Tryptophan (Trp) catabolism into immunosuppressive kynurenine (Kyn) by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) was previously linked to Th17/Treg differentiation and immune activation. Here we examined Trp catabolism and its impact on Th17/Treg balance in uninfected healthy subjects (HS) and a large cohort of HIV-infected patients with different clinical outcomes: ART-naïve, Successfully Treated (ST), and elite controllers (EC). In ART-naïve patients, increased IDO activity/expression, together with elevated levels of TNF-α and sCD40L, were associated with Treg expansion and an altered Th17/Treg balance. These alterations were normalized under ART. In contrast, Trp 2,3-dioxegenase (TDO) expression was dramatically lower in EC when compared to all other groups. Interestingly, EC displayed a distinctive Trp metabolism characterized by low Trp plasma levels similar to ART-naïve patients without accumulating immunosuppressive Kyn levels which was accompanied by a preserved Th17/Treg balance. These results suggest a distinctive Trp catabolism and Th17/Treg balance in HIV progressors and EC. Thus, IDO-induced immune-metabolism may be considered as a new inflammation-related marker for HIV-1 disease progression.
Immunodeficiency does not progress for prolonged periods in some HLA B57- and/or B27-positive subjects with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection, even in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART). These “controllers” have fewer HIV provirus-containing peripheral blood mononuclear cells than “non-controller” subjects, but lymphocytes that harbor latent proviruses were not specifically examined in studies to date. Provirus levels in resting memory cells that can serve as latent reservoirs of HIV in blood were compared here between controllers and ART-suppressed non-controllers. APOBEC3G (A3G), a cellular factor that blocks provirus formation at multiple steps if not antagonized by HIV virion infectivity factor (Vif), was also studied. HLA-linked HIV control was associated with less provirus and more A3G protein in resting CD4+ T central memory (Tcm) and effector memory (Tem) lymphocytes (provirus: p = 0.01 for Tcm and p = 0.02 for Tem; A3G: p = 0.02 for Tcm and p = 0.02 for Tem). Resting memory T cells with the highest A3G protein levels (>0.5 RLU per unit of actin) had the lowest levels of provirus (<1,000 copies of DNA per million cells) in vivo (p = 0.03, Fisher's exact test). Using two different experimental approaches, Vif-positive viruses with more A3G were found to have decreased virion infectivity ex vivo. These results raise the hypothesis that HIV control is associated with increased cellular A3G that may be packaged into Vif-positive virions to add that mode of inhibition of provirus formation to previously described adaptive immune mechanisms for HIV control.
The contribution of HIV-infection to periodontal disease (PD) is poorly understood. We proposed that immunological markers would be associated with improved clinical measures of PD.
We performed a longitudinal cohort study of HIV-infected adults who had started highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) <2 years. PD was characterized clinically as the percent of teeth with ≥1 site with periodontal probing depth (PPD) ≥5.0mm, recession (REC) >0mm, clinical attachment level (CAL) ≥4.0mm, and bleeding on probing (BOP) at ≥4 sites/tooth and microbiologically as specific periodontopathogen concentration. Linear mixed-effects models were used to assess the associations between immune function and PD.
Forty (40) subjects with median 2.7 months on HAART and median nadir CD4+ T-cell count of 212 cells/μl completed a median 3 visits. Over 24 months, CD4+ T-cell count increased by a mean 173 cells/µl (p<0.001) and HIV RNA decreased by 0.5 log10 copies/ml (p<0.001); concurrently, PPD, CAL and BOP decreased by a mean 11.7%, 12.1%, and 14.7% respectively (all p<0.001). Lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count was associated with worse baseline REC (-6.72%; p=0.04) and CAL (9.06%; p<0.001). Further, lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count was associated with a greater relative longitudinal improvement in PPD in subjects with higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis (p=0.027), and BOP in subjects with higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis or Treponema denticola (p=0.001 and p=0.006 respectively). Longitudinal changes from baseline in CD4+ T-cell count and level of HIV RNA were not independently associated with longitudinal changes in any clinical markers of PD.
