Cell biologists everywhere rejoiced when this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to James Rothman, Randy Schekman, and Thomas Südhof for their contributions to uncovering the mechanisms governing vesicular transport. In this article, we highlight their achievements and also pay tribute to the pioneering scientists before them who set the stage for their remarkable discoveries.
Activating the immune system for therapeutic benefit in cancer has long been a dream of some immunologists, and even a few oncologists. After decades of disappointment, the tide has finally changed due to the success of recent proof-of-concept clinical trials. Most notable has been the ability of the anti-CTLA4 antibody ipilimumab to achieve significant increases in survival of patients with metastatic melanoma, an indication where conventional therapies have failed. Viewed in the context of advances in understanding of how tolerance, immunity, and immunosuppression regulate anti-tumor immune responses together with the advent of targeted therapies, these successes suggest that active immunotherapy represents a path forward to obtaining durable, long-lasting responses in cancer patients.
Ubiquitination of MHCII molecules on dendritic cells is essential for the development of natural regulatory T cells
Membrane-associated RING-CH1 (MARCH1) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that mediates ubiquitination of MHCII in dendritic cells (DCs). MARCH1-mediated MHCII ubiquitination in DCs is known to regulate MHCII surface expression, thereby controlling DC-mediated T cell activation in vitro. However, its role at steady state or in vivo is not clearly understood. Here, we show that MARCH1 deficiency resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of thymus-derived regulatory T cells (T reg cells) in mice. A specific ablation of MHCII ubiquitination also significantly reduced the number of thymic T reg cells. Indeed, DCs deficient in MARCH1 or MHCII ubiquitination both failed to generate antigen-specific T reg cells in vivo and in vitro, although both exhibited an increased capacity for antigen presentation in parallel with the increased surface MHCII. Thus, MARCH1-mediated MHCII ubiquitination in DCs is required for proper production of naturally occurring T reg cells, suggesting a role in balancing immunogenic and regulatory T cell development.
Human BDCA3 DCs are superior to BDCA1 DCs at antigen cross presentation when delivered to late endosomes and lysosomes but not when delivered to early endosomes.
Human BDCA3+ dendritic cells (DCs), the proposed equivalent to mouse CD8α+ DCs, are widely thought to cross present antigens on MHC class I (MHCI) molecules more efficiently than other DC populations. If true, it is unclear whether this reflects specialization for cross presentation or a generally enhanced ability to present antigens on MHCI. We compared presentation by BDCA3+ DCs with BDCA1+ DCs using a quantitative approach whereby antigens were targeted to distinct intracellular compartments by receptor-mediated internalization. As expected, BDCA3+ DCs were superior at cross presentation of antigens delivered to late endosomes and lysosomes by uptake of anti-DEC205 antibody conjugated to antigen. This difference may reflect a greater efficiency of antigen escape from BDCA3+ DC lysosomes. In contrast, if antigens were delivered to early endosomes through CD40 or CD11c, BDCA1+ DCs were as efficient at cross presentation as BDCA3+ DCs. Because BDCA3+ DCs and BDCA1+ DCs were also equivalent at presenting peptides and endogenously synthesized antigens, BDCA3+ DCs are not likely to possess mechanisms for cross presentation that are specific to this subset. Thus, multiple DC populations may be comparably effective at presenting exogenous antigens to CD8+ T cells as long as the antigen is delivered to early endocytic compartments.
A combination of ex vivo embryonic tissue culture, genetic manipulation, and chemical genetics reveals novel details of Lkb1-mediated regulation of tissue morphogenesis.
