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1.  TSC–mTOR maintains quiescence and function of hematopoietic stem cells by repressing mitochondrial biogenesis and reactive oxygen species 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(10):2397-2408.
The tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)–mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is a key regulator of cellular metabolism. We used conditional deletion of Tsc1 to address how quiescence is associated with the function of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). We demonstrate that Tsc1 deletion in the HSCs drives them from quiescence into rapid cycling, with increased mitochondrial biogenesis and elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Importantly, this deletion dramatically reduced both hematopoiesis and self-renewal of HSCs, as revealed by serial and competitive bone marrow transplantation. In vivo treatment with an ROS antagonist restored HSC numbers and functions. These data demonstrated that the TSC–mTOR pathway maintains the quiescence and function of HSCs by repressing ROS production. The detrimental effect of up-regulated ROS in metabolically active HSCs may explain the well-documented association between quiescence and the “stemness” of HSCs.
PMCID: PMC2556783  PMID: 18809716
2.  LPS-induced down-regulation of signal regulatory protein α contributes to innate immune activation in macrophages 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(11):2719-2731.
Activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) cascades after Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation contributes to innate immune responses. Signal regulatory protein (SIRP) α, a member of the SIRP family that is abundantly expressed in macrophages, has been implicated in regulating MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways. In addition, SIRPα can negatively regulate the phagocytosis of host cells by macrophages, indicating an inhibitory role of SIRPα in innate immunity. We provide evidences that SIRPα is an essential endogenous regulator of the innate immune activation upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure. SIRPα expression was promptly reduced in macrophages after LPS stimulation. The decrease in SIRPα expression levels was required for initiation of LPS-induced innate immune responses because overexpression of SIRPα reduced macrophage responses to LPS. Knockdown of SIRPα caused prolonged activation of MAPKs and NF-κB pathways and augmented production of proinflammatory cytokines and type I interferon (IFN). Mice transferred with SIRPα-depleted macrophages were highly susceptible to endotoxic shock, developing multiple organ failure and exhibiting a remarkable increase in mortality. SIRPα may accomplish this mainly through its association and sequestration of the LPS signal transducer SHP-2. Thus, SIRPα functions as a biologically important modulator of TLR signaling and innate immunity.
PMCID: PMC2118489  PMID: 17954568
3.  B7H Costimulates Clonal Expansion of, and Cognate Destruction of Tumor Cells by, CD8+ T Lymphocytes In Vivo 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2001;194(9):1339-1348.
B7H/B7RP (hereby called B7H) is a new member of the B7 family of costimulatory molecules and interacts with inducible costimulatory molecule (ICOS). Its function for CD8 T cells has not been reported. We report here that expression of B7H on the tumor cells reduced tumorigenicity and induced immunity to subsequent challenge with parental tumor cells. The immune protection correlates with an enhanced cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response against P1A, the major tumor antigen expressed in the J558 tumor. To understand the mechanism of immune protection, we adoptively transferred transgenic T cells specific for tumor antigen P1A into mice that bore P1A-expressing tumors. We found that while the transgenic T cells divided faster in mice bearing the B7H+ tumors, optimal B7H-induced clonal expansion of P1CTL required costimulation by B7–1 and B7–2 on the endogenous host antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Interestingly, when B7H+ and B7H− tumors were coinjected, P1CTL selectively eliminated the B7H+ tumor cells. Moreover, B7H expressed on the tumor cells made them highly susceptible to destruction by CTL in vivo, even if the CTL was administrated into mice with large tumor burdens. Tumors that recurred in the P1CTL-treated mice lost transfected B7H and/or H-2Ld, the class I molecule that presents the P1A peptide. Taken together, our results reveal that B7H costimulates clonal expansion of, and cognate destruction by CD8+ T lymphocytes in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2195972  PMID: 11696598
cytotoxic T lymphocytes; tumor immunity; B7H; effector function; clonal expansion
4.  The aminobisphosphonate pamidronate controls influenza pathogenesis by expanding a γδ T cell population in humanized mice 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2011;208(7):1511-1522.
