TNF is an important inflammatory mediator and a target for intervention. TNF is produced by many cell types and is involved in innate inflammation as well as adaptive immune responses. CD8 T cells produce TNF and can also respond to TNF. Deficiency of TNF or TNFR2 has been shown to affect anti-viral immunity. However, as the complete knockout of TNF or its receptors has effects on multiple cell types as well as on lymphoid architecture, it has been difficult to assess the role of TNF directly on T cells during viral infection. Here we have addressed this issue by analyzing the effect of CD8 T cell intrinsic TNF/TNFR2 interactions during respiratory influenza infection in mice, using an adoptive transfer model in which only the T cells lack TNF or TNFR2. During a mild influenza infection, the capacity of the responding CD8 T cells to produce TNF increases from day 6 through day 12, beyond the time of viral clearance. Although T cell intrinsic TNF is dispensable for initial expansion of CD8 T cells up to day 9 post infection, intrinsic TNF/TNFR2 interactions potentiate contraction of the CD8 T cell response in the lung between day 9 and 12 post infection. On the other hand, TNF or TNFR2-deficient CD8 T cells in the lung express lower levels of IFN-γ and CD107a per cell than their wild type counterparts. Comparison of TNF levels on the TNFR2 positive and negative T cells is consistent with TNF/TNFR2 interactions inducing feedback downregulation of TNF production by T cells, with greater effects in the lung compared to spleen. Thus CD8 T cell intrinsic TNF/TNFR2 interactions fine-tune the response to influenza virus in the lung by modestly enhancing effector functions, but at the same time potentiating the contraction of the CD8 T cell response post-viral clearance.
In the intestine, the integrin CD103 is expressed on a subset of T regulatory (Treg) cells and a population of dendritic cells (DCs) that produce retinoic acid and promote immune homeostasis. However, the role of CD103 during intestinal helminth infection has not been tested.
We demonstrate that CD103 is dispensable for the development of protective immunity to the helminth parasite Trichuris muris. While we observed an increase in the frequency of CD103+ DCs in the lamina propria (LP) following acute high-dose infection with Trichuris, lack of CD103 had no effect on the frequency of CD11c+ DCs in the LP or mesenteric lymph nodes (mLN). CD103-deficient (CD103−/−) mice develop a slightly increased and earlier T cell response but resolve infection with similar kinetics to control mice. Similarly, low-dose chronic infection of CD103−/− mice with Trichuris resulted in no significant difference in immunity or parasite burden. Absence of CD103 also had no effect on the frequency of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells in the mLN or LP.
These results suggest that CD103 is dispensable for intestinal immunity during helminth infection. Furthermore, lack of CD103 had no effect on DC or Treg recruitment or retention within the large intestine.
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by an intracellular protozoan parasite Leishmania, is fatal in the absence of treatment. At present there are no effective vaccines against any form of leishmaniasis. Here, we evaluate the potency, efficacy and durability of DNA/DNA, DNA-prime/Protein-boost, and Protein/Protein based vaccination against VL in a susceptible murine model.
Methods and Findings
To compare the potency, efficacy, and durability of DNA, protein and heterologous prime-boost (HPB) vaccination against Leishmania donovani, major surface glycoprotein gp63 was cloned into mammalian expression vector pcDNA3.1 for DNA based vaccines. We demonstrated that gp63 DNA based vaccination induced immune responses and conferred protection against challenge infection. However, vaccination with HPB approach showed comparatively enhanced cellular and humoral responses than other regimens and elicited early mixed Th1/Th2 responses before infection. Moreover, challenge with parasites induced polarized Th1 responses with enhanced IFN-γ, IL-12, nitric oxide, IgG2a/IgG1 ratio and reduced IL-4 and IL-10 responses compared to other vaccination strategies. Although, vaccination with gp63 DNA either alone or mixed with CpG- ODN or heterologously prime-boosting with CpG- ODN showed comparable levels of protection at short-term protection study, DNA-prime/Protein-boost in presence of CpG significantly reduced hepatic and splenic parasite load by 107 fold and 1010 fold respectively, in long-term study. The extent of protection, obtained in this study has till now not been achieved in long-term protection through HPB approach in susceptible BALB/c model against VL. Interestingly, the HPB regimen also showed marked reduction in the footpad swelling of BALB/c mice against Leishmania major infection.
