It is currently not possible to predict which epitopes will be recognized by T cells in different individuals. This is a barrier to the thorough analysis and understanding of T-cell responses after vaccination or infection. Here, by combining mass cytometry with combinatorial peptide–MHC tetramer staining, we have developed a method allowing the rapid and simultaneous identification and characterization of T cells specific for many epitopes. We use this to screen up to 109 different peptide–MHC tetramers in a single human blood sample, while still retaining at least 23 labels to analyze other markers of T-cell phenotype and function. Among 77 candidate rotavirus epitopes, we identified six T-cell epitopes restricted to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A*0201 in the blood of healthy individuals. T cells specific for epitopes in the rotavirus VP3 protein displayed a distinct phenotype and were present at high frequencies in intestinal epithelium. This approach should be useful for the comprehensive analysis of T-cell responses to infectious diseases or vaccines.
Endocytosis has recently been implicated in rotavirus (RV) entry. We examined the role of Rabs, which regulate endosomal trafficking, during RV entry. Several structural proteins of neuraminidase-sensitive and -insensitive RVs colocalized with Rab5, an early endosome marker, but not Rab7, a late endosome marker. Dominant-negative and constitutively active mutants demonstrated that Rab5 but not Rab4 or Rab7 affects rhesus RV (RRV) infectivity. These data suggest that early RRV trafficking is confined to the early endosome compartment and requires Rab5.
Protective immunity to rotavirus (RV) is primarily mediated by antibodies produced by RV-specific memory B cells (RV-mBc). Of note, most of these cells express IgM, but the function of this subset is poorly understood. Here, using limiting dilution assays of highly sort-purified human IgM+ mBc, we found that 62% and 21% of total (non-antigen-specific) IgM+ and RV-IgM+ mBc, respectively, switched in vitro to IgG production after polyclonal stimulation. Moreover, in these assays, the median cloning efficiencies of total IgM+ (17%) and RV-IgM+ (7%) mBc were lower than those of the corresponding switched (IgG+ IgA+) total (34%) and RV-mBc (17%), leading to an underestimate of their actual frequency. In order to evaluate the in vivo role of IgM+ RV-mBc in antiviral immunity, NOD/Shi-scid interleukin-2 receptor-deficient (IL-2Rγnull) immunodeficient mice were adoptively transferred highly purified human IgM+ mBc and infected with virulent murine rotavirus. These mice developed high titers of serum human RV-IgM and IgG and had significantly lower levels than control mice of both antigenemia and viremia. Finally, we determined that human RV-IgM+ mBc are phenotypically diverse and significantly enriched in the IgMhi IgDlow subset. Thus, RV-IgM+ mBc are heterogeneous, occur more frequently than estimated by traditional limiting dilution analysis, have the capacity to switch Ig class in vitro as well as in vivo, and can mediate systemic antiviral immunity.
The human antibody repertoire is one of the most important defenses against infectious disease, and the development of vaccines has enabled the conferral of targeted protection to specific pathogens. However, there are many challenges to measuring and analyzing the immunoglobulin sequence repertoire, such as the fact that each B cell contains a distinct antibody sequence encoded in its genome, that the antibody repertoire is not constant but changes over time, and the high similarity between antibody sequences. We have addressed this challenge by using high-throughput long read sequencing to perform immunogenomic characterization of expressed human antibody repertoires in the context of influenza vaccination. Informatic analysis of 5 million antibody heavy chain sequences from healthy individuals allowed us to perform global characterizations of isotype distributions, determine the lineage structure of the repertoire and measure age and antigen related mutational activity. Our analysis of the clonal structure and mutational distribution of individuals’ repertoires shows that elderly subjects have a decreased number of lineages but an increased pre-vaccination mutation load in their repertoire and that some of these subjects have an oligoclonal character to their repertoire in which the diversity of the lineages is greatly reduced relative to younger subjects. We have thus shown that global analysis of the immune system’s clonal structure provides direct insight into the effects of vaccination and provides a detailed molecular portrait of age-related effects.
