In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (86)

Articles by Jonathan D. Powell in JoVE

 JoVE Immunology and Infection

Murine Full-thickness Skin Transplantation

1Sidney-Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2Department of Liver and Transplantation Surgery, Chang-Gung Transplantation Institute, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang-Gung University College of Medicine, 3Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation Laboratory, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

JoVE 55105

Other articles by Jonathan D. Powell on PubMed

NF-kappa B Activation Mediates the Cross-talk Between Extracellular Matrix and Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) Leading to Enhanced Monokine Induced by IFN-gamma (MIG) Expression in Macrophages

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Nov, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12226082

In intact tissue, the extracellular matrix (ECM) provides support and helps maintain homeostasis but is considered biologically inert. In the setting of inflammation, not only is the ECM the target of inflammation, but its breakdown products modulate the magnitude and quality of an immune response. Fragments of the ECM component hyaluronan (HA) induce macrophage expression of chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors as well greatly enhance IFN-gamma-induced MIG expression. In this report, we demonstrate that the synergistic induction of MIG by HA and IFN-gamma occurs at the level of transcription via NF-kappaB. Using electrophoretic mobility shift assays and reporter assays, we have identified two NF-kappaB sites proximal to the IFN-gamma-responsive element-1 (gammaRE-1) that mediate this effect. Interestingly, our experiments also revealed a critical role for NF-kappaB in mediating IFN-gamma-induced MIG expression independent of HA. These data emphasize the ability of "degraded self" to activate/modify immune responses through the NF-kappaB pathway.

Disruption of Id1 Reveals Major Differences in Angiogenesis Between Transplanted and Autochthonous Tumors

Cancer Cell. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14585356

Id genes regulate tumor angiogenesis and loss of Id1 inhibits tumor xenograft growth in mice. Here we evaluate the role of Id1 in a more clinically relevant tumor model system using a two-step chemical carcinogenesis protocol. Remarkably, we find that Id1-/- mice are more susceptible to skin tumorigenesis compared to their wild-type counterparts. Cutaneous neoplasms in Id1-/- mice show increased proliferation without alterations in tumor angiogenesis; however, Id1-/- mice possess 50% fewer cutaneous gammadelta T cells than their wild-type counterparts due to an intrinsic migration defect associated with loss of expression of the chemokine receptor, CXCR4. We suggest that there are important differences between the mechanisms of angiogenesis in transplanted and autochthonous tumors and that these findings will have significant implications for the potential utility of antiangiogenic therapies in cancer.

The Novel Cyclophilin Binding Compound, Sanglifehrin A, Disassociates G1 Cell Cycle Arrest from Tolerance Induction

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Apr, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15067056

T cell anergy has been demonstrated to play a role in maintaining peripheral tolerance to self Ags as well as a means by which tumors can evade immune destruction. Although the precise pathways involved in anergy induction have yet to be elucidated, it has been linked to TCR engagement in the setting of cell cycle arrest. Indeed, rapamycin, which inhibits T cell proliferation in G(1), has the ability to promote tolerance even in the presence of costimulation. To better define the role of the cell cycle in regulating anergy induction, we used the novel cyclophilin-binding ligand, sanglifehrin A (SFA). We demonstrate that SFA can inhibit TCR-induced cytokine and chemokine production without preventing TCR-induced anergy. Our data also indicate that despite its ability to induce G(1) arrest, SFA does not induce anergy in the presence of costimulation. Furthermore, although SFA blocks proliferation to exogenous IL-2, it does not prevent IL-2-induced reversal of anergy. When we examined the phosphorylation of 4EBP-1, a downstream substrate of the mammalian target of rapamycin, we found that rapamycin, but not SFA, inhibited the mammalian target of rapamycin activity. Based on these data, we propose that the decision as to whether TCR engagement will lead to productive activation or tolerance is dictated by a rapamycin -inhibitable pathway, independent of the G(1)-->S phase cell cycle progression.

Identification of the Molecular Mechanism by Which TLR Ligation and IFN-gamma Synergize to Induce MIG

Clinical & Developmental Immunology. Mar, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15154616

Monokine Induced by Interferon-gamma (MIG), a CXC chemokine, is a potent inducer of T-cell chemotaxis and activation and has been implicated in the host response to viral infections and tumor immunity as well as in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity and transplant rejection. Although it is known that the Toll-Like Receptor-4 (TLR-4) ligand LPS synergizes with IFN-gamma to induce MIG expression in macrophages, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the synergy have yet to be elucidated. We determined that the marked synergy between LPS and IFN-gamma on MIG mRNA expression in mouse macrophages is a result of LPS-induced NF-kappaB and IFN-gamma-induced STAT. The synergy was not dependent on new protein synthesis, was independent of TNF-alpha, and occurred at the level of gene transcription. We identified 2 NF-kappaB sites located at -154 and -129 of the MIG promoter proximal to the gamma-responsive element that mediated this effect. Finally, we demonstrated that other TLR ligands (zymosan, double stranded RNA and CpG) synergized with IFN-gamma to induce MIG in an NF-kappaB dependent fashion. These data emphasize the ability of bacterial and viral products to activate/modify immune responses and promote adaptive T cell immunity through the NF-kappaB pathway.

Role of LAG-3 in Regulatory T Cells

Immunity. Oct, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15485628

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) limit autoimmunity but also attenuate the magnitude of antipathogen and antitumor immunity. Understanding the mechanism of Treg function and therapeutic manipulation of Tregs in vivo requires identification of Treg-selective receptors. A comparative analysis of gene expression arrays from antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells differentiating to either an effector/memory or a regulatory phenotype revealed Treg-selective expression of LAG-3, a CD4-related molecule that binds MHC class II. Antibodies to LAG-3 inhibit suppression by induced Tregs both in vitro and in vivo. Natural CD4(+)CD25(+) Tregs express LAG-3 upon activation, which is significantly enhanced in the presence of effector cells, whereas CD4(+)CD25(+) Tregs from LAG-3(-/-) mice exhibit reduced regulatory activity. Lastly, ectopic expression of LAG-3 on CD4(+) T cells significantly reduces their proliferative capacity and confers on them suppressor activity toward effector T cells. We propose that LAG-3 marks regulatory T cell populations and contributes to their suppressor activity.

Egr-2 and Egr-3 Are Negative Regulators of T Cell Activation

Nature Immunology. May, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15834410

T cell receptor engagement in the absence of proper accessory signals leads to T cell anergy. E3 ligases are involved in maintaining the anergic state. However, the specific molecules responsible for the induction of anergy have yet to be elucidated. Using microarray analysis we have identified here early growth response gene 2 (Egr-2) and Egr-3 as key negative regulators of T cell activation. Overexpression of Egr2 and Egr3 was associated with an increase in the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b and inhibition of T cell activation. Conversely, T cells from Egr3(-/-) mice had lower expression of Cbl-b and were resistant to in vivo peptide-induced tolerance. These data support the idea that Egr-2 and Egr-3 are involved in promoting a T cell receptor-induced negative regulatory genetic program.

Threat Matrix: Low-molecular-weight Hyaluronan (HA) As a Danger Signal

Immunologic Research. 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15888912

Whether or not T cell receptor engagement leads to full activation or tolerance is determined by the context in which the antigen is encountered. Antigen presented by activated APCs in the presence of costimulation leads to full T cell activation, while antigen presented by resting APCs leads to tolerance. Pathogen-associated molecular patterns in the form of toll-like receptor ligands play a critical role in activating APCs and promoting T cell activation. In this review we hypothesize that low-molecular-weight species of the extracellular matrix polymer hyaluronan also performs this function by acting as an endogenous danger signal.

Low-dose Radiation Plus Rapamycin Promotes Long-term Bone Marrow Chimerism

Transplantation. Dec, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16371922

The ability to achieve significant donor engraftment without fully myeloablative conditioning has revolutionized allogeneic stem cell transplantation. These nonmyeloablative approaches may allow extension of this potentially curative modality to an increasing number of patients including those with non-malignant diseases. Although a number of regimens have been explored, the optimal means of conditioning has not been determined.

The Induction and Maintenance of T Cell Anergy

Clinical Immunology (Orlando, Fla.). Sep, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16581297

While the "true" role of T cell anergy in promoting peripheral tolerance continues to be debated, it is clear that studying the various models of anergy have led to important insight in terms of understanding the pathways and molecules responsible for T cell activation and inhibition. This review will examine our current understanding of CD4+ T cell anergy. In particular, it will focus on the signaling pathways responsible for both the induction and maintenance of anergy. Furthermore, it will examine how specifically targeting these pathways can be exploited clinically in terms of promoting tolerance in transplantation and autoimmunity and inhibiting tumor-induced tolerance in the case of tumor-immunotherapy.

Differential Regulation of Hyaluronan-induced IL-8 and IP-10 in Airway Epithelial Cells

American Journal of Physiology. Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Sep, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16581825

Airway epithelium is emerging as a regulator of local inflammation and immune responses. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the immune modulation by these cells have yet to be fully elucidated. At the cellular level, the hallmarks of airway inflammation are mucus gland hypertrophy with excess mucus production, accumulation of inflammatory mediators, inflammation in the airway walls and lumen, and breakdown and turnover of the extracellular matrix. We demonstrate that fragments of the extracellular matrix component hyaluronan induce inflammatory chemokine production in primary airway epithelial cells grown at an air-liquid interface. Furthermore, hyaluronan fragments use two distinct molecular pathways to induce IL-8 and IFN-gamma-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) chemokine expression in airway epithelial cells. Hyaluronan-induced IL-8 requires the MAP kinase pathway, whereas hyaluronan-induced IP-10 utilizes the NF-kappaB pathway. The induction is specific to low-molecular-weight hyaluronan fragments as other glycosaminoglycans do not induce IL-8 and IP-10 in airway epithelial cells. We hypothesize that not only is the extracellular matrix a target of destruction in airway inflammation but it plays a critical role in perpetuating inflammation through the induction of cytokines, chemokines, and modulatory enzymes in epithelial cells. Furthermore, hyaluronan, by inducing IL-8 and IP-10 by distinct pathways, provides a unique target for differential regulation of key inflammatory chemokines.