The tumor suppressor Lkb1/STK11/Par-4 is a key regulator of cellular energy, proliferation, and polarity, yet its mechanisms of action remain poorly defined. We generated mice harboring a mutant Lkb1 knockin allele that allows for rapid inhibition of Lkb1 kinase. Culturing embryonic tissues, we show that acute loss of kinase activity perturbs epithelial morphogenesis without affecting cell polarity. In pancreas, cystic structures developed rapidly after Lkb1 inhibition. In lung, inhibition resulted in cell-autonomous branching defects. Although the lung phenotype was rescued by an activator of the Lkb1 target adenosine monophosphate–activated kinase (AMPK), pancreatic cyst development was independent of AMPK signaling. Remarkably, the pancreatic phenotype evolved to resemble precancerous lesions, demonstrating that loss of Lkb1 was sufficient to drive the initial steps of carcinogenesis ex vivo. A similar phenotype was induced by expression of mutant K-Ras with p16/p19 deletion. Combining culture of embryonic tissues with genetic manipulation and chemical genetics thus provides a powerful approach to unraveling developmental programs and understanding cancer initiation.
Sorting mechanisms deliver, recycle, and restrict the diffusion of neuronal guidance receptors such as L1/NgCAM, precisely controlling their levels and localization at the cell surface.
Wiring of the brain relies initially on the correct outgrowth of axons to reach the appropriate target area for innervation. A large number of guidance receptors present in the plasma membrane of axonal growth cones and elsewhere on the neuron read and execute directional cues present in the extracellular environment of the navigating growth cone. The exact timing, levels, and localization of expression of the guidance receptors in the plasma membrane therefore determine the outcome of guidance decisions. Many guidance receptors are localized in exquisitely precise spatial and temporal patterns. The cellular mechanisms ensuring these localization patterns include spatially accurate sorting after synthesis in the secretory pathway, retrieval of inappropriately expressed receptors by endocytosis followed by degradation or recycling, and restriction of diffusion. This article will discuss the machinery and regulation underlying the restricted distribution of membrane receptors, focusing on the currently best-studied example, the L1 cell adhesion molecule. In addition to the long-range mechanisms ensuring appropriate localization, the same mechanisms can act locally to adjust levels and localization of receptors. These local mechanisms are regulated by ligand binding and subsequent activation of local signaling cascades. It is likely that the localization of all guidance receptors is regulated by a combination of sorting, retrieval, recycling and retention, similar to the ones we discuss here for L1.
Protein kinase D (PKD) binds to diacylglycerol (DAG) in the trans-Golgi network (TGN) and is activated by trimeric G-protein subunits βγ. This complex then regulates the formation of transport carriers in the TGN that traffic to the plasma membrane in non-polarized cells. Here we report specificity of different PKD isoforms in regulating protein trafficking from the TGN. Kinase-inactive forms of PKD1, PKD2 and PKD3 localize to the TGN in polarized and non-polarized cells. PKD activity is required only for the transport of proteins containing basolateral sorting information, and seems to be cargo specific.
The polarized distribution of functions in polarized cells requires the coordinated interaction of three machineries that modify the basic mechanisms of intracellular protein trafficking and distribution. First, intrinsic protein-sorting signals and cellular decoding machineries regulate protein trafficking to plasma membrane domains; second, intracellular signalling complexes define the plasma membrane domains to which proteins are delivered; and third, proteins that are involved in cell–cell and cell–substrate adhesion orientate the three-dimensional distribution of intracellular signalling complexes and, accordingly, the direction of membrane traffic. The integration of these mechanisms into a complex and dynamic network is crucial for normal tissue function and is often defective in disease states.
Influenza A virus (IAV) infection is normally controlled by adaptive immune responses initiated by dendritic cells (DCs). We investigated the consequences of IAV infection of human primary DCs on their ability to function as antigen-presenting cells. IAV was internalized by both myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs but only mDCs supported viral replication. Although infected mDCs efficiently presented endogenous IAV antigens on MHC class II, this was not the case for presentation on MHC class I. Indeed, cross-presentation by uninfected cells of minute amounts of endocytosed, exogenous IAV was ∼300-fold more efficient than presentation of IAV antigens synthesized by infected cells and resulted in a statistically significant increase in expansion of IAV-specific CD8 T cells. Furthermore, IAV infection also impaired cross-presentation of other exogenous antigens, indicating that IAV infection broadly attenuates presentation on MHC class I molecules. Our results suggest that cross-presentation by uninfected mDCs is a preferred mechanism of antigen-presentation for the activation and expansion of CD8 T cells during IAV infection.