Selected topics in the field of rotavirus immunity are reviewed focusing on recent developments that may improve efficacy and safety of current and future vaccines. Rotaviruses have developed multiple mechanisms to evade interferon-mediated innate immunity. Compared to more developed regions of the world, protection induced by natural infection and vaccination is reduced in developing countries where, among other factors, high viral challenge loads are common and where infants are infected at an early age. Studies in developing countries indicate that rotavirus-specific serum IgA levels are not an optimal correlate of protection following vaccination, and better correlates need to be identified. Protection against rotavirus following vaccination is substantially heterotypic; nonetheless, a role for homotypic immunity in selection of circulating post vaccination strains needs further study.
In mammalian cells, the first line of defense against viral pathogens is the innate immune response, which is characterized by induction of type I interferons (IFN) and other pro-inflammatory cytokines that establish an antiviral milieu both in infected cells and in neighboring uninfected cells. Rotavirus, a double-stranded RNA virus of the Reoviridae family, is the primary etiological agent of severe diarrhea in young children worldwide. Previous studies demonstrated that rotavirus replication induces a MAVS-dependent type I IFN response that involves both RIG-I and MDA5, two cytoplasmic viral RNA sensors. This study reports the isolation and characterization of rotavirus RNAs that activate IFN signaling. Using an in vitro approach with purified rotavirus double-layer particles, nascent single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) transcripts (termed in vitro ssRNA) were found to be potent IFN inducers. In addition, large RNAs isolated from rotavirus-infected cells six hours post-infection (termed in vivo 6 hr large RNAs), also activated IFN signaling, whereas a comparable large RNA fraction isolated from cells infected for only one hour lacked this stimulatory activity. Experiments using knockout murine embryonic fibroblasts showed that RIG-I is required for and MDA5 partly contributes to innate immune signaling by both in vitro ssRNA and in vivo 6 hr large RNAs. Enzymatic studies demonstrated that in vitro ssRNA and in vivo 6 hr large RNA samples contain uncapped RNAs with exposed 5’ phosphate groups. RNAs lacking 2’-O-methylated 5’ cap structures were also detected in the in vivo 6 hr large RNA sample. Taken together, our data provide strong evidence that the rotavirus VP3 enzyme, which encodes both guanylyltransferase and methyltransferase activities, is not completely efficient at either 5’ capping or 2’-O-methylation of the 5’ cap structures of viral transcripts, and in this way produces RNA patterns that activate innate immune signaling through the RIG-I-like receptors.
Rotaviruses cause life-threatening gastroenteritis in children worldwide; the enormous disease burden has focused efforts to develop vaccines and led to the discovery of novel mechanisms of gastrointestinal virus pathogenesis and host responses to infection. Two live-attenuated vaccines for gastroenteritis (Rotateq and Rotarix) have been licensed in many countries. This review summarizes the latest data on these vaccines, their effectiveness and challenges to global vaccination. Recent insights into rotavirus pathogenesis are also discussed, including information on extra-intestinal infection, viral antagonists of the interferon response and the first described viral enterotoxin. Rotavirus-induced diarrhea is now considered to be a disease that can be prevented through vaccination, although there are many challenges to achieving global effectiveness. Molecular biology studies of rotavirus replication and pathogenesis have identified unique viral targets that might be useful in developing therapies for immunocompromised children with chronic infections.