Hyaluronan Fragments Act As an Endogenous Danger Signal by Engaging TLR2

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Jul, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16818787

Upon tissue injury, high m.w. hyaluronan (HA), a ubiquitously distributed extracellular matrix component, is broken down into lower m.w. (LMW) fragments, which in turn activate an innate immune response. In doing so, LMW HA acts as an endogenous danger signal alerting the immune system of a breach in tissue integrity. In this report, we demonstrate that LMW HA activates the innate immune response via TLR-2 in a MyD88-, IL-1R-associated kinase-, TNFR-associated factor-6-, protein kinase Czeta-, and NF-kappaB-dependent pathway. Furthermore, we show that intact high m.w. HA can inhibit TLR-2 signaling. Finally, we demonstrate that LMW HA can act as an adjuvant promoting Ag-specific T cell responses in vivo in wild-type but not TLR-2(null) mice.

Dissecting the Mechanism of T-cell Anergy with Immunophilin Ligands

Current Opinion in Investigational Drugs (London, England : 2000). Nov, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17117589

T-cell receptor engagement in the absence of costimulation leads to T-cell anergy. The biochemical and molecular mechanisms responsible for this form of T-cell tolerance are becoming better defined. This review examines the intersection between T-cell receptor-induced anergy and the immunophilin ligands ciclosporin A, FK-506, rapamycin and sanglifehrin A, and focuses on how these compounds play an important role in dissecting the pathways leading to the induction and maintenance of anergy. Finally, the clinical role of these compounds as immunosuppressive agents will be discussed in the context of their effects on promoting or inhibiting T-cell anergy.

Cutting Edge: TCR-induced NAB2 Enhances T Cell Function by Coactivating IL-2 Transcription

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Dec, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 17142725

TCR engagement leads to the up-regulation of genetic programs that can both activate and inhibit T cell function. The early growth receptor (Egr) proteins Egr-2 and Egr-3 have recently been identified as TCR-induced negative regulators of T cell function. NAB2 (NGFI-A-binding protein 2) is both a coactivator and a corepressor of Egr-mediated transcription and has been implicated in regulating Schwann cell myelination. In this report we demonstrate that NAB2 is induced by TCR engagement and that its expression is enhanced by the presence of costimulation. The overexpression of NAB2 enhanced IL-2 production while small interfering RNA to NAB2 markedly inhibited IL-2 expression. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that NAB2 enhances IL-2 transcription by acting as a coactivator for Egr-1. Indeed, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis reveals that NAB2 is recruited to the Egr-1 binding site of the IL-2 promoter. Taken together, our findings identify NAB2 as a novel coactivator of T cell function.

Factors Governing the Activation of Adoptively Transferred Donor T Cells Infused After Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantation in the Mouse

Blood. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17227829

Murine models of bone marrow transplantation were used to study the mechanisms governing the activation of donor lymphocyte infusions (DLIs) manifesting as lymphohematopoietic graft-versus-host (LH-GVH) and graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) reactivities. We demonstrate here that established mixed chimerism influences the potency of DLI-mediated alloreactivity only in the MHC-mismatched but not MHC-matched setting. In the MHC-matched setting, high levels (>or= 40%) of residual host chimerism correlated negatively with DLI-mediated alloreactivity irrespective of the timing of their administration, the donor's previous sensitization to host antigens, or the level of residual host APCs. In vivo administration of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands was required to maximize DLI-mediated LH-GVH and GVL reactivities in chimeras with low levels (

A Role for Mammalian Target of Rapamycin in Regulating T Cell Activation Versus Anergy

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Feb, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17277121

Whether TCR engagement leads to activation or tolerance is determined by the concomitant delivery of multiple accessory signals, cytokines, and environmental cues. In this study, we demonstrate that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) integrates these signals and determines the outcome of TCR engagement with regard to activation or anergy. In vitro, Ag recognition in the setting of mTOR activation leads to full immune responses, whereas recognition in the setting of mTOR inhibition results in anergy. Full T cell activation is associated with an increase in the phosphorylation of the downstream mTOR target S6 kinase 1 at Thr(421)/Ser(424) and an increase in the mTOR-dependent cell surface expression of transferrin receptor (CD71). Alternatively, the induction of anergy results in markedly less S6 kinase 1 Thr(421)/Ser(424) phosphorylation and CD71 surface expression. Likewise, the reversal of anergy is associated not with proliferation, but rather the specific activation of mTOR. Importantly, T cells engineered to express a rapamycin-resistant mTOR construct are resistant to anergy induction caused by rapamycin. In vivo, mTOR inhibition promotes T cell anergy under conditions that would normally induce priming. Furthermore, by examining CD71 surface expression, we are able to distinguish and differentially isolate anergic and activated T cells in vivo. Overall, our data suggest that by integrating environmental cues, mTOR plays a central role in determining the outcome of Ag recognition.

Adenosine and Anergy

Autoimmunity. Sep, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17729036

T cells must integrate multiple environmental cues when deciding whether to mount an immunogenic or tolerogenic response. Since not all self-reactive T cells are eliminated during thymic development, mechanisms of peripheral tolerance such as T cell anergy contribute to preventing autoimmunity. Recent studies have implicated extracellular adenosine and the adenosine A(2A) receptor as playing an important role in inhibiting T cell effector function. Herein, we review the current literature regarding T cell anergy and the emerging literature implicating the A(2A) receptor as critical regulator of immune activation. Finally, we present evidence to suggest a possible role for adenosine A(2A) receptor signaling in T cell anergy.

A2A Receptor Signaling Promotes Peripheral Tolerance by Inducing T-cell Anergy and the Generation of Adaptive Regulatory T Cells

Blood. Jan, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 17909080

Tissue-derived adenosine, acting via the adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R), is emerging as an important negative regulator of T-cell function. In this report, we demonstrate that A(2A)R stimulation not only inhibits the generation of adaptive effector T cells but also promotes the induction of adaptive regulatory T cells. In vitro, antigen recognition in the setting of A(2A)R engagement induces T-cell anergy, even in the presence of costimulation. T cells initially stimulated in the presence of an A(2A)R agonist fail to proliferate and produce interleukin-2 and interferon (IFN)-gamma when rechallenged in the absence of A(2A)R stimulation. Likewise, in an in vivo model of autoimmunity, tissue-derived adenosine promotes anergy and abrogates tissue destruction. Indeed, A(2A)R stimulation inhibits interleukin-6 expression while enhancing the production of transforming growth factor-beta. Accordingly, treating mice with A(2A)R agonists not only inhibits Th1 and Th17 effector cell generation but also promotes the generation of Foxp3(+) and LAG-3(+) regulatory T cells. In this regard, A(2A)R agonists fail to prevent autoimmunity by LAG-3(-/-) clonotypic T cells, implicating an important role for LAG-3 in adenosine-mediated peripheral tolerance. Overall, our findings demonstrate that extracellular adenosine stimulates the A(2A)R to promote long-term T-cell anergy and the generation of adaptive regulatory T cells.

Opposing Regulation of T Cell Function by Egr-1/NAB2 and Egr-2/Egr-3

European Journal of Immunology. Feb, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18203138

TCR-induced NF-AT activation leads to the up-regulation of multiple genes involved in T cell anergy. Since NF-AT is also involved in T cell activation, we have endeavored to dissect TCR-induced activating and inhibitory genetic programs. This approach revealed roles for the early growth response (Egr) family of transcription factors and the Egr coactivator/corepressor NGFI-A-binding protein (NAB)2 in regulating T cell function. TCR-induced Egr-1 and NAB2 enhance T cell function, while Egr-2 and Egr-3 inhibit T cell function. In this report, we demonstrate that Egr-2 and Egr-3 are induced by NF-AT in the absence of AP-1, while Egr-1 and NAB2 both require AP-1-mediated transcription. Our data suggest that Egr-3 is upstream of Egr-2, and that mechanistically Egr-2 and Egr-3 suppress Egr-1 and NAB2 expression. Functionally, T cells from Egr-2 and Egr-3 null mice are hyperresponsive while T cells from Egr-3 transgenic, overexpressing mice are hyporesponsive. Furthermore, an in vivo model of autoimmune pneumonitis reveals that T cells from Egr-3 null mice hasten death while Egr-3-overexpressing T cells cause less disease. Overall, our data suggest that just as the Egr/NAB network of genes control cell fate in other systems, TCR-induced Egr-1, 2, 3 and NAB2 control the fate of antigen recognition in T cells.