Although the interactions between viruses and dendritic cells (DCs) have been studied for many years, surprisingly little is known on the functional relationship between infection and antigen presentation in primary human DCs. Here, we asked specifically whether Influenza A virus (IAV) infection of human primary plasmacytoid DCs and myeloid DCs (pDCs and mDCs, respectively) affected their ability to function as antigen-presenting cells and activate T cells specific to IAV or other antigens. Our data confirm that pDCs are poorly infected and also present IAV antigens poorly. mDCs, on the other hand, are readily susceptible to IAV infection and present IAV antigen to T cells. However, we found that MHC class I presentation by mDCs infected with IAV are ∼300-fold less efficient relative to what mDCs are capable of achieving by cross-presentation following the endocytosis of only a very few non-infectious virions. Importantly, IAV infection of mDCs not only reduces the efficiency of IAV presentation but also reduces their ability to cross-present antigens from other viruses encountered subsequently. The reduced overall antigen processing capacity of mDCs describes a mechanism that may contribute to the suppression of immunity to secondary pathogens that appear during the course of IAV infection.
The effective vaccines developed against a variety of infectious agents, including polio, measles and Hepatitis B, represent major achievements in medicine. These vaccines, usually composed of microbial antigens, are often associated with an adjuvant that activates dendritic cells (DCs). Many infectious diseases are still in need of an effective vaccine including HIV, malaria, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. In some cases, the induction of cellular rather than humoral responses may be more important as the goal is to control and eliminate the existing infection rather than to prevent it. Our increased understanding of the mechanisms of antigen presentation, particularly with the description of DC subsets with distinct functions, as well as their plasticity in responding to extrinsic signals, represent opportunities to develop novel vaccines. In addition, we foresee that this increased knowledge will permit us to design vaccines that will reprogram the immune system to intervene therapeutically in cancer, allergy and autoimmunity.
The NHERF1-ERM-actin network comprises a selective retention matrix that prevents interacting membrane proteins from entering the ciliary membrane.
The membrane of the primary cilium is continuous with the plasma membrane but compositionally distinct. Although some membrane proteins concentrate in the cilium, others such as podocalyxin/gp135 are excluded. We found that exclusion reflects a saturable selective retention mechanism. Podocalyxin is immobilized by its PDZ interaction motif binding to NHERF1 and thereby to the apical actin network via ERM family members. The retention signal was dominant, autonomous, and transferable to membrane proteins not normally excluded from the cilium. The NHERF1-binding domains of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator and Csk-binding protein were also found to act as transferable retention signals. Addition of a retention signal could inhibit the ciliary localization of proteins (e.g., Smoothened) containing signals that normally facilitate concentration in the ciliary membrane. Proteins without a retention signal (e.g., green fluorescent protein–glycosylphosphatidylinositol) were found in the cilium, suggesting entry was not impeded by a diffusion barrier or lipid microdomain. Thus, a hierarchy of interactions controls the composition of the ciliary membrane, including selective retention, selective inclusion, and passive diffusion.
The mechanism by which Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) induces tight junction disassembly prior to cell scattering is largely unknown. Here, we show that HGF-stimulates rapid loss of the TJ assembly protein Par6 from the TJ in an Erk-dependent manner. Erk activation by HGF is found to mediate the interaction of Par6 with GTP-loaded Cdc42. The Cdc42 GTPase activating protein cdGAP is shown to interact with Pkcζ at baseline and prevent Par6-Cdc42 association. Erk, by phosphorylating cdGAP at threonine776, can inhibit the GAP activity, thereby increasing Par6-Cdc42 association and TJ disassembly. Our findings reveal a novel pathway for regulating HGF signaling to the Par proteins through Erk-cdGAP, resulting in TJ disassembly and cell scattering.