As shown in humanized mice, a population of Vγ9Vδ2 T cells can reduce the severity and mortality of disease caused by infection with human and avian influenza viruses.
There are few antiviral drugs for treating influenza, and the emergence of antiviral resistance has further limited the available therapeutic options. Furthermore, antivirals are not invariably effective in severe influenza, such as that caused by H5N1 viruses. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop alternative therapeutic strategies. Here, we show that human Vγ9Vδ2 T cells expanded by the aminobisphosphonate pamidronate (PAM) kill influenza virus–infected cells and inhibit viral replication in vitro. In Rag2−/−γc−/− immunodeficient mice reconstituted with human peripheral mononuclear cells (huPBMCs), PAM reduces disease severity and mortality caused by human seasonal H1N1 and avian H5N1 influenza virus, and controls the lung inflammation and viral replication. PAM has no such effects in influenza virus–infected Rag2−/−γc−/− mice reconstituted with Vγ9Vδ2 T cell–depleted huPBMCs. Our study provides proof-of-concept of a novel therapeutic strategy for treating influenza by targeting the host rather than the virus, thereby reducing the opportunity for the emergence of drug-resistant viruses. As PAM has been commonly used to treat osteoporosis and Paget’s disease, this new application of an old drug potentially offers a safe and readily available option for treating influenza.
PMCID: PMC3135369  PMID: 21708931
5.  A novel subset of CD4+ TH2 memory/effector cells that produce inflammatory IL-17 cytokine and promote the exacerbation of chronic allergic asthma 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(11):2479-2491.
Memory CD4+ T cells that produce both Th2 and Th17 cytokines are increased in the blood of patients with atopic asthma and in the lungs of asthmatic mice, where they contribute to inflammation.
The inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 is involved in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. However, the identity and functions of IL-17–producing T cells during the pathogenesis of allergic diseases remain unclear. Here, we report a novel subset of TH2 memory/effector cells that coexpress the transcription factors GATA3 and RORγt and coproduce TH17 and TH2 cytokines. Classical TH2 memory/effector cells had the potential to produce IL-17 after stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-21. The number of IL-17-TH2 cells was significantly increased in blood of patients with atopic asthma. In a mouse model of allergic lung diseases, IL-17–producing CD4+ TH2 cells were induced in the inflamed lung and persisted as the dominant IL-17–producing T cell population during the chronic stage of asthma. Treating cultured bronchial epithelial cells with IL-17 plus TH2 cytokines induced strong up-regulation of chemokine eotaxin-3, Il8, Mip1b, and Groa gene expression. Compared with classical TH17 and TH2 cells, antigen-specific IL-17–producing TH2 cells induced a profound influx of heterogeneous inflammatory leukocytes and exacerbated asthma. Our findings highlight the plasticity of TH2 memory cells and suggest that IL-17–producing TH2 cells may represent the key pathogenic TH2 cells promoting the exacerbation of allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC2964570  PMID: 20921287
6.  NOD2 regulates hematopoietic cell function during graft-versus-host disease 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(10):2101-2110.
Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) polymorphisms are independent risk factors for Crohn's disease and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In Crohn's disease, the proinflammatory state resulting from NOD2 mutations have been associated with a loss of antibacterial function of enterocytes such as paneth cells. NOD2 has not been studied in experimental allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (allo-BMT). Using chimeric recipients with NOD2−/− hematopoietic cells, we demonstrate that NOD2 deficiency in host hematopoietic cells exacerbates GVHD. We found that proliferation and activation of donor T cells was enhanced in NOD-deficient allo-BMT recipients, suggesting that NOD2 plays a role in the regulation of host antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Next, we used bone marrow chimeras in an experimental colitis model and observed again that NOD2 deficiency in the hematopoietic cells results in increased intestinal inflammation. We conclude that NOD2 regulates the development of GVHD through its inhibitory effect on host APC function.