B cell–dependent immunity to rotavirus, an important intestinal pathogen,
plays a significant role in viral clearance and protects against reinfection. Human
in vitro and murine in vivo models of rotavirus infection were used to delineate the
role of primary plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in initiating B cell responses. Human pDCs
were necessary and sufficient for B cell activation induced by rotavirus. Type I IFN
recognition by B cells was essential for rotavirus-mediated B cell activation in
vitro and murine pDCs and IFN-α/β–mediated B cell
activation after in vivo intestinal rotavirus infection. Furthermore,
rotavirus-specific serum and mucosal antibody responses were defective in mice
lacking functional pDCs at the time of infection. These data demonstrate that optimal
B cell activation and virus-specific antibody secretion following mucosal infection
were a direct result of pDC-derived type I IFN. Importantly, viral shedding
significantly increased in pDC-deficient mice, suggesting that pDC-dependent antibody
production influences viral clearance. Thus, mucosal pDCs critically influence the
course of rotavirus infection through rotavirus recognition and subsequent IFN
production and display powerful adjuvant properties to initiate and enhance humoral
Viral pathogens must overcome innate antiviral responses to replicate successfully in the host organism. Some of the mechanisms viruses use to interfere with antiviral responses in the infected cell include preventing detection of viral components, perturbing the function of transcription factors that initiate antiviral responses, and inhibiting downstream signal transduction. RNA viruses with small genomes and limited coding space often express multifunctional proteins that modulate several aspects of the normal host response to infection. One such virus, rotavirus, is an important pediatric pathogen that causes severe gastroenteritis, leading to ∼450,000 deaths globally each year. In this review, we discuss the nature of the innate antiviral responses triggered by rotavirus infection and the viral mechanisms for inhibiting these responses.
Antibodies that neutralize rotavirus infection target outer coat proteins VP4 and VP7 and inhibit viral entry. The structure of a VP7-Fab complex (S. T. Aoki, et al., Science 324:1444-1447, 2009) led us to reclassify epitopes into two binding regions at inter- and intrasubunit boundaries of the calcium-dependent trimer. It further led us to show that antibodies binding at the intersubunit boundary inhibit uncoating of the virion outer layer. We have now tested representative antibodies for each of the defined structural epitope regions and find that antibodies recognizing epitopes in either binding region neutralize by cross-linking VP7 trimers. Antibodies that bind at the intersubunit junction neutralize as monovalent Fabs, while those that bind at the intrasubunit region require divalency. The VP7 structure has also allowed us to design a disulfide cross-linked VP7 mutant which recoats double-layered particles (DLPs) as efficiently as does wild-type VP7 but which yields particles defective in cell entry as determined both by lack of infectivity and by loss of α-sarcin toxicity in the presence of recoated particles. We conclude that dissociation of the VP7 trimer is an essential step in viral penetration into cells.
Conventional measurement of antibody responses to vaccines largely relies on serum antibodies, which are primarily produced by bone marrow plasma cells and may not represent the entire vaccine-induced B cell repertoire, including important functional components such as those targeted to mucosal sites. After immunization or infection, activated B cells differentiate into plasmablasts in local lymphoid organs, then traffic through circulation to the target sites where they further develop into plasma cells. On day 7 after influenza vaccination, a burst of plasmablasts, highly enriched for vaccine-specific antibody secreting cells, appears in the peripheral blood. This provides a unique window to the overall B cell response to the vaccine, without interference of pre-existing cross-reactive serum antibody. In this study we isolated B cells from volunteers on day 7 after immunization with the inactivated influenza vaccine and cultured them ex vivo to collect plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAb). The PPAb contained secreted IgG and IgA, which was approximately 0.2 ng per antibody secreting cell. Influenza-specific IgG and IgA binding activity was detected in PPAb at dilutions up to 105 by ELISA. The ratio of the titers of influenza-specific IgA to IgG by ELISA was 4-fold higher in PPAb than in day 28 post-vaccination sera, suggesting that vaccine-induced IgA is enriched in PPAb compared to sera. Functional activity was also detected in PPAb as determined by microneutralization and hemagglutination inhibition assays. In addition to bulk B cell cultures, we also cultured plasmablast subsets sorted by cell surface markers to generate PPAb. These results suggest that PPAb better reflects the mucosal IgA response than serum samples. Since PPAb are exclusively produced by recently activated B cells, it allows assessing vaccine-induced antibody response without interference from pre-existing cross-reactive serum antibodies and permits an assessment of antibody avidity based on antigen specific binding and antibody quantity. Therefore this assay is particularly useful for studying vaccine/infection-induced antibodies against antigens that might have previously circulated, such as antibody responses to rotavirus, dengue or influenza viruses in which cross-reactive antibodies against different virus serotypes/subtypes play a critical role in immunity and/or pathogenesis.
