Long-term humoral immunity elicited by pathogens and vaccines alike relies upon the generation of both memory B cells (Bmem) and long-lived plasma cells (PCs). Virtually all vaccine formulations induce the concomitant emergence of both Bmem and PCs, suggesting that the emergence of these two differentiated B cells subsets is commonly controlled. Evidence presented shows specific Toll-like Receptor (TLR) agonists coupled with soluble protein antigen (sAg) can selectively induce the expansion of antigen specific Bmem in the absence of PC generation. The co-administration of either TLR 3 or 9 agonists with sAg induced germinal centre (GC) formation, antigen-specific Bmem, but failed to substantively induce the generation of long-lived bone marrow (BM) PCs. Upon re-challenge, high levels of PCs were induced with concomitant high titres of antigen-specific serum IgG. Hence, vaccines can be developed that can prime and protect the host to subsequent infectious agents without initial, high levels of antibody production. Furthermore, these studies suggest that the signals that govern the expansion and differentiation of Bmem can be uncoupled from those that induce long-lived BM PCs.
Memory B cell; Vaccine; Adjuvant; TLRs; B Cell Differentiation
While vitamin A has been implicated in host resistance to infectious disease, little is known about the role of vitamin A and its active metabolite, retinoic acid (RA) in host defenses against cancer. Here, we show that local RA production within the tumor microenvironment (TME) is increased up to 5-fold as compared with naïve surrounding tissue, with a commensurate increase in RA signaling to regionally infiltrating tumor-reactive T cells. Conditional disruption of RA signaling in CD8+ T cells using a dominant negative retinoic acid receptor α (dnRARα) established that RA signaling is required for tumor-specific CD8+ T-cell expansion/accumulation and protective antitumor immunity. In vivo analysis of antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell responses revealed that early T-cell expansion was RA-independent; however, late T-cell expansion and clonal accumulation was suppressed strongly in the absence of RA signaling. Our findings indicate that RA function is essential for the survival of tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells within the TME.
Peripheral tolerance orchestrated by regulatory T cells, dendritic cells (DCs), and mast cells (MCs) has been studied in several models including skin allograft tolerance. We now define a role for MCs in controlling DC behavior (“conditioning”) to facilitate tolerance. Under tolerant conditions, we show that MCs mediated a marked increase in tumor necrosis factor (TNFα)-dependent accumulation of graft-derived DCs in the dLN compared to nontolerant conditions. This increase of DCs in the dLN is due to the local production of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) by MCs that induces a survival advantage of graft-derived DCs. DCs that migrated to the dLN from the tolerant allograft were tolerogenic; i.e., they dominantly suppress T cell responses and control regional immunity. This study underscores the importance of MCs in conditioning DCs to mediate peripheral tolerance and shows a functional impact of peripherally produced TNFα and GM-CSF on the migration and function of tolerogenic DCs.
The hypothesis that bystander inflammatory signals promote memory B cell (BMEM) self-renewal and differentiation in an antigen-independent manner is critically evaluated herein. To comprehensively address this hypothesis, a detailed analysis is presented examining the response profiles of B-2 lineage B220+IgG+ BMEM toward cognate protein antigen in comparison to bystander inflammatory signals. After in vivo antigen encounter, quiescent BMEM clonally expand. Surprisingly, proliferating BMEM do not acquire germinal center (GC) B cell markers before generating daughter BMEM and differentiating into plasma cells or form structurally identifiable GCs. In striking contrast to cognate antigen, inflammatory stimuli, including Toll-like receptor agonists or bystander T cell activation, fail to induce even low levels of BMEM proliferation or differentiation in vivo. Under the extreme conditions of adjuvanted protein vaccination or acute viral infection, no detectable bystander proliferation or differentiation of BMEM occurred. The absence of a BMEM response to nonspecific inflammatory signals clearly shows that BMEM proliferation and differentiation is a process tightly controlled by the availability of cognate antigen.
