Interleukin (IL)-27 is a key immunosuppressive cytokine that counters T helper 17 (Th17) cell-mediated pathology. To identify mechanisms by which IL-27 might exert its immunosuppressive effect, we analyzed genes in T cells rapidly induced by IL-27. We found that IL-27 priming of naïve T cells upregulated expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in a signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)1-dependent manner. When co-cultured with naïve CD4+ T cells, IL-27-primed T cells inhibited the differentiation of Th17 cells in trans through a PD-1-PD-L1 interaction. In vivo, co-administration of naïve TCR transgenic T cells (2D2 T cells) with IL-27-primed T cells expressing PD-L1 inhibited the development of Th17 cells and protected from severe autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Thus, these data identify a suppressive activity of IL-27, by which CD4+ T cells can restrict differentiation of Th17 cells in trans.
Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) promotes a population of T-bet+ CXCR3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells that limit T helper 1 (Th1) cell-mediated pathology. Our studies demonstrate that interleukin-27 (IL-27) also promoted expression of T-bet and CXCR3 in Treg cells. During infection with Toxoplasma gondii a similar population emerged which limited T cell responses and were dependent on IFN-γ in the periphery but IL-27 at mucosal sites. Transfer of Treg cells ameliorated the infection-induced pathology observed in Il27−/− mice and this was dependent on their ability to produce IL-10. Microarray analysis revealed that Treg cells exposed to either IFN-γ or IL-27 have distinct transcriptional profiles. Thus, IFN-γ and IL-27 have different roles in Treg cell biology and IL-27 is a key cytokine that promotes the development of Treg cells specialized to control Th1 cell-mediated immunity at local sites of inflammation.
GM-CSF is a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a pathogenic role in the CNS inflammatory disease, EAE. As IL-27 ameliorates EAE, we hypothesised that IL-27 suppresses GM-CSF expression by T cells. We found that IL-27 suppressed GM-CSF expression in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in splenocyte and purified T cell cultures. IL-27 suppressed GM-CSF in Th1, but not Th17 cells. IL-27 also suppressed GM-CSF expression by human T cells in non-polarised and Th1 but not Th17 polarised PBMC cultures. In vivo, IL-27p28 deficiency resulted in increased GM-CSF expression by CNS infiltrating T cells during Toxoplasma gondii infection. While in vitro suppression of GM-CSF by IL-27 was independent of IL-2 suppression, IL-10 up-regulation or SOCS3 signalling, we observed that IL-27-driven suppression of GM-CSF was STAT1 dependent. Our findings demonstrate that IL-27 is a robust negative regulator of GM-CSF expression in T cells which likely inhibits T cell pathogenicity in CNS inflammation.
Previous studies have implicated T cell production of IL-17 in resistance to T. gondii as well as the development of immune mediated pathology during this infection. Analysis of C57BL/6 and C57BL/6 RAG-/- mice challenged with T. gondii identified NK cells as a major innate source of IL-17. The ability of soluble toxoplasma antigen to stimulate NK cells to produce IL-17 was dependent on the presence of accessory cells and the production of IL-6, IL-23 and TGF-β. In contrast, these events were inhibited by IL-2, IL-15 and IL-27. Given that IL-6 was one of the most potent enhancers of NK cell production of IL-17, further studies revealed that only a subset of NK cells expressed both chains of the IL-6R, IL-6 upregulated expression of the Th17 associated transcription factor RORγt, and IL-6-/- mice challenged with T. gondii had a major defect in NK cell production of IL-17. Together, these data indicate that many of the same cytokines that regulate Th17 cells are part of a conserved pathway that also control innate production of IL-17 and identify a major role for IL-6 in the regulation of NK cell responses.
IL-6; IL-17; Natural Killer cells and Toxoplasma gondii
Inflammation contributes to secondary injury and neuronal loss after intracerebral hemorrhage, but the role of individual immune populations in these processes is unclear. In a mouse model, the injection of autologous blood into the striatum was associated with an intense inflammatory cell infiltrate composed of neutrophils, monocytes, and dendritic cells. Selective depletion of neutrophils resulted in decreased infiltration of monocytes and improved functional outcomes at day 3 post-hemorrhage. These findings indicate that neutrophil infiltration into the site of hemorrhage contributes to brain injury either by direct cellular damage or the recruitment of monocytes.