Degree of immunosuppression was associated with baseline gingival recession. After HAART initiation, measures of active PD improved most in those with lower nadir CD4+ T-cell counts and higher baseline levels of specific periodontopathogens. Nadir CD4+ T-cell count differentially influences periodontal disease both before and after HAART in HIV-infected adults.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a severe complication frequently seen during the neonatal period associated with high mortality rate and severe and prolonged morbidity including Post-NEC intestinal stricture. The aim of this study is to define the incidence and risk factors of these post-NEC strictures, in order to better orient their medicosurgical care. Sixty cases of NEC were retrospectively reviewed from a single tertiary center with identical treatment protocols throughout the period under study, including systematic X-ray contrast study. This study reports a high rate of post-NEC intestinal stricture (n = 27/48; 57% of survivors), either in cases treated surgically (91%) and after the medical treatment of NEC (47%). A colonic localization of the strictures was more frequent in medically-treated patients than in those with NEC treated surgically (87% vs. 50%). The length of the strictures was significantly shorter in case of NEC treated medically. No deaths were attributable to the presence of post-NEC stricture. The mean hospitalization time in NICU and the median age at discontinuation of parenteral nutrition were longer in the group with stricture, but this difference was not significant. The median age at discharge was significantly higher in the group with stricture (p = 0.02). The occurrence of post-NEC stricture was significantly associated with the presence of parietal signs of inflammation and thrombopenia (<100 000 platelets/mm3). The mean maximum CRP concentration during acute phase was significantly higher in infants who developed stricture (p<0.001), as was the mean duration of the elevation of CRP levels (p<0.001). The negative predictive value of CRP levels continually <10 mg/dL for the appearance of stricture was 100% in our study. In conclusion, this retrospective and monocentric study demonstrates the correlation between the intensity of the inflammatory syndrome and the risk of secondary intestinal stricture, when systematic contrast study is performed following NEC.
A disintegrin and metalloproteases (ADAMs) have been implicated in many processes controlling organismic development and integrity. Important substrates of ADAM proteases include growth factors, cytokines and their receptors and adhesion proteins. The inducible but irreversible cleavage of their substrates alters cell-cell communication and signaling. The crucial role of ADAM proteases (e.g. ADAM10 and 17) for mammalian development became evident from respective knockout mice, that displayed pre- or perinatal lethality with severe defects in many organs and tissues. Although many substrates for these two ADAM proteases were identified over the last decade, the regulation of their surface appearance, their enzymatic activity and their substrate specificity are still not well understood. We therefore analyzed the constitutive and inducible surface expression of ADAM10 and ADAM17 on a variety of human T cell and tumor cell lines. We demonstrate that ADAM10 is constitutively present at comparably high levels on the majority of the tested cell types. Stimulation with phorbol ester and calcium ionophore does not significantly alter the amount of surface ADAM10, except for a slight down-regulation from T cell blasts. Using FasL shedding as a readout for ADAM10 activity, we show that PKC activation and calcium mobilization are both prerequisite for activation of ADAM10 resulting in a production of soluble FasL. In contrast to ADAM10, the close relative ADAM17 is detected at only low levels on unstimulated cells. ADAM17 surface expression on T cell blasts is rapidly induced by stimulation. Since this inducible mobilization of ADAM17 is sensitive to inhibitors of actin filament formation, we propose that ADAM17 but not ADAM10 is prestored in a subcellular compartment that is transported to the cell surface in an activation- and actin-dependent manner.
