Cell fate decisions depend on the interplay between chromatin regulators and transcription factors. Here we show that activity of the Mi-2β nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex was controlled by the Ikaros family of lymphoid-lineage determining proteins. Ikaros, an integral component of the NuRD complex in lymphocytes, tethered this complex to active lymphoid differentiation genes. Loss in Ikaros DNA binding activity caused a local increase in Mi-2β chromatin remodeling and histone deacetylation and suppression of lymphoid gene expression. The NuRD complex also redistributed to transcriptionally poised non-Ikaros gene targets, involved in proliferation and metabolism, inducing their reactivation. Thus, release of NuRD from Ikaros regulation blocks lymphocyte maturation and mediates progression to a leukemic state by engaging functionally opposing epigenetic and genetic networks.
Mouse CCL8 is a CC chemokine of the monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP) family whose biological activity and receptor usage have remained elusive. Here we show that CCL8 is highly expressed in the skin, where it serves as an agonist for the chemokine receptor CCR8 but not for CCR2. This distinguishes CCL8 from all other MCP chemokines. CCL8 responsiveness defined a population of highly differentiated, CCR8-expressing inflammatory T helper type 2 (TH2) cells enriched for interleukin (IL)-5. Ccr8- and Ccl8-deficient mice had markedly less eosinophilic inflammation than wild-type or Ccr4-deficient mice in a model of chronic atopic dermatitis. Adoptive transfer studies established CCR8 as a key regulator of TH2 cell recruitment into allergen-inflamed skin. In humans, CCR8 expression also defined an IL-5–enriched TH2 cell subset. The CCL8-CCR8 chemokine axis is therefore a crucial regulator of TH2 cell homing that drives IL-5–mediated chronic allergic inflammation.
The body is composed of various tissue microenvironments with finely tuned local immunosurveillance systems, many of which are in close apposition with distinct commensal niches. Mammals have formed an evolutionary partnership with the microbiota that is critical for metabolism, tissue development and host defense. Despite our growing understanding of the impact of this host-microbe alliance on immunity in the gastrointestinal tract, the extent to which individual microenvironments are controlled by resident microbiota remains unclear. In this Perspective we discuss how resident commensals outside the gastrointestinal tract can control unique physiological niches and the potential implications of the dialog between these commensals and the host for the establishment of immune homeostasis, protective responses and tissue pathology.
We show that microRNA-155 (miR-155) is upregulated in primary effector and effector memory CD8+ T cells but is low in naive and central memory cells. Anti-viral CD8+ T cell responses and viral clearance were impaired in miR-155 deficient (miR-155-KO) mice, and this defect was intrinsic to CD8+ T cells as miR-155-KO CD8+ T cells mounted greatly reduced primary and memory responses. Conversely, miR-155 overexpression augmented anti-viral CD8+ T cell responses in vivo. Gene expression profiling of miR-155-KO CD8+ T cells revealed increased type I interferon signaling and sensitivity. Inhibiting STAT1 or IRF7 increased miR-155-KO CD8+ T cell responses in vivo. We report a novel role for miR-155 in regulating IFN responsiveness and CD8+ T cell responses against pathogens in vivo.
IL-17-committed γδ T (γδT17) cells participate in many immune responses but their developmental requirements and subset specific functions remain poorly understood. Here we report that a commonly used CD45.1+ congenic C57BL/6 mouse substrain is characterized by a selective deficiency in Vγ4+ γδT17 cells. This trait is due to a spontaneous mutation in the transcription factor Sox13 that causes an intrinsic defect in development of these cells in the neonatal thymus. γδT17 cells migrate at low rates from skin to lymph nodes. In a model of psoriasis-like dermatitis, Vγ4+ γδT17 cells expand markedly in lymph nodes and home to inflamed skin. Sox13 mutant mice are protected from psoriasis-like skin changes, identifying a role for Sox13-dependent γδT17 cells in this inflammatory condition.
