N-terminal stable in frame fusion of ubiquitin (Ub) has been shown to target the fusion protein for proteasomal degradation. This pathway, called the Ub fusion degradation (UFD), might also elevate MHC class I (MHC-I) antigen presentation of specific antigens. The UFD, mainly studied on cytosolic proteins, has been described to be mediated by polyubiquitination of specific lysine residues within the fused Ub moiety. Using the well characterized melanoma-specific antigen MelanA as a model protein, we analyzed the requirements of the UFD for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of a transmembrane protein. Here we show that fusion of the non-cleavable UbG76V variant to the N-terminus of MelanA results in rapid proteasomal degradation via the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway and, consequently, leads to an increased MHC-I antigen presentation. While lysine residues within Ub are dispensable for these effects, the presence of one single lysine residue, irrespectively of its location along the fusion protein, is sufficient to induce degradation of MelanA. These results show that the ubiquitination, ER to cytosol relocation and proteasomal degradation of a transmembrane protein can be increased by N-terminal fusion of Ub at the presence of at least one, position independent lysine residue. These findings are in contrast to the conventional wisdom concerning the UFD and indicate a new concept to target a protein into the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and thus for enhanced MHC-I antigen presentation, and might open up new possibilities in the development of tumor vaccines.
Ipilimumab, a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) blocking antibody, has been approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and induces adverse events (AE) in up to 64% of patients. Treatment algorithms for the management of common ipilimumab-induced AEs have lead to a reduction of morbidity, e.g. due to bowel perforations. However, the spectrum of less common AEs is expanding as ipilimumab is increasingly applied. Stringent recognition and management of AEs will reduce drug-induced morbidity and costs, and thus, positively impact the cost-benefit ratio of the drug. To facilitate timely identification and adequate management data on rare AEs were analyzed at 19 skin cancer centers.
Methods and Findings
Patient files (n = 752) were screened for rare ipilimumab-associated AEs. A total of 120 AEs, some of which were life-threatening or even fatal, were reported and summarized by organ system describing the most instructive cases in detail. Previously unreported AEs like drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), granulomatous inflammation of the central nervous system, and aseptic meningitis, were documented. Obstacles included patientś delay in reporting symptoms and the differentiation of steroid-induced from ipilimumab-induced AEs under steroid treatment. Importantly, response rate was high in this patient population with tumor regression in 30.9% and a tumor control rate of 61.8% in stage IV melanoma patients despite the fact that some patients received only two of four recommended ipilimumab infusions. This suggests that ipilimumab-induced antitumor responses can have an early onset and that severe autoimmune reactions may reflect overtreatment.
The wide spectrum of ipilimumab-induced AEs demands doctor and patient awareness to reduce morbidity and treatment costs and true ipilimumab success is dictated by both objective tumor responses and controlling severe side effects.
In previous linkage and genome-wide association studies we identified 17 susceptibility loci for generalized vitiligo. By a second genome-wide association study, meta-analysis, and independent replication study, we have now identified 13 additional vitiligo-associated loci, including OCA2-HERC2, a region of 16q24.3 containing MC1R, a region of chromosome 11q21 near TYR, several immunoregulatory loci including IFIH1, CD80, CLNK, BACH2, SLA, CASP7, CD44, IKZF4, SH2B3, and a region of 22q13.2 where the causal gene remains uncertain. Functional pathway analysis shows that most vitiligo susceptibility loci encode immunoregulatory proteins or melanocyte components that likely mediate immune targeting and genetic relationships among vitiligo, malignant melanoma, and normal variation of eye, skin, and hair color.