HPB approach based on gp63 in association with CpG, resulted in robust cellular and humoral responses correlating with durable protection against L. donovani challenge till twelve weeks post-vaccination. These results emphasize the potential of DNA-prime/Protein-boost vaccination over DNA/DNA and Protein/Protein based vaccination in maintaining long-term immunity against intracellular pathogen like Leishmania.
In recent years, many immunoregulatory functions have been ascribed to soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G). Since chemotaxis is crucial for an efficient immune response, we have investigated for the first time the effects of sHLA-G on chemokine receptor expression and function in different human T cell populations.
T cell populations isolated from peripheral blood were stimulated in the presence or absence of sHLA-G. Chemokine receptors expression was evaluated by flow cytometry. sHLA-G downregulated expression of i) CCR2, CXCR3 and CXCR5 in CD4+ T cells, ii) CXCR3 in CD8+ T cells, iii) CXCR3 in Th1 clones iv) CXCR3 in TCR Vδ2γ9 T cells, and upregulated CXCR4 expression in TCR Vδ2γ9 T cells. sHLA-G inhibited in vitro chemotaxis of i) CD4+ T cells towards CCL2, CCL8, CXCL10 and CXCL11, ii) CD8+ T cells towards CXCL10 and CXCL11, iii) Th1 clones towards CXCL10, and iv) TCR Vδ2γ9 T cells towards CXCL10 and CXCL11. Downregulation of CXCR3 expression on CD4+ T cells by sHLA-G was partially reverted by adding a blocking antibody against ILT2/CD85j, a receptor for sHLA-G, suggesting that sHLA-G downregulated chemokine receptor expression mainly through the interaction with ILT2/CD85j. Follicular helper T cells (TFH) were isolated from human tonsils and stimulated as described above. sHLA-G impaired CXCR5 expression in TFH and chemotaxis of the latter cells towards CXCL13. Moreover, sHLA-G expression was detected in tonsils by immunohistochemistry, suggesting a role of sHLA-G in local control of TFH cell chemotaxis. Intracellular pathways were investigated by Western Blot analysis on total extracts from CD4+ T cells. Phosphorylation of Stat5, p70 s6k, β-arrestin and SHP2 was modulated by sHLA-G treatment.
Our data demonstrated that sHLA-G impairs expression and functionality of different chemokine receptors in T cells. These findings delineate a novel mechanism whereby sHLA-G modulates T cell recruitment in physiological and pathological conditions.
While the use of probiotics to treat or prevent inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been proposed, to this point the clinical benefits have been limited. In this report we analyzed the immunological activity of three strains of Lactobacillus to predict their in vivo efficacy in protecting against experimental colitis.
We compared the immunological properties of Lactobacillus plantarum NCIMB8826, L. rhamnosus GG (LGG), L. paracasei B21060 and pathogenic Salmonella typhimurium (SL1344). We studied the stimulatory effects of these different strains upon dendritic cells (DCs) either directly by co-culture or indirectly via conditioning of an epithelial intermediary. Furthermore, we characterized the effects of these strains in vivo using a Dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) model of colitis.
We found that the three strains exhibited different abilities to induce inflammatory cytokine production by DCs with L. plantarum being the most effective followed by LGG and L. paracasei. L. paracasei minimally induced the release of cytokines, while it also inhibited the potential of DCs to both produce inflammatory cytokines (IL-12 and TNF-α) and to drive Th1 T cells in response to Salmonella. This effect on DCs was found under both direct and indirect stimulatory conditions – i.e. mediated by epithelial cells - and was dependent upon an as yet unidentified soluble mediator. When tested in vivo, L. plantarum and LGG exacerbated the development of DSS-induced colitis and caused the death of treated mice, while, conversely L. paracasei was protective.
We describe a new property of probiotics to either directly or indirectly inhibit DC activation by inflammatory bacteria. Moreover, some immunostimulatory probiotics not only failed to protect against colitis, they actually amplified the disease progression. In conclusion, caution must be exercised when choosing a probiotic strain to treat IBD.
