NK cells, lymphocytes of the innate immune system, are important for defense against infectious pathogens and cancer. Classically, the CD56dim NK cell subset is thought to mediate antitumor responses, whereas the CD56bright subset is involved in immunomodulation. Here, we challenge this paradigm by demonstrating that brief priming with IL-15 markedly enhanced the antitumor response of CD56bright NK cells. Priming improved multiple CD56bright cell functions: degranulation, cytotoxicity, and cytokine production. Primed CD56bright cells from leukemia patients demonstrated enhanced responses to autologous blasts in vitro, and primed CD56bright cells controlled leukemia cells in vivo in a murine xenograft model. Primed CD56bright cells from multiple myeloma (MM) patients displayed superior responses to autologous myeloma targets, and furthermore, CD56bright NK cells from MM patients primed with the IL-15 receptor agonist ALT-803 in vivo displayed enhanced ex vivo functional responses to MM targets. Effector mechanisms contributing to IL-15–based priming included improved cytotoxic protein expression, target cell conjugation, and LFA-1–, CD2-, and NKG2D-dependent activation of NK cells. Finally, IL-15 robustly stimulated the PI3K/Akt/mTOR and MEK/ERK pathways in CD56bright compared with CD56dim NK cells, and blockade of these pathways attenuated antitumor responses. These findings identify CD56bright NK cells as potent antitumor effectors that warrant further investigation as a cancer immunotherapy.
Julia A. Wagner, Maximillian Rosario, Rizwan Romee, Melissa M. Berrien-Elliott, Stephanie E. Schneider, Jeffrey W. Leong, Ryan P. Sullivan, Brea A. Jewell, Michelle Becker-Hapak, Timothy Schappe, Sara Abdel-Latif, Aaron R. Ireland, Devika Jaishankar, Justin A. King, Ravi Vij, Dennis Clement, Jodie Goodridge, Karl-Johan Malmberg, Hing C. Wong, Todd A. Fehniger
Consumption of human breast milk (HBM) attenuates the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which remains a leading and intractable cause of mortality in preterm infants. Here, we report that this diminution correlates with alterations in the gut microbiota, particularly enrichment of Propionibacterium species. Transfaunation of microbiota from HBM-fed preterm infants or a newly identified and cultured Propionibacterium strain, P. UF1, to germfree mice conferred protection against pathogen infection and correlated with profound increases in intestinal Th17 cells. The induction of Th17 cells was dependent on bacterial dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase (DlaT), a major protein expressed on the P. UF1 surface layer (S-layer). Binding of P. UF1 to its cognate receptor, SIGNR1, on dendritic cells resulted in the regulation of intestinal phagocytes. Importantly, transfer of P. UF1 profoundly mitigated induced NEC-like injury in neonatal mice. Together, these results mechanistically elucidate the protective effects of HBM and P. UF1–induced immunoregulation, which safeguard against proinflammatory diseases, including NEC.
Natacha Colliou, Yong Ge, Bikash Sahay, Minghao Gong, Mojgan Zadeh, Jennifer L. Owen, Josef Neu, William G. Farmerie, Francis Alonzo III, Ken Liu, Dean P. Jones, Shuzhao Li, Mansour Mohamadzadeh
Macrophages are attracted to developing tumors and can participate in immune surveillance to eliminate neoplastic cells. In response, neoplastic cells utilize NF-κB to suppress this killing activity, but the mechanisms underlying their self-protection remain unclear. Here, we report that this dynamic interaction between tumor cells and macrophages is integrally linked by a soluble factor identified as growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15). In vitro, tumor-derived GDF-15 signals in macrophages to suppress their proapoptotic activity by inhibiting TNF and nitric oxide (NO) production. In vivo, depletion of GDF-15 in Ras-driven tumor xenografts and in an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer delayed tumor development. This delay correlated with increased infiltrating antitumor macrophages. Further, production of GDF-15 is directly regulated by NF-κB, and the colocalization of activated NF-κB and GDF-15 in epithelial ducts of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma supports the importance of this observation. Mechanistically, we found that GDF-15 suppresses macrophage activity by inhibiting TGF-β–activated kinase (TAK1) signaling to NF-κB, thereby blocking synthesis of TNF and NO. Based on these results, we propose that the NF-κB/GDF-15 regulatory axis is important for tumor cells in evading macrophage immune surveillance during the early stages of tumorigenesis.