PMCID: PMC2757869  PMID: 19737867
7.  Innate NKT lymphocytes confer superior adaptive immunity via tumor-capturing dendritic cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2005;202(11):1507-1516.
If irradiated tumor cells could be rendered immunogenic, they would provide a safe, broad, and patient-specific array of antigens for immunotherapies. Prior approaches have emphasized genetic transduction of live tumor cells to express cytokines, costimulators, and surrogate foreign antigens. We asked if immunity could be achieved by delivering irradiated, major histocompatibility complex–negative plasmacytoma cells to maturing mouse dendritic cells (DCs) within lymphoid organs. Tumor cells injected intravenously (i.v.) were captured by splenic DCs, whereas subcutaneous (s.c.) injection led only to weak uptake in lymph node or spleen. The natural killer T (NKT) cells mobilizing glycolipid α-galactosyl ceramide, used to mature splenic DCs, served as an effective adjuvant to induce protective immunity. This adjuvant function was mimicked by a combination of poly IC and agonistic αCD40 antibody. The adjuvant glycolipid had to be coadministered with tumor cells i.v. rather than s.c. Specific resistance was generated both to a plasmacytoma and lymphoma. The resistance afforded by a single vaccination lasted >2 mo and required both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Mature tumor capturing DCs stimulated the differentiation of P1A tumor antigen-specific, CD8+ T cells and uniquely transferred tumor resistance to naive mice. Therefore, the access of dying tumor cells to DCs that are maturing to activated NKT cells efficiently induces long-lived adaptive resistance.
PMCID: PMC2213343  PMID: 16330814
8.  CD24 Controls Expansion and Persistence of Autoreactive T Cells in the Central Nervous System during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis 
In the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model for multiple sclerosis (MS), autoreactive T cells must be activated and clonally expand in the lymphoid organs, and then migrate into the central nervous system (CNS) where they undergo further activation. It is unclear whether the autoreactive T cells further expand in the CNS and if so, what interactions are required for this process. We have demonstrated previously that expression by the host cells of the heat-stable antigen (CD24), which was recently identified as a genetic modifier for MS, is essential for their susceptibility to EAE. Here we show that CD24 is essential for local clonal expansion and persistence of T cells after their migration into the CNS, and that expression of CD24 on either hematopoietic cells or nonhematopoietic antigen-presenting cells in the recipient is sufficient to confer susceptibility to EAE.
PMCID: PMC2211938  PMID: 15314074
costimulatory molecules; autoimmune diseases; central nervous system; multiple sclerosis; clonal expansion
9.  B7DC/PDL2 Promotes Tumor Immunity by a PD-1–independent Mechanism 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2003;197(12):1721-1730.
B7H1 (PDL1) and B7DC (PDL2) are two new members of the B7 family that can interact with PD-1, a putative negative regulator for immune function. Recent studies have provided evidence for inhibitory functions of both members via PD-1. Meanwhile, compelling evidence exists for costimulatory function of both members. Here we demonstrate that expression of B7DC on the tumor cells promotes CD8 T cell–mediated rejection of tumor cells, at both the induction and effector phase of antitumor immunity. Moreover, B7DC binds to PD-1(−/−) cells and enhances T cell killing in a PD-1–independent mechanism. Our results demonstrate a novel pathway for B7DC to promote tumor immunity and may reconcile the apparently contradictory findings on the function of B7DC.