Three possible effector fates await the naïve follicular B cell following antigen stimulation in thymus-dependent reactions. Short-lived plasma cells produce an initial burst of germline-encoded protective antibodies, and long-lived plasma cells and memory B cells arise from the germinal center and function to enhance and sustain the humoral immune response. The inherent B-cell receptor affinity of naïve follicular B cells and the contribution of other early B-cell signals pre-determines the pattern of transcription factor expression and the differentiation path taken by these cells. High initial B-cell receptor affinity shunts naïve follicular B-cell clones towards the short-lived plasma cell fate, whereas modest-affinity clones are skewed towards a plasma cell fate and low-affinity clones are recruited into the germinal center and are selected for both long-lived plasma cells and memory B cell pathways. In the germinal center reaction, increased levels of the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor-4 drive the molecular program that dictates differentiation into the long-lived plasma cell phenotype but has no impact on the memory B cell compartment. We hypothesize that graded interferon regulatory factor-4 levels driven by signals to B cells, including B-cell receptor signal strength, are responsible for this branch point in the B-cell terminal differentiation pathway.
Tryptophan hydroxylase deficiency in mast cells breaks allograft tolerance, induces tumor remission, and intensifies neuroinflammation.
Nutrient deprivation based on the loss of essential amino acids by catabolic enzymes in the microenvironment is a critical means to control inflammatory responses and immune tolerance. Here we report the novel finding that Tph-1 (tryptophan hydroxylase-1), a synthase which catalyses the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin and exhausts tryptophan, is a potent regulator of immunity. In models of skin allograft tolerance, tumor growth, and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Tph-1 deficiency breaks allograft tolerance, induces tumor remission, and intensifies neuroinflammation, respectively. All of these effects of Tph-1 deficiency are independent of its downstream product serotonin. Because mast cells (MCs) appear to be the major source of Tph-1 and restoration of Tph-1 in the MC compartment in vivo compensates for the defect, these experiments introduce a fundamentally new mechanism of MC-mediated immune suppression that broadly impacts multiple arms of immunity.
We demonstrate that all-trans retinoic acid (RA) induces FoxP3+ adaptive T regulatory cells (A-Tregs) to acquire a gut-homing phenotype (α4β7+ CC chemokine receptor 9+) and the capacity to home to the lamina propria of the small intestine. Under conditions that favor the differentiation of A-Tregs (transforming growth factor–β1 and interleukin 2) in vitro, the inclusion of RA induces nearly all activated CD4+ T cells to express FoxP3 and greatly increases the accumulation of these cells. In the absence of RA, A-Treg differentiation is abruptly impaired by proficient antigen presenting cells or through direct co-stimulation. In the presence of RA, A-Treg generation occurs even in the presence of high levels of co-stimulation, with RA attenuating co-stimulation from interfering from FoxP3 induction. The recognition that RA induces gut imprinting, together with our finding that it enhances A-Treg conversion, differentiation, and expansion, indicates that RA production in vivo may drive both the imprinting and A-Treg development in the face of overt inflammation.
The contribution that long-lived bone marrow (BM) plasma cells (PCs) provide to enduring humoral immunity has been underscored by a number of recent studies. However, little is known about the immediate precursors that give rise to long-lived PCs in the BM of immune individuals. We have identified subsets of antigen-experienced B cells within the immune BM that are precursors to PCs. These PC precursors arise in the BM 14 days after immunization and persist for greater than 9 months. Phenotypically distinct subsets of PC precursors give rise to short-lived or long-lived PCs. The differentiation of PC precursors to PCs occurs in the absence of antigen and requires cell division. The functional significance of these newly identified PC precursors in the persistence and quality of the humoral immune response is discussed.
B lymphocyte subsets; antibody formation; cell differentiation; cell lineage; immunophenotyping
The transfer of lymphocytes into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice induces a series of histological changes in the spleen, including the appearance of mature follicular dendritic cells (FDCs). Studies were undertaken to clarify the role of lymphotoxin (LT) in this process. The results show that SCID mice have a small and partially differentiated white pulp containing marginal zone and interdigitating dendritic cells, but lacking FDCs. Transferred spleen cells can segregate into T and B cell areas shortly after their injection to SCID mice. This ability is dependent on signaling through LT-β receptor (LT-βR), since blocking ligand–receptor interaction in recipient SCID mice ablates the capacity of the transferred cells to segregate. A week after lymphocyte transfer, host-derived FDCs appeared in the reconstituted SCID mice. This induction of FDCs is dependent on LT-βR signaling by B cells since LT-α−/− B cells are incapable of inducing development of FDCs in SCID mice, even after cotransfer of LT-α+/+ T cells. Therefore, LT plays at least two discrete roles in splenic organization. First, it appears that LT induces the differentiation of the white pulp to create sites for lymphocyte segregation. Second, LT expression by B cells drives the maturation of FDCs and the organization of B cell follicles.