Influenza virus; vaccines; antibodies; plasmablasts
Rotavirus (RV) infection of the intestine is the major cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea in infants around the world. Although protective immunity against RV, especially acquired B and T cell responses, have been extensively studied, our understanding of RV immunity remains incomplete. In addition, the interaction between various protective immune mechanisms in the gut and specific enteric immune suppressor systems that normally exert a regulatory function on mucosal immunity has not been extensively investigated. Among the candidate suppressor systems, we hypothesized that CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells may play a role in modulating RV immunity since such cells are naturally present in large numbers in the intestine and function nonspecifically. Here we demonstrate that neonatal murine RV (EC) infection induces an expansion of the Treg cell population and the magnitude of the T cell mediated immune response is modulated by Treg cells. Accordingly, when natural Treg cells in neonatal mice were depleted before virus infection, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to RV, such as proliferation and IFN-γ secretion, were enhanced in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and the spleen. Interestingly, increased proliferation of CD19+ B cells from Treg cell depleted animals was also observed. Finally, we analyzed the in vivo effect of the Treg cell depletion on diarrheal disease, virus shedding and IgA RV-specific response. Treg cell depletion did not affect these functions. Our studies of immune modulatory Treg cells in the RV infection model may promote a better understanding of the basis for RV immunity as well as providing valuable clues for the development of more immunogenic RV vaccines.
Rotavirus; Regulatory T cell; vaccines
Four rotavirus SA11 temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants and seven rotavirus RRV ts mutants, isolated at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and not genetically characterized, were assigned to reassortment groups by pairwise crosses with the SA11 mutant group prototypes isolated and characterized at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). Among the NIH mutants, three of the RRV mutants and all four SA11 mutants contained mutations in single reassortment groups, and four RRV mutants contained mutations in multiple groups. One NIH mutant [RRVtsK(2)] identified the previously undefined 11th reassortment group (K) expected for rotavirus. Three NIH single mutant RRV viruses, RRVtsD(7), RRVtsJ(5), and RRVtsK(2), were in reassortment groups not previously mapped to genome segments. These mutants were mapped using classical genetic methods, including backcrosses to demonstrate reversion or suppression in reassortants with incongruent genotype and temperature phenotype. Once located to specific genome segments by genetic means, the mutations responsible for the ts phenotype were identified by sequencing. The reassortment group K mutant RRVtsK(2) maps to genome segment 9 and has a Thr280Ileu mutation in the capsid surface glycoprotein VP7. The group D mutant RRVtsD(7) maps to segment 5 and has a Leu140Val mutation in the nonstructural interferon (IFN) antagonist protein NSP1. The group J mutant RRVtsJ(5) maps to segment 11 and has an Ala182Gly mutation affecting only the NSP5 open reading frame. Rotavirus ts mutation groups are now mapped to 9 of the 11 rotavirus genome segments. Possible segment locations of the two remaining unmapped ts mutant groups are discussed.
In mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), the bovine rotavirus (UK strain) but not the simian rhesus rotavirus (RRV) robustly triggers beta interferon (IFN-β) secretion, resulting in an IFN-dependent restriction of replication. We now find that both rotavirus strains trigger antiviral transcriptional responses early during infection and that both transcriptional responses and IFN-β secretion are completely abrogated in MAVS/IPS-1−/− MEFs. Replication of UK virus could be rescued in MAVS/IPS-1−/− MEFs, and synthesis of viral RNA significantly increased early during virus infection. UK virus induced IFN-β secretion and transcription of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) in both RIG-I−/− and MDA-5−/− MEFs, and neither receptor was essential by itself for the antiviral response to UK rotavirus. However, when receptors RIG-I and MDA-5 were depleted using RNA interference, we found that both contribute to the magnitude of the IFN response. IRF3 was found to be essential for MAVS/IPS-1-directed ISG transcription and IFN-β secretion during rotavirus infection. Interestingly, absence of the double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase PKR led to a profound defect in the capacity of host cells to secrete IFN-β in response to virus. Both PKR and IRF3 restricted the early replication of UK as indicated by significant increases in viral RNA in fibroblasts lacking either gene. Despite the loss in IFN-β secretion in PKR−/− MEFs, we did not observe decreased IRF3- or NF-κB-dependent early ISG transcription in these cells. Levels of transcripts encoding IFN-α4, IFN-α5, and IFN-β were high in infected PKR−/− MEFs, indicating that during rotavirus infection, PKR functions at a stage between IFN gene transcription and subsequent IFN-β secretion. These findings reveal that activation of the antiviral response by rotavirus is dependent on MAVS/IPS-1 and IRF3 and involves both RIG-I and MDA-5 and that IFN-β secretion during rotavirus infection is regulated by PKR.
Rotavirus (RV) cell entry is an incompletely understood process, involving VP4 and VP7, the viral proteins composing the outermost layer of the nonenveloped RV triple-layered icosahedral particle (TLP), encasing VP6. VP4 can exist in three conformational states: soluble, cleaved spike, and folded back. In order to better understand the events leading to RV entry, we established a detection system to image input virus by monitoring the rhesus RV (RRV) antigens VP4, VP6, and VP7 at very early times postinfection. We provide evidence that decapsidation occurs directly after cell membrane penetration. We also demonstrate that several VP4 and VP7 conformational changes take place during entry. In particular, we detected, for the first time, the generation of folded-back VP5 in the context of the initiation of infection. Folded-back VP5 appears to be limited to the entry step. We furthermore demonstrate that RRV enters the cell cytoplasm through an endocytosis pathway. The endocytosis hypothesis is supported by the colocalization of RRV antigens with the early endosome markers Rab4 and Rab5. Finally, we provide evidence that the entry process is likely dependent on the endocytic Ca2+ concentration, as bafilomycin A1 treatment as well as an augmentation of the extracellular calcium reservoir using CaEGTA, which both lead to an elevated intraendosomal calcium concentration, resulted in the accumulation of intact virions in the actin network. Together, these findings suggest that internalization, decapsidation, and cell membrane penetration involve endocytosis, calcium-dependent uncoating, and VP4 conformational changes, including a fold-back.
Rotavirus replication and virulence are strongly influenced by virus strain and host species. The rotavirus proteins VP3, VP4, VP7, NSP1, and NSP4 have all been implicated in strain and species restriction of replication; however, the mechanisms have not been fully determined. Simian (RRV) and bovine (UK) rotaviruses have distinctive replication capacities in mouse extraintestinal organs such as the biliary tract. Using reassortants between UK and RRV, we previously demonstrated that the differential replication of these viruses in mouse embryonic fibroblasts is determined by the respective NSP1 proteins, which differ substantially in their abilities to degrade interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and suppress the type I IFN response. In this study, we used an in vivo model of rotavirus infection of mouse gallbladder with UK × RRV reassortants to study the genetic and mechanistic basis of systemic rotavirus replication. We found that the low-replication phenotype of UK in biliary tissues was conferred by UK VP4 and that the high-replication phenotype of RRV was conferred by RRV VP4 and NSP1. Viruses with RRV VP4 entered cultured mouse cholangiocytes more efficiently than did those with UK VP4. Reassortants with RRV VP4 and UK NSP1 genes induced high levels of expression of IRF3-dependent p54 in biliary tissues, and their replication was increased 3-fold in IFN-α/β and -γ receptor or STAT1 knockout (KO) mice compared to wild-type mice. Our data indicate that systemic rotavirus strain-specific replication in the murine biliary tract is determined by both viral entry mediated by VP4 and viral antagonism of the host innate immune response mediated by NSP1.