Nivedita M. Ratnam, Jennifer M. Peterson, Erin E. Talbert, Katherine J. Ladner, Priyani V. Rajasekera, Carl R. Schmidt, Mary E. Dillhoff, Benjamin J. Swanson, Ericka Haverick, Raleigh D. Kladney, Terence M. Williams, Gustavo W. Leone, David J. Wang, Denis C. Guttridge
Autoreactive CD4 T cells that differentiate into pathogenic Th17 cells can trigger autoimmune diseases. Therefore, investigating the regulatory network that modulates Th17 differentiation may yield important therapeutic insights. miR-146a has emerged as a critical modulator of immune reactions, but its role in regulating autoreactive Th17 cells and organ-specific autoimmunity remains largely unknown. Here, we have reported that miR-146a–deficient mice developed more severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of human multiple sclerosis (MS). We bred miR-146a–deficient mice with 2D2 T cell receptor–Tg mice to generate 2D2 CD4 T cells that are deficient in miR-146a and specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), an autoantigen in the EAE model. miR-146a–deficient 2D2 T cells induced more severe EAE and were more prone to differentiate into Th17 cells. Microarray analysis revealed enhancements in IL-6– and IL-21–induced Th17 differentiation pathways in these T cells. Further study showed that miR-146a inhibited the production of autocrine IL-6 and IL-21 in 2D2 T cells, which in turn reduced their Th17 differentiation. Thus, our study identifies miR-146a as an important molecular brake that blocks the autocrine IL-6– and IL-21–induced Th17 differentiation pathways in autoreactive CD4 T cells, highlighting its potential as a therapeutic target for treating autoimmune diseases.
Bo Li, Xi Wang, In Young Choi, Yu-Chen Wang, Siyuan Liu, Alexander T. Pham, Heesung Moon, Drake J. Smith, Dinesh S. Rao, Mark P. Boldin, Lili Yang
During an immune response, CD8+ T lymphocytes can undergo asymmetric division, giving rise to daughter cells that exhibit distinct tendencies to adopt terminal effector and memory cell fates. Here we show that “pre-effector” and “pre-memory” cells resulting from the first CD8+ T cell division in vivo exhibited low and high rates of endogenous proteasome activity, respectively. Pharmacologic reduction of proteasome activity in CD8+ T cells early during differentiation resulted in acquisition of terminal effector cell characteristics, whereas enhancement of proteasome activity conferred attributes of memory lymphocytes. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses revealed that modulating proteasome activity in CD8+ T cells affected cellular metabolism. These metabolic changes were mediated, in part, through differential expression of Myc, a transcription factor that controls glycolysis and metabolic reprogramming. Taken together, these results demonstrate that proteasome activity is an important regulator of CD8+ T cell fate and raise the possibility that increasing proteasome activity may be a useful therapeutic strategy to enhance the generation of memory lymphocytes.