Maintenance of single layered endothelium, squamous endothelial cell shape, and formation of a patent vascular lumen all require defined endothelial cell polarity. Loss of β1 integrin (Itgb1) in nascent endothelium leads to disruption of arterial endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation. The loss of polarity is manifested as cuboidal shaped endothelial cells, dysregulated levels and mis-localization of normally polarized cell-cell adhesion molecules, as well as decreased expression of the polarity gene Par3 (pard3). β1 integrin and Par3 are both localized to the endothelial layer, with preferential expression of Par3 in arterial endothelium. Luminal occlusion is also exclusively noted in arteries, and is partially rescued by replacement of Par3 protein in β1 deficient vessels. Combined, our findings demonstrate that β1 integrin functions upstream of Par3 as part of a molecular cascade required for endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation.
β1 integrin; Itgb1; endothelium; VE-cadherin; vasculature; lumen formation; polarity; Par3; pard3; Cre; lox
Fine control of lysosomal degradation for limited processing of internalized antigens is a hallmark of professional antigen presenting cells. Previous work in mice has shown that dendritic cells (DCs) contain lysosomes with remarkably low protease content. Combined with the ability to modulate lysosomal pH during phagocytosis and maturation, murine DCs enhance their production of class II MHC-peptide complexes for presentation to T cells.
In this study we extend these findings to human DCs and distinguish between different subsets of DCs based on their ability to preserve internalized antigen. Whereas DCs derived in vitro from CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells or isolated from peripheral blood of healthy donors are protease poor, DCs derived in vitro from monocytes (MDDCs) are more similar to macrophages (MΦs) in protease content. Unlike other DCs, MDDCs also fail to reduce their intralysosomal pH in response to maturation stimuli. Indeed, functional characterization of lysosomal proteolysis indicates that MDDCs are comparable to MΦs in the rapid degradation of antigen while other human DC subtypes are attenuated in this capacity.
Human DCs are comparable to murine DCs in exhibiting a markedly reduced level of lysosomal proteolysis. However, as an important exception to this, human MDDCs stand apart from all other DCs by a heightened capacity for proteolysis that resembles that of MΦs. Thus, caution should be exercised when using human MDDCs as a model for DC function and cell biology.
Innate immune system activation is a critical step in the initiation of an effective adaptive immune response; therefore, activation of a class of innate pathogen receptors called pattern recognition receptors (PRR) is a central feature of many adjuvant systems. It has recently been shown that one member of an intracellular PRR, the NLRP3 inflammasome, is activated by a number of classical adjuvants including aluminum hydroxide and saponins [1, 2]. Inflammasome activation in vitro requires signaling of both the Toll-like receptor (TLR) and NLRP3 in antigen-presenting cells. Here we present a class of nanomaterials endowed with these two signals for rapid optimization of vaccine design. We constructed this system using a simple approach that incorporates lipopolysaccharides (LPS) onto the surface of nanoparticles constructed from a biocompatible polyester, poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), loaded with antigen. We demonstrate that LPS-modified particles are preferentially internalized by dendritic cells compared to uncoated nanoparticles and the system, when administered to mice, elicits potent humoral and cellular immunity against a model antigen, ovalbumin. Wild type macrophages pulsed with LPS-modified nanoparticles resulted in production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β consistent with inflammasome activation. In comparison, NLRP3-deficient and caspase-1-deficient macrophages showed negligible production of IL-1β. Furthermore, when endocytosis and lysosomal destabilization were inhibited, inflammasome activity was diminished, supporting the notion that nanoparticles rupture lysosomal compartments and behave as ‘danger signals’. The generality of this vaccination approach is tested by encapsulation of a recombinant West Nile envelope protein and demonstrated by protection against a murine model of West Nile encephalitis. The design of such an antigen delivery mechanism with the ability to stimulate two potent innate immune pathways represents a potent new approach to simultaneous antigen and adjuvant delivery.