Intracerebral hemorrhage; Inflammation; Neutrophils; Monocytes
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating stroke subtype in which perihematomal inflammation contributes to neuronal injury and functional disability. Histologically, the region becomes infiltrated with neutrophils and activated microglia followed by neuronal loss but little is known about the immune signals that coordinate these events. This study aimed to determine the role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the innate immune response after ICH and its impact on neurobehavioral outcome.
Transgenic mice incapable of TLR4 signaling and wild-type controls were subjected to striatal blood injection to model ICH. The perihematomal inflammatory response was then quantified by immunohistochemistry, whole brain flow cytometry, and PCR. The critical location of TLR4 signaling was determined by blood transfer experiments between genotypes. Functional outcomes were quantified in all cohorts using the cylinder and open field tests.
TLR4-deficient mice had markedly decreased perihematomal inflammation, associated with reduced recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes, fewer microglia, and improved functional outcome by day 3 after ICH. Moreover, blood transfer experiments revealed that TLR4 on leukocytes or platelets within the hemorrhage contributes to perihematomal leukocyte infiltration and the neurological deficit.
Together, these data identify a critical role for TLR4 signaling in perihematomal inflammation and injury and indicate this pathway may be a target for therapeutic intervention.
Previous studies have indicated that Il21r−/− mice chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii display a defect in serum IgG; however, the basis for this antibody defect was not defined and questions remain about the role of IL-21 in promoting the production of IL-10, which is required to limit infection-induced pathology during toxoplasmosis. Therefore, Il21−/− mice were challenged with T. gondii to determine whether IL-21 impacts the parasite-specific CD8+ T cell response, its contribution to thymus-dependent antibody production after infection, and balance between protective and pathogenic responses. Whereas IL-21 has been implicated in the differentiation of IL-10 producing CD4+ T cells no immune-mediated pathology was evident in Il21−/− mice during the acute response, nor was there a defect in the development of this population in chronically infected Il21−/− mice. However, Il21−/− mice displayed a defect in IgG production after infection that correlated with a decrease in GC B cell numbers, the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell numbers in the brain were reduced over the course of the chronic infection leading to a decrease in total IFN-γ production and an increase in parasite numbers associated with susceptibility to toxoplasmic encephalitis. Together, these results identify a key role for IL-21 in shaping the humoral and cellular response to T. gondii, but indicate that IL-21 has a limited role in regulating immunopathology.
The IL-27R, WSX-1, is required to limit IFN-γ production by effector CD4+ T cells in a number of different inflammatory conditions but the molecular basis of WSX-1-mediated regulation of Th1 responses in vivo during infection has not been investigated in detail. In this study we demonstrate that WSX-1 signalling suppresses the development of pathogenic, terminally differentiated (KLRG-1+) Th1 cells during malaria infection and establishes a restrictive threshold to constrain the emergent Th1 response. Importantly, we show that WSX-1 regulates cell-intrinsic responsiveness to IL-12 and IL-2, but the fate of the effector CD4+ T cell pool during malaria infection is controlled primarily through IL-12 dependent signals. Finally, we show that WSX-1 regulates Th1 cell terminal differentiation during malaria infection through IL-10 and Foxp3 independent mechanisms; the kinetics and magnitude of the Th1 response, and the degree of Th1 cell terminal differentiation, were comparable in WT, IL-10R1−/− and IL-10−/− mice and the numbers and phenotype of Foxp3+ cells were largely unaltered in WSX-1−/− mice during infection. As expected, depletion of Foxp3+ cells did not enhance Th1 cell polarisation or terminal differentiation during malaria infection. Our results significantly expand our understanding of how IL-27 regulates Th1 responses in vivo during inflammatory conditions and establishes WSX-1 as a critical and non-redundant regulator of the emergent Th1 effector response during malaria infection.