PMCID: PMC2193953  PMID: 12810690
tumor immunity; costimulatory molecules; cytolytic T lymphocytes
10.  Perinatal Blockade of B7-1 and B7-2 Inhibits Clonal Deletion of Highly Pathogenic Autoreactive T Cells 
A number of in vitro studies have suggested that costimulatory molecules B7-1 and B7-2 and their receptor CD28 can promote clonal deletion, and limited in vivo studies have indicated that CD28 is involved in the clonal deletion of some T cells. However, the significance of B7-mediated clonal deletion in preventing autoimmune diseases has not been studied systematically. Here we report that the perinatal blockade of B7-1 and B7-2 substantially inhibits the clonal deletion of T cells in the thymus and leads to an accumulation of T cells capable of inducing fatal multiorgan inflammation. These results reveal a critical role for costimulatory molecules B7-1 and B7-2 in deleting pathogenic autoreactive T cells in the thymus. The critical role of B7-1 and B7-2 in T cell clonal deletion may explain, at least in part, the paradoxical increase of autoimmune disease in mice deficient for this family of costimulatory molecules, such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated molecule 4, CD28, and B7-2. The strong pathogenicity of the self-reactive T cells supports a central hypothesis in immunology, which is that clonal deletion plays an important role in preventing autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC2193695  PMID: 11956287
autoimmunity; clonal deletion; B7-1 and B7-2; CD28; CTLA-4
11.  VEGF controls lung Th2 inflammation via the miR-1–Mpl (myeloproliferative leukemia virus oncogene)–P-selectin axis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(10):1993-2010.
VEGF dampens the expression of microRNA-1, which drives inflammation in part via increasing the expression of Mpl.
Asthma, the prototypic Th2-mediated inflammatory disorder of the lung, is an emergent disease worldwide. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a critical regulator of pulmonary Th2 inflammation, but the underlying mechanism and the roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in this process have not been defined. Here we show that lung-specific overexpression of VEGF decreases miR-1 expression in the lung, most prominently in the endothelium, and a similar down-regulation occurs in lung endothelium in Th2 inflammation models. Intranasal delivery of miR-1 inhibited inflammatory responses to ovalbumin, house dust mite, and IL-13 overexpression. Blocking VEGF inhibited Th2-mediated lung inflammation, and this was restored by antagonizing miR-1. Using mRNA arrays, Argonaute pull-down assays, luciferase expression assays, and mutational analysis, we identified Mpl as a direct target of miR-1 and showed that VEGF controls the expression of endothelial Mpl during Th2 inflammation via the regulation of miR-1. In vivo knockdown of Mpl inhibited Th2 inflammation and indirectly inhibited the expression of P-selectin in lung endothelium. These experiments define a novel VEGF–miR-1–Mpl–P-selectin effector pathway in lung Th2 inflammation and herald the utility of miR-1 and Mpl as potential therapeutic targets for asthma.
PMCID: PMC3782056  PMID: 24043765
12.  Inherited human OX40 deficiency underlying classic Kaposi sarcoma of childhood 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(9):1743-1759.
Human OX40 is necessary for robust CD4+ T cell memory and confers selective protective immunity against HHV-8 infection in endothelial cells.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS), a human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8; also called KSHV)–induced endothelial tumor, develops only in a small fraction of individuals infected with HHV-8. We hypothesized that inborn errors of immunity to HHV-8 might underlie the exceedingly rare development of classic KS in childhood. We report here autosomal recessive OX40 deficiency in an otherwise healthy adult with childhood-onset classic KS. OX40 is a co-stimulatory receptor expressed on activated T cells. Its ligand, OX40L, is expressed on various cell types, including endothelial cells. We found OX40L was abundantly expressed in KS lesions. The mutant OX40 protein was poorly expressed on the cell surface and failed to bind OX40L, resulting in complete functional OX40 deficiency. The patient had a low proportion of effector memory CD4+ T cells in the peripheral blood, consistent with impaired CD4+ T cell responses to recall antigens in vitro. The proportion of effector memory CD8+ T cells was less diminished. The proportion of circulating memory B cells was low, but the antibody response in vivo was intact, including the response to a vaccine boost. Together, these findings suggest that human OX40 is necessary for robust CD4+ T cell memory and confers apparently selective protective immunity against HHV-8 infection in endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3754857  PMID: 23897980
13.  Immune history shapes specificity of pandemic H1N1 influenza antibody responses 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(8):1493-1500.
The specificity of H1N1 antibody responses can be shifted to epitopes near the HA receptor–binding domain after sequential infections with viral strains that share homology in this region.
