The platelet surface is poorly characterized due to the low abundance of many membrane proteins and the lack of specialist tools for their investigation. In this study we have identified novel human platelet and mouse megakaryocyte membrane proteins using specialist proteomic and genomic approaches. Three separate methods were used to enrich platelet surface proteins prior to identification by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry: lectin affinity chromatography; biotin/NeutrAvidin affinity chromatography; and free flow electrophoresis. Many known, abundant platelet surface transmembrane proteins and several novel proteins were identified using each receptor enrichment strategy. In total, two or more unique peptides were identified for 46, 68 and 22 surface membrane, intracellular membrane and membrane proteins of unknown sub-cellular localization, respectively. The majority of these were single transmembrane proteins. To complement the proteomic studies, we analysed the transcriptome of a highly purified preparation of mature primary mouse megakaryocytes using serial analysis of gene expression in view of the increasing importance of mutant mouse models in establishing protein function in platelets. This approach identified all of the major classes of platelet transmembrane receptors, including multi-transmembrane proteins. Strikingly, 17 of the 25 most megakaryocyte-specific genes (relative to 30 other SAGE libraries) were transmembrane proteins, illustrating the unique nature of the megakaryocyte/platelet surface. The list of novel plasma membrane proteins identified using proteomics includes the immunoglobulin superfamily member G6b, which undergoes extensive alternate splicing. Specific antibodies were used to demonstrate expression of the G6b-B isoform, which contains an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibition motif. G6b-B undergoes tyrosine phosphorylation and association with the SH2-containing phosphatase, SHP-1, in stimulated platelets suggesting that it may play a novel role in limiting platelet activation.
Regulatory T cells expressing the transcription factor Foxp3 require acquisition of a specific hypomethylation pattern to ensure optimal functional commitment, limited lineage plasticity, and long-term maintenance of tolerance. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of these epigenetic changes in vivo will contribute to the clinical exploitation of Foxp3+ Treg. Here, we show that both in vitro and in vivo generated antigen-specific Foxp3+ Treg can acquire Treg-specific epigenetic characteristics and prevent skin graft rejection in an animal model.
Foxp3; regulatory T cells; hypomethylation; transplantation; tolerance
Transplantation tolerance is a continuing therapeutic goal, and it is now clear that a subpopulation of T cells with regulatory activity (Treg) that express the transcription factor foxp3 are crucial to this aspiration. Although reprogramming of the immune system to donor-specific transplantation tolerance can be readily achieved in adult mouse models, it has yet to be successfully translated in human clinical practice. This requires that we understand the fundamental mechanisms by which donor antigen-specific Treg are induced and function to maintain tolerance, so that we can target therapies to enhance rather than impede these regulatory processes. Our current understanding is that Treg act via numerous molecular mechanisms, and critical underlying components such as mTOR inhibition, are only now emerging.
Regulatory T cells that express foxp3 play an important role in suppressing immune responses against foreign antigens expressed on transplanted organs. But their numerous mechanisms must be more fully characterized.
A major limitation to the translation of tolerogenic therapies to clinical transplantation is a lack of biomarkers that can be used as surrogate measures for predicting the successful induction of immune tolerance which would allow for the safe withdrawal of immunosuppression. We have used three different mouse models of donor specific tolerance to skin grafts together with quantitative RT-PCR to search for potential biomarkers of tolerance using criteria based on the presence or activity of regulatory T cells and antigen presenting cells (APCs) within grafts or lymphoid organs. We find that significant differences in gene expression between tolerated and rejecting grafts are observed primarily within the grafted skin and not systemically or in the draining lymph node. The pattern of gene expression within long-term surviving tolerated grafts appear very similar to syngeneic grafts, with both having low levels of T cell and APC infiltration and a bias toward relative over-expression of “regulatory-associated” genes, while allografts destined for rejection show an overall increase in both “regulatory” and “effector” cell associated transcripts. We also, however, find an increase in a large number of regulatory genes, of both innate and T cell origin, even after grafting syngeneic skin. Taken together, these findings suggest that there may be no tissue biomarkers uniquely able to predict donor antigen specific tolerance per se, but that patterns of gene expression within tolerated grafts may be similar to those found in self tissues recovering from an inflammatory insult.
transplantation tolerance; foxp3; regulatory T cell; RT-PCR; mouse model
CD4+Foxp3+ Treg are essential for immune homeostasis and maintenance of self-tolerance. They are produced in the thymus and also generated de novo in the periphery in a TGFβ dependent manner. Foxp3+ Treg are also required to achieve tolerance to transplanted tissues when induced by co receptor or co stimulation blockade. Using TCR transgenic mice to avoid issues of autoimmune pathology, we show that Foxp3 expression is both necessary and sufficient for tissue tolerance by coreceptor blockade. Moreover, the known need in tolerance induction for TGFβ signalling to T cells can wholly be explained by its role in induction of Foxp3, as such signalling proved dispensable for the suppressive process. We analysed the relative contribution of TGFβ and Foxp3 to the transcriptome of TGFβ-induced Treg and showed that TGFβ elicited a large set of down-regulated signature genes. The number of genes uniquely modulated due to the influence of Foxp3 alone was surprisingly limited. Thus, despite the large genetic influence of TGFβ exposure on iTreg, the crucial Foxp3-influenced signature independent of TGFβ is small. Retroviral mediated conditional nuclear expression of Foxp3 proved sufficient to confer transplant-suppressive potency on CD4+ T cells, and was lost once nuclear Foxp3 expression was extinguished. These data support a dual role for TGFβ and Foxp3 in induced tolerance, where TGFβ stimulates Foxp3 expression, whose sustained expression is then associated with acquisition of tolerance.
