The role of the tumor necrosis factor family member CD70 in adaptive T cell responses has been intensively studied but its function in innate responses is still under investigation. Here we show that CD70 inhibits the early innate response to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) but is essential for the optimal generation of virus-specific CD8 T cells. CD70-/- mice reacted to MCMV infection with a robust type I interferon and proinflammatory cytokine response. This response was sufficient for initial control of MCMV, although at later time points, CD70-/- mice became more susceptible to MCMV infection. The heightened cytokine response during the early phase of MCMV infection in CD70-/- mice was paralleled by a reduction in regulatory T cells (Treg). Treg from naïve CD70-/- mice were not as efficient at suppressing T cell proliferation compared to Treg from naïve WT mice and depletion of Treg during MCMV infection in Foxp3-DTR mice or in WT mice recapitulated the phenotype observed in CD70-/- mice. Our study demonstrates that while CD70 is required for the activation of the antiviral adaptive response, it has a regulatory role in early cytokine responses to viruses such as MCMV, possibly through maintenance of Treg survival and function.
CD70; dendritic cell; NK cell; regulatory T cell; interferon; virus
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produce type I interferon (IFN-I) in response to viruses and are routinely identified in mice by SiglecH expression. SiglecH is a sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin that has an immunomodulatory role during viral infections. Here, we evaluated the impact of SiglecH deficiency on cytokine responses in the presence and absence of pDC. We found that lack of SiglecH enhanced IFN-I responses to viral infection regardless of whether pDC were depleted or not. We also examined the expression pattern of SiglecH in this study. We observed that SiglecH was expressed by specialized macrophages and progenitors of classical DC (cDC) and pDC. Accordingly, marginal zone macrophages and pDC precursors were eliminated in newly generated SiglecH-DTR Tg mice but not CLEC4C-DTR Tg mice after diphtheria toxin (DT) treatment. Using two different bacterial models, we found that SiglecH-DTR Tg mice injected with DT had altered bacterial uptake and were more susceptible to lethal Listeria monocytogenes infection than DT-treated CLEC4C-DTR Tg mice. Taken together, our findings suggest that lack of SiglecH may affect cytokine responses by cell types other than pDC during viral infections perhaps by altering viral distribution or burden and that cell depletion in SiglecH-DTR Tg mice encompasses more than pDC.
SiglecH; plasmacytoid; dendritic cell; macrophage; interferon; virus
Transient, genetic elimination of a specialized group of cells called plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) reverses many features of lupus in mice. Disease reduction was attributed in part to decreased expression of inflammatory molecules called interferons, which are produced primarily by pDCs.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) have long been implicated in the pathogenesis of lupus. However, this conclusion has been largely based on a correlative link between the copious production of IFN-α/β by pDCs and the IFN-α/β “signature” often seen in human lupus patients. The specific contribution of pDCs to disease in vivo has not been investigated in detail. For this reason, we generated a strain of BXSB lupus-prone mice in which pDCs can be selectively depleted in vivo. Early, transient ablation of pDCs before disease initiation resulted in reduced splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy, impaired expansion and activation of T and B cells, reduced antibodies against nuclear autoantigens and improved kidney pathology. Amelioration of pathology coincided with decreased transcription of IFN-α/β–induced genes in tissues. PDC depletion had an immediate impact on the activation of immune cells, and importantly, the beneficial effects on pathology were sustained even though pDCs later recovered, indicating an early pDC contribution to disease. Together, our findings demonstrate a critical function for pDCs during the IFN-α/β–dependent initiation of autoimmune lupus and point to pDCs as an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of SLE.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are known to initiate adaptive immune responses against malignant cells. However, the role in anticancer immunosurveillance of 6-sulfo LacNAc-expressing DCs (slanDCs), a distinct population of circulating and tissue-resident pro-inflammatory DCs, is unclear. We have recently demonstrated the involvement of slanDCs in nodal immune responses against carcinoma cells.