αβT cell differentiation from thymic precursors is a complex process, explored here with the breadth of ImmGen expression datasets, analyzing how differentiation of thymic precursors gives rise to transcriptomes. After surprisingly gradual changes though early T commitment, transit through the CD4+CD8+ stage involves a shutdown or rare breadth, and correlating tightly with MYC. MHC-driven selection promotes a large-scale transcriptional reactivation. We identify distinct signatures that mark cells destined for positive selection versus apoptotic deletion. Differential expression of surprisingly few genes accompany CD4 or CD8 commitment, a similarity that carries through to peripheral T cells and their activation, revealed by mass cytometry phosphoproteomics. The novel transcripts identified as candidate mediators of key transitions help define the “known unknown” of thymocyte differentiation.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are essential mediators of the innate and adaptive immune response. Studying these critical cells has been complicated by their similarity to other hematopoietic lineages, particularly monocytes and macrophages. Recent progress has been made in three critical areas of DC biology: the characterization of lineage-restricted progenitors in the bone marrow, the identification of cytokines and transcription factors required during differentiation, and the development of genetic tools to visualize and deplete DCs in vivo. Collectively, these studies have clarified the nature of the DC lineage and provided novel insights into their function during health and disease.
dendritic cell; macrophage; transcription factor; common dendritic progenitor; lineage commitment
Mast cell-derived group III phospholipase A2 (PLA2G3) and fibroblast prostaglandin synthase contribute to a PGD2 and mast-cell-DP-1-dependent mast cell-fibroblast paracrine axis that can enhance mast cell maturation and mediator secretion.
The differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells into immune cells has been extensively studied in mammals, but the transcriptional circuitry controlling it is still only partially understood. Here, the Immunological Genome Project gene expression profiles across mouse immune lineages allowed us to systematically analyze these circuits. Using a computational algorithm called Ontogenet, we uncovered differentiation-stage specific regulators of mouse hematopoiesis, identifying many known hematopoietic regulators, and 175 new candidate regulators, their target genes, and the cell types in which they act. Among the novel regulators, we highlight the role of ETV5 in γδT cells differntiation. Since the transcriptional program of human and mouse cells is highly conserved1, it is likely that many lessons learned from the mouse model apply to humans.
Phagocytosis is a fundamental cellular process that is pivotal for immunity as it coordinates microbial killing, innate immune activation and antigen presentation. An essential step in this process is phagosome acidification, which regulates a number of functions of these organelles that allow them to participate in processes essential to both innate and adaptive immunity. Here we report that acidification of phagosomes containing Gram-positive bacteria is regulated by the NLRP3-inflammasome and caspase-1. Active caspase-1 accumulates on phagosomes and acts locally to control the pH by modulating buffering by the NADPH oxidase NOX2. These data provide insight into a mechanism by which innate immune signals can modify cellular defenses and establish a new function for the NLRP3-inflammasome and caspase-1 in host defense.
Natural T helper 17 (nTH17) cells are a population of interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing cells that acquire effector function in the thymus during development. Here we demonstrate that the serine/threonine kinase Akt plays a critical role in regulating nTH17 cell development. While Akt and the downstream mTORC1–ARNT–HIFα axis were required for inducible TH17 (iTH17) cell generation in the periphery, nTH17 cells developed independently of mTORC1. In contrast, mTORC2 and inhibition of Foxo proteins were critical for nTH17 cell development. Moreover, Akt controlled TH17 subsets through distinct isoforms, as deletion of Akt2, but not Akt1, led to defective iTH17 cell generation. These findings reveal novel mechanisms regulating nTH17 cell development and previously unknown roles of Akt and mTOR in shaping T cell subsets.
The innate immune system senses viral DNA that enters mammalian cells, or in aberrant situations self-DNA, and triggers type I interferon production. Here we present an integrative approach that combines quantitative proteomics, genomics and small molecule perturbations to identify genes involved in this pathway. We silenced 809 candidate genes, measured the response to dsDNA and connected resulting hits with the known signaling network. We identified ABCF1 as a critical protein that associates with dsDNA and the DNA-sensing components HMGB2 and IFI204. We also found that CDC37 regulates the stability of the signaling molecule TBK1 and that chemical inhibition of the CDC37-HSP90 interaction and several other pathway regulators potently modulates the innate immune response to DNA and retroviral infection.