A new genetic mouse model demonstrates the necessity of Foxp3+ T reg cells for infectious tolerance.
A paradigm shift in immunology has been the recent discovery of regulatory T cells (T reg cells), of which CD4+Foxp3+ cells are proven as essential to self-tolerance. Using transgenic B6.Foxp3hCD2 mice to isolate and ablate Foxp3+ T reg cells with an anti-hCD2 antibody, we show for the first time that CD4+Foxp3+ cells are crucial for infectious tolerance induced by nonablative anti–T cell antibodies. In tolerant animals, Foxp3+ T reg cells are constantly required to suppress effector T cells still capable of causing tissue damage. Tolerated tissue contains T cells that are capable of rejecting it, but are prevented from doing so by therapeutically induced Foxp3+ T reg cells. Finally, Foxp3+ cells have been confirmed as the critical missing link through which infectious tolerance operates in vivo. Peripherally induced Foxp3+ cells sustain tolerance by converting naive T cells into the next generation of Foxp3+ cells. Empowering Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in vivo offers a tractable route to avoid and correct tissue immunopathology.
Treatment of patients with allergic asthma using low doses of peptides containing T cell epitopes from Fel d 1, the major cat allergen, reduces allergic sensitization and improves surrogate markers of disease. Here, we demonstrate a key immunological mechanism, linked epitope suppression, associated with this therapeutic effect. Treatment with selected epitopes from a single allergen resulted in suppression of responses to other (“linked”) epitopes within the same molecule. This phenomenon was induced after peptide immunotherapy in human asthmatic subjects and in a novel HLA-DR1 transgenic mouse model of asthma. Tracking of allergen-specific T cells using DR1 tetramers determined that suppression was associated with the induction of interleukin (IL)-10+ T cells that were more abundant than T cells specific for the single-treatment peptide and was reversed by anti–IL-10 receptor administration. Resolution of airway pathophysiology in this model was associated with reduced recruitment, proliferation, and effector function of allergen-specific Th2 cells. Our results provide, for the first time, in vivo evidence of linked epitope suppression and IL-10 induction in both human allergic disease and a mouse model designed to closely mimic peptide therapy in humans.
Ever since the discovery of Medawar, over 50 years ago, that immunological tolerance was an acquired phenomenon that could be manipulated in neonatal mice, the ability to induce therapeutic tolerance against autoantigens, allergens and organ grafts has been a major driving force in immunology. Within the last 20 years we have found that a brief treatment with monoclonal antibodies that block certain functional molecules on the surface of the T cell is able to reprogramme the established immune repertoire of the adult mouse, allowing indefinite acceptance of allografts or effective curing of autoimmune diseases. We are only now just beginning to define many of the regulatory mechanisms that induce and maintain the tolerant state with the aim of being able to safely and reliably apply these technologies to human clinical situations.
monoclonal antibody; tolerance; regulatory T cell; transplantation; CD4 antibodies
A major challenge in the application of marrow transplantation as a route to immunological tolerance of a transplanted organ is to achieve hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) engraftment with minimal myelosuppressive treatments.
We here describe a combined antibody protocol which can achieve long-term engraftment with clinically relevant doses of MHC-mismatched bone marrow, without the need for myelosuppressive drugs. Although not universally applicable in all strains, we achieved reliable engraftment in permissive strains with a two-stage strategy: involving first, treatment with anti-CD8 and anti-CD4 in advance of transplantation; and second, treatment with antibodies targeting CD4, CD8 and CD40L (CD154) at the time of marrow transplantation. Long-term mixed chimerism through co-receptor and co-stimulation blockade facilitated tolerance to donor-type skin grafts, without any evidence of donor-antigen driven regulatory T cells.
We conclude that antibodies targeting co-receptor and co-stimulatory molecules synergise to enable mixed hematopoietic chimerism and central tolerance, showing that neither cytoreductive conditioning nor 'megadoses' of donor bone marrow are required for donor HSC to engraft in permissive strains.
Induction of transplantation tolerance with certain therapeutic nondepleting monoclonal antibodies can lead to a robust state of peripheral “dominant” tolerance. Regulatory CD4+ T cells, which mediate this form of “dominant” tolerance, can be isolated from spleens of tolerant animals. To determine whether there were any extra-lymphoid sites that might harbor regulatory T cells we sought their presence in tolerated skin allografts and in normal skin. When tolerated skin grafts are retransplanted onto T cell–depleted hosts, graft-infiltrating T cells exit the graft and recolonize the new host. These colonizing T cells can be shown to contain members with regulatory function, as they can prevent nontolerant lymphocytes from rejecting fresh skin allografts, without hindrance of rejection of third party skin. Our results suggest that T cell suppression of graft rejection is an active process that operates beyond secondary lymphoid tissue, and involves the persistent presence of regulatory T cells at the site of the tolerated transplant.
adoptive transfer; monoclonal antibodies; skin transplantation; tolerance; anergy