The type of adaptive immune response following host-fungi interaction is largely determined at the level of the antigen-presenting cells, and in particular by dendritic cells (DCs). The extent to which transcriptional regulatory events determine the decision making process in DCs is still an open question. By applying the highly structured DC-ATLAS pathways to analyze DC responses, we classified the various stimuli by revealing the modular nature of the different transcriptional programs governing the recognition of either pathogenic or commensal fungi. Through comparison of the network parts affected by DC stimulation with fungal cells and purified single agonists, we could determine the contribution of each receptor during the recognition process. We observed that initial recognition of a fungus creates a temporal window during which the simultaneous recruitment of cell surface receptors can intensify, complement and sustain the DC activation process. The breakdown of the response to whole live cells, through the purified components, showed how the response to invading fungi uses a set of specific modules. We find that at the start of fungal recognition, DCs rapidly initiate the activation process. Ligand recognition is further enhanced by over-expression of the receptor genes, with a significant correspondence between gene expression and protein levels and function. Then a marked decrease in the receptor levels follows, suggesting that at this moment the DC commits to a specific fate. Overall our pathway based studies show that the temporal window of the fungal recognition process depends on the availability of ligands and is different for pathogens and commensals. Modular analysis of receptor and signalling-adaptor expression changes, in the early phase of pathogen recognition, is a valuable tool for rapid and efficient dissection of the pathogen derived components that determine the phenotype of the DC and thereby the type of immune response initiated.
As detailed in the Appreciation piece written by Carol Moberg, Ralph’s
discovery and investigation of DCs constituted an enormous contribution to
immunology. However, Ralph’s influence extended far beyond the strictly
scientific. Below, some of Ralph’s closest colleagues and friends reflect
on the long-lasting effects of his unwavering mentorship, enthusiasm,
generosity, and friendship.
Also in this issue is a Perspective, originally commissioned by Ralph and written
by Robin Weiss
and Peter Vogt. Ralph passed away before he could read
this engaging piece, which celebrates the centennial of the publication in the
JEM of the Nobel Prize-winning work of Peyton Rous. In
addition to their Nobel Prizes, Ralph and Peyton Rous shared the distinctions of
being long-time leaders of Rockefeller laboratories and editors of this
The advent of Systems Biology has been accompanied by the blooming of pathway databases. Currently pathways are defined generically with respect to the organ or cell type where a reaction takes place. The cell type specificity of the reactions is the foundation of immunological research, and capturing this specificity is of paramount importance when using pathway-based analyses to decipher complex immunological datasets. Here, we present DC-ATLAS, a novel and versatile resource for the interpretation of high-throughput data generated perturbing the signaling network of dendritic cells (DCs).
Pathways are annotated using a novel data model, the Biological Connection Markup Language (BCML), a SBGN-compliant data format developed to store the large amount of information collected. The application of DC-ATLAS to pathway-based analysis of the transcriptional program of DCs stimulated with agonists of the toll-like receptor family allows an integrated description of the flow of information from the cellular sensors to the functional outcome, capturing the temporal series of activation events by grouping sets of reactions that occur at different time points in well-defined functional modules.
The initiative significantly improves our understanding of DC biology and regulatory networks. Developing a systems biology approach for immune system holds the promise of translating knowledge on the immune system into more successful immunotherapy strategies.
It has been recently demonstrated that regulatory CD4+CD25+ CD45RO+ T cells are present in the peripheral blood of healthy adults and exert regulatory function similar to their rodent counterparts. It remains difficult to understand how the small fraction of these T cells that regulate via direct cell-to-cell contact and not via secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines could mediate strong immune suppression. Here we show that human CD4+CD25+ T cells induce long-lasting anergy and production of interleukin (IL)-10 in CD4+CD25− T cells. These anergized CD4+CD25− T cells then suppress proliferation of syngenic CD4+ T cells via IL-10 but independent of direct cell contact, similar to the so-called type 1 regulatory T (Tr1) cells. This ‘catalytic’ function of CD4+CD25+ T cells to induce Tr1-like cells helps to explain their central role for the maintenance of immune homeostasis.
regulatory T cells; human; immune tolerance; anergy; IL-10
There is consensus that an optimized cancer vaccine will have to induce not only CD8+ cytotoxic but also CD4+ T helper (Th) cells, particularly interferon (IFN)-γ–producing, type 1 Th cells. The induction of strong, ex vivo detectable type 1 Th cell responses has not been reported to date. We demonstrate now that the subcutaneous injection of cryopreserved, mature, antigen-loaded, monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) rapidly induces unequivocal Th1 responses (ex vivo detectable IFN-γ–producing effectors as well as proliferating precursors) both to the control antigen KLH and to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II–restricted tumor peptides (melanoma-antigen [Mage]-3.DP4 and Mage-3.DR13) in the majority of 16 evaluable patients with metastatic melanoma. These Th1 cells recognized not only peptides, but also DCs loaded with Mage-3 protein, and in case of Mage-3DP4–specific Th1 cells IFN-γ was released even after direct recognition of viable, Mage-3–expressing HLA-DP4+ melanoma cells. The capacity of DCs to rapidly induce Th1 cells should be valuable to evaluate whether Th1 cells are instrumental in targeting human cancer and chronic infections.