carcinoma; slanDCs; tumor-draining lymph nodes
Macrophage colony stimulating factor (MCSF) influences proliferation and survival of mononuclear phagocytes through the CSF-1 receptor. The DAP12 adaptor protein, which transduces signals emanating from various myeloid receptors, is critical for mononuclear phagocyte function. DAP12-mutant mice and humans show defects in osteoclasts and microglia and exhibit brain and bone abnormalities. Here, we demonstrated that DAP12 deficiency impairs MCSF-induced macrophage proliferation and survival in vitro. In addition, DAP12-deficient mice show fewer microglia in defined central nervous system areas, and DAP12-deficient progenitors regenerate myeloid cells inefficiently following BM transplantation. MCSF-CSF1-R signaling induced stabilization and nuclear translocation of β-catenin, which activates cell cycle genes. DAP12 was essential for phosphorylation and nuclear accumulation of β-catenin. These results outline a mechanistic explanation for the multiple defects in DAP12-deficient mononuclear phagocytes.
Mucosal innate lymphoid cell (ILC) subsets promote immune responses to pathogens by producing distinct signature cytokines in response to changes in the cytokine microenvironment. We previously identified human ILC3 distinguished by interleukin-22 (IL-22) secretion. Here we characterized a human ILC1 subset that produced Interferon-γ in response to IL-12 and IL-15, had a unique integrin profile, intraepithelial location, hallmarks of TGF-β imprinting and a memory-activated phenotype. Because tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells share this profile, intraepithelial ILC1 may be their innate counterparts. In mice, intraepithelial ILC1 were distinguished by CD160 expression and required Nfil3-and Tbx21-encoded transcription factors for development, but not IL-15 receptor-α, indicating that intraepithelial ILC1 are distinct from conventional NK cells. Intraepithelial ILC1 were amplified in Crohn’s disease patients and contributed to pathology in the anti-CD40-induced colitis model in mice. Thus, intraepithelial ILC1 may initiate interferon-γ responses against pathogens, but contribute to pathology when dysregulated.
innate lymphoid cells; NK cells; epithelium; tonsil; intestine; CD160; IL-15; Crohn’s disease
The differentiation of bone marrow–derived progenitors into monocytes, tissue macrophages and some dendritic cell (DC) subtypes requires the growth factor CSF1 and its receptor, CSF1R. Langerhans cells (LCs) and microglia develop from embryonic myeloid precursors that populate the epidermis and central nervous system (CNS) before birth. Notably, LCs and microglia are present in CSF1-deficient mice but absent from CSF1R-deficient mice. Here we investigated whether an alternative CSF1R ligand, interleukin 34 (IL-34), is responsible for this discrepancy. Through the use of IL-34-deficient (Il34LacZ/LacZ) reporter mice, we found that keratinocytes and neurons were the main sources of IL-34. Il34LacZ/LacZ mice selectively lacked LCs and microglia and responded poorly to skin antigens and viral infection of the CNS. Thus, IL-34 specifically directs differentiation of myeloid cells in the skin epidermis and CNS.
In clinical practice, unexpected diagnosis of colorectal cancer in young patients requires prompt surgery, thus genetic testing for Lynch Syndrome is frequently missed, and clinical management may result incorrect.
Patients younger than 50 years old undergoing colorectal resection for cancer in the period 1994-2007 were identified (Group A, 49 cases), and compared to a group of randomly selected patients more than 50 (Group B, 85 cases). In 31 group A patients, immunohistochemical expression analysis of MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 was performed; personal and familial history of patients with defective MMR proteins expression was further investigated, searching for synchronous and metachronous tumors in probands and their families.
Fifty-one percent of patients did not express one or more MMR proteins (MMR-) and should be considered Lynch Syndrome carriers (16 patients, group A1); while only 31.2% of them were positive for Amsterdam criteria, 50% had almost another tumor, 37.5% had another colorectal tumor and 68% had relatives with colorectal tumor. This group of patients, compared with A2 group (< 50 years old, MMR+) and B group, showed typical characteristics of HNPCC, such as proximal location, mucinous histotype, poor differentiation, high stage and shorter survival.