CD40 is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily. Studies with human B cells show that the binding of CD154 (gp39, CD40L) to CD40 recruits TNF receptor– associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and TRAF3 to the receptor complex, induces the downregulation of the nonreceptor-associated TRAFs in the cell and induces an increased expression of Fas on the cell surface. Combined signaling through the interluekin 4 receptor and CD40 induces an increased expression of Fas with a commensurate increase in the level of TRAF2, but not TRAF3, that is recruited to the receptor complex. In contrast, engagement of the membrane immunoglobulin and CD40 limits Fas upregulation and reduces the recruitment of TRAF2, relative to TRAF3, to the CD40 receptor complex. These studies show that the TRAF composition of the CD40 receptor complex can be altered by signals that influence B cell differentiation.
Immune cell activation induces concurrent temporal and spatial retinoic acid signaling, and CD4+ T cell–specific loss of RA signals reduces effector function, migration, and polarity.
It is known that vitamin A and its metabolite, retinoic acid (RA), are essential for host defense. However, the mechanisms for how RA controls inflammation are incompletely understood. The findings presented in this study show that RA signaling occurs concurrent with the development of inflammation. In models of vaccination and allogeneic graft rejection, whole body imaging reveals that RA signaling is temporally and spatially restricted to the site of inflammation. Conditional ablation of RA signaling in T cells significantly interferes with CD4+ T cell effector function, migration, and polarity. These findings provide a new perspective of the role of RA as a mediator directly controlling CD4+ T cell differentiation and immunity.
To determine whether an autologous dendritic cell (DC) vaccine could induce anti-tumor immune responses in patients after resection of colorectal cancer metastases and whether these responses could be enhanced by activating DCs with CD40L.
Twenty six patients who had undergone resection of colorectal metastases were treated with intranodal injections of an autologous tumor lysate and control protein (KLH) pulsed DC vaccine. Patients were randomized to receive DCs that had been either activated or not activated with CD40L. All patients were followed for a minimum of 5.5 years.
Immunization induced an autologous tumor-specific T-cell proliferative or IFNγ ELISPOT response in 15 of 24 assessable patients (63%) and a tumor specific DTH response in 61%. Patients with evidence of a vaccine induced, tumor specific T-cell proliferative or IFNγ response one week after vaccination had a markedly better recurrence free survival (RFS) at 5 years (63% vs. 18%, p=0.037) than non-responders. In contrast, no association was observed between induction of KLH-specific immune responses and RFS. CD40L maturation induced CD86 and CD83 expression on DCs but had no affect on immune responses or RFS.
Adjuvant treatment of patients after resection of colorectal metastases with an autologous tumor lysate pulsed DC vaccine induced tumor-specific immune responses in a high proportion of patients. There was an association between induction of tumor-specific immune responses and recurrence free survival. Activation of this DC vaccine with CD40L did not lead to increased immune responses.
Dendritic cell; vaccine; colon cancer; rectal cancer; CD40 Ligand
VISTA suppresses T cell proliferation and cytokine production and can influence autoimmunity and antitumor responses in mice.
The immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily consists of many critical immune regulators, including the B7 family ligands and receptors. In this study, we identify a novel and structurally distinct Ig superfamily inhibitory ligand, whose extracellular domain bears homology to the B7 family ligand PD-L1. This molecule is designated V-domain Ig suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA). VISTA is primarily expressed on hematopoietic cells, and VISTA expression is highly regulated on myeloid antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and T cells. A soluble VISTA-Ig fusion protein or VISTA expression on APCs inhibits T cell proliferation and cytokine production in vitro. A VISTA-specific monoclonal antibody interferes with VISTA-induced suppression of T cell responses by VISTA-expressing APCs in vitro. Furthermore, anti-VISTA treatment exacerbates the development of the T cell–mediated autoimmune disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice. Finally, VISTA overexpression on tumor cells interferes with protective antitumor immunity in vivo in mice. These findings show that VISTA, a novel immunoregulatory molecule, has functional activities that are nonredundant with other Ig superfamily members and may play a role in the development of autoimmunity and immune surveillance in cancer.
Recovery of lymphocyte populations after lymphocyte depletion is implicated in therapeutic immune pathways in animal models and in patients with cancer. We sought to evaluate the effects of chemotherapy-induced lymphodepletion followed by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy on clinical response and the recovery of lymphocyte subcompartments in patients with metastatic melanoma.
Patients and Methods
This was a two-stage phase II trial design. Patients with measurable metastatic melanoma were treated with intravenous cyclophosphamide (60 mg/kg, days 1 and 2) and fludarabine (25 mg/m2, day 3 through 7) followed by two 5-day courses of intravenous high-dose bolus IL-2 (600,000 U/kg; days 8 through 12 and 21 through 25). GM-CSF (250 μg/m2/d beginning day 8) was given until granulocyte recovery. Lymphocyte recovery profiles were determined by flow cytometric phenotyping at regular intervals, and clinical outcome was assessed by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST).
The trial was stopped at the end of stage 1 with four of 18 objective responses noted. Twelve patients had detailed lymphocyte subcompartments evaluated. After lymphodepletion, we observed an induction of regulatory cells (CD4+ T regulatory cells; CD8+ T suppressor cells) and of T memory cells (CD8+ T central memory cells; T effector memory RA+ cells). Expansion of circulating melanoma-specific CD8+ cells was observed in one of four HLA-A2-positive patients.
Chemotherapy-induced lymphodepletion modulates the homeostatic repopulation of the lymphocyte compartment and influences recovering lymphocyte subpopulations. Clinical activity seems similar to standard high-dose aldesleukin alone.
The CD40–CD40 ligand (CD40L) signaling axis plays an important role in immunological pathways. Consequently, this dyad is involved in chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis. Inhibition of CD40L in apolipoprotein E (Apoe)–deficient (Apoe−/−) mice not only reduced atherosclerosis but also conferred a clinically favorable plaque phenotype that was low in inflammation and high in fibrosis. Blockade of CD40L may not be therapeutically feasible, as long-term inhibition will compromise systemic immune responses. Conceivably, more targeted intervention strategies in CD40 signaling will have less deleterious side effects. We report that deficiency in hematopoietic CD40 reduces atherosclerosis and induces features of plaque stability. To elucidate the role of CD40–tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF) signaling in atherosclerosis, we examined disease progression in mice deficient in CD40 and its associated signaling intermediates. Absence of CD40-TRAF6 but not CD40-TRAF2/3/5 signaling abolishes atherosclerosis and confers plaque fibrosis in Apoe−/− mice. Mice with defective CD40-TRAF6 signaling display a reduced blood count of Ly6Chigh monocytes, an impaired recruitment of Ly6C+ monocytes to the arterial wall, and polarization of macrophages toward an antiinflammatory regulatory M2 signature. These data unveil a role for CD40–TRAF6, but not CD40–TRAF2/3/5, interactions in atherosclerosis and establish that targeting specific components of the CD40–CD40L pathway harbors the potential to achieve therapeutic effects in atherosclerosis.
Affinity maturation of the immune response and the generation of long-lived bone marrow (BM) plasma cells are hallmarks of CD40-dependent, thymus-dependent (TD) humoral immunity. Through disruption of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 6 (TRAF6)-binding site within the CD40 cytoplasmic domain, we selectively ablated affinity maturation and the generation of plasma cells after immunization. Mutagenesis of both the TRAF6 and TRAF2-TRAF3 sites was essential for arresting germinal center formation in response to immunization. CD40-induced B cell proliferation and early immunoglobulin production occurred even when all TRAF sites were ablated. These studies show that specific CD40-TRAF associations control well defined aspects of humoral immunity. In addition, they define the roles that TRAF-dependent and TRAF-independent pathways play in regulating antigen-driven B cell differentiation.