dendritic cells; vaccination; CD4+ T cells; T helper cells; tumor immunity
Mature dendritic cells (DCs) are believed to induce T cell immunity, whereas immature DCs induce T cell tolerance. Here we describe that injections of DCs matured with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (TNF/DCs) induce antigen-specific protection from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice. Maturation by TNF-α induced high levels of major histocompatibility complex class II and costimulatory molecules on DCs, but they remained weak producers of proinflammatory cytokines. One injection of such TNF/DCs pulsed with auto-antigenic peptide ameliorated the disease score of EAE. This could not be observed with immature DCs or DCs matured with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus anti-CD40. Three consecutive injections of peptide-pulsed TNF/DCs derived from wild-type led to the induction of peptide-specific predominantly interleukin (IL)-10–producing CD4+ T cells and complete protection from EAE. Blocking of IL-10 in vivo could only partially restore the susceptibility to EAE, suggesting an important but not exclusive role of IL-10 for EAE prevention. Notably, the protection was peptide specific, as TNF/DCs pulsed with unrelated peptide could not prevent EAE. In conclusion, this study describes that stimulation by TNF-α results in incompletely matured DCs (semi-mature DCs) which induce peptide-specific IL-10–producing T cells in vivo and prevent EAE.
dendritic cells; EAE; tolerance; IL-10; TNF
CD83 is an immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily member that is upregulated during the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs). It has been widely used as a marker for mature DCs, but its function is still unknown. To approach its potential functional role, we have expressed the extracellular Ig domain of human CD83 (hCD83ext) as a soluble protein. Using this tool we could show that immature as well as mature DCs bind to CD83. Since CD83 binds a ligand also expressed on immature DCs, which do not express CD83, indicates that binding is not a homophilic interaction. In addition we demonstrate that hCD83ext interferes with DC maturation downmodulating the expression of CD80 and CD83, while no phenotypical effects were observed on T cells. Finally, we show that hCD83ext inhibits DC-dependent allogeneic and peptide-specific T cell proliferation in a concentration dependent manner in vitro. This is the first report regarding functional aspects of CD83 and the binding of CD83 to DCs.
CD83; dendritic cells; MLR; T cell inhibition; recombinant expression
It has been known for years that rodents harbor a unique population of CD4+CD25+ “professional” regulatory/suppressor T cells that is crucial for the prevention of spontaneous autoimmune diseases. Here we demonstrate that CD4+CD25+CD45RO+ T cells (mean 6% of CD4+ T cells) are present in the blood of adult healthy volunteers. In contrast to previous reports, these CD4+CD25+ T cells do not constitute conventional memory cells but rather regulatory cells exhibiting properties identical to their rodent counterparts. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated antigen (CTLA)-4 (CD152), for example, which is essential for the in vivo suppressive activity of CD4+CD25+ T cells, was constitutively expressed, and remained strongly upregulated after stimulation. The cells were nonproliferative to stimulation via their T cell receptor for antigen, but the anergic state was partially reversed by interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-15. Upon stimulation with allogeneic (but not syngeneic) mature dendritic cells or platebound anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28 the CD4+CD25+ T cells released IL-10, and in coculture experiments suppressed the activation and proliferation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Suppression proved IL-10 independent, yet contact dependent as in the mouse. The identification of regulatory CD4+CD25+ T cells has important implications for the study of tolerance in man, notably in the context of autoimmunity, transplantation, and cancer.