Christella E. Widjaja, Jocelyn G. Olvera, Patrick J. Metz, Anthony T. Phan, Jeffrey N. Savas, Gerjan de Bruin, Yves Leestemaker, Celia R. Berkers, Annemieke de Jong, Bogdan I. Florea, Kathleen Fisch, Justine Lopez, Stephanie H. Kim, Daniel A. Garcia, Stephen Searles, Jack D. Bui, Aaron N. Chang, John R. Yates III, Ananda W. Goldrath, Hermen S. Overkleeft, Huib Ovaa, John T. Chang
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) remain mostly quiescent under steady-state conditions but switch to a proliferative state following hematopoietic stress, e.g., bone marrow (BM) injury, transplantation, or systemic infection and inflammation. The homeostatic balance between quiescence, self-renewal, and differentiation of HSCs is strongly dependent on their interactions with cells that constitute a specialized microanatomical environment in the BM known as the HSC niche. Here, we identified the secreted extracellular matrix protein Del-1 as a component and regulator of the HSC niche. Specifically, we found that Del-1 was expressed by several cellular components of the HSC niche, including arteriolar endothelial cells, CXCL12-abundant reticular (CAR) cells, and cells of the osteoblastic lineage. Del-1 promoted critical functions of the HSC niche, as it regulated long-term HSC (LT-HSC) proliferation and differentiation toward the myeloid lineage. Del-1 deficiency in mice resulted in reduced LT-HSC proliferation and infringed preferentially upon myelopoiesis under both steady-state and stressful conditions, such as hematopoietic cell transplantation and G-CSF– or inflammation-induced stress myelopoiesis. Del-1–induced HSC proliferation and myeloid lineage commitment were mediated by β3 integrin on hematopoietic progenitors. This hitherto unknown Del-1 function in the HSC niche represents a juxtacrine homeostatic adaptation of the hematopoietic system in stress myelopoiesis.
Ioannis Mitroulis, Lan-Sun Chen, Rashim Pal Singh, Ioannis Kourtzelis, Matina Economopoulou, Tetsuhiro Kajikawa, Maria Troullinaki, Athanasios Ziogas, Klara Ruppova, Kavita Hosur, Tomoki Maekawa, Baomei Wang, Pallavi Subramanian, Torsten Tonn, Panayotis Verginis, Malte von Bonin, Manja Wobus, Martin Bornhäuser, Tatyana Grinenko, Marianna Di Scala, Andres Hidalgo, Ben Wielockx, George Hajishengallis, Triantafyllos Chavakis
Claudin-low breast cancer is an aggressive subtype that confers poor prognosis and is found largely within the clinical triple-negative group of breast cancer patients. Here, we have shown that intrinsic and immune cell gene signatures distinguish the claudin-low subtype clinically as well as in mouse models of other breast cancer subtypes. Despite adaptive immune cell infiltration in claudin-low tumors, treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitory antibodies against cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) were ineffective in controlling tumor growth. CD4+FoxP3+ Tregs represented a large proportion of the tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in claudin-low tumors, and Tregs isolated from tumor-bearing mice were able to suppress effector T cell responses. Tregs in the tumor microenvironment highly expressed PD-1 and were recruited partly through tumor generation of the chemokine CXCL12. Antitumor efficacy required stringent Treg depletion combined with checkpoint inhibition; delays in tumor growth were not observed using therapies that modestly diminished the number of Tregs in the tumor microenvironment. This study provides evidence that the recruitment of Tregs to the tumor microenvironment inhibits an effective antitumor immune response and highlights early Treg recruitment as a possible mechanism for the lack of response to immune checkpoint blockade antibodies in specific subtypes of cancer that are heavily infiltrated with adaptive immune cells.
Nicholas A. Taylor, Sarah C. Vick, Michael D. Iglesia, W. June Brickey, Bentley R. Midkiff, Karen P. McKinnon, Shannon Reisdorf, Carey K. Anders, Lisa A. Carey, Joel S. Parker, Charles M. Perou, Benjamin G. Vincent, Jonathan S. Serody
In response to injury, epithelial cells migrate and proliferate to cover denuded mucosal surfaces and repair the barrier defect. This process is orchestrated by dynamic crosstalk between immune cells and the epithelium; however, the mechanisms involved remain incompletely understood. Here, we report that IL-10 was rapidly induced following intestinal mucosal injury and was required for optimal intestinal mucosal wound closure. Conditional deletion of IL-10 specifically in CD11c-expressing cells in vivo implicated macrophages as a critical innate immune contributor to IL-10–induced wound closure. Consistent with these findings, wound closure in T cell– and B cell–deficient Rag1–/– mice was unimpaired, demonstrating that adaptive immune cells are not absolutely required for this process. Further, following mucosal injury, macrophage-derived IL-10 resulted in epithelial cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB) activation and subsequent synthesis and secretion of the pro-repair WNT1-inducible signaling protein 1 (WISP-1). WISP-1 induced epithelial cell proliferation and wound closure by activating epithelial pro-proliferative pathways. These findings define the involvement of macrophages in regulating an IL-10/CREB/WISP-1 signaling axis, with broad implications in linking innate immune activation to mucosal wound repair.
