Type I interferon (IFN-I) have emerged as crucial mediators of cellular signals controlling DC differentiation and function. Human DC differentiated from monocytes in the presence of IFN-α (IFN-α DC) show a partially mature phenotype and a special capability of stimulating CD4+ T cell and cross-priming CD8+ T cells. Likewise, plasmacytoid DC (pDC) are blood DC highly specialized in the production of IFN-α in response to viruses and other danger signals, whose functional features may be shaped by IFN-I. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms stimulated by IFN-α in driving human monocyte-derived DC differentiation and performed parallel studies on peripheral unstimulated and IFN-α-treated pDC. A specific miRNA signature was induced in IFN-α DC and selected miRNAs, among which miR-23a and miR-125b, proved to be negatively associated with up-modulation of Blimp-1 occurring during IFN-α-driven DC differentiation. Of note, monocyte-derived IFN-α DC and in vitro IFN-α-treated pDC shared a restricted pattern of miRNAs regulating Blimp-1 expression as well as some similar phenotypic, molecular and functional hallmarks, supporting the existence of a potential relationship between these DC populations. On the whole, these data uncover a new role of Blimp-1 in human DC differentiation driven by IFN-α and identify Blimp-1 as an IFN-α-mediated key regulator potentially accounting for shared functional features between IFN-α DC and pDC.
An anti-inflammatory effect of reconstituted High Density Lipoprotein (rHDL) has been demonstrated in atherosclerosis and in sepsis models. An increase of adhesion molecules as well as tissue factor expression on endothelial cells in response to inflammatory or danger signals are attenuated by the treatment with rHDL. Here we show the inhibitory effect of rHDL on the activation of human leukocytes in a whole blood assay as well as on monocyte-derived human dendritic cells (DC). Multiplex analysis of human whole blood showed that phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-induced secretion of the cytokines IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-2R, IL-6, IL-7, IL-12(p40), IL-15 and IFN-α was inhibited. Furthermore, an inhibitory effect on the production of the chemokines CCL-2, CCL-4, CCL-5, CXCL-9 and CXCL-10 was observed. Activation of granulocytes and CD14+ monocytes by PHA is inhibited dose-dependently by rHDL shown as decreased up-regulation of ICAM-1 surface expression. In addition, we found a strong inhibitory effect of rHDL on toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)- and TLR4-mediated maturation of DC. Treatment of DC with rHDL prevented the up-regulation of cell surface molecules CD80, CD83 and CD86 and it inhibited the TLR-driven activation of inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB. These findings suggest that rHDL prevents activation of crucial cellular players of cellular immunity and could therefore be a useful reagent to impede inflammation as well as the link between innate and adaptive immunity.
In cancer patients pervasive systemic suppression of Dendritic Cell (DC) differentiation and maturation can hinder vaccination efficacy. In this study we have extensively characterized migratory DC subsets from human skin and studied how their migration and T cell-stimulatory abilities were affected by conditioning of the dermal microenvironment through cancer-related suppressive cytokines. To assess effects in the context of a complex tissue structure, we made use of a near-physiological skin explant model. By 4-color flow cytometry, we identified migrated Langerhans Cells (LC) and five dermis-derived DC populations in differential states of maturation. From a panel of known tumor-associated suppressive cytokines, IL-10 showed a unique ability to induce predominant migration of an immature CD14+CD141+DC-SIGN+ DC subset with low levels of co-stimulatory molecules, up-regulated expression of the co-inhibitory molecule PD-L1 and the M2-associated macrophage marker CD163. A similarly immature subset composition was observed for DC migrating from explants taken from skin overlying breast tumors. Whereas predominant migration of mature CD1a+ subsets was associated with release of IL-12p70, efficient Th cell expansion with a Th1 profile, and expansion of functional MART-1-specific CD8+ T cells, migration of immature CD14+ DDC was accompanied by increased release of IL-10, poor expansion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and skewing of Th responses to favor coordinated FoxP3 and IL-10 expression and regulatory T cell differentiation and outgrowth. Thus, high levels of IL-10 impact the composition of skin-emigrated DC subsets and appear to favor migration of M2-like immature DC with functional qualities conducive to T cell tolerance.