Endurance, marathon-type exertion is known to induce adverse changes in the immune system. Increased airway hyper-responsiveness and airway inflammation are well documented in endurance athletes and endurance exercise is considered a major risk factor for asthma in elite athletes. Yet, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still to be deduced. We studied the effect of strenuous endurance exercise (marathon and half-ironman triathlon) on CD4+ lymphocyte sub-populations and on the balance between effector and regulatory CD4+ lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of trained athletes, Endurance exercise induced a significant increase in Th17 cells and a sustained decrease in peripheral blood regulatory T cells (Tregs). While interleukin (IL)-2 levels remained undetectable, post-race serum IL-6 and transforming growth factor (TGF) β levels were significantly elevated. Treg levels in sedentary controls' decreased in vitro after incubation with athletes' post-exercise serum, an effect that was attenuated by supplements of IL-2 or anti IL-6 neutralizing antibodies. Our data suggest that exercise-induced changes in serum cytokine levels promote alterations in Tregs and Th17 cell populations, which may divert the subtle balance in the immune system towards inflammation. This may explain allergic and autoimmune phenomena previously reported in endurance athletes and contribute to our understanding of exercise-related asthma.
Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is characterized by defective B cell function, impaired antibody production, and increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. Here, we addressed the hypothesis that poor antibody-mediated immune control of infections may result in substantial perturbations in the T cell compartment. Newly diagnosed CVID patients were sampled before, and 6–12 months after, initiation of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy. Treatment-naïve CVID patients displayed suppressed CD4 T cell counts and myeloid dendritic cell (mDC) levels, as well as high levels of immune activation in CD8 T cells, CD4 T cells, and invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. Expression of co-stimulatory receptors CD80 and CD83 was elevated in mDCs and correlated with T cell activation. Levels of both FoxP3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells and iNKT cells were low, whereas soluble CD14 (sCD14), indicative of monocyte activation, was elevated. Importantly, immune reconstitution treatment with IVIg partially restored the CD4 T cell and mDC compartments. Treatment furthermore reduced the levels of CD8 T cell activation and mDC activation, whereas levels of Treg cells and iNKT cells remained low. Thus, primary deficiency in humoral immunity with impaired control of microbial infections is associated with significant pathological changes in cell-mediated immunity. Furthermore, therapeutic enhancement of humoral immunity with IVIg infusions alleviates several of these defects, indicating a relationship between poor antibody-mediated immune control of infections and the occurrence of abnormalities in the T cell and mDC compartments. These findings help our understanding of the immunopathogenesis of primary immunodeficiency, as well as acquired immunodeficiency caused by HIV-1 infection.
Current research on antigen specific CD4+ T cells indicates that there is functional and phenotypic heterogeneity within these populations, but the extent of this heterogeneity is poorly described. The CD134/CD25 assay allows live isolation of antigen specific cells in vitro for down-stream molecular analysis. Antigen specific CD4+ T cells were examined at the molecular level by lineage specific transcription factor profiling using qualitative multiplex single cell RT-PCR and Lock Nucleic Acid (LNA) probes allowed unbiased amplification and delineation of expression of Tbx21, Gata3, Rorc, Foxp3 and Bcl-6. It overcomes the limitations of previous assays by allowing identification of transcription factor mRNA in single antigen specific cells with high sensitivity (down to 10 femtograms) and specificity. Patterns of responses can be robustly characterized using <200 cells based on exact binomial calculations. These results are reproducible with a CV of ≈6%. The patterns of heterogeneity are stable within an individual antigen specific response but vary between responses to different antigens. Responses to CMV have a Th1 predominant profile (35.6% of responding cells expressing tbx21) whereas responses to Tetanus Toxoid have a Th2 biased profile (22% of responding cells expressing gata3), with unexpectedly high levels of Treg cells found in both populations. Here we describe a methodology that allows live isolation of Ag specific cells and transcription factor profiling at a single cell level to robustly delineate the different CD4+ T cell subsets within this population. This novel method is a powerful tool that can be used to study CD4+ T cell heterogeneity within extremely small populations of cells and where cell numbers are limited.