Miguel Quiros, Hikaru Nishio, Philipp A. Neumann, Dorothee Siuda, Jennifer C. Brazil, Veronica Azcutia, Roland Hilgarth, Monique N. O’Leary, Vicky Garcia-Hernandez, Giovanna Leoni, Mingli Feng, Gabriela Bernal, Holly Williams, Priya H. Dedhia, Christian Gerner-Smidt, Jason Spence, Charles A. Parkos, Timothy L. Denning, Asma Nusrat
Mutations in the human NBEAL2 gene cause gray platelet syndrome (GPS), a bleeding diathesis characterized by a lack of α granules in platelets. The functions of the NBEAL2 protein have not been explored outside platelet biology, but there are reports of increased frequency of infection and abnormal neutrophil morphology in patients with GPS. We therefore investigated the role of NBEAL2 in immunity by analyzing the phenotype of Nbeal2-deficient mice. We found profound abnormalities in the Nbeal2-deficient immune system, particularly in the function of neutrophils and NK cells. Phenotyping of Nbeal2-deficient neutrophils showed a severe reduction in granule contents across all granule subsets. Despite this, Nbeal2-deficient neutrophils had an enhanced phagocyte respiratory burst relative to Nbeal2-expressing neutrophils. This respiratory burst was associated with increased expression of cytosolic components of the NADPH oxidase complex. Nbeal2-deficient NK cells were also dysfunctional and showed reduced degranulation. These abnormalities were associated with increased susceptibility to both bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus) and viral (murine CMV) infection in vivo. These results define an essential role for NBEAL2 in mammalian immunity.
John M. Sowerby, David C. Thomas, Simon Clare, Marion Espéli, Jose A. Guerrero, Kim Hoenderdos, Katherine Harcourt, Morgan Marsden, Juneid Abdul-Karim, Mathew Clement, Robin Antrobus, Yagnesh Umrania, Philippa R. Barton, Shaun M. Flint, Jatinder K. Juss, Alison M. Condliffe, Paul A. Lyons, Ian R. Humphreys, Edwin R. Chilvers, Willem H. Ouwehand, Gordon Dougan, Kenneth G.C. Smith
Asthma is associated with exposure to a wide variety of allergens and adjuvants. The extent to which overlap exists between the cellular and molecular mechanisms triggered by these various agents is poorly understood, but it might explain the differential responsiveness of patients to specific therapies. In particular, it is unclear why some, but not all, patients benefit from blockade of TNF. Here, we characterized signaling pathways triggered by distinct types of adjuvants during allergic sensitization. Mice sensitized to an innocuous protein using TLR ligands or house dust extracts as adjuvants developed mixed eosinophilic and neutrophilic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) following allergen challenge, whereas mice sensitized using proteases as adjuvants developed predominantly eosinophilic inflammation and AHR. TLR ligands, but not proteases, induced TNF during allergic sensitization. TNF signaled through airway epithelial cells to reprogram them and promote Th2, but not Th17, development in lymph nodes. TNF was also required during the allergen challenge phase for neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation. In contrast, TNF was dispensable for allergic airway disease in a protease-mediated model of asthma. These findings might help to explain why TNF blockade improves lung function in only some patients with asthma.
Gregory S. Whitehead, Seddon Y. Thomas, Karim H. Shalaby, Keiko Nakano, Timothy P. Moran, James M. Ward, Gordon P. Flake, Hideki Nakano, Donald N. Cook