Murine invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells provide cognate and non-cognate help for lipid and protein-specific B cells, respectively. However, the long term B cell outcome following cognate iNKT help is currently unknown. We show that cognate iNKT cell help resulted in a B cell differentiation program characterized by extrafollicular plasmablasts, germinal center formation, affinity maturation and a robust primary IgG antibody response that was uniquely dependent on iNKT-derived interleukin 21 (IL-21). However, cognate iNKT cell help did not generate an enhanced humoral memory response. Thus, iNKT cell cognate help for lipid-specific B cells induces a unique signature which is a hybrid of classic T-dependent (TD) and T-independent type 2 (TI-2) B cell responses.
We assessed tissue macrophage gene expression in different mouse organs. Diversity in gene expression among different populations of macrophages was remarkable. Only a few hundred mRNA transcripts stood out as selectively expressed by macrophages over DCs and many of these were not present in all macrophages. Nonetheless, well-characterized surface markers, including MerTK and FcγR1 (CD64), along with a cluster of novel transcripts were distinctly and universally associated with mature tissue macrophages. TCEF3, C/EBPα, BACH1, and CREG-1 were among the top transcriptional regulators predicted to regulate these core macrophage-associated genes. Other transcription factor mRNAs were strongly associated with single macrophage populations. We further illustrate how these transcripts and the proteins they encode facilitate distinguishing macrophage versus DC identity of less characterized populations of mononuclear phagocytes.
How hematopoietic stem cells coordinate the regulation of opposing cellular mechanisms like self-renewal and differentiation commitment remains unclear. Here, we identified the transcription factor and chromatin remodeler Satb1 as a critical regulator of the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) fate. HSCs lacking Satb1 displayed defective self-renewal, less quiescence and accelerated lineage commitment, resulting in progressive depletion of functional HSCs. Increased commitment was caused by reduced symmetric self-renewal and increased symmetric differentiation divisions of Satb1-deficient HSCs. Satb1 simultaneously repressed gene sets involved in HSC activation and cellular polarity, including Numb and Myc, two key factors for stem cell fate specification. Thus, Satb1 is a regulator that promotes HSC quiescence and represses lineage commitment.
T lymphocytes regulate nutrient uptake to meet the metabolic demands of immune activation. The present study shows that the intracellular supply of large neutral amino acids (LNAAs) in T cells is regulated by pathogen and the T cell antigen receptor (TCR). A single System L transporter, Slc7a5, mediated LNAA uptake in activated T cells. Slc7a5-null T cells could not metabolically reprogram in response to antigen and failed clonal expansion and effector differentiation. The metabolic catastrophe caused by Slc7a5 loss reflects the requirement for sustained uptake of the LNAA leucine for activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and for expression of c-myc. Pathogen control of System L transporters is thus a critical metabolic checkpoint for T cells.
The mechanisms regulating T helper 9 (TH9) cells and TH9-mediated diseases remain poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that the receptor OX40 (Tnfrsf4) is a powerful inducer of TH9 cells in vitro and TH9-dependent airway inflammation in vivo. Under TGF-β based polarizing conditions, OX40 ligation eliminated production of induced regulatory T cells and TH17 cells, and divertedCD4+Foxp3− T cells to a TH9 phenotype. Mechanistically, OX40 activated the ubiquitin ligase TRAF6, which triggered the induction of NF-kB-inducing kinase (NIK) in CD4+ T cells and the non-canonical NF-kB pathway which subsequently lead toTH9 generation. Thus, our study identifies a previously unknown mechanism of TH9 induction and may have important clinical implications in allergic inflammation.
The differentiation of monocytes is altered in cancer, which results in
the unexpected conversion of a large proportion of monocytic myeloid-derived
suppressor cells into polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
The gut mucosa hosts large numbers of activated lymphocytes, exposed to stimuli from diet, microbiota and pathogens. Although CD4+ T cells are crucial for defense, intestinal homeostasis precludes exaggerated response towards luminal contents, harmful or not. We investigated mechanisms used by CD4+ T cells to avoid excessive activation within the intestine. Using genetic tools to label and interfere with T cell development transcription factors we show that CD4+ T cells acquired CD8-lineage transcription factor Runx3 while losing CD4-lineage transcription factor ThPOK along with their TH17 differentiation and colitogenic potential, in a transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and retinoic-acid-dependent manner. These results show a remarkable plasticity in the CD4+ T cell lineage that allows chronic exposure to luminal antigens without pathological inflammation.