Human antibody responses against the 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) virus are predominantly directed against conserved epitopes in the stalk and receptor-binding domain of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein. This is in stark contrast to pH1N1 antibody responses generated in ferrets, which are focused on the variable Sa antigenic site of HA. Here, we show that most humans born between 1983 and 1996 elicited pH1N1 antibody responses that are directed against an epitope near the HA receptor–binding domain. Importantly, most individuals born before 1983 or after 1996 did not elicit pH1N1 antibodies to this HA epitope. The HAs of most seasonal H1N1 (sH1N1) viruses that circulated between 1983 and 1996 possess a critical K133 amino acid in this HA epitope, whereas this amino acid is either mutated or deleted in most sH1N1 viruses circulating before 1983 or after 1996. We sequentially infected ferrets with a 1991 sH1N1 virus and then a pH1N1 virus. Sera isolated from these animals were directed against the HA epitope involving amino acid K133. These data suggest that the specificity of pH1N1 antibody responses can be shifted to epitopes near the HA receptor–binding domain after sequential infections with sH1N1 and pH1N1 viruses that share homology in this region.
PMCID: PMC3727314  PMID: 23857983
14.  USP18 inhibits NF-κB and NFAT activation during Th17 differentiation by deubiquitinating the TAK1–TAB1 complex 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(8):1575-1590.
Ubiquitin-specific protease 18 inhibits ubiquitination of TAK1–TAB complexes to restrict IL-2 production and promote Th17 differentiation and autoimmune responses.
Reversible ubiquitin modification of cell signaling molecules has emerged as a critical mechanism by which cells respond to extracellular stimuli. Although ubiquitination of TGF-β–activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is critical for NF-κB activation in T cells, the regulation of its deubiquitination is unclear. We show that USP18, which was previously reported to be important in regulating type I interferon signaling in innate immunity, regulates T cell activation and T helper 17 (Th17) cell differentiation by deubiquitinating the TAK1–TAB1 complex. USP18-deficient T cells are defective in Th17 differentiation and Usp18−/− mice are resistant to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In response to T cell receptor engagement, USP18-deficient T cells exhibit hyperactivation of NF-κB and NFAT and produce increased levels of IL-2 compared with the wild-type controls. Importantly, USP18 is associated with and deubiquitinates the TAK1–TAB1 complex, thereby restricting expression of IL-2. Our findings thus demonstrate a previously uncharacterized negative regulation of TAK1 activity during Th17 differentiation, suggesting that USP18 may be targeted to treat autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3727316  PMID: 23825189
16.  Identification of autoantigens recognized by the 2F5 and 4E10 broadly neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies 
Immunological tolerance to self-antigen impairs humoral responses to HIV-1.
Many human monoclonal antibodies that neutralize multiple clades of HIV-1 are polyreactive and bind avidly to mammalian autoantigens. Indeed, the generation of neutralizing antibodies to the 2F5 and 4E10 epitopes of HIV-1 gp41 in man may be proscribed by immune tolerance because mice expressing the VH and VL regions of 2F5 have a block in B cell development that is characteristic of central tolerance. This developmental blockade implies the presence of tolerizing autoantigens that are mimicked by the membrane-proximal external region of HIV-1 gp41. We identify human kynureninase (KYNU) and splicing factor 3b subunit 3 (SF3B3) as the primary conserved, vertebrate self-antigens recognized by the 2F5 and 4E10 antibodies, respectively. 2F5 binds the H4 domain of KYNU which contains the complete 2F5 linear epitope (ELDKWA). 4E10 recognizes an epitope of SF3B3 that is strongly dependent on hydrophobic interactions. Opossums carry a rare KYNU H4 domain that abolishes 2F5 binding, but they retain the SF3B3 4E10 epitope. Immunization of opossums with HIV-1 gp140 induced extraordinary titers of serum antibody to the 2F5 ELDKWA epitope but little or nothing to the 4E10 determinant. Identification of structural motifs shared by vertebrates and HIV-1 provides direct evidence that immunological tolerance can impair humoral responses to HIV-1.