The present study confirms that preoperative knowledge of MMR proteins expression in colorectal cancer patients would allow correct staging, more extended colonic resection, specific follow-up and familial screening.
Hermansky Pudlak type 2 syndrome (HPS2) is a rare autosomal recessive primary immune deficiency caused by mutations on β3A gene (AP3B1 gene). The defect results in the impairment of the adaptor protein 3 (AP-3) complex, responsible for protein sorting to secretory lysosomes leading to oculo-cutaneous albinism, bleeding disorders and immunodeficiency. We have studied peripheral blood and lymph node biopsies from two siblings affected by HPS2. Lymph node histology showed a nodular lymphocyte predominance type Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) in both HPS2 siblings. By immunohistochemistry, CD8 T-cells from HPS2 NLPHL contained an increased amount of perforin (Prf) + suggesting a defect in the release of this granules-associated protein. By analyzing peripheral blood immune cells we found a significant reduction of circulating NKT cells and of CD56brightCD16− Natural Killer (NK) cells subset. Functionally, NK cells were defective in their cytotoxic activity against tumor cell lines including Hodgkin Lymphoma as well as in IFN-γ production. This defect was associated with increased baseline level of CD107a and CD63 at the surface level of unstimulated and IL-2-activated NK cells. In summary, these results suggest that a combined and profound defect of innate and adaptive effector cells might explain the susceptibility to infections and lymphoma in these HPS2 patients.
Natural killer (NK) cells are classically viewed as lymphocytes that provide innate surveillance against virally-infected cells and tumor cells through release of cytolytic mediators and IFN-γ. In humans, blood CD56dim NK cells specialize in lysis of cell targets1. In lymph nodes, CD56bright NK cells secrete IFN-γ cooperating with dendritic cells (DC) and T cells in the generation of adaptive responses1, 2. Here we report the characterization of a human NK cell subset located in mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues (MALT), such as tonsils and Payer’s patches, which is hard-wired to secrete interleukin (IL)-22, IL-26, and leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF). These NK cells, which we refer to as NK-22 cells, are triggered by acute exposure to IL-23. In vitro, NK-22-secreted cytokines stimulate epithelial cells to secrete IL-10, proliferate and express a variety of mitogenic and anti-apoptotic molecules. NK-22 cells are also found in mouse MALT and appear in the small intestine lamina propria during bacterial infection suggesting that NK-22 cells provide an innate source of IL-22 that may help constrain inflammation and protect mucosal sites.
Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp)–mediated actin polymerization controls intracellular trafficking and compartmentalization of TLR9 ligands in plasmacytoid dendritic cells.
Mutations in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) protein (WASp), a regulator of actin dynamics in hematopoietic cells, cause WAS, an X-linked primary immunodeficiency characterized by recurrent infections and a marked predisposition to develop autoimmune disorders. The mechanisms that link actin alterations to the autoimmune phenotype are still poorly understood. We show that chronic activation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and elevated type-I interferon (IFN) levels play a role in WAS autoimmunity. WAS patients display increased expression of type-I IFN genes and their inducible targets, alteration in pDCs numbers, and hyperresponsiveness to TLR9. Importantly, ablating IFN-I signaling in WASp null mice rescued chronic activation of conventional DCs, splenomegaly, and colitis. Using WASp-deficient mice, we demonstrated that WASp null pDCs are intrinsically more responsive to multimeric agonist of TLR9 and constitutively secrete type-I IFN but become progressively tolerant to further stimulation. By acute silencing of WASp and actin inhibitors, we show that WASp-mediated actin polymerization controls intracellular trafficking and compartmentalization of TLR9 ligands in pDCs restraining exaggerated activation of the TLR9–IFN-α pathway. Together, these data highlight the role of actin dynamics in pDC innate functions and imply the pDC–IFN-α axis as a player in the onset of autoimmune phenomena in WAS disease.