Following Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection, immune cell recruitment in lungs is pivotal in establishing protective immunity through granuloma formation and neogenesis of lymphoid structures (LS). Interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF-8) plays an important role in host defense against Mtb, although the mechanisms driving anti-mycobacterial immunity remain unclear. In this study, IRF-8 deficient mice (IRF-8−/−) were aerogenously infected with a low-dose Mtb Erdman virulent strain and the course of infection was compared with that induced in wild-type (WT-B6) counterparts. Tuberculosis (TB) progression was examined in both groups using pathological, microbiological and immunological parameters. Following Mtb exposure, the bacterial load in lungs and spleens progressed comparably in the two groups for two weeks, after which IRF-8−/− mice developed a fatal acute TB whereas in WT-B6 the disease reached a chronic stage. In lungs of IRF-8−/−, uncontrolled growth of pulmonary granulomas and impaired development of LS were observed, associated with unbalanced homeostatic chemokines, progressive loss of infiltrating T lymphocytes and massive prevalence of neutrophils at late infection stages. Our data define IRF-8 as an essential factor for the maintenance of proper immune cell recruitment in granulomas and LS required to restrain Mtb infection. Moreover, IRF-8−/− mice, relying on a common human and mouse genetic mutation linked to susceptibility/severity of mycobacterial diseases, represent a valuable model of acute TB for comparative studies with chronically-infected congenic WT-B6 for dissecting protective and pathological immune reactions.
Renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs) are one of the main targets of inflammatory insults during interstitial nephritis and kidney transplant rejection. While Th1 cells are know to be essential in the pathogenesis of rejection, the role of Th17 is still under debate. We hypothesize that TECs modulate the outcome of rejection process by production of distinct chemokines and cytokines that determine the attraction of different T-cell subsets. Therefore, we studied differential effects of activated human renal epithelial cells on T-cell migration.
Human primary TECs were stimulated by IFN-γ and TNF-α in vitro. Chemokines and cytokines produced by activated TECs were measured using Luminex or ELISA. Chemotaxis assay was performed using activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells composed of CD4+CXCR3+ and CD4+CCR6+ T cells migrating towards stimulated and unstimulated TECs.
While activated TECs secreted abundant amounts of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8, the T helper cell differentiation cytokines IL-1β, IL-12p70, IL-23 or TGF-β1 were not produced. The production of Th1 chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10 and CCL5 were significantly upregulated after TEC stimulation. In contrast, Th17 chemokine CCL20 could not be detected. Finally, activated TECs attracted significantly higher numbers of CD4+CXCR3+ T cells as compared to unstimulated TECs. No migration of CD4+CCR6+ T cells could be observed.
Activated primary renal tubular epithelial cells do not attract Th17 cells nor produce cytokines promoting Th17 cell differentiation in our experimental system mimicking the proinflammatory microenvironment of rejection.
The cancer microenvironment may be conceptually regarded as a pitch where the main players are resident and non-resident cellular components, each covering a defined role and interconnected by a complex network of soluble mediators. The crosstalk between these cells and the tumor cells within this environment crucially determines the fate of tumor progression. Immune cells that infiltrate the tumor bed are transported there by blood circulation and exert a variety of effects, either counteracting or favoring tumor outgrowth. Here, we review and discuss the multiple populations composing the tumor bed, with special focus on immune cells subsets that positively or negatively dictate neoplastic progression. In this scenario, the contribution of cancer stem cells within the tumor microenvironment will also be discussed. Finally, we illustrate recent advances on new integrated approaches to investigate the tumor microenvironment in vitro.
tumor microenvironment; dendritic cells; macrophages; myeloid-derived suppressor cells; NK cells; T lymphocytes; cancer stem cells; solid tumors
The impact of glycolipids of non-mammalian origin on autoimmune inflammation has become widely recognized. Here we report that the naturally occurring mammalian glycolipids, sulfatide and β-GalCer, affect the differentiation and the quality of antigen presentation by monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs). In response to sulfatide and β-GalCer, monocytes develop into immature DCs with higher expression of HLA-DR and CD86 but lower expression of CD80, CD40 and CD1a and lower production of IL-12 compared to non-modulated DCs. Self-glycolipid-modulated DCs responded to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) by changing phenotype but preserved low IL-12 production. Sulfatide, in particular, reduced the capacity of DCs to stimulate autoreactive Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase (GAD65) - specific T cell response and promoted IL-10 production by the GAD65-specific clone. Since sulfatide and β-GalCer induced toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated signaling, we hypothesize that self-glycolipids deliver a (tolerogenic) polarizing signal to differentiating DCs, facilitating the maintenance of self-tolerance under proinflammatory conditions.