HLA-haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplantation for Hematologic Malignancies Using Nonmyeloablative Conditioning and High-dose, Posttransplantation Cyclophosphamide

Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation : Journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Jun, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18489989

We evaluated the safety and efficacy of high-dose, posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (Cy) to prevent graft rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after outpatient nonmyeloablative conditioning and T cell-replete bone marrow transplantation from partially HLA-mismatched (haploidentical) related donors. Patients with advanced hematologic malignancies (n = 67) or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (n = 1) received Cy 50 mg/kg i.v. on day 3 (n = 28) or on days 3 and 4 (n = 40) after transplantation. The median times to neutrophil (>500/microL) and platelet recovery (>20,000/microL) were 15 and 24 days, respectively. Graft failure occurred in 9 of 66 (13%) evaluable patients, and was fatal in 1. The cumulative incidences of grades II-IV and grades III-IV acute (aGVHD) by day 200 were 34% and 6%, respectively. There was a trend toward a lower risk of extensive chronic GVHD (cGVHD) among recipients of 2 versus 1 dose of posttransplantation Cy (P = .05), the only difference between these groups. The cumulative incidences of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) and relapse at 1 year were 15% and 51%, respectively. Actuarial overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) at 2 years after transplantation were 36% and 26%, respectively. Patients with lymphoid malignancies had an improved EFS compared to those with myelogenous malignancies (P = .02). Nonmyeloablative HLA-haploidentical BMT with posttransplantation Cy is associated with acceptable rates of fatal graft failure and severe aGVHD or cGVHD.

Anti-oxidant Inhibition of Hyaluronan Fragment-induced Inflammatory Gene Expression

Journal of Inflammation (London, England). 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18986521

The balance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and endogenous anti-oxidants is important in maintaining healthy tissues. Excessive ROS states occur in diseases such as ARDS and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Redox imbalance breaks down the extracellular matrix component hyaluronan (HA) into fragments that activate innate immune responses and perpetuate tissue injury. HA fragments, via a TLR and NF-kappaB pathway, induce inflammatory gene expression in macrophages and epithelial cells. NAC and DMSO are potent anti-oxidants which may help balance excess ROS states.

The Adenosine A2a Receptor Inhibits Matrix-induced Inflammation in a Novel Fashion

American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. Mar, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 18703794

Endogenous mediators within the inflammatory milieu play a critical role in directing the scope, duration, and resolution of inflammation. High-molecular-weight extracellular matrix hyaluronan (HA) helps to maintain homeostasis. During inflammation, hyaluronan is broken down into fragments that induce chemokines and cytokines, thereby augmenting the inflammatory response. Tissue-derived adenosine, released during inflammation, inhibits inflammation via the anti-inflammatory A2 adenosine receptor (A2aR). We demonstrate that adenosine modulates HA-induced gene expression via the A2aR. A2aR stimulation inhibits HA fragment-induced pro-fibrotic genes TNF-alpha, keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2, and MIP-1alpha while simultaneously synergizing with hyaluronan fragments to up-regulate the TH1 cytokine IL-12. Interestingly, A2aR stimulation mediates these affects via the novel cAMP-activated guanine nucleotide exchange factor EPAC. In addition, A2aR-null mice are more susceptible to bleomycin-induced lung injury, consistent with a role for endogenous adenosine in inhibiting the inflammation that may lead to fibrosis. Indeed, the bleomycin treated A2aR-null mice demonstrate increased lung inflammation, HA accumulation, and histologic damage. Overall, our data elucidate the opposing roles of tissue-derived HA fragments and adenosine in regulating noninfectious lung inflammation and support the pursuit of A2aR agonists as a means of pharmacologically inhibiting inflammation that may lead to fibrosis.

The MTOR Kinase Differentially Regulates Effector and Regulatory T Cell Lineage Commitment

Immunity. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19538929

Effector T cell differentiation requires the simultaneous integration of multiple, and sometimes opposing, cytokine signals. We demonstrated mTOR's role in dictating the outcome of T cell fate. mTOR-deficient T cells displayed normal activation and IL-2 production upon initial stimulation. However, such cells failed to differentiate into T helper 1 (Th1), Th2, or Th17 effector cells. The inability to differentiate was associated with decreased STAT transcription factor activation and failure to upregulate lineage-specific transcription factors. Under normally activating conditions, T cells lacking mTOR differentiated into Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells. This was associated with hyperactive Smad3 activation in the absence of exogenous TGF-beta. Surprisingly, T cells selectively deficient in TORC1 do not divert to a regulatory T cell pathway, implicating both TORC1 and TORC2 in preventing the generation of regulatory T cells. Overall, our studies suggest that mTOR kinase signaling regulates decisions between effector and regulatory T cell lineage commitment.

Enhanced Interaction Between Hsp90 and Raptor Regulates MTOR Signaling Upon T Cell Activation

Molecular Immunology. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19586661

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved kinase which plays a role in integrating environmental cues. mTOR signals via two complexes: TORC1, which contains the Regulatory Associated Protein of TOR (raptor), and TORC2, which contains the Rapamycin-insensitive Companion of TOR (rictor). The immunosuppressive/anti-cancer agent rapamycin inhibits TORC1 function by disrupting the mTOR-raptor interaction. In an effort to understand the downstream consequences of TORC1 activation in T cells we performed a proteomic analysis of raptor binding proteins. Using this approach we have identified Hsp90 as an activation-induced binding partner of raptor in T cells. Pharmacologic inhibition of Hsp90 leads to a decrease in raptor expression and TORC1 activity. Furthermore, full T cell activation during Hsp90 blockade leads to T cell tolerance in the form of anergy. Overall, our findings suggest that Hsp90 inhibitors might represent a novel means of promoting T cell tolerance.

MTOR: Taking Cues from the Immune Microenvironment

Immunology. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19604300

The ultimate outcome of T cell receptor recognition is determined by the context in which the antigen is encountered. In this fashion both antigen-presenting cells and T cells must integrate multiple environmental cues in the form of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, cytokines and accessory molecule signals. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase that plays a central role in integrating environmental signals critical to regulating metabolism and cell survival. In this paper we review the data demonstrating that mTOR integrates signals from the immune microenvironment and therefore facilitates the generation of the adaptive immune response. Specifically, we review the role of mTOR in promoting dendritic cell activation and maturation, in regulating full T cell activation versus anergy, and influencing the induction of regulatory T cells.

Identification of DNA Methyltransferase 3a As a T Cell Receptor-induced Regulator of Th1 and Th2 Differentiation

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19625655

Ag-specific T cell cytokine expression is dictated by the context in which TCR engagement occurs. Recently it has become clear that epigenetic changes play a role in this process. DNA methyltransferase 3a (DNMT3a) is a de novo methyltransferase important to the epigenetic control of cell fate. We have determined that DNMT3a expression is increased following TCR engagement and that costimulation mitigates DNMT3a protein expression. T cells lacking DNMT3a simultaneously express IFN-gamma and IL-4 after expansion under nonbiasing conditions. While global methylation of DNA from wild-type and knockout T cells is similar, DNMT3a-null T cells demonstrate selective hypomethylation of both the Il4 and Ifng loci after activation. Such hypomethylated knockout Th2 cells retain a greater capacity to express IFN-gamma protein when they are subsequently exposed to Th1-biasing conditions. Based on these findings we propose that DNMT3a is a key participant in regulating T cell polarization at the molecular level by promoting stable selection of a context-specific cell fate through methylation of selective targets in T cells.

Anergic T Cells Are Metabolically Anergic

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Nov, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19841171

Full T cell activation requires TCR engagement (signal 1) in the context of costimulation (signal 2). Costimulation is required for maximal expression of effector cytokines and prevention of T cell anergy. It has become increasingly clear that another major function of costimulation is to up-regulate the metabolic machinery necessary for T cell function. In this report we demonstrate that anergic T cells are metabolically anergic, in that upon full stimulation (signals 1 plus 2) they fail to up-regulate the machinery necessary to support increased metabolism. These findings suggest that one mechanism responsible for the maintenance of T cell anergy is failure to up-regulate the metabolic machinery. Furthermore, we demonstrate that by blocking leucine, glucose, and energy metabolism, T cell activation is mitigated. Additionally, inhibition of these metabolic pathways during T cell activation leads to anergy in Th1-differentiated cells. Overall, our findings extend the role of T cell metabolism in regulating T cell function.

Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem-cell Transplantation for Sickle Cell Disease

The New England Journal of Medicine. Dec, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 20007560

Myeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation is curative in children with sickle cell disease, but in adults the procedure is unduly toxic. Graft rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are additional barriers to its success. We performed nonmyeloablative stem-cell transplantation in adults with sickle cell disease.

Nonmyeloablative HLA-haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplantation with High-dose Posttransplantation Cyclophosphamide: Effect of HLA Disparity on Outcome

Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation : Journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19925877

Although some reports have found an association between increasing HLA disparity between donor and recipient and fewer relapses after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT), this potential benefit has been offset by more graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and nonrelapse mortality (NRM). However, the type of GVHD prophylaxis might influence the balance between GVHD toxicity and relapse. The present study analyzed the impact of greater HLA disparity on outcomes of a specific platform for nonmyeloablative (NMA), HLA-haploidentical transplantation. A retrospective analysis was performed of 185 patients with hematologic malignancies enrolled in 3 similar trials of NMA, related donor, haploidentical BMT incorporating high-dose posttransplantation cyclophosphamide for GVHD prophylaxis. No significant association was found between the number of HLA mismatches (HLA-A, -B, -Cw, and -DRB1 combined) and risk of acute grade II-IV GVHD (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.89; P = .68 for 3-4 vs fewer antigen mismatches). More mismatching also had no detrimental effect on event-free survival (on multivariate analysis, HR = 0.60, P = .03 for 3-4 vs fewer antigen mismatches and HR = 0.55, P = .03 for 3-4 vs fewer allele mismatches). Thus, greater HLA disparity does not appear to worsen overall outcome after NMA haploidentical BMT with high-dose posttransplantation cyclophosphamide.