In the absence of adaptive immunity, NK cells polarize M1 macrophages to facilitate cancer immunoediting.
Cancer immunoediting is the process whereby immune cells protect against cancer formation by sculpting the immunogenicity of developing tumors. Although the full process depends on innate and adaptive immunity, it remains unclear whether innate immunity alone is capable of immunoediting. To determine whether the innate immune system can edit tumor cells in the absence of adaptive immunity, we compared the incidence and immunogenicity of 3′methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas in syngeneic wild-type, RAG2−/−, and RAG2−/−x γc−/− mice. We found that innate immune cells could manifest cancer immunoediting activity in the absence of adaptive immunity. This activity required natural killer (NK) cells and interferon γ (IFN-γ), which mediated the induction of M1 macrophages. M1 macrophages could be elicited by administration of CD40 agonists, thereby restoring editing activity in RAG2−/−x γc−/− mice. Our results suggest that in the absence of adaptive immunity, NK cell production of IFN-γ induces M1 macrophages, which act as important effectors during cancer immunoediting.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) mediate type I interferon (IFN-I) responses to viruses that are recognized through the Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) or TLR9 signaling pathway. However, it is unclear how pDCs regulate the antiviral responses via innate and adaptive immune cells. We generated diphtheria toxin receptor transgenic mice to selectively deplete pDCs by administration of diphtheria toxin. pDC-depleted mice were challenged with viruses known to activate pDCs. In murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection, pDC depletion reduced early IFN-I production and augmented viral burden facilitating the expansion of natural killer (NK) cells expressing the MCMV-specific receptor Ly49H. During vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection, pDC depletion enhanced early viral replication and impaired the survival and accumulation of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. We conclude that pDCs mediate early antiviral IFN-I responses and influence the accrual of virus-specific NK or CD8+ T cells in a virus-dependent manner.
Nectins and Nectin-like molecules (Necls) play a critical role in cell polarity within epithelia and in the nervous and reproductive systems. Recently, immune receptors specific for Nectins/Necls have been described. Since expression and distribution of Nectins/Necls is often subverted during tumorigenesis, it has been suggested that the immune system may use these receptors to recognize and eliminate tumors. Here we describe a novel immunoreceptor, WUCAM, which is expressed on human follicular B helper T cells (Tfh) and binds a Nectin/Necl family member, the poliovirus receptor (PVR), under both static and flow conditions. Futhermore, we demonstrate that PVR is abundantly expressed by follicular dendritic cells (FDC) within the germinal center. These results reveal a novel molecular interaction that mediates adhesion of Tfh to FDC and provide the first evidence that immune receptors for Nectins/Necls may be involved the generation of T cell-dependent antibody responses.
Human; nectins; follicular B helper T cells; follicular dendritic cells
The immune system can control the early steps of tumor growth, but it may also induce phenotypic/functional changes of malignant cells during tumor progression, favoring immunoescape mechanisms. In a recent study, we revealed how natural killer (NK) cells can participate in such an immunoediting process, by rendering melanoma cells resistant to NK-mediated killing.
Cytokines; HLA-I; immunoediting; melanoma; NK cells
CCRL2 is a heptahelic transmembrane receptor that shows the highest degree of homology with CCR1, an inflammatory chemokine receptor. CCRL2 mRNA was rapidly (30 min) and transiently (2-4 hrs) regulated during dendritic cell (DC) maturation. Protein expression paralleled RNA regulation. In vivo, CCRL2 was expressed by activated DC and macrophages, but not by eosinophils and T cells. CCRL2−/− mice showed normal recruitment of circulating DC into the lung but a defective trafficking of antigen-loaded lung DC to mediastinal lymph nodes. This defect was associated to a reduction in lymph node cellularity and reduced priming of Th2 response. CCRL2−/− mice were protected in a model of OVA-induced airway inflammation with reduced leukocyte recruitment in the BAL (eosinophils and mononuclear cells) and reduced production of the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 and chemokines CCL11 and CCL17. The central role of CCRL2 deficiency in DC was supported by the fact that adoptive transfer of CCRL2−/− antigen-loaded DC in wild type animals recapitulated the phenotype observed in knock out mice. These data show a nonredundant role of CCRL2 in lung DC trafficking and propose a role for this receptor in the control of excessive airway inflammatory responses.