The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF-8) is crucial for myeloid cell development and immune response and also acts as a tumor suppressor gene. Here, we analyzed the role of IRF-8 in the cross talk between melanoma cells and tumor-infiltrating leukocytes. B16-F10 melanoma cells transplanted into IRF-8-deficient (IRF-8-/-) mice grow more rapidly, leading to higher numbers of lung metastasis, with respect to control animals. These events correlated with reduced dendritic cell and T cell infiltration, accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and a chemokine/chemokine receptor expression profile within the tumor microenvironment supporting tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Noticeably, primary tumors developing in IRF-8-/- mice displayed a clear-cut inhibition of IRF-8 expression in melanoma cells. Injection of the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine into melanoma-bearing IRF-8-/- animals induced intratumoral IRF-8 expression and resulted in the re-establishment of a chemokine/ chemokine receptor pattern favoring leukocyte infiltration and melanoma growth arrest. Importantly, intrinsic IRF-8 expression was progressively down-modulated during melanoma growth in mice and in human metastatic melanoma cells with respect to primary tumors. Lastly, IRF-8 expression in melanoma cells was directly modulated by soluble factors, among which interleukin-27 (IL-27), released by immune cells from tumor-bearing mice. Collectively, these results underscore a key role of IRF-8 in the cross talk between melanoma and immune cells, thus revealing its critical function within the tumor microenvironment in regulating melanoma progression and invasiveness.
Many studies have demonstrated that prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) is an attractive target for immunotherapy based on its overexpression in prostate tumor tissue, especially in some metastatic tissues. In this study, we evaluated dendritic cell (DC)-directed lentiviral vector (DCLV) encoding murine PSCA (DCLV-PSCA) as a novel tumor vaccine for prostate cancer in mouse models. We showed that DCLV-PSCA could preferentially deliver the PSCA antigen gene to DC-SIGN-expressing 293T cells and bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs). Direct immunization with the DCLV-PSCA in male C57BL/6 mice elicited robust PSCA-responsive CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in vivo. In a transgenic adenocarcinoma mouse prostate cell line (TRAMP-C1) synergetic tumor model, we further demonstrated that DCLV-PSCA-vaccinated mice could be protected from lethal tumor challenge in a prophylactic model, whereas slower tumor growth was observed in a therapeutic model. This DCLV-PSCA vaccine also showed efficacy in inhibiting tumor metastases using a PSCA-expressing B16-F10 model. Taken together, these data suggest that DCLV is a potent vaccine carrier for PSCA in delivering anti-prostate cancer immunity.
Currently approved combination regimens available for the treatment of metastatic tumors, such as breast cancer, have been shown to increase response rates, often at the cost of a substantial increase in toxicity. An ideal combination strategy may consist of agents with different mechanisms of action leading to complementary antitumor activities and safety profiles. In the present study, we investigated the effects of the epigenetic modulator apicidin in combination with the cytotoxic agent docetaxel in tumor breast cell lines characterized by different grades of invasiveness. We report that combined treatment of apicidin and docetaxel, at low toxicity doses, stimulates in metastatic breast cancer cells the expression of CTCF-like protein and other cancer antigens, thus potentially favoring an antitumor immune response. In addition, apicidin and docetaxel co-treatment specifically stimulates apoptosis, characterized by an increased Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and caspase-8 activation. Importantly, following combined exposure to these agents, metastatic cells were also found to induce signals of immunogenic apoptosis such as cell surface expression of calreticulin and release of considerable amounts of high-mobility group box 1 protein, thus potentially promoting the translation of induced cell death into antitumor immune response. Altogether, our results indicate that the combined use of apicidin and docetaxel, at a low toxicity profile, may represent a potential innovative strategy able to activate complementary antitumor pathways in metastatic breast cancer cells, associated with a potential control of metastatic growth and possible induction of antitumor immunity.