CD4+CD25+ T cells; regulatory T cells; immune tolerance; anergy; dendritic cells
The functional properties of dendritic cells (DCs) are strictly dependent on their maturational state. To analyze the influence of the maturational state of DCs on priming and differentiation of T cells, immature CD83− and mature CD83+ human DCs were used for stimulation of naive, allogeneic CD4+ T cells. Repetitive stimulation with mature DCs resulted in a strong expansion of alloreactive T cells and the exclusive development of T helper type 1 (Th1) cells. In contrast, after repetitive stimulation with immature DCs the alloreactive T cells showed an irreversibly inhibited proliferation that could not be restored by restimulation with mature DCs or peripheral blood mononuclear cells, or by the addition of interleukin (IL)-2. Only stimulation of T cells with mature DCs resulted in an upregulation of CD154, CD69, and CD70, whereas T cells activated with immature DCs showed an early upregulation of the negative regulator cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated molecule 4 (CTLA-4). These T cells lost their ability to produce interferon γ, IL-2, or IL-4 after several stimulations with immature DCs and differentiated into nonproliferating, IL-10–producing T cells. Furthermore, in coculture experiments these T cells inhibited the antigen-driven proliferation of Th1 cells in a contact- and dose-dependent, but antigen-nonspecific manner. These data show that immature and mature DCs induce different types of T cell responses: inflammatory Th1 cells are induced by mature DCs, and IL-10–producing T cell regulatory 1–like cells by immature DCs.
dendritic cells; regulatory T cells; T helper type 1 cells; interleukin 10; T cell differentiation
Dendritic cells (DCs), nature's adjuvant, must mature to sensitize T cells. However, although the maturation process is essential, it is not yet fully understood at the molecular level. In this study, we investigated the course of expression of the unique hypusine-containing protein eukaryotic initiation factor 5A (eIF-5A), which is part of a particular RNA nuclear export pathway, during in vitro generation of human DCs. We show that eIF-5A expression is significantly upregulated during DC maturation. Furthermore, an inhibitor of the hypusine modification, GC7 (N1-guanyl-1,7-diaminoheptane), prevents CD83 surface expression by apparently interfering with nucleocytoplasmic translocation of the CD83 mRNA and, importantly, significantly inhibits DC-mediated T lymphocyte activation. The data presented suggest that CD83 mRNA is transported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm via a specific nuclear export pathway and that hypusine formation appears to be essential for the maturation of functional DCs. Therefore, pharmacological interference with hypusine formation may provide a new possibility to modulate DC function.
dendritic cells; CD83; hypusine; eIF-5A; nuclear export
Mature dendritic cells (DC) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells within the entire immune system. Interference with the function of these cells therefore constitutes a very powerful mechanism for viruses to escape immune responses. Several members of the Herpesviridae family have provided examples of such escape strategies, including interference with antigen presentation and production of homologous cytokines. In this study we investigated the infection of mature DC with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and the way in which infection alters the phenotype and function of mature DC. Interestingly, the T-cell-stimulatory capacity of these DC was strongly impaired. Furthermore, we demonstrated that HSV-1 leads to the specific degradation of CD83, a cell surface molecule which is specifically upregulated during DC maturation. These data indicate that HSV-1 has developed yet another novel mechanism to escape immune responses.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are considered to be promising adjuvants for inducing immunity to cancer. We used mature, monocyte-derived DCs to elicit resistance to malignant melanoma. The DCs were pulsed with Mage-3A1 tumor peptide and a recall antigen, tetanus toxoid or tuberculin. 11 far advanced stage IV melanoma patients, who were progressive despite standard chemotherapy, received five DC vaccinations at 14-d intervals. The first three vaccinations were administered into the skin, 3 × 106 DCs each subcutaneously and intradermally, followed by two intravenous injections of 6 × 106 and 12 × 106 DCs, respectively. Only minor (less than or equal to grade II) side effects were observed. Immunity to the recall antigen was boosted. Significant expansions of Mage-3A1–specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) precursors were induced in 8/11 patients. Curiously, these immune responses often declined after the intravenous vaccinations. Regressions of individual metastases (skin, lymph node, lung, and liver) were evident in 6/11 patients. Resolution of skin metastases in two of the patients was accompanied by erythema and CD8+ T cell infiltration, whereas nonregressing lesions lacked CD8+ T cells as well as Mage-3 mRNA expression. This study proves the principle that DC “vaccines” can frequently expand tumor-specific CTLs and elicit regressions even in advanced cancer and, in addition, provides evidence for an active CD8+ CTL–tumor cell interaction in situ as well as escape by lack of tumor antigen expression.
dendritic cells; vaccination; active immunotherapy; melanoma; cytotoxic T lymphocytes