Production of type I interferon in response to virus infection reduces plasmacytoid dendritic cell numbers, thus creating a negative feedback loop.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) specialize in the secretion of type I interferons (IFN-I) and thus are considered critical mediators of antiviral responses. We recently reported that pDCs have a very early but limited and transient capacity to curtail viral infections. Additionally, pDC numbers are not sustained in human infections caused by Hepatitis B or C viruses (HBV and HCV) and HIV. Thus, the numbers and/or function of pDCs appear to be regulated during the course of viral infection. In this study, we show that splenic pDCs are reduced in vivo during several systemic viral infections and after administration of synthetic toll-like receptor ligands. We demonstrate that IFN-I, regardless of the source, contributes to this decline and mediates pDC death via the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. These findings demonstrate a feedback control mechanism by which IFN-I modulates pDC numbers, thus fine-tuning systemic IFN-I response to viruses. IFN-I–mediated control of pDCs may explain the loss of pDCs during human infections caused by HBV, HCV, or HIV and has important therapeutic implications for settings in which IFN-I is used to treat infections and autoimmune diseases.
Although breast cancers expressing estrogen receptor-α (ERα) and progesterone receptors (PR) are the most common form of mammary malignancy in humans, it has been difficult to develop a suitable mouse model showing similar steroid hormone responsiveness. STAT transcription factors play critical roles in mammary gland tumorigenesis, but the precise role of STAT1 remains unclear. Herein, we show that a subset of human breast cancers display reduced STAT1 expression and that mice lacking STAT1 surprisingly develop ERα+/PR+ mammary tumors.
We used a combination of approaches, including histological examination, gene targeted mice, gene expression analysis, tumor transplantaion, and immunophenotyping, to pursue this study.
Forty-five percent (37/83) of human ERα+ and 22% (17/78) of ERα- breast cancers display undetectable or low levels of STAT1 expression in neoplastic cells. In contrast, STAT1 expression is elevated in epithelial cells of normal breast tissues adjacent to the malignant lesions, suggesting that STAT1 is selectively downregulated in the tumor cells during tumor progression. Interestingly, the expression levels of STAT1 in the tumor-infiltrating stromal cells remain elevated, indicating that single-cell resolution analysis of STAT1 level in primary breast cancer biopsies is necessary for accurate assessment. Female mice lacking functional STAT1 spontaneously develop mammary adenocarcinomas that comprise > 90% ERα+/PR+ tumor cells, and depend on estrogen for tumor engraftment and progression. Phenotypic marker analyses demonstrate that STAT1-/- mammary tumors arise from luminal epithelial cells, but not myoepithelial cells. In addition, the molecular signature of the STAT1-/- mammary tumors overlaps closely to that of human luminal breast cancers. Finally, introduction of wildtype STAT1, but not a STAT1 mutant lacking the critical Tyr701 residue, into STAT1-/- mammary tumor cells results in apoptosis, demonstrating that the tumor suppressor function of STAT1 is cell-autonomous and requires its transcriptional activity.
Our findings demonstrate that STAT1 suppresses mammary tumor formation and its expression is frequently lost during breast cancer progression. Spontaneous mammary tumors that develop in STAT1-/- mice closely recapitulate the progression, ovarian hormone responsiveness, and molecular characteristics of human luminal breast cancer, the most common subtype of human breast neoplasms, and thus represent a valuable platform for testing novel treatments and detection modalities.