PLGA; inflammasome; West Nile virus; Nanoparticles
Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) contributes to the immune evasion strategy of B. anthracis by impairing the function of cells of the immune system, such as macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). Macrophages from certain inbred mice strains undergo rapid death upon LT treatment mediated by caspase-1 activation dependent on Nalp1b, an inflammasome component. Rapid LT-induced death is however not observed in macrophages from human and many mouse strains. Here, we focused on the responses of various murine DCs to LT. Using a variety of knock-out mice, we found that depending on the mouse strain, death of bone marrow derived DCs and macrophages was mediated either by a fast Nalp1b and caspase-1 dependent, or by a slow caspase-1 independent pathway that was triggered by the impairment of MEK1/2 pathways. Caspase-1 independent death was observed in cells of different genetic backgrounds and interestingly occurred only in immature DCs. Maturation, triggered by different types of stimuli, led to full protection of DCs. These studies illustrate that the cellular damage inflicted by LT depends not only on the innate responses but also on the maturation stage of the cell, which modulates the more general caspase-1 independent responses.
The A33 antigen is a cell surface glycoprotein of the small intestine and colonic epithelium with homology to tight junction-associated proteins of the immunoglobulin superfamily, including CAR and JAM. Its restricted tissue localization and high level of expression have led to its use as a target in colon cancer immunotherapy. Although the antigen is also present in normal intestine, radiolabeled antibodies against A33 are selectively retained by tumors in the gut as well as in metastatic lesions for as long as 6 weeks. Accordingly, we have studied the trafficking and kinetic properties of the antigen to determine its promise in two-step, pretargeted therapies. The localization, mobility, and persistence of the antigen were investigated, and this work has demonstrated that the antigen is both highly immobile and extremely persistent— retaining its surface localization for a turnover halflife of greater than 2 days. In order to explain these unusual properties, we explored the possibility that A33 is a component of the tight junction. The simple property of surface persistence, described here, may contribute to the prolonged retention of the clinically administered antibodies, and their uncommon ability to penetrate solid tumors.
A33 antigen; Radioimmunotherapy; Colon cancer; Tight junction; Immunoglobulin superfamily
The cell surface proteoglycan, syndecan-1, is essential for normal epithelial morphology and function. Syndecan-1 is selectively localized to the basolateral domain of polarized epithelial cells and interacts with cytosolic PDZ (PSD-95, discs large, ZO-1) domain-containing proteins. Here, we show that the polarity of syndecan-1 is determined by its type II PDZ-binding motif. Mutations within the PDZ-binding motif lead to the mislocalization of syndecan-1 to the apical surface. In contrast to previous examples, however, PDZ-binding motif-dependent polarity is not determined by retention at the basolateral surface but rather by polarized sorting prior to syndecan-1’s arrival at the plasma membrane. Although none of the four known PDZ-binding partners of syndecan-1 appears to control basolateral localization, our results show that the PDZ-binding motif of syndecan-1 is decoded along the biosynthetic pathway establishing a potential role for PDZ-mediated interactions in polarized sorting.
basolateral; epithelia; PDZ; polarity; syndecan-1
Newly synthesized apical and basolateral membrane proteins are sorted from one another in polarized epithelial cells. The trans-Golgi network participates in this sorting process, but some basolateral proteins travel from the Golgi to recycling endosomes (REs) before their surface delivery. Using a novel system for pulse–chase microscopy, we have visualized the postsynthetic route pursued by a newly synthesized cohort of Na,K-ATPase. We find that the basolateral delivery of newly synthesized Na,K-ATPase occurs via a pathway distinct from that pursued by the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G). Na,K-ATPase surface delivery occurs at a faster rate than that observed for VSV-G. The Na,K-ATPase does not pass through the RE compartment en route to the plasma membrane, and Na,K-ATPase trafficking is not regulated by the same small GTPases as other basolateral proteins. Finally, Na,K-ATPase and VSV-G travel in separate post-Golgi transport intermediates, demonstrating directly that multiple routes exist for transport from the Golgi to the basolateral membrane in polarized epithelial cells.
Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites infect host cells by an active invasion process leading to the formation of a specialized compartment, the parasitophorous vacuole (PV). PVs resist fusion with host cell endosomes and lysosomes and are thus distinct from phagosomes. Because the parasite remains sequestered within the PV, it is unclear how T. gondii–derived antigens (Ag’s) access the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I pathway for presentation to CD8+ T cells. We demonstrate that recruitment of host endoplasmic reticulum (hER) to the PV in T. gondii–infected dendritic cells (DCs) directly correlates with cross-priming of CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, we document by immunoelectron microscopy the transfer of hER components into the PV, a process indicative of direct fusion between the two compartments. In strong contrast, no association between hER and phagosomes or Ag presentation activity was observed in DCs containing phagocytosed live or dead parasites. Importantly, cross-presentation of parasite-derived Ag in actively infected cells was blocked when hER retrotranslocation was inhibited, indicating that the hER serves as a conduit for the transport of Ag between the PV and host cytosol. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that pathogen-driven hER–PV interaction can serve as an important mechanism for Ag entry into the MHC class I pathway and CD8+ T cell cross-priming.
The actin cytoskeleton is dynamically remodeled during Fcγ receptor (FcγR)-mediated phagocytosis in a phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP2)-dependent manner. We investigated the role of type I phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase (PIP5K) γ and α isoforms, which synthesize PIP2, during phagocytosis. PIP5K-γ−/− bone marrow–derived macrophages (BMM) have a highly polymerized actin cytoskeleton and are defective in attachment to IgG-opsonized particles and FcγR clustering. Delivery of exogenous PIP2 rescued these defects. PIP5K-γ knockout BMM also have more RhoA and less Rac1 activation, and pharmacological manipulations establish that they contribute to the abnormal phenotype. Likewise, depletion of PIP5K-γ by RNA interference inhibits particle attachment. In contrast, PIP5K-α knockout or silencing has no effect on attachment but inhibits ingestion by decreasing Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein activation, and hence actin polymerization, in the nascent phagocytic cup. In addition, PIP5K-γ but not PIP5K-α is transiently activated by spleen tyrosine kinase–mediated phosphorylation. We propose that PIP5K-γ acts upstream of Rac/Rho and that the differential regulation of PIP5K-γ and -α allows them to work in tandem to modulate the actin cytoskeleton during the attachment and ingestion phases of phagocytosis.
My association with the JCB began very early in my scientific career. In fact, it predated my understanding that there would even be a scientific career. In the mid-1970s while still an undergraduate, the JCB published my very first paper, a contribution noted perhaps less so for its reporting the characterization of the first known protein in plant cell walls than for a footnote that called attention to the evolutionary conservation of a relationship between “sex and slime” throughout the plant and animal kingdoms.
Although plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) respond to virus replication in a non-specific fashion by producing large amounts of type I interferon, a rapid, direct role of pDCs in activating antiviral lymphocytes is less clear. Here we showed that pDCs possess the capacity to rapidly initiate antigen-specific antiviral CD8+ T cell responses. Following virus exposure, pDCs efficiently and rapidly internalized exogenous viral antigens and then presented those antigens on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I to CD8+ T cells. Processing of exogenous antigen occurred within endocytic organelles and did not require transit of antigen to the cytosol. Intracellular stores of MHC class I partially colocalized with transferrin receptor and internalized transferrin in endosomes, suggesting that such recycling endosomes are sites of peptide loading onto MHC class I or peptide transit. These data demonstrate that pDCs utilize ready-made stores of MHC class I to rapidly present exogenous antigen to CD8+ T cells.