The cytokine interleukin 27 (IL-27), a member of the IL-12 family, is produced by cells of the innate immune system and has been shown to exert mainly suppressive effects during a wide range of inflammatory conditions, including malaria infection, where it suppresses the development of CD4+ T cell-dependent immunopathology. In this study we show that IL-27 suppresses the production of IFN-gamma by CD4+ T cells during blood stage malaria infection by preventing the development of terminally differentiated Th1 cells. We investigated the molecular mechanisms by which IL-27 inhibits the formation of terminally differentiated Th1 cells and found that it does so specifically by restricting IL-12 signals. Importantly, we demonstrate that IL-27 mediates its regulatory effects on the Th1 response through IL-10 and Foxp3+ regulatory T cell independent mechanisms. Thus, we have identified a new pathway though which IL-27 signalling regulates the size and quality of the Th1 response during malaria infection, which we believe will have relevance to many other pro-inflammatory conditions. Manipulation of the IL-27 pathway may therefore represent an amenable therapeutic approach during chronic inflammatory disorders.
B cell responses are required for resistance to Toxoplasma gondii; however, the events that lead to production of class-switched antibodies during T. gondii infection have not been defined. Indeed, mice challenged with the parasite exhibited an expansion of T follicular helper cells and germinal center B cells in the spleen. Unexpectedly, this was not associated with germinal center formation and was instead accompanied by profound changes in splenic organization. This phenomenon was transient and was correlated with a decrease in expression of effector proteins that contribute to splenic organization, including lymphotoxins α and β. The importance of lymphotoxin was confirmed, as the use of a lymphotoxin β receptor agonist results in partial restoration of splenic structure. Splenectomized mice were used to test the splenic contribution to the antibody response during T. gondii infection. Analysis of splenectomized mice revealed delayed kinetics in the production of parasite-specific antibody, but the mice did eventually develop normal levels of parasite-specific antibody. Together, these studies provide a better understanding of how infection with T. gondii impacts the customized structures required for the optimal humoral responses to the parasite and the role of lymphotoxin in these events.
Interleukin-35 (IL-35) belongs to the IL-12 family of heterodimeric cytokines but has a distinct functional profile. IL-35 suppresses T cell proliferation and converts naïve T cells into IL-35-producing iTr35. Here we show that IL-35 signals through a unique IL-12Rβ2:gp130 heterodimer or via homodimers. Conventional T cells are sensitive to IL-35-mediated suppression in the absence of one but not both receptor chains, whereas signaling through both chains is required for IL-35 expression and iTr35 conversion. IL35R signaling requires the transcription factors STAT1 and STAT4, which form a unique heterodimer that binds to distinct sites within the Il12a and Ebi3 promoters. This unconventional mode of signaling, which is distinct from other members of the IL-12 family, may broaden the spectrum and specificity of IL-35-mediated suppression.
Interleukin(IL)-27 is a member of the IL-6 and IL-12 family composed of the IL-27p28 and Epstein Barr-induced virus 1 subunits. While IL-27 was originally identified as a pro-inflammatory factor, subsequent studies have revealed the pleotropic nature of this cytokine. This review discusses recent work that explores the effect of IL-27 on CD4+ T cell subsets, including T regulatory type 1 cells, T follicular helper cells, and Foxp3+ T regulatory cells. Additionally, we highlight studies that identify a role for the IL-27p28 subunit as a cytokine receptor antagonist. Much of the recent work on IL-27 has been relevant to human disease states characterized by inappropriate or excessive inflammation, and this review will discuss potential opportunities to use IL-27 as a therapeutic.
The ability of cytokines to direct the immune response to vaccination, infection and tumors has motivated their use in therapy to augment or shape immunity. To avoid toxic side effects associated with systemic cytokine administration, several approaches have been developed using particle-encapsulated cytokines to deliver this cargo to specific cell types and tissues. Initial work used cytokine-loaded particles to deliver proinflammatory cytokines to phagocytes to enhance antimicrobial and antitumor responses. These particles have also been used to create a cytokine depot at a local site to supplement prophylactic or antitumor vaccines or injected directly into solid tumors to activate immune cells to eliminate established tumors. Finally, recent advances have revealed that paracrine delivery of cytokines directly to T cells has the potential to enhance T-cell mediated therapies. The studies reviewed here highlight the progress in the last 30 years that has established the potential of particle-mediated cytokine immunotherapy.