The Receptor SIGIRR Suppresses Th17 Cell Proliferation Via Inhibition of the Interleukin-1 Receptor Pathway and MTOR Kinase Activation

Immunity. Jan, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20060329

Interleukin-1 (IL-1)-mediated signaling in T cells is essential for T helper 17 (Th17) cell differentiation. We showed here that SIGIRR, a negative regulator of IL-1 receptor and Toll-like receptor signaling, was induced during Th17 cell lineage commitment and governed Th17 cell differentiation and expansion through its inhibitory effects on IL-1 signaling. The absence of SIGIRR in T cells resulted in increased Th17 cell polarization in vivo upon myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG(35-55)) peptide immunization. Recombinant IL-1 promoted a marked increase in the proliferation of SIGIRR-deficient T cells under an in vitro Th17 cell-polarization condition. Importantly, we detected increased IL-1-induced phosphorylation of JNK and mTOR kinase in SIGIRR-deficient Th17 cells compared to wild-type Th17 cells. IL-1-induced proliferation was abolished in mTOR-deficient Th17 cells, indicating the essential role of mTOR activation. Our results demonstrate an important mechanism by which SIGIRR controls Th17 cell expansion and effector function through the IL-1-induced mTOR signaling pathway.

Genetic and Biochemical Regulation of CD4 T Cell Effector Differentiation: Insights from Examination of T Cell Clonal Anergy

Immunologic Research. Jul, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20077160

The two-signal model of T cell activation states that antigen recognition by TCR provides a tolerogenic signal (termed Signal 1) unless the T cell receives simultaneous costimulation (Signal 2) that permits antigen recognition to prime activation. Our efforts to characterize genetic and biochemical factors resulting from Signal 1 alone have identified signaling molecules, transcription factors, and an epigenetic regulator that each contribute to the anergic phenotype observed. However, our most striking finding is that the same factors identified using anergy to model T cell activation versus tolerance also participate in determining the outcome of the effector phenotype of fully activated T cells. We summarize our own findings and other recent advances in the genetic and biochemical understanding of T cell activation, tolerance, and plasticity in this review.

High-dose Cyclophosphamide As Single-agent, Short-course Prophylaxis of Graft-versus-host Disease

Blood. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20124511

Because of its potent immunosuppressive yet stem cell-sparing activity, high-dose cyclophosphamide was tested as sole prophylaxis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after myeloablative allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (alloBMT). We treated 117 patients (median age, 50 years; range, 21-66 years) with advanced hematologic malignancies; 78 had human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related donors and 39 had HLA-matched unrelated donors. All patients received conventional myeloablation with busulfan/cyclophosphamide (BuCy) and T cell-replete bone marrow followed by 50 mg/kg/d of cyclophosphamide on days 3 and 4 after transplantation. The incidences of acute grades II through IV and grades III through IV GVHD for all patients were 43% and 10%, respectively. The nonrelapse mortality at day 100 and 2 years after transplantation were 9% and 17%, respectively. The actuarial overall survival and event-free survivals at 2 years after transplantation were 55% and 39%, respectively, for all patients and 63% and 54%, respectively, for patients who underwent transplantation while in remission. With a median follow-up of 26.3 months among surviving patients, the cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD is 10%. These results suggest that high-dose posttransplantation cyclophosphamide is an effective single-agent prophylaxis of acute and chronic GVHD after BuCy conditioning and HLA-matched BMT ( no. NCT00134017).

Quieting T Cells with Slfn2

Nature Immunology. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20300134

The Mammalian Target of Rapamycin: Linking T Cell Differentiation, Function, and Metabolism

Immunity. Sep, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20870173

In the two-signal model of T cell activation, the outcome of antigen recognition is determined by the integration of multiple cues in the immune microenvironment. mTOR is an evolutionarily conserved PI3-kinase family member that plays a central role in integrating environmental cues in the form of amino acids, energy, and growth factors. Recently, an increasingly important role for mTOR in directing T cell activation and differentiation has become apparent. Here we review recent findings demonstrating the ability of mTOR to interpret signals in the immune microenvironment and program the generation of CD4(+) effector versus regulatory T cells, the generation of CD8(+) effector versus memory cells, T cell trafficking, and T cell activation versus anergy. The key theme to emerge from these studies is that the central role of mTOR provides a direct link between T cell metabolism and function.

Hyaluronan Fragments Promote Inflammation by Down-regulating the Anti-inflammatory A2a Receptor

American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. Oct, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21257926

The tissue microenvironment plays a critical role in regulating inflammation. Chronic inflammation leads to an influx of inflammatory cells and mediators, extracellular matrix turnover, and increased extracellular adenosine. Low molecular weight (LMW) fragments of hyaluronan (HA), a matrix component, play a critical role in lung inflammation and fibrosis by inducing inflammatory gene expression at the injury site. Adenosine, a crucial negative regulator of inflammation, protects tissues from immune destruction via the adenosine A2a receptor (A2aR). Therefore, these two extracellular products of inflammation play opposing roles in regulating immune responses. As such, we wanted to determine the effect of LMW HA on A2aR function. In this article, we demonstrate that LMW HA causes a rapid, significant, and sustained down-regulation of the A2aR. CD44 was found to be necessary for LMW HA to down-modulate the A2aR as was protein kinase C signaling. We also demonstrate that LMW HA induces A2aR down-regulation during inflammation in vivo, and that this down-regulation can be blocked by treatment with an HA-blocking peptide. Because adenosine plays a critical role in limiting inflammation, our data provide a novel mechanism whereby LMW HA itself may further augment inflammation. By defining the pro- and anti-inflammatory properties of extracellular matrix components, we will be better able to identify specific pharmacologic targets as potential therapies.

The Kinase MTOR Regulates the Differentiation of Helper T Cells Through the Selective Activation of Signaling by MTORC1 and MTORC2

Nature Immunology. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21358638

The kinase mTOR has emerged as an important regulator of the differentiation of helper T cells. Here we demonstrate that differentiation into the T(H)1 and T(H)17 subsets of helper T cells was selectively regulated by signaling from mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) that was dependent on the small GTPase Rheb. Rheb-deficient T cells failed to generate T(H)1 and T(H)17 responses in vitro and in vivo and did not induce classical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). However, they retained their ability to become T(H)2 cells. Alternatively, when mTORC2 signaling was deleted from T cells, they failed to generate T(H)2 cells in vitro and in vivo but preserved their ability to become T(H)1 and T(H)17 cells. Our data identify mechanisms by which two distinct signaling pathways downstream of mTOR regulate helper cell fate in different ways. These findings define a previously unknown paradigm that links T cell differentiation with selective metabolic signaling pathways.

A Central Role for MTOR Kinase in Homeostatic Proliferation Induced CD8+ T Cell Memory and Tumor Immunity

Immunity. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21511183

The cell-intrinsic mechanisms guiding naive CD8+ T cells for clonal expansion and memory generation via homeostatic proliferation (HP) are unclear. Here, we have shown that HP of naive CD8+ T cells requires IL-7-, but not IL-15-induced mTOR kinase activation. HP-induced mTOR enhances transcription factor T-bet for functional maturation and CD122 expression, which sensitizes for an IL-15-dependent memory transition by favoring transcription factor Eomesodermin over T-bet. Inhibition of mTOR blocks T-bet and CD122 expression but preserves memory in an IL-15-independent manner by promoting Eomesodermin expression. The ability of rapamycin to augment HP-induced memory was cell-intrinsic given that silencing mTOR in CD8+ T cells generated identical outcomes. Strikingly, HP-induced CD8+ T cell memory generated by IL-15-dependent or -independent mechanisms demonstrated identical tumor efficacy. These results indicate a central role for mTOR in HP-induced CD8+ T cell responses and demonstrate the importance for CD8+ memory in HP-induced tumor efficacy.

PI3K/mTOR Signaling Regulates Prostatic Branching Morphogenesis

Developmental Biology. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22015718

Prostatic branching morphogenesis is an intricate event requiring precise temporal and spatial integration of numerous hormonal and growth factor-regulated inputs, yet relatively little is known about the downstream signaling pathways that orchestrate this process. In this study, we use a novel mesenchyme-free embryonic prostate culture system, newly available mTOR inhibitors and a conditional PTEN loss-of-function model to investigate the role of the interconnected PI3K and mTOR signaling pathways in prostatic organogenesis. We demonstrate that PI3K levels and PI3K/mTOR activity are robustly induced by androgen during murine prostatic development and that PI3K/mTOR signaling is necessary for prostatic epithelial bud invasion of surrounding mesenchyme. To elucidate the cellular mechanism by which PI3K/mTOR signaling regulates prostatic branching, we show that PI3K/mTOR inhibition does not significantly alter epithelial proliferation or apoptosis, but rather decreases the efficiency and speed with which the developing prostatic epithelial cells migrate. Using mTOR kinase inhibitors to tease out the independent effects of mTOR signaling downstream of PI3K, we find that simultaneous inhibition of mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity attenuates prostatic branching and is sufficient to phenocopy combined PI3K/mTOR inhibition. Surprisingly, however, mTORC1 inhibition alone has the reverse effect, increasing the number and length of prostatic branches. Finally, simultaneous activation of PI3K and downstream mTORC1/C2 via epithelial PTEN loss-of-function also results in decreased budding reversible by mTORC1 inhibition, suggesting that the effect of mTORC1 on branching is not primarily mediated by negative feedback on PI3K/mTORC2 signaling. Taken together, our data point to an important role for PI3K/mTOR signaling in prostatic epithelial invasion and migration and implicates the balance of PI3K and downstream mTORC1/C2 activity as a critical regulator of prostatic epithelial morphogenesis.