During acute inflammation, functioning lymphatics are believed to reduce edema and to provide a transiting route for immune cells, but the extent at which the dermal lymphatic remodeling impacts lymphatic transport or the factors regulating these changes remains unclear. Herein we quantify the increase in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) and examine the expression of pro-angiogenenic and lymphangiogenic factors during acute cutaneous hypersensitivity (CHS). We found that LECs actively proliferate during CHS but that this proliferation does not affect the lymphatic vessel density. Instead, lymphatic remodeling is accompanied by lymphatic vessel leakiness and lower ejection of lymph fluid, which is observed only in the proximal lymphatic vessel draining the inflamed area. LECs and the immune cells release growth factors and cytokines during inflammation, which impact the lymphatic microenvironment and function. We identified that FGF-2, PLGF-2, HGF, EGF, and KC/CXCL17 are differentially expressed within tissues during acute CHS, but both VEGF-C and VEGF-D levels do not significantly change. Our results indicate that VEGF-C and VEGF-D are not the only players and other factors may be responsible for the LECs proliferation and altered lymphatic function in acute CHS.
The role of p110δ PI3K in lymphoid cells has been studied extensively, showing its importance in immune cell differentiation, activation and development. Altered T cell localization in p110δ-deficient mouse spleen suggested a role for p110δ in non-hematopoietic stromal cells, which maintain hematopoietic cell segregation. We tested this hypothesis using p110δWT/WT mouse bone marrow to reconstitute lethally irradiated p110δWT/WT or p110δD910A/D910A (which express catalytically inactive p110δ) recipients, and studied localization, number and percentage of hematopoietic cell subsets in spleen and lymph nodes, in homeostatic conditions and after antigen stimulation. These analyses showed diffuse T cell areas in p110δD910A/D910A and in reconstituted p110δD910A/D910A mice in homeostatic conditions. In these mice, spleen CD4+ and CD8+ T cell numbers did not increase in response to antigen, suggesting that a p110δD910A/D910A stroma defect impedes correct T cell response. FACS analysis of spleen stromal cell populations showed a decrease in the percentage of gp38−CD31+ cells in p110δD910A/D910A mice. qRT-PCR studies detected p110δ mRNA expression in p110δWT/WT spleen gp38−CD31+ and gp38+CD31+ subsets, which was reduced in p110δD910A/D910A spleen. Lack of p110δ activity in these cell populations correlated with lower LTβR, CCL19 and CCL21 mRNA levels; these molecules participate in T cell localization to specific spleen areas. Our results could explain the lower T cell numbers and more diffuse T cell areas found in p110δD910A/D910A mouse spleen, as well as the lower T cell expansion after antigen stimulation in p110δD910A/D910A compared with p110δWT/WT mice.
In recent years, genome wide association studies have discovered a large number of gene loci that play a functional role in innate and adaptive immune pathways associated with leprosy susceptibility. The immunological control of intracellular bacteria M. leprae is modulated by NOD2-mediated signaling of Th1 responses. In this study, we investigated 211 clinically classified leprosy patients and 230 ethnically matched controls in Indian population by genotyping four variants in NOD2 (rs9302752A/G), LRRK2 (rs1873613A/G), RIPK2 (rs40457A/G and rs42490G/A). The LRRK2 locus is associated with leprosy outcome. The LRRK2 rs1873613A minor allele and respective rs1873613AA genotypes were significantly associated with an increased risk whereas the LRRK2 rs1873613G major allele and rs1873613GG genotypes confer protection in paucibacillary and leprosy patients. The reconstructed GA haplotypes from RIPK2 rs40457A/G and rs42490G/A variants was observed to contribute towards increased risk whereas haplotypes AA was observed to confer protective role. Our results indicate that a possible shared mechanisms underlying the development of these two clinical forms of the disease as hypothesized. Our findings confirm and validates the role of gene variants involved in NOD2-mediated signalling pathways that play a role in immunological control of intracellular bacteria M. leprae.
The vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid (RA) has potent immunomodulatory properties that affect T cell differentiation, migration and function. However, the precise role of RA metabolism in T cells remains unclear. Catabolism of RA is mediated by the Cyp26 family of cytochrome P450 oxidases. We examined the role of Cyp26b1, the T cell-specific family member, in CD4+ T cells. Mice with a conditional knockout of Cyp26b1 in T cells (Cyp26b1−/− mice) displayed normal lymphoid development but showed an increased sensitivity to serum retinoids, which led to increased differentiation under both inducible regulatory T (iTreg) cell- and TH17 cell-polarizing conditions in vitro. Further, Cyp26b1 expression was differentially regulated in iTreg and TH17 cells. Transfer of naïve Cyp26b1−/− CD4+ T cells into Rag1−/− mice resulted in significantly reduced disease in a model of T cell-dependent colitis. Our results show that T cell-specific expression of Cyp26b1 is required for the development of T cell-mediated colitis and may be applicable to the development of therapeutics that target Cyp26b1 for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.