cancer; cytokine; immunotherapy; influenza; liposome; nanoparticle; PLGA; polymer; vaccine
It is well established that IFN-γ is required for the development of experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) during Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection of C57BL/6 mice. To date, however, the temporal and tissue-specific cellular sources of IFN-γ during P. berghei ANKA infection have not been investigated and it is not known if IFN-γ production by a single cell type in isolation can induce cerebral pathology. In this study, using IFN-γ reporter mice, we show that NK cells dominate the IFN-γ response during the early stages of infection in the brain, but not in the spleen, before being replaced by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Importantly, we demonstrate that IFN-γ producing CD4+ T cells, but not innate or CD8+ T cells, can promote the development of ECM in normally resistant IFN-γ−/− mice infected with P. berghei ANKA. Adoptively transferred wild-type (WT) CD4+ T cells accumulate within the spleen, lung and brain of IFN-γ−/− mice and induce ECM through active IFN-γ secretion, which increases accumulation of endogenous IFN-γ−/− CD8+ T cells within the brain. Depletion of endogenous IFN-γ−/− CD8+ T cells abrogated the ability of WT CD4+ T cells to promote ECM. Finally we show that IFN-γ production specifically by CD4+ T cells is sufficient to induce expression of CXCL9 and CXCL10 within the brain, providing a mechanistic basis for the enhanced CD8+ T cell accumulation. These observations demonstrate, for the first time, the importance of and pathways by which IFN-γ-producing CD4+ T cells promote the development of ECM during P. berghei ANKA infection.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease of the skin causing disfiguring patchy depigmentation of the epidermis and, less commonly, hair. Therapeutic options for vitiligo are limited, reflecting in part limited knowledge of disease pathogenesis. Existing mouse models of vitiligo consist of hair depigmentation but lack prominent epidermal involvement, which is the hallmark of human disease. They are thus unable to provide a platform to fully investigate disease mechanisms and treatment. CD8+ T cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of vitiligo and expression of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) is increased in the lesional skin of patients, however it is currently unknown what role IFN-γ plays in disease. Here, we have developed an adoptive transfer mouse model of vitiligo using melanocyte-specific CD8+ T cells, which recapitulates the human condition by inducing epidermal depigmentation while sparing the hair. Like active lesions in human vitiligo, histology of depigmenting skin reveals a patchy mononuclear infiltrate and single-cell infiltration of the epidermis. Depigmentation is accompanied by accumulation of autoreactive CD8+ T cells in the skin, quantifiable loss of tyrosinase transcript, and local IFN-γ production. Neutralization of IFN-γ with antibody prevents CD8+ T cell accumulation and depigmentation, suggesting a therapeutic potential for this approach.
Chemokines play a central role in regulating processes essential to the immune function of T cells1-3, such as their migration within lymphoid tissues and targeting of pathogens in sites of inflammation. Here we track T cells using multi-photon microscopy to demonstrate that the chemokine CXCL10 enhances the ability of CD8+ T cells to control the pathogen T. gondii in the brains of chronically infected mice. This chemokine boosts T cell function in two different ways: it maintains the effector T cell population in the brain and speeds up the average migration speed without changing the nature of the walk statistics. Remarkably, these statistics are not Brownian; rather, CD8+ T cell motility in the brain is well described by a generalized Lévy walk. According to our model, this surprising feature enables T cells to find rare targets with more than an order of magnitude more efficiency than Brownian random walkers. Thus, CD8+ T cell behavior is similar to Lévy strategies reported in organisms ranging from mussels to marine predators and monkeys4-10, and CXCL10 aids T cells in shortening the average time to find rare targets.