The hallmark of chronic viral infections is a progressive exhaustion of antigen specific CD8+ T cells that leads to persisting viral replication. It is generally believed that exhaustion is a consequence of the accumulation of multiple inhibitory receptors on CD8+ T cells that makes them dysfunctional. Here we show that during human chronic HIV-1 infection a CD8+ T cell positive costimulatory pathway mediated by DNAM-1 is also disrupted. Thus, DNAM-1 downregulation on CD8+ T cells aggravates the impairment of CTL effector function in chronic HIV-1 infection.
HIV-1; exhaustion; co-stimulation
Viral infections have been linked to the onset of type I diabetes (T1D), with viruses postulated to induce disease directly by causing β cell injury and subsequent release of autoantigens and indirectly via the host type I interferon (IFN-I) response triggered by the virus. Consistent with this, resistance to T1D is associated with polymorphisms that impair the function of melanoma differentiation associated gene-5 (MDA5), a sensor of viral RNA that elicits IFN-I responses. In animal models, triggering of another viral sensor, TLR3, has been implicated in diabetes. Here, we found that MDA5 and TLR3 are both required to prevent diabetes in mice infected with encephalomyocarditis virus strain D (EMCV-D), which has tropism for the insulin-producing β cells of the pancreas. Infection of Tlr3–/– mice caused diabetes due to impaired IFN-I responses and virus-induced β cell damage rather than T cell–mediated autoimmunity. Mice lacking just 1 copy of Mda5 developed transient hyperglycemia when infected with EMCV-D, whereas homozygous Mda5–/– mice developed severe cardiac pathology. TLR3 and MDA5 controlled EMCV-D infection and diabetes by acting in hematopoietic and stromal cells, respectively, inducing IFN-I responses at kinetically distinct time points. We therefore conclude that optimal functioning of viral sensors and prompt IFN-I responses are required to prevent diabetes when caused by a virus that infects and damages the β cells of the pancreas.
The double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) analogue poly(I:C) is a promising adjuvant for cancer vaccines because it activates both dendritic cells (DCs) and natural killer (NK) cells, concurrently promoting adaptive and innate anticancer responses. Poly(I:C) acts through two dsRNA sensors, Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and melanoma differentiation-associated protein-5 (MDA5). Here, we investigated the relative contributions of MDA5 and TLR3 to poly(I:C)-mediated NK cell activation using MDA5−/−, TLR3−/−, and MDA5−/−TLR3−/− mice. MDA5 was crucial for NK cell activation, whereas TLR3 had a minor impact most evident in the absence of MDA5. MDA5 and TLR3 activated NK cells indirectly through accessory cells and induced the distinct stimulatory cytokines interferon-α and interleukin-12, respectively. To identify the relevant accessory cells in vivo, we generated bone marrow chimeras between either wild-type (WT) and MDA5−/− or WT and TLR3−/− mice. Interestingly, multiple accessory cells were implicated, with MDA5 acting primarily in stromal cells and TLR3 predominantly in hematopoietic cells. Furthermore, poly(I:C)-mediated NK cell activation was not notably impaired in mice lacking CD8α DCs, providing further evidence that poly(I:C) acts through diverse accessory cells rather than solely through DCs. These results demonstrate distinct yet complementary roles for MDA5 and TLR3 in poly(I:C)-mediated NK cell activation.
Langerhans cells (LC) represent a well characterized subset of dendritic cells located in the epidermis of skin and mucosae. In vivo, they originate from resident and blood-borne precursors in the presence of keratinocyte-derived TGFβ. Ιn vitro, LC can be generated from monocytes in the presence of GM-CSF, IL-4 and TGFβ. However, the signals that induce LC during an inflammatory reaction are not fully investigated. Here we report that Activin A, a TGFβ family member induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines and involved in skin morphogenesis and wound healing, induces the differentiation of human monocytes into LC in the absence of TGFβ. Activin A-induced LC are Langerin+, Birbeck granules+, E-cadherin+, CLA+ and CCR6+ and possess typical APC functions. In human skin explants, intradermal injection of Activin A increased the number of CD1a+ and Langerin+ cells in both the epidermis and dermis by promoting the differentiation of resident precursor cells. High levels of Activin A were present in the upper epidermal layers and in the dermis of Lichen Planus biopsies in association with a marked infiltration of CD1a+ and Langerin+ cells. This study reports that Activin A induces the differentiation of circulating CD14+ cells into LC. Since Activin A is abundantly produced during inflammatory conditions which are also characterized by increased numbers of LC, we propose that this cytokine represents a new pathway, alternative to TGFβ, responsible for LC differentiation during inflammatory/autoimmune conditions.