Estrogen-related Receptor-α is a Metabolic Regulator of Effector T-cell Activation and Differentiation

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22042850

Stimulation of resting CD4(+) T lymphocytes leads to rapid proliferation and differentiation into effector (Teff) or inducible regulatory (Treg) subsets with specific functions to promote or suppress immunity. Importantly, Teff and Treg use distinct metabolic programs to support subset specification, survival, and function. Here, we describe that the orphan nuclear receptor estrogen-related receptor-α (ERRα) regulates metabolic pathways critical for Teff. Resting CD4(+) T cells expressed low levels of ERRα protein that increased on activation. ERRα deficiency reduced activated T-cell numbers in vivo and cytokine production in vitro but did not seem to modulate immunity through inhibition of activating signals or viability. Rather, ERRα broadly affected metabolic gene expression and glucose metabolism essential for Teff. In particular, up-regulation of Glut1 protein, glucose uptake, and mitochondrial processes were suppressed in activated ERRα(-/-) T cells and T cells treated with two chemically independent ERRα inhibitors or by shRNAi. Acute ERRα inhibition also blocked T-cell growth and proliferation. This defect appeared as a result of inadequate glucose metabolism, because provision of lipids, but not increased glucose uptake or pyruvate, rescued ATP levels and cell division. Additionally, we have shown that Treg requires lipid oxidation, whereas Teff uses glucose metabolism, and lipid addition selectively restored Treg--but not Teff--generation after acute ERRα inhibition. Furthermore, in vivo inhibition of ERRα reduced T-cell proliferation and Teff generation in both immunization and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis models. Thus, ERRα is a selective transcriptional regulator of Teff metabolism that may provide a metabolic means to modulate immunity.

Targeted Immunosuppression: No Longer Naïve

Clinical Immunology (Orlando, Fla.). Feb, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22079331

Enhancement of Tumor Immunotherapy by Deletion of the A2A Adenosine Receptor

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy : CII. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22116345

The A(2A) adenosine receptor plays a critical and non-redundant role in suppressing inflammation at sites of hypoxia and tissue damage. The tumor microenvironment has high levels of adenosine as a result of hypoxia and ectopic expression of enzymes responsible for the generation of extracellular adenosine. Thus, we sought to determine the ability of A(2A) receptor null mice to immunologically reject tumors. We observed that mice lacking the A(2A) adenosine receptor showed significantly delayed growth of lymphoma cells when compared to WT mice. Furthermore, when immunized with a low dose of tumor or with an irradiated GM-CSF-secreting tumor vaccine, A(2A) receptor null mice showed significantly enhanced protection from a subsequent high-dose challenge from both immunogenic and poorly immunogenic tumor lines. This increase in protection was accompanied by an increase in the number of tumor-antigen-specific CD8 T cells at the vaccine-site draining lymph node. Finally, we found that A(2A) receptor null mice displayed more robust anti-tumor responses than WT mice when they were treated with a soluble B7-DC/Fc fusion protein designed to antagonize B7-H1-mediated co-inhibition. This combinatorial immunotherapy strategy could also be recapitulated with pharmacological A(2A) receptor blockade paired with B7-DC/Fc administration. In light of these data, we believe that blockade of the A(2A) adenosine receptor is an attractive target for tumor immunotherapy that synergizes with other immunomodulatory approaches currently in clinical trials.

Exploring Functional in Vivo Consequences of the Selective Genetic Ablation of MTOR Signaling in T Helper Lymphocytes

Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22125075

The mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) defines a crucial link between nutrient sensing and immune function. In CD4+ T cells, mTOR has been shown to play a critical role in regulating effector and regulatory T cell differentiation as well as the decision between full activation versus the induction of anergy. In this chapter, we describe how our group has employed the Cre-lox technology to genetically delete components of the mTOR signaling complex in T cells. This has enabled us to specifically interrogate mTOR function in T cells both in vitro and in vivo. We also describe techniques used to assay immune function and signaling in mTOR-deficient T cells at the single-cell level.

Regulation of Immune Responses by MTOR

Annual Review of Immunology. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22136167

mTOR is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase that plays a central role in integrating environmental cues in the form of growth factors, amino acids, and energy. In the study of the immune system, mTOR is emerging as a critical regulator of immune function because of its role in sensing and integrating cues from the immune microenvironment. With the greater appreciation of cellular metabolism as an important regulator of immune cell function, mTOR is proving to be a vital link between immune function and metabolism. In this review, we discuss the ability of mTOR to direct the adaptive immune response. Specifically, we focus on the role of mTOR in promoting differentiation, activation, and function in T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells.

Fueling Memories

Immunity. Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22284413

A hallmark of the adaptive immune response is rapid and robust activation upon rechallenge. In the current issue of Immunity, van der Windt et al. (2012) provide an important link between mitochondrial respiratory capacity and the development of CD8(+) T cell memory.

Pulmonary Vaccination As a Novel Treatment for Lung Fibrosis

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22363610

Pulmonary fibrosis is an untreatable, uniformly fatal disease of unclear etiology that is the result of unremitting chronic inflammation. Recent studies have implicated bone marrow derived fibrocytes and M2 macrophages as playing key roles in propagating fibrosis. While the disease process is characterized by the accumulation of lymphocytes in the lung parenchyma and alveolar space, their role remains unclear. In this report we definitively demonstrate the ability of T cells to regulate lung inflammation leading to fibrosis. Specifically we demonstrate the ability of intranasal vaccinia vaccination to inhibit M2 macrophage generation and fibrocyte recruitment and hence the accumulation of collagen and death due to pulmonary failure. Mechanistically, we demonstrate the ability of lung Th1 cells to prevent fibrosis as vaccinia failed to prevent disease in Rag-/- mice or in mice in which the T cells lacked IFN-γ. Furthermore, vaccination 3 months prior to the initiation of fibrosis was able to mitigate the disease. Our findings clearly demonstrate the role of T cells in regulating pulmonary fibrosis as well as suggest that vaccinia-induced immunotherapy in the lung may prove to be a novel treatment approach to this otherwise fatal disease.

Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Integrates Diverse Inputs to Guide the Outcome of Antigen Recognition in T Cells

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). May, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22556133

T cells must integrate a diverse array of intrinsic and extrinsic signals upon Ag recognition. Although these signals have canonically been categorized into three distinct events--Signal 1 (TCR engagement), Signal 2 (costimulation or inhibition), and Signal 3 (cytokine exposure)--it is now appreciated that many other environmental cues also dictate the outcome of T cell activation. These include nutrient availability, the presence of growth factors and stress signals, as well as chemokine exposure. Although all of these distinct inputs initiate unique signaling cascades, they also modulate the activity of the evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Indeed, mTOR serves to integrate these diverse environmental inputs, ultimately transmitting a signaling program that determines the fate of newly activated T cells. In this review, we highlight how diverse signals from the immune microenvironment can guide the outcome of TCR activation through the activation of the mTOR pathway.

De Novo DNA Methylation is Required to Restrict T Helper Lineage Plasticity

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22584578

Naïve CD4+ T cells are highly plastic and can differentiate into discrete lineages with unique functions during an immune response. Once differentiated, helper T cells maintain a stable transcriptional memory of their initial lineage choice and resist redifferentiation. During embryogenesis, de novo DNA methylation operates on the hypomethylated genome of the blastocyst to achieve tissue-specific patterns of gene expression. Similarly, the ifnγ promoter is hypomethylated in naïve T cells, but Th2, Th17, and iTreg differentiation is accompanied by substantial de novo DNA methylation at this locus. To determine whether de novo DNA methylation is required to restrict T helper lineage plasticity, we used mice with T cell-specific deletion of the methyltransferase DNMT3a. Induction of lineage-specific cytokines occurred normally in the absence of DNMT3a, however, DNMT3a-deficient Th2, Th17, and iTreg completely failed to methylate the ifnγ promoter. This was accompanied by an increase in the transcriptionally permissive trimethyl H3K4 mark, and a reduction in inhibitory H3K27 methylation at the ifnγ locus. Failed de novo methylation resulted in failed silencing of the ifnγ gene, as DNMT3a-deficient Th2, Th17, and iTreg cells produced significant levels of IFNγ following restimulation in the presence of IL-12. Therefore, DNMT3a-mediated DNA methylation restricts T helper plasticity by establishing an epigenetically silent chromatin structure at regulatory regions of the ifnγ gene.

MTOR, Metabolism, and the Regulation of T-cell Differentiation and Function

Immunological Reviews. Sep, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22889214

Upon antigen recognition, naive T cells undergo rapid expansion and activation. The energy requirements for this expansion are formidable, and T-cell activation is accompanied by dramatic changes in cellular metabolism. Furthermore, the outcome of antigen engagement is guided by multiple cues derived from the immune microenvironment. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is emerging as a central integrator of these signals playing a critical role in driving T-cell differentiation and function. Indeed, multiple metabolic programs are controlled by mTOR signaling. In this review, we discuss the role of mTOR in regulating metabolism and how these pathways intersect with the ability of mTOR to integrate cues that guide the outcome of T-cell receptor engagement.