Cell lines derived from the small intestine that reflect authentic properties of the originating intestinal epithelium are of high value for studies on mucosal immunology and host microbial homeostasis. A novel immortalization procedure was applied to generate continuously proliferating cell lines from murine E19 embryonic small intestinal tissue. The obtained cell lines form a tight and polarized epithelial cell layer, display characteristic tight junction, microvilli and surface protein expression and generate increasing transepithelial electrical resistance during in vitro culture. Significant up-regulation of Cxcl2 and Cxcl5 chemokine expression upon exposure to defined microbial innate immune stimuli and endogenous cytokines is observed. Cell lines were also generated from a transgenic interferon reporter (Mx2-Luciferase) mouse, allowing reporter technology-based quantification of the cellular response to type I and III interferon. Thus, the newly created cell lines mimic properties of the natural epithelium and can be used for diverse studies including testing of the absorption of drug candidates. The reproducibility of the method to create such cell lines from wild type and transgenic mice provides a new tool to study molecular and cellular processes of the epithelial barrier.
NOD2 is an intracellular pattern recognition receptor that assembles with receptor-interacting protein (RIP)-2 kinase in response to the presence of bacterial muramyl dipeptide (MDP) in the host cell cytoplasm, thereby inducing signals leading to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The dysregulation of NOD2 signaling has been associated with various inflammatory disorders suggesting that small-molecule inhibitors of this signaling complex may have therapeutic utility. To identify inhibitors of the NOD2 signaling pathway, we utilized a cell-based screening approach and identified a benzimidazole diamide compound designated GSK669 that selectively inhibited an MDP-stimulated, NOD2-mediated IL-8 response without directly inhibiting RIP2 kinase activity. Moreover, GSK669 failed to inhibit cytokine production in response to the activation of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2, tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-1 and closely related NOD1, all of which share common downstream components with the NOD2 signaling pathway. While the inhibitors blocked MDP-induced NOD2 responses, they failed to block signaling induced by NOD2 over-expression or single stranded RNA, suggesting specificity for the MDP-induced signaling complex and activator-dependent differences in NOD2 signaling. Investigation of structure-activity relationship allowed the identification of more potent analogs that maintained NOD2 selectivity. The largest boost in activity was achieved by N-methylation of the C2-ethyl amide group. These findings demonstrate that the NOD2 signaling pathway is amenable to modulation by small molecules that do not target RIP2 kinase activity. The compounds we identified should prove useful tools to investigate the importance of NOD2 in various inflammatory processes and may have potential clinical utility.
FcRn, a non-classical MHCI molecule, transports IgG from mother to young and regulates the rate of IgG degradation throughout life. Brambell proposed a mechanism that unified these two functions, saying that IgG was pinocytosed nonspecifically by the cell into an FcRn-expressing endosome, where, at low pH, it bound to FcRn and was exocytosed. This theory was immediately challenged by claims that FcRn specificity for ligand could be conferred at the cell surface in neonatal jejunum. Assessing Brambell's hypothesis we found abundant nonspecifically endocytosed IgG present in the cytoplasm of FcRn−/− enterocytes. Further, IgG was present in the intercellular clefts and the cores of FcRn+/+ but not FcRn−/− jejunum. FcRn specificity for ligand could be determined within the cell.
Endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase-1 (ERAP1) is a multifunctional, ubiquitously expressed enzyme whose peptide-trimming role during antigen processing for presentation by MHC I molecules is well established, however, a role for ERAP1 in modulating global innate immune responses has not been described to date. Here we demonstrate that, relative to wild type mice, mice lacking ERAP1 exhibit exaggerated innate immune responses early during pathogen recognition, as characterized by increased activation of splenic and hepatic NK and NKT cells and enhanced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL12 and MCP1. Our data also revealed that ERAP1 is playing a critical role in NK cell development and function. We observed higher frequencies of terminally matured NK cells, as well as higher frequencies of licensed NK cells (expressing the Ly49C and Ly49I receptors) in ERAP1-KO mice, results that positively correlated with an enhanced NK activation and IFNγ production by ERAP1-KO mice challenged with pro-inflammatory stimuli. Furthermore, during pathogen recognition, ERAP1 regulates IL12 production by CD11c+ DCs specifically, with increases in IL12 production positively correlated with an increased phagocytic activity of splenic DCs and macrophages. Collectively, our results demonstrate a previously unrecognized, more central role for the ERAP1 protein in modulating several aspects of both the development of the innate immune system, and its responses during the initial stages of pathogen recognition. Such a role may explain why ERAP1 has been implicated by GWAS in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases that may be precipitated by aberrant responses to pathogen encounters.
The proprotein convertase 1/3 (PC1/3) is an important post-translational processing enzyme for the activation of precursor proteins within the regulated secretory pathway. Well characterized for its role in the neural and endocrine systems, we recently reported an unconventional role of PC1/3 as a modulator of the Toll-like receptor innate immune response. There are only a few reports that have studied PC1/3 expression in macrophages, and more investigation is needed to better characterize its function. These studies would greatly benefit from model cell lines. Our study aims to identify and characterize PC1/3 in a relevant model macrophage cell line and to determine the links between PC1/3 and innate immune cellular responses. We describe the rat alveolar cell line, NR8383, as expressing PC1/3 and the most common Toll-like receptors. In NR8383 cells, PC1/3 is localized at the Trans-Golgi network and traffics to lysosome related vesicles upon lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Moreover, we report the co-localization of PC1/3 and Toll-like receptor 4 upon lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Down regulation of PC1/3 by shRNA produce a similar phenotype in NR8383 to what we previously reported in isolated peritoneal macrophages. PC1/3 shRNA induced changes in the cellular organization and expression of the specific trafficking regulator RAB GTPase. As a consequence, NR8383 down-regulated for PC1/3, present an abnormal cytokine secretion profile. We conclude that the NR8383 cell line represents a good model to study PC1/3 in macrophages and we present PC1/3 as an important regulator of vesicle trafficking and secretion in macrophages.
Retinoid-related orphan receptor (ROR) γt is known to be related to the development and function of various immunological compartments in the liver, such as Th17 cells, natural killer T (NKT) cells, and innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). We evaluated the roles of RORγt-expressing cells in mouse acute hepatitis model using RORγt deficient (RORγt−/−) mice and RAG-2 and RORγt double deficient (RAG-2−/− × RORγt−/−) mice. Acute hepatitis was induced in mice by injection with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), to investigate the regulation of liver inflammation by RORγt-expressing cells. We detected RORC expression in three compartments, CD4+ T cells, NKT cells, and lineage marker-negative SCA-1+Thy1high ILCs, of the liver of wild type (WT) mice. CCl4-treated RORγt−/− mice developed liver damage in spite of lack of RORγt-dependent cells, but with reduced infiltration of macrophages compared with WT mice. In this regard, ILCs were significantly decreased in RAG-2−/− × RORγt−/− mice that lacked T and NKT cells. Surprisingly, RAG-2−/− × RORγt−/− mice developed significantly severer CCl4-induced hepatitis compared with RAG-2−/− mice, in accordance with the fact that hepatic ILCs failed to produce IL-22. Lastly, anti-Thy1 monoclonal antibody (mAb), but not anti-NK1.1 mAb or anti-asialo GM1 Ab administration exacerbated liver damage in RAG-2−/− mice with the depletion of liver ILCs. Collectively, hepatic RORγt-dependent ILCs play a part of protective roles in hepatic immune response in mice.