Plexins are a family of genes (A,B,C, and D) that are expressed in many organ systems. Plexins expressed in the immune system have been implicated in cell movement and cell-cell interaction during the course of an immune response. In this study, the expression pattern of Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 in dendritic cells (DCs), which are central in immune activation, was investigated. Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 are reciprocally expressed in myeloid and plasmacytoid DC populations. Plasmacytoid DCs have high Plexin-B2 but low Plexin-D1, while the opposite is true of myeloid DCs. Expression of Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 is modulated upon activation of DCs by TLR ligands, TNFα, and anti-CD40, again in a reciprocal fashion. Semaphorin3E, a ligand for Plexin-D1 and Plexin-B2, is expressed by T cells, and interestingly, is dramatically higher on Th2 cells and on DCs. The expression of Plexins and their ligands on DCs and T cells suggest functional relevance. To explore this, we utilized chimeric mice lacking Plxnb2 or Plxnd1. Absence of Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 on DCs did not affect the ability of these cells to upregulate costimulatory molecules or the ability of these cells to activate antigen specific T cells. Additionally, Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 were dispensable for chemokine-directed in-vitro migration of DCs towards key DC chemokines, CXCL12 and CCL19. However, the absence of either Plexin-B2 or Plexin-D1 on DCs leads to constitutive expression of IL-12/IL-23p40. This is the first report to show an association between Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 with the negative regulation of IL-12/IL-23p40 in DCs. This work also shows the presence of Plexin-B2 and Plexin-D1 on mouse DC subpopulations, and indicates that these two proteins play a role in IL-12/IL-23p40 production that is likely to impact the immune response.
The antigenic similarity between tumors and embryos has been appreciated for many years and reflects the expression of embryonic gene products by cancer cells and/or cancer-initiating stem cells. Taking advantage of this similarity, we have tested a prophylactic lung cancer vaccine composed of allogeneic murine embryonic stem cells (ESC). Naïve C57BL/6 mice were vaccinated with ESC along with a source of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in order to provide immunostimulatory adjuvant activity. Vaccinated mice were protected against subsequent challenge with implantable Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC). ESC-induced anti-tumor immunity was not due to a non-specific “allo-response” as vaccination with allogeneic murine embryonic fibroblasts did not protect against tumor outgrowth. Vaccine efficacy was associated with robust tumor-reactive primary and memory CD8+ T effector responses, Th1 cytokine response, higher intratumoral CD8+ T effector/CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T regulatory cell ratio, and reduced myeloid derived suppressor cells in the spleen. Prevention of tumorigenesis was found to require a CD8-mediated cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response because in vivo depletion of CD8+ T lymphocytes completely abrogated the protective effect of vaccination. Importantly, this vaccination strategy also suppressed the development of lung cancer induced by the combination of carcinogen administration and chronic pulmonary inflammation. Further refinement of this novel vaccine strategy and identification of shared ESC/tumor antigens may lead to immunotherapeutic options for lung cancer patients and, perhaps more importantly, could represent a first step toward the development of prophylactic cancer vaccines.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are widely used in the treatment of cancer. EGFR-targeted treatment is known to be associated with a high incidence of dermatological adverse reactions, including papulopustular rash, which can be dose-limiting and may affect compliance to treatment. Currently, the pathways involved in EGFR inhibitor-induced rash are poorly understood and few treatment options for this adverse event are available. Here, we developed a model for induction of papulopustular rash in healthy human volunteers by subcutaneous injection of the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody zalutumumab. The injection sites and surrounding skin were evaluated by a dermatologist for the presence or absence of papulopustular rash and skin biopsies were taken to confirm the macroscopical findings by immunohistochemistry. Locally injected zalutumumab induced a papulopustular rash, characterized by acute follicular neutrophil-rich hair follicle inflammation, and thus mimicked adverse events induced by systemic administration of EGFR inhibitors. In this model, we tested the hypothesis that neutrophils, attracted by IL-8, play a central role in the observed rash. Indeed, concomitant local repeat dose treatment with HuMab-10F8, a neutralizing human antibody against IL-8, reduced the rash. Inhibition of IL-8 can therefore ameliorate dermatological adverse events induced by treatment with EGFR inhibitors.
Psoriasis is characterized by hyperplasia of the epidermis and infiltration of leukocytes into both the dermis and epidermis. IL-23, a key cytokine that induces TH17 cells, has been found to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Apilimod is a small-molecule compound that selectively suppresses synthesis of IL-12 and IL-23. An open-label clinical study of oral administration of apilimod was conducted in patients with psoriasis. Substantial improvements in histology and clinical measurements were observed in patients receiving 70mg QD. The expression of IL-23p19 and IL-12/IL-23p40 in skin lesions was significantly reduced in this dose group, with a simultaneous increase in IL-10 observed. A decrease in the levels of TH1 and TH17 cytokines/chemokines in skin lesions followed these p19 and p40 changes. In parallel, a reduction in skin-infiltrating CD11c+ dendritic cells and CD3+ T cells was seen, with a greater decrease in the CD11c+ population. This was accompanied by increases in T and B cells, and decreases in neutrophils and eosinophils in the periphery. This study demonstrates the immunomodulatory activity of apilimod and provides clinical evidence supporting the inhibition of IL-12/IL-23 synthesis for the treatment of TH1- and TH17-mediated inflammatory diseases.