All PI3Kinase Signaling is Not MTOR: Dissecting MTOR-dependent and Independent Signaling Pathways in T Cells

Frontiers in Immunology. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23087689

The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is emerging as playing a central role in regulating T cell activation, differentiation, and function. mTOR integrates diverse signals from the immune microenvironment to shape the outcome of T cell receptor (TCR) antigen recognition. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) enzymes are critical mediators of T cell activation through their generation of the second messenger phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5) triphosphate (PIP3). Indeed, PIP3 generation results in the activation of Protein Kinase B (PKB, also known as AKT), a key activator of mTOR. However, recent genetic studies have demonstrated inconsistencies between PI3K disruption and loss of mTOR expression with regard to the regulation of effector and regulatory T cell homeostasis and function. In this review, we focus on how PI3K activation directs mature CD4 T cell activation and effector function by pathways dependent on and independent of mTOR signaling. Importantly, what has become clear is that targeting both mTOR-dependent and mTOR-independent PI3K-induced signaling distally affords the opportunity for more selective regulation of T cell differentiation and function.

Regulation of CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ Effector Responses by Sprouty-1

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23166773

TCR-induced NF-AT activation leads to the expression of both activating and inhibitory proteins. Previously, we had identified Egr-2 and Egr-3 as NF-AT-induced transcription factors which promote the inhibition of T cell activation. In this report we identify Sprouty1 as a downstream target of Egr-3. CD4⁺ T cells lacking Spry1 demonstrate enhanced proliferation and cytokine production. Likewise, Spry1(Flox/Flox) Lck Cre CD8⁺ T cells display increased cytolytic activity. Mechanistically, Spry1 acts at the level of PLC-γ promoting the inhibition of both Ca⁺⁺ induced NF-AT activation and MAP-kinase induced AP-1 activation while sparing NF-κB signaling. In vivo, mice in which Spry1 is selectively deleted in T cells demonstrate enhanced responses to a tumor vaccine and subsequently reject tumors more robustly than Wt mice. These findings suggest that targeting Spry1 might prove to be a novel means of enhancing tumor immunotherapy.

Sensing the Immune Microenvironment to Coordinate T Cell Metabolism, Differentiation & Function

Seminars in Immunology. Dec, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23332779

Mounting an adaptive immune response is bioenergetically demanding. As a result, T cell activation coincides with profound changes in cellular metabolism that must be coordinated with instructive signals from cytokine and costimulatory receptors to generate an immune response. Studies examining the intimate link between metabolism and immune function have revealed that different types of T cells have distinct metabolic profiles. Data is emerging that place mTOR, an evolutionarily conserved serine-threonine kinase, as a central integrator of these processes. In this review, we will discuss the role of mTOR in determining both CD4 and CD8 T cell metabolism, differentiation, and trafficking.

Slc7a5 Helps T Cells Get with the Program

Nature Immunology. May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23598390

Natural and Inducible TH17 Cells Are Regulated Differently by Akt and MTOR Pathways

Nature Immunology. Jun, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23644504

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 has a critical role in regulating nTH17 cell development. Although Akt and the downstream mTORC1-ARNT-HIFα axis were required for generation of inducible TH17 (iTH17) cells, nTH17 cells developed independently of mTORC1. In contrast, mTORC2 and inhibition of Foxo proteins were critical for development of nTH17 cells. Moreover, distinct isoforms of Akt controlled the generation of TH17 cell subsets, as deletion of Akt2, but not of Akt1, led to defective generation of iTH17 cells. These findings define mechanisms regulating nTH17 cell development and reveal previously unknown roles of Akt and mTOR in shaping subsets of T cells.

Hyaluronan Fragments Induce IFNβ Via a Novel TLR4-TRIF-TBK1-IRF3-dependent Pathway

Journal of Inflammation (London, England). 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23721397

The extracellular matrix plays a critical role in insuring tissue integrity and water homeostasis. However, breakdown products of the extracellular matrix have emerged as endogenous danger signals, designed to rapidly activate the immune system against a potential pathogen breach. Type I interferons play a critical role in the immune response against viral infections. In the lungs, hylauronan (HA) exists as a high molecular weight, biologically inert extracellular matrix component that is critical for maintaining lung function. When lung tissue is injured, HA is broken down into lower molecular weight fragments that alert the immune system to the breach in tissue integrity by activating innate immune responses. HA fragments are known to induce inflammatory gene expression via TLR-MyD88-dependent pathways.

Selective Activation of Antigen-Experienced T Cells by Anti-CD3 Constrained on Nanoparticles

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Nov, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24098054

Activation of T cells through the TCR is mediated by the TCR-CD3 signaling complex. Cross linking of this complex with Abs directed against CD3 leads to potent activation of T cells. However, such activation is not Ag-specific. We exploited the observation that the TCR-CD3 complex is clustered on T cells that have been activated by Ag by using anti-CD3 nanoparticles to selectively activate Ag-experienced mouse T cells. We find that constraining anti-CD3 on the surface of a nanoparticle markedly and selectively enhances proliferation and cytokine production of Ag-experienced T cells but does not activate naive T cells. This effect was recapitulated in heterogeneous cultures containing mixtures of Ag-specific CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells and bystander T cells. Furthermore, in vivo anti-CD3-coated nanoparticles increased the expansion of Ag-specific T cells following vaccination. Overall, these findings indicate that anti-CD3-coated nanoparticles could be use to enhance the efficacy of vaccines and immunotherapy. The results also suggest constraining a ligand on the surface of a nanoparticle might as general strategy for selectively targeting clustered receptors.

A Modified Model of T-cell Differentiation Based on MTOR Activity and Metabolism

Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24100582

Current models of T-helper-cell differentiation depict the generation of effector cells from a naïve T cell based on the cytokine environment upon T-cell-receptor engagement. We propose a new model of CD4(+) T-cell activation, differentiation, and function whereby the outcome of antigen recognition is dictated by mTOR activity and the subsequent up-regulation of selective metabolic function. Such a model more readily explains the generation of effector and memory cells including the concept of effector and memory Foxp3(+) regulatory cells.

Sprouty-2 Regulates HIV-specific T Cell Polyfunctionality

The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24292711

The ability of individual T cells to perform multiple effector functions is crucial for protective immunity against viruses and cancer. This polyfunctionality is frequently lost during chronic infections; however, the molecular mechanisms driving T cell polyfunctionality are poorly understood. We found that human T cells stimulated by a high concentration of antigen lacked polyfunctionality and expressed a transcription profile similar to that of exhausted T cells. One specific pathway implicated by the transcription profile in control of T cell polyfunctionality was the MAPK/ERK pathway. This pathway was altered in response to different antigen concentrations, and polyfunctionality correlated with upregulation of phosphorylated ERK. T cells that were stimulated with a high concentration of antigen upregulated sprouty-2 (SPRY2), a negative regulator of the MAPK/ERK pathway. The clinical relevance of SPRY2 was confirmed by examining SPRY2 expression in HIV-specific T cells, where high levels of SPRY2 were seen in HIV-specific T cells and inhibition of SPRY2 expression enhanced the HIV-specific polyfunctional response independently of the PD-1 pathway. Our findings indicate that increased SPRY2 expression during chronic viral infection reduces T cell polyfunctionality and identify SPRY2 as a potential target for immunotherapy.

Egr3 Induces a Th17 Response by Promoting the Development of γδ T Cells

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24475259

The transcription factor Early Growth Response 3 (Egr3) has been shown to play an important role in negatively regulating T cell activation and promoting T cell anergy in Th1 cells. However, its role in regulating other T helper subsets has yet to be described. We sought to determine the role of Egr3 in a Th17 response using transgenic mice that overexpress Egr3 in T cells (Egr3 TG). Splenocytes from Egr3 TG mice demonstrated more robust generation of Th17 cells even under non-Th17 skewing conditions. We found that while Egr3 TG T cells were not intrinsically more likely to become Th17 cells, the environment encountered by these cells was more conducive to Th17 development. Further analysis revealed a considerable increase in the number of γδ T cells in both the peripheral lymphoid organs and mucosal tissues of Egr3 TG mice, a cell type which normally accounts for only a small fraction of peripheral lymphocytes. Consistent with this marked increase in peripheral γδ T cells, thymocytes from Egr3 TG mice also appear biased toward γδ T cell development. Coculture of these Egr3-induced γδ T cells with wildtype CD4+ T cells increases Th17 differentiation, and Egr3 TG mice are more susceptible to bleomycin-induced lung inflammation. Overall our findings strengthen the role for Egr3 in promoting γδ T cell development and show that Egr3-induced γδ T cells are both functional and capable of altering the adaptive immune response in a Th17-biased manner. Our data also demonstrates that the role played by Egr3 in T cell activation and differentiation is more complex than previously thought.

An Fc Domain Protein-small Molecule Conjugate As an Enhanced Immunomodulator

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Mar, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24533830

Proteins as well as small molecules have demonstrated success as therapeutic agents, but their pharmacologic properties sometimes fall short against particular drug targets. Although the adenosine 2a receptor (A(2A)R) has been identified as a promising target for immunotherapy, small molecule A(2A)R agonists have suffered from short pharmacokinetic half-lives and the potential for toxicity by modulating nonimmune pathways. To overcome these limitations, we have tethered the A(2A)R agonist CGS-21680 to the immunoglobulin Fc domain using expressed protein ligation with Sf9 cell secreted protein. The protein small molecule conjugate Fc-CGS retained potent Fc receptor and A(2A)R interactions and showed superior properties as a therapeutic for the treatment of a mouse model of autoimmune pneumonitis. This approach may provide a general strategy for optimizing small molecule therapeutics.