Recent genetic-based studies have implicated a number of immune-related genes in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our recent genetic studies showed that RAC2 is associated with human IBD; however, its role in disease pathogenesis is unclear. Given Rac2’s importance in various fundamental immune cell processes, we investigated whether a defect in Rac2 may impair host immune responses in the intestine and promote disease in the context of an infection-based (Citrobacter rodentium) model of colitis. In response to infection, Rac2−/− mice showed i) worsened clinical symptoms (days 13–18), ii) increased crypt hyperplasia at days 11 and 22 (a time when crypt hyperplasia was largely resolved in wild-type mice; WT), and iii) marked mononuclear cell infiltration characterized by higher numbers of T (CD3+) cells (day 22), compared to WT-infected mice. Moreover, splenocytes harvested from infected Rac2−/− mice and stimulated in vitro with C. rodentium lysate produced considerably higher levels of interferon-γ and interleukin-17A. The augmented responses observed in Rac2−/− mice did not appear to stem from Rac2’s role in NADPH oxidase-driven reactive oxygen species production as no differences in crypt hyperplasia, nor inflammation, were observed in infected NOX2−/− mice compared to WT. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that Rac2−/− mice develop more severe disease when subjected to a C. rodentium-induced model of infectious colitis, and suggest that impaired Rac2 function may promote the development of IBD in humans.
Obesity and high body mass index are associated with a higher incidence of osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of this study is to investigate the involvement of the infrapatellar fat pad (IPFP) in the sub-acute effect of a high fat diet (HFD) on the development of knee-OA. C57BL/6J male mice were fed either a HFD or a normal diet beginning at seven weeks of age. Tissue sections were evaluated with immunohistological analysis. The IPFP was excised, and mRNA expression profiles were compared using real-time RT-PCR analysis. Osteoarthritic changes were initiated in the HFD group after eight weeks of the HFD. Increased synovial cell number and angiogenesis at the anterior edge of the tibial plateau were exhibited prior to osteophyte formation. Quantitative histological analysis indicated that osteophyte volume was significantly increased in the HFD group after eight weeks, along with an increase in the IPFP volume, the size of individual adipocytes and the number of vessels in the IPFP. Histomorphometrical analysis revealed osteophyte area was significantly associated with IPFP area, individual adipocyte area and vascular area. Real-time RT-PCR analysis demonstrated elevated mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines, growth factor, and adipokines in the IPFP after eight weeks of the HFD. These findings are in parallel with increased expression of the CD68 macrophage marker after eight weeks of the HFD. Expression levels of the adipokines were significantly correlated with expression of TNF-α, VEGF and TGF-β. Immunohistological analysis revealed that the Nampt protein was highly expressed in the IPFP especially around the site of osteophyte formation. Apoptosis and proliferation of chondrocytes were both enhanced at the site of osteophyte formation, indicating higher cell turnover at this region. These observations suggest the IPFP plays a pivotal role in the formation of osteophytes and functions as a secretory organ in response to a HFD.
The generation of antigen-specific antibodies and the development of immunological memory require collaboration between B and T cells. T cell-secreted IL-4 is important for B cell survival, isotype switch to IgG1 and IgE, affinity maturation, and the development of germinal centers (GC). Fyn, a member of the Src family tyrosine kinase, is widely expressed in many cell types, including lymphocytes. This kinase is known to interact with both the B cell and T cell receptor (BCR and TCR, respectively). While Fyn deletion does not impair the development of immature T cells and B cells, TCR signaling is altered in mature T cells. The current study demonstrates that Fyn deficient (KO) B cells have impaired IL-4 signaling. Fyn KO mice displayed low basal levels of IgG1, IgE and IgG2c, and delayed antigen-specific IgG1 and IgG2b production, with a dramatic decrease in antigen-specific IgG2c following immunization with a T-dependent antigen. Defects in antibody production correlated with significantly reduced numbers of GC B cells, follicular T helper cells (TFH), and splenic plasma cells (PC). Taken together, our data demonstrate that Fyn kinase is required for optimal humoral responses.
The migration of lymphocytes to the small intestine is controlled by expression of the integrin α4β7 and the chemokine receptor CCR9. However, the molecules that specifically regulate migration to the large intestine remain unclear. Immunity to infection with the large intestinal helminth parasite Trichuris muris is dependent upon CD4+ T cells that migrate to the large intestine. We examine the role of specific chemokine receptors, adhesion molecules and glycosyltransferases in the development of protective immunity to Trichuris. Mice deficient in expression of the chemokine receptors CCR2 or CCR6 were resistant to infection with Trichuris. Similarly, loss of CD34, CD43, CD44 or PSGL-1 had no effect on resistance to infection. In contrast, simultaneous deletion of the Core2 β1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (C2GnT) enzymes C2GnT1 and C2Gnt2 resulted in delayed expulsion of worms. These results suggest that C2GnT-dependent modifications may play a role in migration of protective immune cells to the large intestine.