Long-lived humoral immune responses are a hallmark of thymus-dependent immunity. The cellular basis for enduring antibody-mediated immunity is long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells (PCs). Both of these cell populations acquire longevity as a result of antigen-specific, CD40–dependent, cognate interactions with helper T cells within germinal centers (GCs). At the molecular level, defined functional domains of CD40 control the post-GC fate of B cells. PC precursors that emerge from these GC reactions are highly proliferative and terminally differentiate to end-stage cells within the bone marrow (BM). The striking phenotypic similarities between the PC precursors and the putative malignant cell in multiple myeloma (MM) suggests that MM may result from the transformation of PC precursors. Within the domain of autoimmune disease, recent studies have shown that dysregulated migration of PCs to the BM may impact immune homeostasis and the development of lupus. Understanding the processes of normal PC differentiation will provide strategic insights into identifying therapeutic targets for the treatment of differentiated B-cell disorders.
This study tracks the fate of antigen-reactive B cells through follicular and extrafollicular responses and addresses the function of CD40 in these processes. The unique feature of this system is the use of transgenic B cells in which the heavy chain locus has been altered by site-directed insertion of a rearranged VH DJH exon such that they are able to clonally expand, isotype-switch and follow a normal course of differentiation upon immunization. These Ig transgenic B cells when adoptively transferred into non-transgenic (Tg) mice in measured amounts expanded and differentiated distinctively in response to T cell-independent (TI) or T cell-dependent (TD) antigens. The capacity of these Tg B cells to faithfully recapitulate the humoral immune response to TI and TD antigens provides the means to track clonal B cell behavior in vivo. Challenge with TI antigen in the presence of agonistic anti-CD40 mAb resulted in well-defined alterations of the TI response. In vivo triggering of Tg B cells with TI antigen and CD40 caused an increase in the levels IgG produced and a broadening of the Ig isotype profile, characteristics which partially mimic TD responses. Although some TD characteristics were induced by TI antigen and CD40 triggering, the Tg B cells failed to acquire a germinal center phenotype and failed to generate a memory response. Therefore, TD-like immunity can be only partially reconstituted with CD40 agonists and TI antigens, suggesting that there are additional signals required for germinal center formation and development of memory.
B lymphocyte; Isotype switching; Memory; Adoptive transfer; Transgenic mouse
Long-lived plasma cells (PCs) and memory B cells (Bmem) constitute the cellular components of enduring humoral immunity, whereas short-lived PCs that rapidly produce Ig correspond to the host's need for immediate protection against pathogens. In this study we show that the innate affinity of the BCR for Ag imprints upon naive B cells their differentiation fate to become short-or long-lived PCs and Bmem. Using BCR transgenic mice with varying affinities for Ag, naive B cells with high affinity lose their capacity to form germinal centers (GCs), develop neither Bmem nor long-lived PCs, and are destined to a short-lived PC fate. Moderate affinity interactions result in hastened GC responses, and differentiation to long-lived PCs, but Bmem remain extinct. In contrast, lower affinity interactions show tempered GCs, producing Bmem and affinity-matured, long-lived PCs. Thus, a continuum of elementary to comprehensive humoral immune responses exists that is controlled by inherent BCR affinity.
We report that like other T cells cultured in the presence of transforming growth factor (TGF) β, Th17 cells also produce interleukin (IL) 9. Th17 cells generated in vitro with IL-6 and TGF-β as well as purified ex vivo Th17 cells both produced IL-9. To determine if IL-9 has functional consequences in Th17-mediated inflammatory disease, we evaluated the role of IL-9 in the development and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. The data show that IL-9 neutralization and IL-9 receptor deficiency attenuates disease, and this correlates with decreases in Th17 cells and IL-6–producing macrophages in the central nervous system, as well as mast cell numbers in the regional lymph nodes. Collectively, these data implicate IL-9 as a Th17-derived cytokine that can contribute to inflammatory disease.