The small heat shock protein, αA-crystallin null (αA−/−) mice are known to be more prone to retinal degeneration than the wild type mice in Experimental Autoimmune Uveoretinitis (EAU). In this report we demonstrate that intravenous administration of αA preserves retinal architecture and prevents photoreceptor damage in EAU. Interestingly, only αA and not αB-crystallin (αB), a closely related small heat shock protein works, pointing to molecular specificity in the observed retinal protection. The possible involvement of αA in retinal protection through immune modulation is corroborated by adaptive transfer experiments, (employing αA−/− and wild type mice with EAU as donors and Rag2−/− as the recipient mice), which indicate that αA protects against the autoimmune challenge by modulating the systemic B and T cell immunity. We show that αA administration causes marked reduction in Th1 cytokines (TNF-α, IL-12 and IFN-γ), both in the retina and in the spleen; notably, IL-17 was only reduced in the retina suggesting local intervention. Importantly, expression of Toll-like receptors and their associated adaptors is also inhibited suggesting that αA protection, against photoreceptor loss in EAU, is associated with systemic suppression of both the adaptive and innate immune responses.
The role of myeloid cells in supporting cancer growth is well established. Most work has focused on myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) that accumulate in tumor-bearing animals, but tumor-associated neutrophils (TAN) are also known to be capable of augmenting tumor growth. However, little is known about their evolution, phenotype, and relationship to naïve neutrophils (NN) and to the granulocytic fraction of MDSC (G-MDSC).
In the current study, a transcriptomics approach was used in mice to compare these cell types. Our data show that the three populations of neutrophils are significantly different in their mRNA profiles with NN and G-MDSC being more closely related to each other than to TAN. Structural genes and genes related to cell-cytotoxicity (i.e. respiratory burst) were significantly down-regulated in TAN. In contrast, many immune-related genes and pathways, including genes related to the antigen presenting complex (e.g. all six MHC-II complex genes), and cytokines (e.g. TNF-α, IL-1-α/β), were up-regulated in G-MDSC, and further up-regulated in TAN. Thirteen of the 25 chemokines tested were markedly up-regulated in TAN compared to NN, including striking up-regulation of chemoattractants for T/B-cells, neutrophils and macrophages.
This study characterizes different populations of neutrophils related to cancer, pointing out the major differences between TAN and the other neutrophil populations.
Dendritic cells (DCs) produce type I interferons (IFNs) in greater amounts than other cells, but the mechanisms remain elusive. Here we studied the role of a transcription factor, IRF-8 in DC induction of type I IFNs. Upon NDV infection, bone marrow derived plasmacytoid and conventional DCs induced IFN transcripts, exhibiting two phase kinetics. The second, amplifying phase represented an IFN feedback response that accounted for much of IFN protein production. Induction of second phase transcription required IRF-8. CMV and Toll like receptor-mediated IFN induction in DCs also required IRF-8. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showed that IRF-7, IRF-8 and RNA polymerase II were recruited to the IFN promoters upon stimulation. Moreover, sustained RNA polymerase II recruitment to the promoters critically depended on IRF-8. Together, IRF-8 magnifies the second phase of IFN transcription in DCs by prolonging binding of basic transcription machinery to the IFN promoters, thereby playing a role in innate immunity.