Germinal centers (GCs) are microanatomic structures that develop in secondary lymphoid organs in response to antigenic stimulation. Within GCs B cells clonally expand and their immunoglobulin genes undergo class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation. Transcriptional profiling has identified a number of genes that are prominently expressed in GC B cells. Among them is Rgs13, which encodes an RGS protein with a dual function. Its canonical function is to accelerate the intrinsic GTPase activity of heterotrimeric G-protein α subunits at the plasma membrane, thereby limiting heterotrimeric G-protein signaling. A unique, non-canonical function of RGS13 occurs following translocation to the nucleus, where it represses CREB transcriptional activity. The functional role of RGS13 in GC B cells is unknown. To create a surrogate marker for Rgs13 expression and a loss of function mutation, we inserted a GFP coding region into the Rgs13 genomic locus. Following immunization GFP expression rapidly increased in activated B cells, persisted in GC B cells, but declined in newly generated memory B and plasma cells. Intravital microscopy of the inguinal lymph node (LN) of immunized mice revealed the rapid appearance of GFP+ cells at LN interfollicular regions and along the T/B cell borders, and eventually within GCs. Analysis of WT, knock-in, and mixed chimeric mice indicated that RGS13 constrains extra-follicular plasma cell generation, GC size, and GC B cell numbers. Analysis of select cell cycle and GC specific genes disclosed an aberrant gene expression profile in the Rgs13 deficient GC B cells. These results indicate that RGS13, likely acting at cell membranes and in nuclei, helps coordinate key decision points during the expansion and differentiation of naive B cells.
Improper regulation of B cell responses leads to excessive production of antibodies and contributes to the development of autoimmune disease. T helper 17 (Th17) cells also drive the development of autoimmune disease, but the role of B cells in shaping Th17 cell-mediated immune responses, as well as the reciprocal regulation of B cell responses by IL-17 family cytokines, remains unclear. The aim of this study was to characterize the regulation of IL-17A and IL-17F in a model of T cell-dependent B cell activation. Stimulation of primary human B cell and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (BT) co-cultures with α-IgM and a non-mitogenic concentration of superantigens for three days promoted a Th17 cell response as evidenced by increased expression of Th17-related gene transcripts, including Il17f, Il21, Il22, and Il23r, in CD4 T cells, as well as the secretion of IL-17A and IL-17F protein. We tested the ability of 144 pharmacologic modulators representing 91 different targets or pathways to regulate IL-17A and IL-17F production in these stimulated BT co-cultures. IL-17A production was found to be preferentially sensitive to inhibition of the PI3K/mTOR pathway, while prostaglandin EP receptor agonists, including PGE2, increased IL-17A concentrations. In contrast, the production of IL-17F was inhibited by PGE2, but selectively increased by TLR2 and TLR5 agonists. These results indicate that IL-17A regulation is distinct from IL-17F in stimulated BT co-cultures and that this co-culture approach can be used to identify pathway mechanisms and novel agents that selectively inhibit production of IL-17A or IL-17F.
NOD2 is a cytosolic pattern-recognition receptor that senses muramyl dipeptide of peptidoglycan that constitutes the bacterial cell wall, and plays an important role in maintaining immunological homeostasis in the intestine. To date, multiple molecules have shown to be involved in regulating NOD2 signaling cascades. p62 (sequestosome-1; SQSTM1) is a multifaceted scaffolding protein involved in trafficking molecules to autophagy, and regulating signal cascades activated by Toll-like receptors, inflammasomes and several cytokine receptors. Here, we show that p62 positively regulates NOD2-induced NF-κB activation and p38 MAPK, and subsequent production of cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α. p62 associated with the nucleotide binding domain of NOD2 through a bi-directional interaction mediated by either TRAF6-binding or ubiquitin-associated domains. NOD2 formed a large complex with p62 in an electron-dense area of the cytoplasm, which increased its signaling cascade likely through preventing its degradation. This study for the first time demonstrates a novel role of p62 in enhancing NOD2 signaling effects.