Two critical functions of dendritic cells (DC) are to activate and functionally polarize T cells. Activated T cells can, in turn, influence DC maturation, although their effect on de novo DC development is poorly understood. Here we report that activation of T cells in mice, with either an anti-CD3 antibody or super antigen, drives the rapid formation of CD209+CD11b+CD11c+ MHC II+ DC from monocytic precursors (Mo-DC). GM-CSF is produced by T cells following activation, but surprisingly, it is not required for the formation of CD209+ Mo-DC. CD40L, however, is critical for the full induction of Mo-DC following T cell activation. T cell induced CD209+ Mo-DC are comparable to conventional CD209- DC in their ability to stimulate T cell proliferation. However, in contrast to conventional CD209- DC, CD209+ Mo-DC fail to effectively polarize T cells, as indicated by a paucity of T cell cytokine production. The inability of CD209+ Mo-DC to polarize T cells is partly explained by increased expression of PDL-2, since blockade of this molecule restores some polarizing capacity to the Mo-DC. These findings expand the range of signals capable of driving Mo-DC differentiation in vivo beyond exogenous microbial factors to include endogenous factors produced following T cell activation.
Immune cell-type specific miRNA expression patterns have been described but the detailed role of single miRNAs in the function of T-cells remains largely unknown. We investigated the role of miR-21 in the function of primary human CD4+ T-cells. MiR-21 is substantially expressed in T-cells with a memory phenotype, and is robustly upregulated upon αCD3/CD28 activation of both naive and memory T-cells. By inhibiting the endogenous miR-21 function in activated naive and memory T-cells, we showed that miR-21 regulates fundamentally different aspects of T-cell biology, depending on the differentiation status of the T-cell. Stable inhibition of miR-21 function in activated memory T-cells led to growth disadvantage and apoptosis, indicating that the survival of memory T-cells depends on miR-21 function. In contrast, stable inhibition of miR-21 function in activated naive T-cells did not result in growth disadvantage, but led to a significant induction of CCR7 protein expression. Direct interaction between CCR7 and miR-21 was confirmed in a dual luciferase reporter assay. Our data provide evidence for a dual role of miR-21 in CD4+ T cells; Regulation of T-cell survival is confined to activated memory T-cells, while modulation of potential homing properties, through downregulation of CCR7 protein expression, is observed in activated naive T-cells.
GARP is a transmembrane protein present on stimulated human regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs), but not on other T lymphocytes (Th cells). It presents the latent form of TGF-β1 on the Treg surface. We report here that GARP favors the cleavage of the pro-TGF-β1 precursor and increases the amount of secreted latent TGF-β1. Stimulated Tregs, which naturally express GARP, and Th cells transfected with GARP secrete a previously unknown form of latent TGF-β1 that is disulfide-linked to GARP. These GARP/TGF-β1 complexes are possibly shed from the T cell surface. Secretion of GARP/TGF-β1 complexes was not observed with transfected 293 cells and may thus be restricted to the T cell lineage. We conclude that in stimulated human Tregs, GARP not only displays latent TGF-β1 at the cell surface, but also increases its secretion by forming soluble disulfide-linked complexes. Moreover, we identified six microRNAs (miRNAs) that are expressed at lower levels in Treg than in Th clones and that target a short region of the GARP 3’ UTR. In transfected Th cells, the presence of this region decreased GARP levels, cleavage of pro-TGF-β1, and secretion of latent TGF-β1.