During acute infection in human and animal hosts, the obligate intracellular protozoan Toxoplasma gondii infects a variety of cell types, including leukocytes. Poised to respond to invading pathogens, dendritic cells (DC) may also be exploited by T. gondii for spread in the infected host. Here, we report that human and mouse myeloid DC possess functional γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors and the machinery for GABA biosynthesis and secretion. Shortly after T. gondii infection (genotypes I, II and III), DC responded with enhanced GABA secretion in vitro. We demonstrate that GABA activates GABAA receptor-mediated currents in T. gondii-infected DC, which exhibit a hypermigratory phenotype. Inhibition of GABA synthesis, transportation or GABAA receptor blockade in T. gondii-infected DC resulted in impaired transmigration capacity, motility and chemotactic response to CCL19 in vitro. Moreover, exogenous GABA or supernatant from infected DC restored the migration of infected DC in vitro. In a mouse model of toxoplasmosis, adoptive transfer of infected DC pre-treated with GABAergic inhibitors reduced parasite dissemination and parasite loads in target organs, e.g. the central nervous system. Altogether, we provide evidence that GABAergic signaling modulates the migratory properties of DC and that T. gondii likely makes use of this pathway for dissemination. The findings unveil that GABA, the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, has activation functions in the immune system that may be hijacked by intracellular pathogens.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite and an important food- and water-borne human and veterinary pathogen. Toxoplasmosis is normally self-limiting but severe manifestations occur upon congenital transmission to the developing fetus or during infection in immune-compromised individuals. Toxoplasma invades a variety of cell types and mounting evidence shows that certain white blood cells, e.g. dendritic cells, can shuttle parasites in the infected host by a Trojan horse type of mechanism. Dendritic cells are considered the gatekeepers of the immune system but can, paradoxically, also mediate dissemination of the parasite. Previous work has shown that Toxoplasma induces a hypermigratory state in dendritic cells when they become infected. Here, we show that, shortly after infection by the parasite, dendritic cells start secreting γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), also known as the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. We show that dendritic cells express GABA receptors, as well as the machinery to synthesize and transport GABA. When GABA synthesis, transport or receptor function was inhibited, the migration of infected dendritic cells was impaired. In a mouse model of toxoplasmosis, treatment of infected dendritic cells with GABA inhibitors resulted in reduced propagation of the parasite. This study establishes that GABAergic signaling modulates the migratory properties of dendritic cells and that the intracellular pathogen Toxoplasma gondii sequesters the GABAergic signaling of dendritic cells to assure propagation.
The innate and adaptive immune responses that confer resistance to the intracellular pathogen Toxoplasma gondii critically depend on IL-12 production, which drives interferon-γ (IFN-γ) expression. Certain cytokines can activate STAT3 and limit IL-12 production to prevent infection-associated immune pathology but T.gondii also directly activates STAT3 to evade host immunity. We show that Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling molecule 3 (SOCS3), a target of STAT3 which limits signaling by the pleiotropic cytokine IL-6, is upregulated in response to infection but is dispensable for the immune-inhibitory effects of T. gondii. Unexpectedly, mice with targeted deletion of SOCS3 in macrophages and neutrophils have reduced IL-12 responses and succumb to toxoplasmosis. Anti–IL-6 administration or IL-12 treatment blocked disease susceptibility suggesting that in the absence of SOCS3, macrophages are hypersensitive to the anti-inflammatory properties of IL-6. Thus, SOCS3 has a critical role in suppressing IL-6 signals and promoting immune responses to control T. gondii infection.
As an intracellular protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii is likely to exploit proteases for host cell invasion, acquisition of nutrients, avoidance of host protective responses, escape from the parasitophorous vacuole, differentiation, and other activities. T. gondii serine protease inhibitor 1 (TgPI1) is the most abundantly expressed protease inhibitor in parasite tachyzoites. We show here that alternative splicing produces two TgPI1 isoforms, both of which are secreted via dense granules into the parasitophorous vacuole shortly after invasion, become progressively more abundant over the course of the infectious cycle, and can be detected in the infected host cell cytoplasm. To investigate TgPI1 function, the endogenous genomic locus was disrupted in the RH strain background. ΔTgPI1 parasites replicate normally as tachyzoites but exhibit increased bradyzoite gene transcription and labeling of vacuoles with Dolichos biflorus lectin under conditions promoting in vitro differentiation. The differentiation phenotype can be partially complemented by either TgPI1 isoform. Mice infected with the ΔTgPI1 mutant display ∼3-fold-increased parasite burden in the spleen and liver, and this in vivo phenotype is also complemented by either TgPI1 isoform. These results demonstrate that TgPI1 influences both parasite virulence and bradyzoite differentiation, presumably by inhibiting parasite and/or host serine proteases.