Lymphatic vessels play a pivotal role in fluid drainage and egress of immune cells from the lung. However, examining murine lung lymphatics is hampered by the expression of classical lymph endothelial markers on other cell types, which hinders the unambiguous identification of lymphatics. The expression of CD90/Thy-1 on lymph endothelium was recently described and we therefore examined its suitability to identify murine pulmonary lymph vessels under healthy and inflammatory conditions.
Immunohistochemistry with a monoclonal antibody against CD90.2/Thy-1.2 on 200 µm thick precision cut lung slices labeled a vascular network that was distinct from blood vessels. Preembedding immunostaining and electron microscopy verified that the anti-CD90.2/Thy-1.2 antibody labeled lymphatic endothelium. Absence of staining in CD90.1/Thy-1.1 expressing FVB mice indicated that CD90/Thy-1 was expressed on lymph endothelium and labeling was not due to antibody cross reactivity. Double-labeling immunohistochemistry for CD90/Thy-1 and α-smooth muscle actin identified two routes for lymph vessel exit from the murine lung. One started in the parenchyma or around veins and left via venous blood vessels. The other began in the space around airways or in the space between airways and pulmonary arteries and left via the main bronchi. As expected from the pulmonary distribution of lymph vessels, intranasal application of house dust mite led to accumulation of T cells around veins and in the connective tissue between airways and pulmonary arteries. Surprisingly, increased numbers of T cells were also detected around intraacinar arteries that lack lymph vessels. This arterial T cell sheath extended to the pulmonary arteries where lymph vessels were located.
These results indicate that CD90/Thy-1 is expressed on lymphatic endothelial cells and represents a suitable marker for murine lung lymph vessels. Combining CD90/Thy-1 labeling with precision cut lung slices allows visualizing the anatomy of the lymphatic system in normal and inflamed conditions.
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a stress-responsive enzyme with potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Previous studies have shown that systemic induction of HO-1 by chemical inducers reduces adiposity and improves insulin sensitivity. To dissect the specific function of HO-1 in adipose tissue, we generated transgenic mice with adipose HO-1 overexpression using the adipocyte-specific aP2 promoter. The transgenic (Tg) mice exhibit similar metabolic phenotype as wild type (WT) control under chow-fed condition. High fat diet (HFD) challenge significantly increased the body weights of WT and Tg mice to a similar extent. Likewise, HFD-induced glucose intolerance and insulin resistance were not much different between WT and Tg mice. Analysis of the adipose tissue gene expression revealed that the mRNA levels of adiponectin and interleukin-10 were significantly higher in chow diet-fed Tg mice as compared to WT counterparts, whereas HFD induced downregulation of adiponectin gene expression in both Tg and WT mice to a similar level. HFD-induced proinflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissues were comparable between WT and transgenic mice. Nevertheless, immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis showed that the number of infiltrating macrophages with preferential expression of M2 markers was significantly higher in the adipose tissue of obese Tg mice than WT mice. Further experiment demonstrated that myeloid cells from Tg mice expressed higher level of HO-1 and exhibited greater migration response toward chemoattractant in vitro. Collectively, these data indicate that HO-1 overexpression in adipocytes does not protect against HFD-induced obesity and the development of insulin resistance in mice.
Decidualization renders the endometrium transiently receptive to an implanting blastocyst although the underlying mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Here we show that human endometrial stromal cells (HESCs) rapidly release IL-33, a key regulator of innate immune responses, upon decidualization. In parallel, differentiating HESCs upregulate the IL-33 transmembrane receptor ST2L and other pro-inflammatory mediators before mounting a profound anti-inflammatory response that includes downregulation of ST2L and increased expression of the soluble decoy receptor sST2. We demonstrate that HESCs secrete factors permissive of embryo implantation in mice only during the pro-inflammatory phase of the decidual process. IL-33 knockdown in undifferentiated HESCs was sufficient to abrogate this pro-inflammatory decidual response. Further, sequential activation of the IL-33/ST2L/sST2 axis was disordered in decidualizing HESCs from women with recurrent pregnancy loss. Signals from these cultures prolonged the implantation window but also caused subsequent pregnancy failure in mice. Thus, Il-33/ST2 activation in HESCS drives an autoinflammatory response that controls the temporal expression of receptivity genes. Failure to constrain this response predisposes to miscarriage by allowing out-of-phase implantation in an unsupportive uterine environment.