Chemerin is a chemotactic agent that was recently identified as the ligand of ChemR23, a serpentine receptor expressed by activated macrophages and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs). This paper shows that blood plasmacytoid and myeloid DCs express functional ChemR23. Recombinant chemerin induced the transmigration of plasmacytoid and myeloid DCs across an endothelial cell monolayer. In secondary lymphoid organs (lymph nodes and tonsils), ChemR23 is expressed by CD123+ plasmacytoid DCs and by CD1a+ DC-SIGN+ DCs in the interfollicular T cell area. ChemR23+ DCs were also observed in dermis from normal skin, whereas Langerhans cells were negative. Chemerin expression was selectively detected on the luminal side of high endothelial venules in secondary lymphoid organs and in dermal endothelial vessels of lupus erythematosus skin lesions. Chemerin+ endothelial cells were surrounded by ChemR23+ plasmacytoid DCs. Thus, ChemR23 is expressed and functional in plasmacytoid DCs, a property shared only by CXCR4 among chemotactic receptors. This finding, together with the selective expression of the cognate ligand on the luminal side of high endothelial venules and inflamed endothelium, suggests a key role of the ChemR23/chemerin axis in directing plasmacytoid DC trafficking.
Omenn syndrome is a severe primary immunodeficiency with putative autoimmune manifestations of the skin and gastrointestinal tract. The disease is caused by hypomorphic mutations in recombination-activating genes that impair but do not abolish the process of VDJ recombination, leading to the generation of autoreactive T cells with a highly restricted receptor repertoire. Loss of central tolerance in genetically determined autoimmune diseases, e.g., autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy, is associated with defective expression by medullary thymic epithelial cells of AIRE, the transcription activator that induces thymic expression of tissue-specific antigens. Analysis of AIRE expression in the thymi of 2 Omenn syndrome patients and 1 SCID patient, by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, demonstrated a profound reduction in the levels of AIRE mRNA and protein in patients as compared with a normal control subject. Lack of AIRE was associated with normal or even increased levels of keratin and lymphotoxin-β receptor mRNAs, while mRNAs of the self-antigens insulin, cytochrome P450 1a2, and fatty acid–binding protein were undetectable in thymi from immunodeficiency patients. These results demonstrate that deficiency of AIRE expression is observed in severe immunodeficiencies characterized by abnormal T cell development and suggest that in Omenn syndrome, the few residual T cell clones that develop may escape negative selection and thereafter expand in the periphery, causing massive autoimmune reactions.
Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) is a transmembrane adhesive protein expressed at endothelial junctions and in leukocytes. In the present work, we found that DCs also express JAM-A. To evaluate the biological relevance of this observation, Jam-A–/– mice were generated and the functional behavior of DCs in vitro and in vivo was studied. In vitro, Jam-A–/– DCs showed a selective increase in random motility and in the capacity to transmigrate across lymphatic endothelial cells. In vivo, Jam-A–/– mice showed enhanced DC migration to lymph nodes, which was not observed in mice with endothelium-restricted deficiency of the protein. Furthermore, increased DC migration to lymph nodes was associated with enhanced contact hypersensitivity (CHS). Adoptive transfer experiments showed that JAM-A–deficient DCs elicited increased CHS in Jam-A+/+ mice, further supporting the concept of a DC-specific effect. Thus, we identified here a novel, non-redundant role of JAM-A in controlling DC motility, trafficking to lymph nodes, and activation of specific immunity.