Granzyme B (GZB) has been implicated as an effector mechanism in regulatory T cells (Treg) suppression. In a model of Treg-dependent graft tolerance, it is shown that GZB- deficient mice are unable to establish long-term tolerance. Moreover, mice overexpressing the inhibitor of GZB, serine protease inhibitor 6, are also resistant to tolerization to alloantigen. Graft survival was shorter in bone marrow-mixed chimeras reconstituted with GZB-deficient Treg as compared with wild-type Treg. Whereas there was no difference in graft survival in mixed chimeras reconstituted with wild-type, perforin-deficient, or Fas ligand-deficient Treg. Finally, data also show that if alloreactive effectors cannot express FoxP3 and be induced to convert in the presence of competent Treg, then graft tolerance is lost. Our data are the first in vivo data to implicate GZB expression by Treg in sustaining long-lived graft survival.
Fetal survival during gestation implies that tolerance mechanisms suppress the maternal immune response to paternally inherited alloantigens. Here we show that the inhibitory T cell costimulatory molecule, programmed death ligand 1 (PDL1), has an important role in conferring fetomaternal tolerance in an allogeneic pregnancy model. Blockade of PDL1 signaling during murine pregnancy resulted in increased rejection rates of allogeneic concepti but not syngeneic concepti. Fetal rejection was T cell– but not B cell–dependent because PDL1-specific antibody treatment caused fetal rejection in B cell–deficient but not in RAG-1–deficient females. Blockade of PDL1 also resulted in a significant increase in the frequency of IFN-γ–producing lymphocytes in response to alloantigen in an ELISPOT assay and higher IFN-γ levels in placental homogenates by ELISA. Finally, PDL1-deficient females exhibited decreased allogeneic fetal survival rates as compared with littermate and heterozygote controls and showed evidence of expansion of T helper type 1 immune responses in vivo. These results provide the first evidence that PDL1 is involved in fetomaternal tolerance.
Toll-like receptors are important in the activation of innate immunity, and CD40 is a molecule critical for many T and B cell responses. Whereas agonists for either pathway have been used as vaccine adjuvants, we show that a combination of Toll-like receptor (TLR)7 and CD40 agonists synergize to stimulate CD8+ T cell responses 10–20-fold greater than the use of either agonist alone. Antigen-specific CD8+ T cells elicited from combination CD40/TLR7 treatment demonstrated both lytic activities and interferon (IFN)γ production and an enhanced secondary response to antigenic challenge. Agonists for TLRs 2/6, 3, 4, and 9 also synergized with CD40 stimulation, demonstrating that synergy with the CD40 pathway is a property of TLR-derived stimuli in general. The CD8+ T cell expansion induced by CD40/TLR7 triggering was independent of CD4+ T cells, IFNγ, and IL-12 but dependent on B7-mediated costimulation and surprisingly on type I IFN. These studies provide the rational basis for the use of TLR and CD40 agonists together as essential adjuvants to optimize vaccines designed to elicit protective or therapeutic immunity.
Toll like receptor; TLR7; CD40; CD8; T cell
Long-lived humoral immunity is manifested by the ability of bone marrow plasma cells (PCs) to survive for extended periods of time. Recent studies have underscored the importance of BLyS and APRIL as factors that can support the survival of B lineage lymphocytes. We show that BLyS can sustain PC survival in vitro, and this survival can be further enhanced by interleukin 6. Selective up-regulation of Mcl-1 in PCs by BLyS suggests that this α-apoptotic gene product may play an important role in PC survival. Blockade of BLyS, via transmembrane activator and cyclophilin ligand interactor–immunoglobulin treatment, inhibited PC survival in vitro and in vivo. Heightened expression of B cell maturation antigen (BCMA), and lowered expression of transmembrane activator and cyclophilin ligand interactor and BAFF receptor in PCs relative to resting B cells suggests a vital role of BCMA in PC survival. Affirmation of the importance of BCMA in PC survival was provided by studies in BCMA−/− mice in which the survival of long-lived bone marrow PCs was impaired compared with wild-type controls. These findings offer new insights into the molecular basis for the long-term survival of PCs.
B lymphocyte subsets; antibody formation; cell differentiation; cell lineage; immunophenotyping