During seasonal influenza epidemics, disease burden is shouldered predominantly by the very young and the elderly. Elderly individuals are particularly affected, in part because vaccine efficacy wanes with age. This has been linked to a reduced ability to induce a robust serum antibody response. Here, we show that this is due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies, rather than a lack of antibody avidity or affinity. We measured levels of vaccine-specific plasmablasts by ELISPOT 1 week after immunization of young and elderly adults with inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine. Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAbs) were generated from bulk-cultured B cells, while recombinant monoclonal antibodies (re-mAbs) were produced from single plasmablasts. The frequency of vaccine-specific plasmablasts and the concentration of PPAbs were lower in the elderly than in young adults, whereas the yields of secreted IgG per plasmablast were not different. Differences were not detected in the overall vaccine-specific avidity or affinity of PPAbs and re-mAbs between the 2 age groups. In contrast, reactivity of the antibodies induced by the inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine toward the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, which was not present in the vaccine, was higher in the elderly than in the young. These results indicate that the inferior antibody response to influenza vaccination in the elderly is primarily due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies. They also suggest that exposure history affects the cross-reactivity of vaccination-induced antibodies.
Interferon (IFN) plays a central role in the innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses. While IFN-α is currently approved for treating chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C, in limited studies, IFN-γ has not been shown to be effective for chronic hepatitis B or C. To identify the potential mechanism underlying the differential antiviral effects of IFN-α and IFN-γ, we used cDNA microarray to profile the global transcriptional response to IFN-α and IFN-γ in primary human hepatocytes, the target cell population of hepatitis viruses. Our results reveal distinct patterns of gene expression induced by these 2 cytokines. Overall, IFN-α induces more genes than IFN-γ at the transcriptional level. Distinct sets of genes were induced by IFN-α and IFN-γ with limited overlaps. IFN-α induces gene transcription at an early time point (6 h) but not at a later time point (18 h), while the effects of IFN-γ are more prominent at 18 h than at 6 h, suggesting a delayed transcriptional response to IFN-γ in the hepatocytes. These findings indicate differential actions of IFN-α and IFN-γ in the context of therapeutic intervention for chronic viral infections in the liver.
The crystal structure of rotavirus VP7 bound with the Fab from a neutralizing monoclonal shows the mechanism by which members of a large class of neutralizing antibodies inhibit rotavirus infection, indicates how withdrawal of Ca2+ ions becomes an uncoating trigger during cell entry, and provides the “first draft” of a design for subunit immunogens.
Rotavirus outer-layer protein VP7 is a principal target of protective antibodies. Removal of free Ca2+ dissociates the VP7 trimer, releases it from the virion, and initiates penetration-inducing conformational changes in the other outer-layer protein, VP4. We report the crystal structure of VP7 bound with the Fab fragment of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody. The Fab binds across the outer surface of the intersubunit contact, which is stabilized by two Ca2+ sites. Mutations that escape neutralization by other antibodies suggest that the same region bears the epitopes of most neutralizing antibodies. The monovalent Fab is sufficient to neutralize infectivity. We propose that neutralizing antibodies against VP7 act by stabilizing the trimer, thereby inhibiting the uncoating trigger for VP4 rearrangement. A disulfide-linked trimer is a potential subunit immunogen.