PMCID: PMC3570098  PMID: 23359068
17.  Bcl11a is essential for lymphoid development and negatively regulates p53 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(13):2467-2483.
Bcl11a regulates development of lymphoid cells in adult mice in part by inhibiting expression of p53.
Transcription factors play important roles in lymphopoiesis. We have previously demonstrated that Bcl11a is essential for normal lymphocyte development in the mouse embryo. We report here that, in the adult mouse, Bcl11a is expressed in most hematopoietic cells and is highly enriched in B cells, early T cell progenitors, common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs), and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). In the adult mouse, Bcl11a deletion causes apoptosis in early B cells and CLPs and completely abolishes the lymphoid development potential of HSCs to B, T, and NK cells. Myeloid development, in contrast, is not obviously affected by the loss of Bcl11a. Bcl11a regulates expression of Bcl2, Bcl2-xL, and Mdm2, which inhibits p53 activities. Overexpression of Bcl2 and Mdm2, or p53 deficiency, rescues both lethality and proliferative defects in Bcl11a-deficient early B cells and enables the mutant CLPs to differentiate to lymphocytes. Bcl11a is therefore essential for lymphopoiesis and negatively regulates p53 activities. Deletion of Bcl11a may represent a new approach for generating a mouse model that completely lacks an adaptive immune system.
PMCID: PMC3526365  PMID: 23230003
18.  The α7nACh–NMDA receptor complex is involved in cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(12):2141-2147.
Disrupting the α7nAChR–NMDAR complex blocks cue-induced nicotine seeking.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and premature death. Nicotine, the main psychoactive drug in tobacco, is one of the most heavily used addictive substances, and its continued use is driven through activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Despite harmful consequences, it is difficult to quit smoking because of its positive effects on mood and cognition that are strong reinforcers contributing to addiction. Furthermore, a formidable challenge for the treatment of nicotine addiction is the high vulnerability to relapse after abstinence. There is no currently available smoking cessation product able to achieve a >20% smoking cessation rate after 52 wk, and there are no medications that directly target the relapse process. We report here that the α7nAChR forms a protein complex with the NMDA glutamate receptor (NMDAR) through a direct protein–protein interaction. Chronic nicotine exposure promotes α7nAChR–NMDAR complex formation. Interestingly, administration of an interfering peptide that disrupts the α7nAChR–NMDAR complex decreased extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity and blocked cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking in rat models of relapse, without affecting nicotine self-administration or locomotor activity. Our results may provide a novel therapeutic target for the development of medications for preventing nicotine relapse.
PMCID: PMC3501362  PMID: 23091164
19.  Induction of tumoricidal function in CD4+ T cells is associated with concomitant memory and terminally differentiated phenotype 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(11):2113-2126.
OX40 engagement induces a cytotoxic CD4+ T cell subpopulation to eradicate advance melanomas
Harnessing the adaptive immune response to treat malignancy is now a clinical reality. Several strategies are used to treat melanoma; however, very few result in a complete response. CD4+ T cells are important and potent mediators of anti-tumor immunity and adoptive transfer of specific CD4+ T cells can promote tumor regression in mice and patients. OX40, a costimulatory molecule expressed primarily on activated CD4+ T cells, promotes and enhances anti-tumor immunity with limited success on large tumors in mice. We show that OX40 engagement, in the context of chemotherapy-induced lymphopenia, induces a novel CD4+ T cell population characterized by the expression of the master regulator eomesodermin that leads to both terminal differentiation and central memory phenotype, with concomitant secretion of Th1 and Th2 cytokines. This subpopulation of CD4+ T cells eradicates very advanced melanomas in mice, and an analogous population of human tumor-specific CD4+ T cells can kill melanoma in an in vitro system. The potency of the therapy extends to support a bystander killing effect of antigen loss variants. Our results show that these uniquely programmed effector CD4+ T cells have a distinctive phenotype with increased tumoricidal capability and support the use of immune modulation in reprogramming the phenotype of CD4+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC3478933  PMID: 23008334
20.  Bcl6 expression specifies the T follicular helper cell program in vivo 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(10):1841-1852.