The AGC Kinase SGK1 Regulates TH1 and TH2 Differentiation Downstream of the MTORC2 Complex

Nature Immunology. May, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24705297

SGK1 is an AGC kinase that regulates the expression of membrane sodium channels in renal tubular cells in a manner dependent on the metabolic checkpoint kinase complex mTORC2. We hypothesized that SGK1 might represent an additional mTORC2-dependent regulator of the differentiation and function of T cells. Here we found that after activation by mTORC2, SGK1 promoted T helper type 2 (TH2) differentiation by negatively regulating degradation of the transcription factor JunB mediated by the E3 ligase Nedd4-2. Simultaneously, SGK1 repressed the production of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) by controlling expression of the long isoform of the transcription factor TCF-1. Consistent with those findings, mice with selective deletion of SGK1 in T cells were resistant to experimentally induced asthma, generated substantial IFN-γ in response to viral infection and more readily rejected tumors.

Cytosolic Branched Chain Aminotransferase (BCATc) Regulates MTORC1 Signaling and Glycolytic Metabolism in CD4+ T Cells

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24847056

Here we show that expression of the cytosolic branched chain aminotransferase (BCATc) is triggered by the T cell receptor (TCR) of CD4(+) T cells. Induction of BCATc correlates with increased Leu transamination, whereas T cells from the BCATc(-/-) mouse exhibit lower Leu transamination and higher intracellular Leu concentrations than the cells from wild type (WT) mice. Induction of BCATc by TCR in WT cells is prevented by the calcineurin-nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) inhibitor, cyclosporin A (CsA), suggesting that NFAT controls BCATc expression. Leu is a known activator of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). mTOR is emerging as a critical regulator of T cell activation, differentiation, and metabolism. Activated T cells from BCATc(-/-) mice show increased phosphorylation of mTORC1 downstream targets, S6 and 4EBP-1, indicating higher mTORC1 activation than in T cells from WT mice. Furthermore, T cells from BCATc(-/-) mice display higher rates of glycolysis, glycolytic capacity, and glycolytic reserve when compared with activated WT cells. These findings reveal BCATc as a novel regulator of T cell activation and metabolism and highlight the important role of Leu metabolism in T cells.

Integrating Canonical and Metabolic Signalling Programmes in the Regulation of T Cell Responses

Nature Reviews. Immunology. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24962260

Over the past decade, our understanding of T cell activation, differentiation and function has markedly expanded, providing a greater appreciation of the signals and pathways that regulate these processes. It has become clear that evolutionarily conserved pathways that regulate stress responses, metabolism, autophagy and survival have crucial and specific roles in regulating T cell responses. Recent studies suggest that the metabolic pathways involving MYC, hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α), AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are activated upon antigen recognition and that they are required for directing the consequences of T cell receptor engagement. The purpose of this Review is to provide an integrated view of the role of these metabolic pathways and of canonical T cell signalling pathways in regulating the outcome of T cell responses.

Insight into the Role of MTOR and Metabolism in T Cells Reveals New Potential Approaches to Preventing Graft Rejection

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24991977

In this review, we discuss the recent advances with regard to the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway and focus on how this pathway modulates immune responses. Overall, these insights provide important clues in terms of strategically integrating mTOR and metabolic inhibitors into transplantation rejection protocols.

Nonmyeloablative HLA-matched Sibling Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Severe Sickle Cell Phenotype

JAMA. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25058217

Myeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is curative for children with severe sickle cell disease, but toxicity may be prohibitive for adults. Nonmyeloablative transplantation has been attempted with degrees of preparative regimen intensity, but graft rejection and graft-vs-host disease remain significant.

Single-agent GVHD Prophylaxis with Posttransplantation Cyclophosphamide After Myeloablative, HLA-matched BMT for AML, ALL, and MDS

Blood. Dec, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25316679

High-dose, posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) reduces severe graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT), but the impact of PTCy on long-term, disease-specific outcomes is unclear. We conducted a retrospective study of 209 consecutive adult patients transplanted for acute myeloid leukemia (AML, n = 138), myelodysplastic syndrome (n = 28), or acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL, n = 43) using PTCy as sole GVHD prophylaxis after myeloablative conditioning and HLA-matched-related or -unrelated T-cell-replete allografting. At alloBMT, 30% of patients were not in morphologic complete remission. The cumulative incidences of grades II to IV and III to IV acute GVHD at 100 days and chronic GVHD at 2 years were 45%, 11%, and 13%, respectively. Forty-three percent of patients did not require immunosuppression for any reason beyond PTCy. At 3 years, relapse cumulative incidence was 36%, disease-free survival was 46%, survival free of disease and chronic GVHD was 39%, and overall survival was 58%. Lack of remission at alloBMT, adverse cytogenetics, and low allograft nucleated cell dose were associated with inferior survival for AML patients. Minimal residual disease but not t(9;22) was associated with inferior outcomes for ALL patients. The ability to limit posttransplantation immunosuppression makes PTCy a promising transplantation platform for the integration of postgrafting strategies to prevent relapse.

Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Complex 2 Regulates Invariant NKT Cell Development and Function Independent of Promyelocytic Leukemia Zinc-finger

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25404366

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) senses and incorporates different environmental cues via the two signaling complexes mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTORC2. As a result, mTOR controls cell growth and survival, and also shapes different effector functions of the cells including immune cells such as T cells. We demonstrate in this article that invariant NKT (iNKT) cell development is controlled by mTORC2 in a cell-intrinsic manner. In mice deficient in mTORC2 signaling because of the conditional deletion of the Rictor gene, iNKT cell numbers were reduced in the thymus and periphery. This is caused by decreased proliferation of stage 1 iNKT cells and poor development through subsequent stages. Functionally, iNKT cells devoid of mTORC2 signaling showed reduced number of IL-4-expressing cells, which correlated with a decrease in the transcription factor GATA-3-expressing cells. However, promyelocytic leukemia zinc-finger (PLZF), a critical transcription factor for iNKT cell development, is expressed at a similar level in mTORC2-deficient iNKT cells compared with that in the wild type iNKT cells. Furthermore, cellular localization of PLZF was not altered in the absence of mTOR2 signaling. Thus, our study reveals the PLZF-independent mechanisms of the development and function of iNKT cells regulated by mTORC2.

Regulation of T Cells by MTOR: the Known Knowns and the Known Unknowns

Trends in Immunology. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25522665

Mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is emerging as an important integrator of environmental cues critical for the regulation of T cell activation, differentiation, and function. Recent studies leveraging pharmacologic inhibition or T cell specific genetic deletion of signaling components in the mTOR pathway have provided important insights into the mechanisms involved, and have been informative in defining targets downstream of mTOR that promote immune regulation. However, these studies have also presented confusing and, at times, contradictory findings, highlighting the complexities involved in examining the mTOR pathway in distinct contexts. Here, we review current understanding of the roles of mTOR in T cell biology, highlighting emerging concepts and areas of investigation where the precise role of mTOR has yet to be fully discerned.

Sugar, Fat, and Protein: New Insights into What T Cells Crave

Current Opinion in Immunology. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25665466

T cell activation and differentiation is a complex process that has evolved beyond the two-signal model to a number of varied and opposing inputs that must be interpreted to make a cell fate decision. While stimulation through the TCR, costimulatory, and cytokine receptors is required, metabolic signaling has emerged not only as an activation signal, but also one that can influence and shape differentiation. Recent findings have revealed unappreciated roles for glucose, fatty acids, and salt in the function of many T cell subsets. In this review, we will highlight the latest advances in the burgeoning field of immunometabolism, focusing on how the menu of T cell fuels has expanded.

Rapamycin Inhibits Human Laryngotracheal Stenosis-derived Fibroblast Proliferation, Metabolism, and Function in Vitro

Otolaryngology--head and Neck Surgery : Official Journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. May, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25754184

To determine if rapamycin inhibits the growth, function, and metabolism of human laryngotracheal stenosis (LTS)-derived fibroblasts.

Cellular Size As a Means of Tracking MTOR Activity and Cell Fate of CD4+ T Cells Upon Antigen Recognition

PloS One. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25849206

mTOR is a central integrator of metabolic and immunological stimuli, dictating immune cell activation, proliferation and differentiation. In this study, we demonstrate that within a clonal population of activated T cells, there exist both mTORhi and mTORlo cells exhibiting highly divergent metabolic and immunologic functions. By taking advantage of the role of mTOR activation in controlling cellular size, we demonstrate that upon antigen recognition, mTORhi CD4+ T cells are destined to become highly glycolytic effector cells. Conversely, mTORlo T cells preferentially develop into long-lived cells that express high levels of Bcl-2, CD25, and CD62L. Furthermore, mTORlo T cells have a greater propensity to differentiate into suppressive Foxp3+ T regulatory cells, and this paradigm was also observed in human CD4+ T cells. Overall, these studies provide the opportunity to track the development of effector and memory T cells from naïve precursors, as well as facilitate the interrogation of immunologic and metabolic programs that inform these fates.

Something in the Air: Hyperoxic Conditioning of the Tumor Microenvironment for Enhanced Immunotherapy

Cancer Cell. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25873169

Recent clinical trials in cancer therapy have demonstrated unprecedented responses through blockade of CTLA-4 and PD-1 immune checkpoint pathways. In a provocative recent paper in Science Translational Medicine, Hatfield and colleagues demonstrate the ability of supplemental oxygen to act as a novel immune checkpoint inhibitor by disrupting the hypoxia-adenosine-A2aR pathway.