Integrating behavioral health services into the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is an important component for meeting the goals of easy access, whole person, coordinated, and integrated care. Unlike most PCMH initiatives, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Military Health System (MHS) launched its PCMH initiative with integrated behavioral health services. This integration facilitates the MHS’s goal to meet its strategic imperatives under the “Quadruple Aim” of (1) maximizing readiness, (2) improving the health of the population, (3) enhancing the patient experience of care (including quality, access, and reliability), and (4) responsibly managing per capita cost of care. The MHS experience serves as a guide to other organizations. We discuss the historical underpinnings, funding, policy, and work force development strategies that contributed to integrated behavioral healthcare being a mandated component of the MHS’s PCMH.
Primary care; Integerated care; Collaborative care; Patient- centered medical home; Behavioral health; Mental health; Integrated-collaborative
Chordoma and chondrosarcoma are malignant bone tumors characterized by the abundant production of extracellular matrix. The resistance of these tumors to conventional therapeutic modalities has prompted us to delineate the gene expression profile of these two tumor types, with the expectation to identify potential molecular therapeutic targets. Furthermore the transcriptional profile of chordomas and chrondrosarcomas was compared to a wide variety of sarcomas as well as to that of normal tissues of similar lineage, to determine whether they express unique gene signatures among other tumors of mesenchymal origin, and to identify changes associated with malignant transformation. A HG-U133A Affymetrix Chip platform was used to determine the gene expression signature in 6 chordoma and 14 chondrosarcoma lesions. Validation of selected genes was performed by qPCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) on an extended subset of tumors. By unsupervised clustering, chordoma and chondrosarcoma tumors grouped together in a genomic cluster distinct from that of other sarcoma types. They shared overexpression of many extracellular matrix genes including aggrecan, type II & X collagen, fibronectin, matrillin 3, high molecular weight-melanoma associated antigen (HMW-MAA), matrix metalloproteinase MMP-9, and MMP-19. In contrast, T Brachyury and CD24 were selectively expressed in chordomas, as were Keratin 8,13,15,18 and 19. Chondrosarcomas are distinguished by high expression of type IX and XI collagen. Because of its potential usefulness as a target for immunotherapy, the expression of HMW-MAA was analyzed by IHC and was detected in 62% of chordomas and 48% of chondrosarcomas, respectively. Furthermore, western blotting analysis showed that HMW-MAA synthesized by chordoma cell lines has a structure similar to that of the antigen synthesized by melanoma cells. In conclusion, chordomas and chondrosarcomas share a similar gene expression profile of up-regulated extracellular matrix genes. HMW-MAA represents a potential useful target to apply immunotherapy to these tumors.
Chordoma; Chondrosarcoma; Gene expression; Extracellular matrix; HMW-MAA
Transcription factors regulate T cell fates at every stage of development and differentiation. Members of the Foxp family of forkhead transcription factors are essential for normal T lineage development; Foxp3 is required for T regulatory cell generation and function, and Foxp1 is necessary for generation and maintenance of naïve T cells. Foxp4, an additional member of the Foxp family, is highly homologous to Foxp1 and has been shown to dimerize with other Foxp proteins. We report the initial characterization of Foxp4 in T lymphocytes. Foxp4 is expressed in both thymocytes and peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. We used a CD4Cre mediated approach to evaluate the cell autonomous role for Foxp4 in murine T lymphocytes. T cell development, peripheral cellularity and cell surface phenotype are normal in the absence of Foxp4. Furthermore, Foxp3+ T regulatory cells develop normally in Foxp4 deficient animals and naïve Foxp4 deficient CD4 T cells can differentiate to inducible T regulatory cells in vitro. In wild-type T cells, expression of Foxp4 increases following activation, but deletion of Foxp4 does not affect T cell proliferative responses or in vitro effector T cell differentiation. In vivo, despite effective control of Toxoplasma gondii and acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infections, effector cytokine production during antigen specific recall responses are reduced in the absence of Foxp4. We conclude that Foxp4 is dispensable for T cell development, but necessary for normal T cell cytokine recall responses to antigen following pathogenic infection.
Follicular Helper T cells (TFH) are critical for germinal center (GC) formation. The processes that drive their generation and effector potential remain unclear. Here, we define requirements for MHCII antigen presenting cells (APCs) in murine TFH formation by either transiently ablating or restricting antigen presentation to dendritic cells (DCs). We find that cognate interactions with DCs are necessary and sufficient to prime CD4+ T cells towards a CXCR5+ICOS+Bcl6+ TFH intermediate. However, in the absence of additional APCs, these TFH fail to produce IL-21. Furthermore, in vitro priming of naïve T cells by B cells engenders optimal production of IL-21, which induces a GC B cell transcriptional profile. These results support a multi-step model for effector TFH priming and GC initiation, in which DCs are necessary and sufficient to induce a TFH intermediate that requires additional interactions with distinct APCs for full effector function.
