ManLAM preparations.
Overexpression of type I interferon (IFN-I)-induced genes is a common feature of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and its experimental models, but the participation of endogenous overproduction of IFN-I on it is not clear. To explore the possibility that abnormally increased IFN-I receptor (IFNAR) signaling could participate in IFN-I-induced gene overexpression of SLE, we examined the phosphorylation status of the IFNAR-associated signaling partners Jak1 and STAT2, and its relation with expression of its physiologic inhibitor SOCS1 and with plasma levels of IFNα and IFN-like activity.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from SLE patients with or without disease activity and healthy controls cultured in the presence or in the absence of IFNβ were examined by immunoprecipitation and/or western blotting for expression of the two IFNAR chains, Jak1, Tyk2, and STAT2 and their phosphorylated forms. In SLE but not in healthy control PBMC, Jak1 and STAT2 were constitutively phosphorylated, even in the absence of disease activity (basal pJak1: controls vs. active SLE p<0.0001 and controls vs. inactive SLE p = 0.0006; basal pSTAT2: controls vs. active and inactive SLE p<0.0001). Although SOCS1 protein was slightly but significantly decreased in SLE in the absence or in the presence of IFNβ (p = 0.0096 to p<0.0001), in SOCS1 mRNA levels were markedly decreased (p = 0.036 to p<0.0001). IFNβ induced higher levels of the IFN-I-dependent MxA protein mRNA in SLE than in healthy controls, whereas the opposite was observed for SOCS1. Although there was no relation to increased serum IFNα, active SLE plasma could induce expression of IFN-dependent genes by normal PBMC.
These findings suggest that in some SLE patients IFN-I dependent gene expression could be the result of a low IFNAR signaling threshold.
Members of the Interferon Regulatory Factor (IRF) family of transcription factors play an essential role in the development and function of the immune system. Here we investigated the role of IRF7 in the functional activation of conventional CD11chi splenic dendritic cells (cDCs) in vitro and in vivo. Using mice deficient in IRF7, we found that this transcription factor was dispensable for the in vivo development of cDC subsets in the spleen. However, IRF7-deficient cDCs showed enhanced activation in response to microbial stimuli, characterised by exaggerated expression of CD80, CD86 and MHCII upon TLR2 ligation in vitro. The hyper-responsiveness of Irf7−/− cDC to TLR ligation could not be reversed with exogenous IFNα, nor by co-culture with wild-type cDCs, suggesting an intrinsic defect due to IRF7-deficiency. Irf7−/− cDCs also had impaired capacity to produce IL-12p70 when stimulated ex vivo, instead producing elevated levels of IL-10 that impaired their capacity to drive Th1 responses. Finally, analysis of bone marrow microchimeric mice revealed that cDCs deficient in IRF7 were also hyper-responsive to TLR2-mediated activation in vivo. Our data suggest a previously unknown function for IRF7 as a component of the regulatory network associated with cDC activation and adds to the wide variety of situations in which these transcription factors play a role.
Antibody-antigen conjugates, which promote antigen-presentation by dendritic cells (DC) by means of targeted delivery of antigen to particular DC subsets, represent a powerful vaccination approach. To ensure immunity rather than tolerance induction the co-administration of a suitable adjuvant is paramount. However, co-administration of unlinked adjuvant cannot ensure that all cells targeted by the antibody conjugates are appropriately activated. Furthermore, antigen-presenting cells (APC) that do not present the desired antigen are equally strongly activated and could prime undesired responses against self-antigens. We, therefore, were interested in exploring targeted co-delivery of antigen and adjuvant in cis in form of antibody-antigen-adjuvant conjugates for the induction of anti-tumour immunity. In this study, we report on the assembly and characterization of conjugates consisting of DEC205-specific antibody, the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) and CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN). We show that such conjugates are more potent at inducing cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses than control conjugates mixed with soluble CpG. However, our study also reveals that the nucleic acid moiety of such antibody-antigen-adjuvant conjugates alters their binding and uptake and allows delivery of the antigen and the adjuvant to cells partially independently of DEC205. Nevertheless, antibody-antigen-adjuvant conjugates are superior to antibody-free antigen-adjuvant conjugates in priming CTL responses and efficiently induce anti-tumour immunity in the murine B16 pseudo-metastasis model. A better understanding of the role of the antibody moiety is required to inform future conjugate vaccination strategies for efficient induction of anti-tumour responses.
NFκB signaling is critical for expression of genes involved in the vascular injury response. We have shown that estrogen (17β-estradiol, E2) inhibits expression of these genes in an estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent manner in injured rat carotid arteries and in tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α treated rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs). This study tested whether E2 inhibits NFκB signaling in RASMCs and defined the mechanisms.
TNF-α treated RASMCs demonstrated rapid degradation of IκBα (10–30 min), followed by dramatic increases in IκBα mRNA and protein synthesis (40–60 min). E2 enhanced TNF-α induced IκBα synthesis without affecting IκBα degradation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays revealed that E2 pretreatment both enhanced TNF-α induced binding of NFκB p65 to the IκBα promoter and suppressed TNF-α induced binding of NFκB p65 to and reduced the levels of acetylated histone 3 at promoters of monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC)-2β genes. ChIP analyses also demonstrated that ERβ can be recruited to the promoters of MCP-1 and CINC-2β during co-treatment with TNF-α and E2.
These data demonstrate that E2 inhibits inflammation in RASMCs by two distinct mechanisms: promoting new synthesis of IκBα, thus accelerating a negative feedback loop in NFκB signaling, and directly inhibiting binding of NFκB to the promoters of inflammatory genes. This first demonstration of multifaceted modulation of NFκB signaling by E2 may represent a novel mechanism by which E2 protects the vasculature against inflammatory injury.