A novel Bcl6 reporter mouse is used to dissect the developmental requirements, plasticity, and genetic profile of Tfh cells.
T follicular helper cells (Tfh cells) play a pivotal role in germinal center reactions, which require B cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl6) transcription factor. To analyze their relationships with other effector T cell lineages and their stability in vivo, we developed and analyzed a new Bcl6 reporter mouse alone or together with other lineage reporter systems. Assisted with genome-wide transcriptome analysis, we show substantial plasticity of T cell differentiation in the early phase of immune response. At this stage, CXCR5 appears to be expressed in a Bcl6-independent manner. Once Bcl6 is highly expressed, Tfh cells can persist in vivo and some of them develop into memory cells. Together, our results indicate Bcl6 as a bona fide marker for Tfh polarized program.
PMCID: PMC3457730  PMID: 22987803
21.  Zinc finger transcription factor zDC is a negative regulator required to prevent activation of classical dendritic cells in the steady state 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(9):1583-1593.
Conventional DCs from mice lacking zDC (also known as Zbtb46) express more MHCII and produce more VEGF in the steady state.
Classical dendritic cells (cDCs) process and present antigens to T cells. Under steady-state conditions, antigen presentation by cDCs induces tolerance. In contrast, during infection or inflammation, cDCs become activated, express higher levels of cell surface MHC molecules, and induce strong adaptive immune responses. We recently identified a cDC-restricted zinc finger transcription factor, zDC (also known as Zbtb46 or Btbd4), that is not expressed by other immune cell populations, including plasmacytoid DCs, monocytes, or macrophages. We define the zDC consensus DNA binding motif and the genes regulated by zDC using chromatin immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing. By deleting zDC from the mouse genome, we show that zDC is primarily a negative regulator of cDC gene expression. zDC deficiency alters the cDC subset composition in the spleen in favor of CD8+ DCs, up-regulates activation pathways in steady-state cDCs, including elevated MHC II expression, and enhances cDC production of vascular endothelial growth factor leading to increased vascularization of skin-draining lymph nodes. Consistent with these observations, zDC protein expression is rapidly down-regulated after TLR stimulation. Thus, zDC is a TLR-responsive, cDC-specific transcriptional repressor that is in part responsible for preventing cDC maturation in the steady state.
PMCID: PMC3428942  PMID: 22851594
22.  Mutually exclusive redox forms of HMGB1 promote cell recruitment or proinflammatory cytokine release 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(9):1519-1528.
HMGB1 orchestrates leukocyte recruitment and their induction to secrete inflammatory cytokines by switching between mutually exclusive redox states.
Tissue damage causes inflammation, by recruiting leukocytes and activating them to release proinflammatory mediators. We show that high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) orchestrates both processes by switching among mutually exclusive redox states. Reduced cysteines make HMGB1 a chemoattractant, whereas a disulfide bond makes it a proinflammatory cytokine and further cysteine oxidation to sulfonates by reactive oxygen species abrogates both activities. We show that leukocyte recruitment and activation can be separated. A nonoxidizable HMGB1 mutant in which serines replace all cysteines (3S-HMGB1) does not promote cytokine production, but is more effective than wild-type HMGB1 in recruiting leukocytes in vivo. BoxA, a HMGB1 inhibitor, interferes with leukocyte recruitment but not with activation. We detected the different redox forms of HMGB1 ex vivo within injured muscle. HMGB1 is completely reduced at first and disulfide-bonded later. Thus, HMGB1 orchestrates both key events in sterile inflammation, leukocyte recruitment and their induction to secrete inflammatory cytokines, by adopting mutually exclusive redox states.
PMCID: PMC3428943  PMID: 22869893
23.  miR-146a controls the resolution of T cell responses in mice 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(9):1655-1670.
By suppressing expression of TRAF6 and IRAK1, miR-146a regulates NF-κB activation in T cells through a negative feedback loop and controls the resolution of T cell responses in mice.