Like many intracellular microbes, the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii injects effector proteins into cells it invades. One group of these effector proteins is injected from specialized organelles called the rhoptries, which have previously been described to discharge their contents only during successful invasion of a host cell. In this report, using several reporter systems, we show that in vitro the parasite injects rhoptry proteins into cells it does not productively invade and that the rhoptry effector proteins can manipulate the uninfected cell in a similar manner to infected cells. In addition, as one of the reporter systems uses a rhoptry:Cre recombinase fusion protein, we show that in Cre-reporter mice infected with an encysting Toxoplasma-Cre strain, uninfected-injected cells, which could be derived from aborted invasion or cell-intrinsic killing after invasion, are actually more common than infected-injected cells, especially in the mouse brain, where Toxoplasma encysts and persists. This phenomenon has important implications for how Toxoplasma globally affects its host and opens a new avenue for how other intracellular microbes may similarly manipulate the host environment at large.
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that infects warm blooded animals, including humans. In these hosts, Toxoplasma establishes a chronic infection in the brain, which the parasite accomplishes in part by injecting effector proteins, which manipulate many cellular processes, into cells it invades. Two recent reports suggested that Toxoplasma may also inject effector proteins into cells it does not invade. To look for these “uninfected-injected” cells, we utilized three different reporter systems that are tied to injection of effector proteins and not to invasion. With these systems, we determined that Toxoplasma injects proteins into cells it does not invade and enough protein is injected to manipulate the uninfected cells in a manner consistent with what occurs in infected cells. Furthermore, by using one of the reporter systems in mice, we verified that these uninfected-injected cells can include systemic immune cells and neurons in the brain. Remarkably, in the brain, the uninfected-injected cells out-number the infected cells by many fold. Together, these results strongly suggest that Toxoplasma manipulates far more cells than previously realized and, given their abundance, these uninfected-injected cells may play a central role in how Toxoplasma engages the host's immune response.
IL-6 and IL-27 are closely related cytokines that play critical, but distinct, roles during infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Thus, IL-6 is required for the development of protective immunity to this pathogen, while IL-27 is required to limit infection-induced pathology. Paradoxically, these factors both signal through glycoprotein 130 (gp130), but little is known about how the signals downstream of gp130 are integrated to coordinate the immune response to infection. To better understand these events, gp130 Y757F mice that have a mutation in gp130 at the binding site for Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), a critical negative regulator of gp130 signaling, were infected with T. gondii. These mutant mice were acutely susceptible to this challenge, characterized by an early defect in the production of IL-12 and IFN-γ, and increased parasite burdens. Consistent with the reduced IL-12 levels, IL-6, but not other gp130 cytokines, was a potent antagonist of IL-12 production by gp130 Y757F macrophages and dendritic cells in vitro. Moreover, in gp130 Y757F mice, blocking IL-6 in vivo, or administration of recombinant IL-12, during infection restored IFN-γ production and protective immunity. Collectively, these studies highlight that a failure to abbreviate IL-6-mediated gp130 signaling results in a profound anti-inflammatory signal that blocks the generation of protective immunity to T. gondii.
IL-27 is a cytokine that regulates Th function during autoimmune and pathogen-induced immune responses. Although previous studies have shown that T regulatory cells (Treg) express the IL-27R, and that IL-27 inhibits forkhead box P3 upregulation in vitro, little is known about how IL-27 influences Treg in vivo. The studies presented here show that mice that over-express IL-27 had decreased Treg frequencies and developed spontaneous inflammation. While IL-27 did not cause mature Treg to downregulate forkhead box P3, transgenic over-expression in vivo limited the size of a differentiating Treg population in a bone marrow chimera model, which correlated with reduced production of IL-2, a vital cytokine for Treg maintenance. Together, these data identify an indirect role for IL-27 in shaping the Treg pool.
T cells; Cytokines; Inflammation