Francisella tularensis is a bacterial pathogen that uses host-derived PGE2 to subvert the host's adaptive immune responses in multiple ways. Francisella-induced PGE2 acts directly on CD4 T cells to blunt production of IFN-γ. Francisella-induced PGE2 can also elicit production of a >10 kDa soluble host factor termed FTMØSN (F. tularensis
macrophage supernatant), which acts on IFN-γ pre-activated MØ to down-regulate MHC class II expression via a ubiquitin-dependent mechanism, blocking antigen presentation to CD4 T cells. Here, we report that FTMØSN-induced down-regulation of MØ class II is the result of the induction of MARCH1, and that MØ expressing MARCH1 “resistant” class II molecules are resistant to FTMØSN-induced class II down-regulation. Since PGE2 can induce IL-10 production and IL-10 is the only reported cytokine able to induce MARCH1 expression in monocytes and dendritic cells, these findings suggested that IL-10 is the active factor in FTMØSN. However, use of IL-10 knockout MØ established that IL-10 is not the active factor in FTMØSN, but rather that Francisella-elicited PGE2 drives production of a >10 kDa host factor distinct from IL-10. This factor then drives MØ IL-10 production to induce MARCH1 expression and the resultant class II down-regulation. Since many human pathogens such as Salmonella typhi, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Legionella pneumophila also induce production of host PGE2, these results suggest that a yet-to-be-identified PGE2-inducible host factor capable of inducing IL-10 is central to the immune evasion mechanisms of multiple important human pathogens.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients have a striking increase in cardiovascular (CV) comorbidity not fully explained by the Framingham risk score. Recent evidence from in vitro studies suggests that type I interferons (IFN) could promote premature CV disease (CVD) in SLE. We assessed the association of type I IFN signatures with functional and anatomical evidence of vascular damage, and with biomarkers of CV risk in a cohort of lupus patients without overt CVD.
Serum type I IFN activity (induction of five IFN-inducible genes; IFIGs) from 95 SLE patient and 38 controls was quantified by real-time PCR. Flow mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery and carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) were quantified by ultrasound, and coronary calcification by computed tomography. Serum vascular biomarkers were measured by ELISA. We evaluated the effect of type I IFNs on FMD, CIMT and coronary calcification by first applying principal components analysis to combine data from five IFIGs into summary components that could be simultaneously modeled. Three components were derived explaining 97.1% of the total IFIG variation. Multivariable linear regression was utilized to investigate the association between the three components and other covariates, with the outcomes of FMD and CIMT; zero-inflated Poisson regression was used for modeling of coronary calcification. After controlling for traditional CV risk factors, enhanced serum IFN activity was significantly associated with decreased endothelial function in SLE patients and controls (p<0.05 for component 3), increased CIMT among SLE patients (p<0.01 for components 1 and 2), and severity of coronary calcification among SLE patients (p<0.001 for component 3).
Type I IFNs are independently associated with atherosclerosis development in lupus patients without history of overt CVD and after controlling for Framingham risk factors. This study further supports the hypothesis that type I IFNs promote premature vascular damage in SLE.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a post-infectious polyradiculoneuropathy, frequently associated with antecedent Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) infection. The presence of sialic acid on C. jejuni lipo-oligosaccharide (LOS) is considered a risk factor for development of GBS as it crucially determines the structural homology between LOS and gangliosides, explaining the induction of cross-reactive neurotoxic antibodies. Sialylated C. jejuni are recognised by TLR4 and sialoadhesin; however, the functional implications of these interactions in vivo are unknown.
In this study we investigated the effects of bacterial sialylation on phagocytosis and cytokine secretion by mouse myeloid cells in vitro and in vivo. Using fluorescently labelled GM1a/GD1a ganglioside-mimicking C. jejuni strains and corresponding (Cst-II-mutant) control strains lacking sialic acid, we show that sialylated C. jejuni was more efficiently phagocytosed in vitro by BM-MΦ, but not by BM-DC. In addition, LOS sialylation increased the production of IL-10, IL-6 and IFN-β by both BM-MΦ and BM-DC. Subsequent in vivo experiments revealed that sialylation augmented the deposition of fluorescent bacteria in splenic DC, but not macrophages. In addition, sialylation significantly amplified the production of type I interferons, which was independent of pDC.
These results identify novel immune stimulatory effects of C. jejuni sialylation, which may be important in inducing cross-reactive humoral responses that cause GBS.
The molecular mechanisms for the discrepancy in outcome of initiating estrogen therapy (ET) around peri-menopause or several years after menopause in women are unknown. We hypothesize that the level of expression of a dominant negative estrogen receptor (ER) β variant, ERβ2, may be a key factor determining the effectiveness of ET in post-menopausal women. We tested this hypothesis in ovariectomized nine month-old (an age when irregular estrous cycles occur) female Sprague Dawley rats. Estradiol treatment was initiated either 6 days (Early ET, analogous to 4 months post-menopause in humans), or 180 days (Late ET, analogous to 11 years post-menopause in humans) after ovariectomy. Although ERβ2 expression increased in all OVX rats, neurogenic and neuroprotective responses to estradiol differed in Early and Late ET. Early ET reduced ERβ2 expression in both hippocampus and white blood cells, increased the hippocampal cell proliferation as assessed by Ki-67 expression, and improved mobility in the forced swim test. Late ET resulted in either no or modest effects on these parameters. There was a close correlation between the degree of ERβ2 expression and the preservation of neural effects by ET after OVX in rats, supporting the hypothesis that persistent elevated levels of ERβ2 are a molecular basis for the diminished effectiveness of ET in late post-menopausal women. The correlation between the expression of ERβ2 in circulating white blood cells and brain cells suggests that ERβ2 expression in peripheral blood cells may be an easily accessible marker to predict the effective window for ET in the brain.