We identified B cells as a major source for rapid, innate-like interleukin 17 (IL-17) production in vivo in response to Trypanosoma cruzi infection. IL-17+ B cells exhibited a plasmablast phenotype, outnumbered TH17 cells and were required for optimal response to this pathogen. Using both murine and human primary B cells, we demonstrate that exposure to parasite-derived trans-sialidase in vitro was sufficient to trigger modification of the cell surface mucin, CD45, leading to Btk-dependent signaling and IL-17A or IL-17F production via an ROR-γt and AHR-independent transcriptional program. Our combined data suggest that generation of IL-17+ B cells may be an unappreciated feature of innate immune responses required for pathogen control or IL-17-mediated autoimmunity.
Newly activated CD8+ T cells reprogram their metabolism to meet the extraordinary biosynthetic demands of clonal expansion; however, the signals mediating metabolic reprogramming remain poorly defined. Herein, we demonstrate an essential role for sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) in the acquisition of effector cell metabolism. Without SREBP signaling, CD8+ T cells are unable to blast, resulting in markedly attenuated clonal expansion during viral infection. Mechanistic studies indicate that SREBPs are essential to meet the heightened lipid requirements of membrane synthesis during blastogenesis. SREBPs are dispensable for homeostatic proliferation, indicating a context-specific requirement for SREBPs in effector responses. These studies provide insights into the molecular signals underlying metabolic reprogramming of CD8+ T cells during the transition from quiescence to activation.
SREBP; LCMV; lipids; CD8+ T cell; metabolism; proliferation
Feedback regulatory circuits provided by regulatory T cells (Treg cells) and suppressive cytokines are an intrinsic part of the immune system, along with effector functions. Here we discuss some of the regulatory cytokines that have evolved to permit tolerance to components of self as well as the eradication of pathogens with minimal collateral damage to the host. Interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) are well characterized, whereas IL-27, IL-35 and IL-37 represent newcomers to the spectrum of anti-inflammatory cytokines. We also emphasize how information accumulated through in vitro as well as in vivo studies of genetically engineered mice can help in the understanding and treatment of human diseases.
Intestinal Peyer’s patches are essential lymphoid organs for the generation of T cell-dependent immunoglobulin (Ig) A production for gut homeostasis. Using IL-17 fate reporter mice we show here that endogenous TH17 cells in lymphoid organs of naïve mice home preferentially to the intestine and are maintained independently of IL-23. In Peyer’s patches such TH17 cells acquire a T follicular helper (TFH) phenotype and induce the development of IgA-producing germinal center B cells. Mice deficient in TH17 cells fail to generate antigen specific IgA responses, providing evidence that TH17 cells are the crucial subset required for high affinity T cell-dependent IgA production.
Antibodies can be carried into the cell during pathogen infection where they are detected by the ubiquitously expressed cytosolic antibody receptor TRIM21. Here we show that TRIM21 recognition of intracellular antibodies activates immune signaling. TRIM21 catalyses K63-ubiquitin chain formation, stimulating transcription factor pathways NF-κB, AP-1 and IRF3, IRF5, IRF7. Activation results in proinflammatory cytokine production, modulation of natural killer (NK) stress ligands and the induction of an antiviral state. Intracellular antibody signaling is abrogated by genetic deletion of TRIM21 and is recovered by ectopic TRIM21 expression. Antibody sensing by TRIM21 can be stimulated upon infection by DNA or RNA non-enveloped viruses or intracellular bacteria. The antibody-TRIM21 detection system provides potent, comprehensive innate immune activation, independent of known pattern recognition receptors.
CD8+ T cells eliminate intracellular infections through two contact-dependent effector functions: cytolysis and antiviral cytokine secretion. Here, we identify an additional function for memory CD8+ T cells persisting at frontline sites of microbial exposure: as local sensors of previously encountered antigens that precipitate innate-like alarm signals and draw circulating memory CD8+ T cells into the tissue. When memory CD8+ T cells residing in the female reproductive tract encountered cognate antigen, they expressed interferon-γ (IFN-γ), potentiated robust local inflammatory chemokine expression and induced rapid recruitment of circulating memory CD8+ T cells. Anamnestic responses in frontline tissues are thus an integrated collaboration between frontline and circulating populations of memory CD8+ T cells, and vaccines should establish both populations to maximize rapid responses.