The role of CD4+ T cells in the generation of therapeutic primary and memory immune responses in cancer diverse immunotherapy settings remains ambiguous. We herein investigated this issue using two vaccine formulations containing a novel costimulatory molecule, SA-4-1BBL, as adjuvant and HPV E7 or survivin (SVN) as tumor associated antigens (TAAs) in two mouse transplantable tumor models; the TC-1 cervical cancer expressing xenogeneic HPV E7 and 3LL lung carcinoma overexpressing autologous SVN. Single vaccination with optimized SA-4-1BBL/TAA formulations resulted in the eradication of 6-day established TC-1 and 3LL tumors in >70% of mice in both models. The in vivo depletion of CD4+ T cells one day before tumor challenge resulted in compromised vaccine efficacy in both TC-1 (25%) and 3LL (12.5%) tumor models. In marked contrast, depletion of CD4+ T cells 5 days post-tumor challenge and one day prior to vaccination did not significantly alter the therapeutic efficacy of these vaccines. However, long-term immunological memory was compromised in the 3LL, but not in TC-1 model as a significant number (85.7%) of tumor free-mice succumbed to tumor growth when rechallenged with 3LL cells 60 days after the initial tumor inoculation. Collectively, these results demonstrate the indispensable role CD4+ T cells play in the generation of therapeutic primary immune responses elicited by SA-4-1BBL/TAA-based vaccines irrespective of the nature of TAAs and establish the importance of CD4+ T cells for long-term immune memory against 3LL tumor expressing self-antigen SVN, but not TC-1 expressing xenogeneic viral antigen E7.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) maintain immune homeostasis by limiting inflammatory responses. TRAF6 plays a key role in the regulation of innate and adaptive immunity by mediating signals from various receptors including the T-cell receptor (TCR). T cell-specific deletion of TRAF6 has been shown to induce multiorgan inflammatory disease, but the role of TRAF6 in Tregs remains to be investigated. Here, we generated Treg-specific TRAF6-deficient mice using Foxp3-Cre and TRAF6-flox mice. Treg-specific TRAF6-deficient (cKO) mice developed allergic skin diseases, arthritis, lymphadenopathy and hyper IgE phenotypes. Although TRAF6-deficient Tregs possess similar in vitro suppression activity compared to wild-type Tregs, TRAF6-deficient Tregs did not suppress colitis in lymphopenic mice very efficiently due to reduced number of Foxp3-positive cells. In addition, the fraction of TRAF6-deficient Tregs was reduced compared with wild-type Tregs in female cKO mice without inflammation. Moreover, adoptive transfer of Foxp3 + Tregs into Rag2-/- mice revealed that TRAF6-deficient Tregs converted into Foxp3- cells more rapidly than WT Tregs under lymphopenic conditions. Fate-mapping analysis also revealed that conversion of Tregs from Foxp3+ to Foxp3- (exFoxp3 cells) was accelerated in TRAF6-deficient Tregs. These data indicate that TRAF6 in Tregs plays important roles in the maintenance of Foxp3 in Tregs and in the suppression of pathogenic Th2 type conversion of Tregs.
Ten to 30% of HIV-1 infected subjects develop broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) during chronic infection. We hypothesized that immunizing rabbits with viral envelope glycoproteins (Envs) from these patients may induce bNAbs, when formulated as a trimeric protein and in the presence of an adjuvant.
Based on in vitro neutralizing activity in serum, patients with bNAbs were selected for cloning of their HIV-1 Env. Seven stable soluble trimeric gp140 proteins were generated from sequences derived from four adults and two children infected with either clade A or B HIV-1. From one of the clade A Envs both the monomeric and trimeric Env were produced for comparison. Rabbits were immunized with soluble gp120 or trimeric gp140 proteins in combination with the adjuvant dimethyl dioctadecyl ammonium/trehalose dibehenate (CAF01). Env binding in rabbit immune serum was determined using ELISAs based on gp120-IIIB protein. Neutralizing activity of IgG purified from rabbit immune sera was measured with the pseudovirus-TZMbl assay and a PBMC-based neutralization assay for selected experiments.
It was initially established that gp140 trimers induce better antibody responses over gp120 monomers and that the adjuvant CAF01 was necessary for such strong responses. Gp140 trimers, based on HIV-1 variants from patients with bNAbs, were able to elicit both gp120IIIB specific IgG and NAbs to Tier 1 viruses of different subtypes. Potency of NAbs closely correlated with titers, and an gp120-binding IgG titer above a threshold of 100,000 was predictive of neutralization capability. Finally, peptide inhibition experiments showed that a large fraction of the neutralizing IgG was directed against the gp120 V3 region.
Our results indicate that the strategy of reverse immunology based on selected Env sequences is promising when immunogens are delivered as stabilized trimers in CAF01 adjuvant and that the rabbit is a valuable model for HIV vaccine studies.