Interferon (IFN) consensus sequence-binding protein (ICSBP) is a transcription factor playing a critical role in the regulation of lineage commitment, especially in myeloid cell differentiation. In this study, we have characterized the phenotype and activation pattern of subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) in ICSBP−/− mice. Remarkably, the recently identified mouse IFN-producing cells (mIPCs) were absent in all lymphoid organs from ICSBP−/− mice, as revealed by lack of CD11clowB220+Ly6C+CD11b− cells. In parallel, CD11c+ cells isolated from ICSBP−/− spleens were unable to produce type I IFNs in response to viral stimulation. ICSBP−/− mice also displayed a marked reduction of the DC subset expressing the CD8α marker (CD8α+ DCs) in spleen, lymph nodes, and thymus. Moreover, ICSBP−/− CD8α+ DCs exhibited a markedly impaired phenotype when compared with WT DCs. They expressed very low levels of costimulatory molecules (intercellular adhesion molecule [ICAM]-1, CD40, CD80, CD86) and of the T cell area-homing chemokine receptor CCR7, whereas they showed higher levels of CCR2 and CCR6, as revealed by reverse transcription PCR. In addition, these cells were unable to undergo full phenotypic activation upon in vitro culture in presence of maturation stimuli such as lipopolysaccharide or poly (I:C), which paralleled with lack of Toll-like receptor (TLR)3 mRNA expression. Finally, cytokine expression pattern was also altered in ICSBP−/− DCs, as they did not express interleukin (IL)-12p40 or IL-15, but they displayed detectable IL-4 mRNA levels. On the whole, these results indicate that ICSBP is a crucial factor in the regulation of two possibly linked processes: (a) the development and activity of mIPCs, whose lack in ICSBP−/− mice may explain their high susceptibility to virus infections; (b) the generation and activation of CD8α+ DCs, whose impairment in ICSBP−/− mice can be responsible for the defective generation of a Th1 type of immune response.
transcription factor; dendritic cell subsets; interferon; differentiation; maturation
Mice with a null mutation of the gene encoding interferon consensus sequence–binding protein (ICSBP) develop a disease with marked expansion of granulocytes and macrophages that frequently progresses to a fatal blast crisis, thus resembling human chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). One important feature of CML is decreased responsiveness of myeloid cells to apoptotic stimuli. Here we show that myeloid cells from mice deficient in ICSBP exhibit reduced spontaneous apoptosis and a significant decrease in sensitivity to apoptosis induced by DNA damage. In contrast, apoptosis in thymocytes from ICSBP-deficient mice is unaffected. We also show that overexpression of ICSBP in the human U937 monocytic cell line enhances the rate of spontaneous apoptosis and the sensitivity to apoptosis induced by etoposide, lipopolysaccharide plus ATP, or rapamycin. Programmed cell death induced by etoposide was specifically blocked by peptides inhibitory for the caspase-1 or caspase-3 subfamilies of caspases. Studies of proapoptotic genes showed that cells overexpressing ICSBP have enhanced expression of caspase-3 precursor protein. In addition, analyses of antiapoptotic genes showed that overexpression of ICSBP results in decreased expression of Bcl-XL. These data suggest that ICSBP modulates survival of myeloid cells by regulating expression of apoptosis-related genes.
apoptosis; caspase; chronic myelogenous leukemia; interferon; interferon consensus sequence–binding protein
Mice with a null mutation of the gene encoding interferon consensus sequence-binding protein (ICSBP) develop a chronic myelogenous leukemia-like syndrome and mount impaired responses to certain viral and bacterial infections. To gain a mechanistic understanding of the contributions of ICSBP to humoral and cellular immunity, we characterized the responses of control and ICSBP−/− mice to infection with influenza A (flu) and Leishmania major (L. major). Mice of both genotypes survived infections with flu, but differed markedly in the isotype distribution of antiflu antibodies. In sera of normal mice, immunoglobulin (Ig)G2a antibodies were dominant over IgG1 antibodies, a pattern indicative of a T helper cell type 1 (Th1)-driven response. In sera of ICSBP−/− mice, however, IgG1 antibodies dominated over IgG2a antibodies, a pattern indicative of a Th2-driven response. The dominance of IgG1 and IgE over IgG2a was detected in the sera of uninfected mice as well. A seeming Th2 bias of ICSBP-deficient mice was also uncovered in their inability to control infection with L. major, where resistance is known to be dependent on IL-12 and IFN-γ as components of a Th1 response. Infected ICSBP-deficient mice developed fulminant, disseminated leishmaniasis as a result of failure to mount a Th1-mediated curative response, although T cells remained capable of secreting IFN-γ and macrophages of producing nitric oxide. Compromised Th1 differentiation in ICSBP−/− mice could not be attributed to hyporesponsiveness of CD4+ T cells to interleukin (IL)-12; however, the ability of uninfected and infected ICSBP-deficient mice to produce IL-12 was markedly impaired. This indicates that ICSBP is a deciding factor in Th responses governing humoral and cellular immunity through its role in regulating IL-12 expression.