We have shown previously that rotavirus (RV) can infect murine intestinal B220+ cells in vivo (M. Fenaux, M. A. Cuadras, N. Feng, M. Jaimes, and H. B. Greenberg, J. Virol. 80:5219-5232, 2006) and human blood B cells in vitro (M. C. Mesa, L. S. Rodriguez, M. A. Franco, and J. Angel, Virology 366:174-184, 2007). However, the effect of RV on B cells, especially those present in the human intestine, the primary site of RV infection, is unknown. Here, we compared the effects of the in vitro RV infection of human circulating (CBC) and intestinal B cells (IBC). RV infected four times more IBC than CBC, and in both types of B cells the viral replication was highly restricted to the memory subset. RV induced cell death in 30 and 3% of infected CBC and IBC, respectively. Moreover, RV induced activation and differentiation into antibody-secreting cells (ASC) of CBC but not IBC when the B cells were present with other mononuclear cells. However, RV did not induce these effects in purified CBC or IBC, suggesting the participation of other cells in activating and differentiating CBC. RV infection was associated with enhanced interleukin-6 (IL-6) production by CBC independent of viral replication. The infection of the anti-B-cell receptor, lipopolysaccharide, or CpG-stimulated CBC reduced the secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 and decreased the number of ASC. These inhibitory effects were associated with an increase in viral replication and cell death and were observed in polyclonally stimulated CBC but not in IBC. Thus, RV differentially interacts with primary human B cells depending on their tissue of origin and differentiation stage, and it affects their capacity to modulate the local and systemic immune responses.
The immune system has evolved specialized cellular and molecular mechanisms for targeting and regulating immune responses at epithelial surfaces. Here we show that small intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes and lamina propria lymphocytes migrate to thymus-expressed chemokine (TECK). This attraction is mediated by CC chemokine receptor (CCR)9, a chemoattractant receptor expressed at high levels by essentially all CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in the small intestine. Only a small subset of lymphocytes in the colon are CCR9+, and lymphocytes from other tissues including tonsils, lung, inflamed liver, normal or inflamed skin, inflamed synovium and synovial fluid, breast milk, and seminal fluid are universally CCR9−. TECK expression is also restricted to the small intestine: immunohistochemistry reveals that intense anti-TECK reactivity characterizes crypt epithelium in the jejunum and ileum, but not in other epithelia of the digestive tract (including stomach and colon), skin, lung, or salivary gland. These results imply a restricted role for lymphocyte CCR9 and its ligand TECK in the small intestine, and provide the first evidence for distinctive mechanisms of lymphocyte recruitment that may permit functional specialization of immune responses in different segments of the gastrointestinal tract. Selective expression of chemokines by differentiated epithelium may represent an important mechanism for targeting and specialization of immune responses.
leukocyte; gastrointestinal tract; trafficking; epithelium; lamina propria lymphocytes
Rotaviruses are the leading cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea in children worldwide. Rotavirus-induced immune responses, especially the T and B cell responses, have been extensively characterized; however, little is known about innate immune mechanisms involved in the control of rotavirus infection. Although increased levels of systemic type I interferon (IFNα and β) correlate with accelerated resolution of rotavirus disease, multiple rotavirus strains, including rhesus rotavirus (RRV), have been demonstrated to antagonize type I IFN production in a variety of epithelial and fibroblast cell types through several mechanisms, including degradation of multiple interferon regulatory factors by a viral nonstructural protein. This report demonstrates that stimulation of highly purified primary human peripheral plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) with either live or inactivated RRV induces substantial IFNα production by a subset of pDCs in which RRV does not replicate. Characterization of pDC responses to viral stimulus by flow cytometry and Luminex revealed that RRV replicates in a small subset of human primary pDCs and, in this RRV-permissive small subset, IFNα production is diminished. pDC activation and maturation were observed independently of viral replication and were enhanced in cells in which virus replicates. Production of IFNα by pDCs following RRV exposure required viral dsRNA and surface proteins, but neither viral replication nor activation by trypsin cleavage of VP4. These results demonstrate that a minor subset of purified primary human peripheral pDCs are permissive to RRV infection, and that pDCs retain functionality following RRV stimulus. Additionally, this study demonstrates trypsin-independent infection of primary peripheral cells by rotavirus, which may allow for the establishment of extraintestinal viremia and antigenemia. Importantly, these data provide the first evidence of IFNα induction in primary human pDCs by a dsRNA virus, while simultaneously demonstrating impaired IFNα production in primary human cells in which RRV replicates. Rotavirus infection of primary human pDCs provides a powerful experimental system for the study of mechanisms underlying pDC-mediated innate immunity to viral infection and reveals a potentially novel dsRNA-dependent pathway of IFNα induction.