Common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs) are thought to represent major intermediates in the transition of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to B lineage lymphocytes. However, it has been obvious for some time that CLPs are heterogeneous, and there has been controversy concerning their differentiation potential. We have now resolved four Flt3+ CLP subsets that are relatively homogenous and capable of forming B cells. Differentiation potential and gene expression patterns suggest Flt3+ CLPs lacking both Ly6D and RAG-1 are the least differentiated. In addition to B cells, they generate natural killer (NK) and dendritic cells (DCs). At the other extreme is a subset of the recently described Flt3+ Ly6D+ CLPs that have a history of RAG-1 expression and are B lineage restricted. These relatively abundant and potent CLPs were depleted within 48 hours of acute in vivo estrogen elevation, suggesting they descend from hormone regulated progenitors. This contrasts with the hormone insensitivity of other CLP subsets that include NK lineage progenitors. This progenitor heterogeneity and differentiation complexity may add flexibility in response to environmental changes. Expression of RAG-1 and display of Ly6D are both milestone events, but they are neither synchronized nor dependent on each other.
Diastolic dysfunction suggestive of diabetic cardiomyopathy is established in children with T1DM, but its pathogenesis is not well understood. We studied the relationships of systemic inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and cardiac function in 17 children with T1DM during and after correction of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Twenty seven of the 39 measured cytokines/chemokines were elevated at 6–12 hours into treatment of DKA compared to values after DKA resolution. Eight patients displayed at least one parameter of diastolic abnormality (DA) during acute DKA. Significant associations were present between nine of the cytokine/chemokine levels and the DA over time. Interestingly, four of these nine interactive cytokines (GM-CSF, G-CSF, IL-12p40, IL-17) are associated with a Th17 mediated cell response. Both the DA and CCL7 and IL-12p40, had independent associations with African American patients. Thus, we report occurrence of a systemic inflammatory response and the presence of cardiac diastolic dysfunction in a subset of young T1DM patients during acute DKA.
The mechanisms underlying latent-virus-mediated heterologous immunity, and subsequent transplant rejection, especially in the setting of T cell costimulation blockade, remain undetermined. To address this, we have utilized MHV68 to develop a rodent model of latent virus-induced heterologous alloimmunity. MHV68 infection was correlated with multimodal immune deviation, which included increased secretion of CXCL9 and CXCL10, and with the expansion of a CD8dim T cell population. CD8dim T cells exhibited decreased expression of multiple costimulation molecules and increased expression of two adhesion molecules, LFA-1 and VLA-4. In the setting of MHV68 latency, recipients demonstrated accelerated costimulation blockade-resistant rejection of skin allografts compared to non-infected animals (MST 13.5 d in infected animals vs 22 d in non-infected animals, p<.0001). In contrast, the duration of graft acceptance was equivalent between non-infected and infected animals when treated with combined anti-LFA-1/anti-VLA-4 adhesion blockade (MST 24 d for non-infected and 27 d for infected, p = n.s.). The combination of CTLA-4-Ig/anti-CD154-based costimulation blockade+anti-LFA-1/anti-VLA-4-based adhesion blockade led to prolonged graft acceptance in both non-infected and infected cohorts (MST>100 d for both, p<.0001 versus costimulation blockade for either). While in the non-infected cohort, either CTLA-4-Ig or anti-CD154 alone could effectively pair with adhesion blockade to prolong allograft acceptance, in infected animals, the prolonged acceptance of skin grafts could only be recapitulated when anti-LFA-1 and anti-VLA-4 antibodies were combined with anti-CD154 (without CTLA-4-Ig, MST>100 d). Graft acceptance was significantly impaired when CTLA-4-Ig alone (no anti-CD154) was combined with adhesion blockade (MST 41 d). These results suggest that in the setting of MHV68 infection, synergy occurs predominantly between adhesion pathways and CD154-based costimulation, and that combined targeting of both pathways may be required to overcome the increased risk of rejection that occurs in the setting of latent-virus-mediated immune deviation.