T cell responses in mammals must be tightly regulated to both provide effective immune protection and avoid inflammation-induced pathology. NF-κB activation is a key signaling event induced by T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation. Dysregulation of NF-κB is associated with T cell–mediated inflammatory diseases and malignancies, highlighting the importance of negative feedback control of TCR-induced NF-κB activity. In this study we show that in mice, T cells lacking miR-146a are hyperactive in both acute antigenic responses and chronic inflammatory autoimmune responses. TCR-driven NF-κB activation up-regulates the expression of miR-146a, which in turn down-regulates NF-κB activity, at least partly through repressing the NF-κB signaling transducers TRAF6 and IRAK1. Thus, our results identify miR-146a as an important new member of the negative feedback loop that controls TCR signaling to NF-κB. Our findings also add microRNA to the list of regulators that control the resolution of T cell responses.
PMCID: PMC3428948  PMID: 22891274
24.  Broad neutralization by a combination of antibodies recognizing the CD4 binding site and a new conformational epitope on the HIV-1 envelope protein 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(8):1469-1479.
A new method is used to isolate neutralizing antibodies recognizing a new epitope on the cell surface–expressed, but not soluble, HIV-1 spike.
Two to three years after infection, a fraction of HIV-1–infected individuals develop serologic activity that neutralizes most viral isolates. Broadly neutralizing antibodies that recognize the HIV-1 envelope protein have been isolated from these patients by single-cell sorting and by neutralization screens. Here, we report a new method for anti–HIV-1 antibody isolation based on capturing single B cells that recognize the HIV-1 envelope protein expressed on the surface of transfected cells. Although far less efficient than soluble protein baits, the cell-based capture method identified antibodies that bind to a new broadly neutralizing epitope in the vicinity of the V3 loop and the CD4-induced site (CD4i). The new epitope is expressed on the cell surface form of the HIV-1 spike, but not on soluble forms of the same envelope protein. Moreover, the new antibodies complement the neutralization spectrum of potent broadly neutralizing anti-CD4 binding site (CD4bs) antibodies obtained from the same individual. Thus, combinations of potent broadly neutralizing antibodies with complementary activity can account for the breadth and potency of naturally arising anti–HIV-1 serologic activity. Therefore, vaccines aimed at eliciting anti–HIV-1 serologic breadth and potency should not be limited to single epitopes.
PMCID: PMC3409500  PMID: 22826297
25.  Expression of the zinc finger transcription factor zDC (Zbtb46, Btbd4) defines the classical dendritic cell lineage 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(6):1153-1165.
The zinc finger transcription factor zDC is uniquely expressed by the cDC lineage among immune cells, and the insertion of diphtheria toxin receptor cDNA into the zDC locus allows specific ablation of the cDC lineage in mice.
Classical dendritic cells (cDCs), monocytes, and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) arise from a common bone marrow precursor (macrophage and DC progenitors [MDPs]) and express many of the same surface markers, including CD11c. We describe a previously uncharacterized zinc finger transcription factor, zDC (Zbtb46, Btbd4), which is specifically expressed by cDCs and committed cDC precursors but not by monocytes, pDCs, or other immune cell populations. We inserted diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor (DTR) cDNA into the 3′ UTR of the zDC locus to serve as an indicator of zDC expression and as a means to specifically deplete cDCs. Mice bearing this knockin express DTR in cDCs but not other immune cell populations, and DT injection into zDC-DTR bone marrow chimeras results in cDC depletion. In contrast to previously characterized CD11c-DTR mice, non-cDCs, including pDCs, monocytes, macrophages, and NK cells, were spared after DT injection in zDC-DTR mice. We compared immune responses to Toxoplasma gondii and MO4 melanoma in DT-treated zDC- and CD11c-DTR mice and found that immunity was only partially impaired in zDC-DTR mice. Our results indicate that CD11c-expressing non-cDCs make significant contributions to initiating immunity to parasites and tumors.
PMCID: PMC3371731  PMID: 22615130

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