Rotaviruses cause severe dehydrating diarrhea and are a leading cause of death in children worldwide. A potent antiviral, interferon-α (IFNα), is rapidly secreted by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in response to viral single-stranded RNA or DNA genomes. Here, we examined the effects of rotavirus on pDCs purified from human blood. We found that very few pDCs supported rotavirus replication, and that pDCs retained similar functionality in response to live or inactivated rotaviruses. While pDCs produced large quantities of IFNα shortly after rotavirus exposure, this was impaired in cells supporting viral replication. We also found that two viral proteins and the rotavirus double-stranded RNA genome were required for the initiation of the pDC IFNα response to rotavirus. Additionally, we found that cleavage of one of these viral proteins, a traditional prerequisite for rotavirus infection in other cell types, was not required for the infection of pDCs or production of IFNα. This may enable the host to rapidly initiate an immune response to rotavirus that subsequently restricts infection to the intestine and contributes to the resolution of disease. Our study provides novel insight into the interaction between rotavirus and the host innate immune response, and also identifies a unique mechanism for the production of IFNα by pDCs.
Trypsin primes rotavirus for efficient infectivity by cleaving the spike protein, VP4, into VP8* and VP5*. A recombinant VP5* fragment has a trimeric, folded-back structure. Comparison of this structure with virion spikes suggests that a rearrangement, analogous to those of enveloped virus fusion proteins, may mediate membrane penetration by rotavirus during entry. To detect this inferred rearrangement of virion-associated authentic VP5*, we raised conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies against the recombinant VP5* fragment in its putative post-membrane penetration conformation. Using one of these antibodies, we demonstrate that rotavirus uncoating triggers a conformational change in the cleaved VP4 spike to yield rearranged VP5*.
Rotavirus host range restriction forms a basis for strain attenuation although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. In mouse fibroblasts, the inability of rotavirus NSP1 to mediate interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) degradation correlates with IFN-dependent restricted replication of the bovine UK strain but not the mouse EW and simian RRV strains. We found that UK NSP1 is unable to degrade IRF3 when expressed in murine NIH 3T3 cells in contrast to the EW and RRV NSP1 proteins. Surprisingly, UK NSP1 expression led to IRF3 degradation in simian COS7 cells, indicating that IRF3 degradation by NSP1 is host cell dependent, a finding further supported using adenovirus-expressed NSP1 from NCDV bovine rotavirus. By expressing heterologous IRF3 proteins in complementary host cells, we found that IRF3 is the minimal host factor constraining NSP1 IRF3-degradative ability. NSP1-mediated IRF3 degradation was enhanced by transfection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) in a host cell-specific manner, and in IRF3-dependent positive regulatory domain III reporter assays, NSP1 inhibited IRF3 function in response to pathway activation by dsRNA, TBK-1, IRF3, or constitutively activated IRF3-5D. An interesting observation arising from these experiments is the ability of transiently expressed UK NSP1 to inhibit poly(I:C)-directed IRF3 activity in NIH 3T3 cells in the absence of detectable IRF3 degradation, an unexpected finding since UK virus infection was unable to block IFN secretion, and UK NSP1 expression did not result in suppression of IRF3-directed activation of the pathway. RRV and EW but not UK NSP1 was proteasomally degraded, requiring E1 ligase activity, although NSP1 degradation was not required for IRF3 degradation. Using a chimeric RRV NSP1 protein containing the carboxyl 100 residues derived from UK NSP1, we found that the RRV NSP1 carboxyl 100 residues are critical for its IRF3 inhibition in murine cells but are not essential for NSP1 degradation. Thus, NSP1's ability to degrade IRF3 is host cell dependent and is independent of NSP1 proteasomal degradation.