The Transcription factor FoxP3 belongs to the forkhead/winged-helix family of transcriptional regulators and shares general structural features with other FoxP family members. FoxP3 functions as a master of transcription for the development of regulatory T-cells (Treg cells) both in humans and in mice. Natural genetic mutations of FoxP3 that disrupt its function in humans result in an autoimmune syndrome called Immune Polyendocrinopathy, Enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) and in mice, its deletion causes the Scurfy phenotype, with similar pathology. The finding that FoxP3 is required for the development and function of Tregs has led to an explosion of research in determining its regulation and function in the immune system. Understanding the biological properties of FoxP3 has a wide range of implications for immune tolerance, autoimmune disorders, inflammation and immune response to infectious diseases and cancer.
Hematopoiesis is regulated by transcription factors that induce cell fate and differentiation in hematopoietic stem cells into fully differentiated hematopoietic cell types. The transcription factor zinc finger protein 148 (Zfp148) interacts with the hematopoietic transcription factor Gata1 and has been implicated to play an important role in primitive and definitive hematopoiesis in zebra fish and mouse chimeras. We have recently created a gene-trap knockout mouse model deficient for Zfp148, opening up for analyses of hematopoiesis in a conventional loss-of-function model in vivo. Here, we show that Zfp148-deficient neonatal and adult mice have normal or slightly increased levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelets and white blood cells, compared to wild type controls. Hematopoietic lineages in bone marrow, thymus and spleen from Zfp148gt/gt mice were further investigated by flow cytometry. There were no differences in T-cells (CD4 and CD8 single positive cells, CD4 and CD8 double negative/positive cells) in either organ. However, the fraction of CD69- and B220-positive cells among lymphocytes in spleen was slightly lower at postnatal day 14 in Zfp148gt/gt mice compared to wild type mice. Our results demonstrate that Zfp148-deficient mice generate normal mature hematopoietic populations thus challenging earlier studies indicating that Zfp148 plays a critical role during hematopoietic development.
During HIV pathogenesis, infected macrophages behave as “viral reservoirs” that accumulate and retain virions within dedicated internal Virus-Containing Compartments (VCCs). The nature of VCCs remains ill characterized and controversial. Using wild-type HIV-1 and a replication-competent HIV-1 carrying GFP internal to the Gag precursor, we analyzed the biogenesis and evolution of VCCs in primary human macrophages. VCCs appear roughly 14 hours after viral protein synthesis is detected, initially contain few motile viral particles, and then mature to fill up with virions that become packed and immobile. The amount of intracellular Gag, the proportion of dense VCCs, and the density of viral particles in their lumen increased with time post-infection. In contrast, the secretion of virions, their infectivity and their transmission to T cells decreased overtime, suggesting that HIV-infected macrophages tend to pack and retain newly formed virions into dense compartments. A minor proportion of VCCs remains connected to the plasma membrane overtime. Surprisingly, live cell imaging combined with correlative light and electron microscopy revealed that such connections can be transient, highlighting their dynamic nature. Together, our results shed light on the late phases of the HIV-1 cycle and reveal some of its macrophage specific features.
Pore-forming toxins are critical virulence factors for many bacterial pathogens and are central to Staphylococcus aureus-mediated killing of host cells. S. aureus encodes pore-forming bi-component leukotoxins that are toxic toward neutrophils, but also specifically target other immune cells. Despite decades since the first description of Staphylococcal leukocidal activity, the host factors responsible for the selectivity of leukotoxins toward different immune cells remain unknown. Here we identified the HIV co-receptor, CCR5, as a cellular determinant required for cytotoxic targeting of subsets of myeloid cells and T lymphocytes by the S. aureus leukotoxin ED (LukED). We further demonstrate that LukED-dependent cell killing is blocked by CCR5 receptor antagonists, including the HIV drug maraviroc. Remarkably, CCR5-deficient mice are largely resistant to lethal S. aureus infection, highlighting the importance of CCR5 targeting in S. aureus pathogenesis. Thus, depletion of CCR5+ leukocytes by LukED suggests a novel S. aureus immune evasion mechanism that can be therapeutically targeted.
We combined in silico, in vivo, and in vitro studies to gain insights into age-dependent changes in acute inflammation in response to bacterial endotoxin (LPS). Time-course cytokine, chemokine, and NO2−/NO3− data from “middle-aged” (6–8 months old) C57BL/6 mice were used to re-parameterize a mechanistic mathematical model of acute inflammation originally calibrated for “young” (2–3 months old) mice. These studies suggested that macrophages from middle-aged mice are more susceptible to cell death, as well as producing higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, vs. macrophages from young mice. In support of the in silico-derived hypotheses, resident peritoneal cells from endotoxemic middle-aged mice exhibited reduced viability and produced elevated levels of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, and KC/CXCL1 as compared to cells from young mice. Our studies demonstrate the utility of a combined in silico, in vivo, and in vitro approach to the study of acute inflammation in shock states, and suggest hypotheses with regard to the changes in the cytokine milieu that accompany aging.
HIV-1 pathogenesis is intimately linked with microbial infections and innate immunity during all stages of the disease. While the impact of microbial-derived products in transmission of R5-using virus to CD4+ T cells by dendritic cells (DCs) has been addressed before, very limited data are available on the effect of such compounds on DC-mediated dissemination of X4-tropic variant. Here, we provide evidence that treatment of DCs with dectin-1/TLR2 and NOD2 ligands increases cis-infection of autologous CD4+ T cells by X4-using virus. This phenomenon is most likely associated with an enhanced permissiveness of DCs to productive infection with X4 virus, which is linked to increased surface expression of CXCR4 and the acquisition of a maturation profile by DCs. The ensuing DC maturation enhances susceptibility of CD4+ T cells to productive infection with HIV-1. This study highlights the crucial role of DCs at different stages of HIV-1 infection and particularly in spreading of viral strains displaying a X4 phenotype.
We have reported the upregulation of MARCO, a member of the class A scavenger receptor family, on the surface of murine and human dendritic cells (DCs) pulsed with tumor lysates. Exposure of murine tumor lysate-pulsed DCs to an anti-MARCO antibody led to loss of dendritic-like processes and enhanced migratory capacity. In this study, we have further examined the biological and therapeutic implications of MARCO expression by DCs. DCs generated from the bone marrow (bm) of MARCO knockout (MARCO-/-) mice were phenotypically similar to DCs generated from the bm of wild-type mice and produced normal levels of IL-12 and TNF-α when exposed to LPS. MARCO-/- DCs demonstrated enhanced migratory capacity in response to CCL-21 in vitro. After subcutaneous injection into mice, MARCO-/- TP-DCs migrated more efficiently to the draining lymph node leading to enhanced generation of tumor-specific IFN-γ producing T cells and improved tumor regression and survival in B16 melanoma-bearing mice. These results support targeting MARCO on the surface of DCs to improve trafficking and induction of anti-tumor immunity.
The differentiation of CD4 T cells into Th1 and Th2 cells in vivo is difficult to analyze since it is influenced by many factors such as genetic background of the mice, nature of antigen, and adjuvant. In this study, we used a well-established model, which allows inducing Th1 or Th2 cells simply by low (LD, 105) or high dose (HD, 109) injection of sheep red blood cells (SRBC) into C57BL/6 mice. Signature cytokine mRNA expression was determined in specific splenic compartments after isolation by laser-microdissection. LD immunization with SRBC induced T cell proliferation in the splenic T cell zone but no Th1 differentiation. A second administration of SRBC into the skin rapidly generated Th1 cells. In contrast, HD immunization with SRBC induced both T cell proliferation and immediate Th2 differentiation. In addition, splenic marginal zone and B cell zone were activated indicating B cells as antigen presenting cells. Interestingly, disruption of the splenic architecture, in particular of the marginal zone, abolished Th2 differentiation and led to the generation of Th1 cells, confirming that antigen presentation by B cells directs Th2 polarization. Only in its absence Th1 cells develop. Therefore, B cells might be promising targets in order to therapeutically modulate the T cell response.