MTORC1 and MTORC2 Selectively Regulate CD8⁺ T Cell Differentiation

The Journal of Clinical Investigation. May, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25893604

Activation of mTOR-dependent pathways regulates the specification and differentiation of CD4+ T effector cell subsets. Herein, we show that mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTORC2 have distinct roles in the generation of CD8+ T cell effector and memory populations. Evaluation of mice with a T cell-specific deletion of the gene encoding the negative regulator of mTORC1, tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2), resulted in the generation of highly glycolytic and potent effector CD8+ T cells; however, due to constitutive mTORC1 activation, these cells retained a terminally differentiated effector phenotype and were incapable of transitioning into a memory state. In contrast, CD8+ T cells deficient in mTORC1 activity due to loss of RAS homolog enriched in brain (RHEB) failed to differentiate into effector cells but retained memory characteristics, such as surface marker expression, a lower metabolic rate, and increased longevity. However, these RHEB-deficient memory-like T cells failed to generate recall responses as the result of metabolic defects. While mTORC1 influenced CD8+ T cell effector responses, mTORC2 activity regulated CD8+ T cell memory. mTORC2 inhibition resulted in metabolic reprogramming, which enhanced the generation of CD8+ memory cells. Overall, these results define specific roles for mTORC1 and mTORC2 that link metabolism and CD8+ T cell effector and memory generation and suggest that these functions have the potential to be targeted for enhancing vaccine efficacy and antitumor immunity.

A2aR Antagonists: Next Generation Checkpoint Blockade for Cancer Immunotherapy

Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25941561

The last several years have witnessed exciting progress in the development of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. This has been due in great part to the development of so-called checkpoint blockade. That is, antibodies that block inhibitory receptors such as CTLA-4 and PD-1 and thus unleash antigen-specific immune responses against tumors. It is clear that tumors evade the immune response by usurping pathways that play a role in negatively regulating normal immune responses. In this regard, adenosine in the immune microenvironment leading to the activation of the A2a receptor has been shown to represent one such negative feedback loop. Indeed, the tumor microenvironment has relatively high concentrations of adenosine. To this end, blocking A2a receptor activation has the potential to markedly enhance anti-tumor immunity in mouse models. This review will present data demonstrating the ability of A2a receptor blockade to enhance tumor vaccines, checkpoint blockade and adoptive T cell therapy. Also, as several recent studies have demonstrated that under certain conditions A2a receptor blockade can enhance tumor progression, we will also explore the complexities of adenosine signaling in the immune response. Despite important nuances to the A2a receptor pathway that require further elucidation, studies to date strongly support the development of A2a receptor antagonists (some of which have already been tested in phase III clinical trials for Parkinson Disease) as novel modalities in the immunotherapy armamentarium.

Dysregulated Macrophages Are Present in Bleomycin-Induced Murine Laryngotracheal Stenosis

Otolaryngology--head and Neck Surgery : Official Journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Aug, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26084828

To define the inflammatory cell infiltrate preceding fibrosis in a laryngotracheal stenosis (LTS) murine model.

Feeding an Army: The Metabolism of T Cells in Activation, Anergy, and Exhaustion

Molecular Immunology. Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26256793

Through the direct control of infection or by providing cytokine signals to other cellular players, T cells play a central role in the orchestration of the immune response. However, in many disease states, T cells are rendered dysfunctional, unable to carry out their effector functions. As T cell activation is bioenergetically demanding, some T cell dysfunction can have metabolic underpinnings. In this review, we will discuss how T cells are programmed to fuel their effector response, and how programmed or pathologic changes can disrupt their ability to generate the energy needed to proliferate and carry out their critical functions.

Targeting Glutamine Metabolism Rescues Mice from Late-stage Cerebral Malaria

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26438846

The most deadly complication of Plasmodium falciparum infection is cerebral malaria (CM) with a case fatality rate of 15-25% in African children despite effective antimalarial chemotherapy. There are no adjunctive treatments for CM, so there is an urgent need to identify new targets for therapy. Here we show that the glutamine analog 6-diazo-5-oxo-l-norleucine (DON) rescues mice from CM when administered late in the infection a time at which mice already are suffering blood-brain barrier dysfunction, brain swelling, and hemorrhaging accompanied by accumulation of parasite-specific CD8(+) effector T cells and infected red blood cells in the brain. Remarkably, within hours of DON treatment mice showed blood-brain barrier integrity, reduced brain swelling, decreased function of activated effector CD8(+) T cells in the brain, and levels of brain metabolites that resembled those in uninfected mice. These results suggest DON as a strong candidate for an effective adjunctive therapy for CM in African children.

Preventing Allograft Rejection by Targeting Immune Metabolism

Cell Reports. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26489460

Upon antigen recognition and co-stimulation, T lymphocytes upregulate the metabolic machinery necessary to proliferate and sustain effector function. This metabolic reprogramming in T cells regulates T cell activation and differentiation but is not just a consequence of antigen recognition. Although such metabolic reprogramming promotes the differentiation and function of T effector cells, the differentiation of regulatory T cells employs different metabolic reprogramming. Therefore, we hypothesized that inhibition of glycolysis and glutamine metabolism might prevent graft rejection by inhibiting effector generation and function and promoting regulatory T cell generation. We devised an anti-rejection regimen involving the glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG), the anti-type II diabetes drug metformin, and the inhibitor of glutamine metabolism 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON). Using this triple-drug regimen, we were able to prevent or delay graft rejection in fully mismatched skin and heart allograft transplantation models.

The PTEN Pathway in Tregs is a Critical Driver of the Suppressive Tumor Microenvironment

Science Advances. Nov, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26601142

The tumor microenvironment is profoundly immunosuppressive. We show that multiple tumor types create intratumoral immune suppression driven by a specialized form of regulatory T cell (Treg) activation dependent on the PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) lipid phosphatase. PTEN acted to stabilize Tregs in tumors, preventing them from reprogramming into inflammatory effector cells. In mice with a Treg-specific deletion of PTEN, tumors grew slowly, were inflamed, and could not create an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. In normal mice, exposure to apoptotic tumor cells rapidly elicited PTEN-expressing Tregs, and PTEN-deficient mice were unable to maintain tolerance to apoptotic cells. In wild-type mice with large established tumors, pharmacologic inhibition of PTEN after chemotherapy or immunotherapy profoundly reconfigured the tumor microenvironment, changing it from a suppressive to an inflammatory milieu, and tumors underwent rapid regression. Thus, the immunosuppressive milieu in tumors must be actively maintained, and tumors become susceptible to immune attack if the PTEN pathway in Tregs is disrupted.

Asymmetric Inheritance of MTORC1 Kinase Activity During Division Dictates CD8(+) T Cell Differentiation

Nature Immunology. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27064374

The asymmetric partitioning of fate-determining proteins has been shown to contribute to the generation of CD8(+) effector and memory T cell precursors. Here we demonstrate the asymmetric partitioning of mTORC1 activity after the activation of naive CD8(+) T cells. This results in the generation of two daughter T cells, one of which shows increased mTORC1 activity, increased glycolytic activity and increased expression of effector molecules. The other daughter T cell has relatively low mTORC1 activity and increased lipid metabolism, expresses increased amounts of anti-apoptotic molecules and subsequently displays enhanced long-term survival. Mechanistically, we demonstrate a link between T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-induced asymmetric expression of amino acid transporters and RagC-mediated translocation of mTOR to the lysosomes. Overall, our data provide important insight into how mTORC1-mediated metabolic reprogramming affects the fate decisions of T cells.

Developing a Pro-regenerative Biomaterial Scaffold Microenvironment Requires T Helper 2 Cells

Science (New York, N.Y.). Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27081073

Immune-mediated tissue regeneration driven by a biomaterial scaffold is emerging as an innovative regenerative strategy to repair damaged tissues. We investigated how biomaterial scaffolds shape the immune microenvironment in traumatic muscle wounds to improve tissue regeneration. The scaffolds induced a pro-regenerative response, characterized by an mTOR/Rictor-dependent T helper 2 pathway that guides interleukin-4-dependent macrophage polarization, which is critical for functional muscle recovery. Manipulating the adaptive immune system using biomaterials engineering may support the development of therapies that promote both systemic and local pro-regenerative immune responses, ultimately stimulating tissue repair.

Vaccinia Vaccine-based Immunotherapy Arrests and Reverses Established Pulmonary Fibrosis

JCI Insight. Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27158671

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal disease without any cure. Both human disease and animal models demonstrate dysregulated wound healing and unregulated fibrogenesis in a background of low-grade chronic T lymphocyte infiltration. Tissue-resident memory T cells (Trm) are emerging as important regulators of the immune microenvironment in response to pathogens, and we hypothesized that they might play a role in regulating the unremitting inflammation that promotes lung fibrosis. Herein, we demonstrate that lung-directed immunotherapy, in the form of i.n. vaccination, induces an antifibrotic T cell response capable of arresting and reversing lung fibrosis. In mice with established lung fibrosis, lung-specific T cell responses were able to reverse established pathology - as measured by decreased lung collagen, fibrocytes, and histologic injury - and improve physiologic function. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that this effect is mediated by vaccine-induced lung Trm. These data not only have implications for the development of immunotherapeutic regimens to treat IPF, but also suggest a role for targeting tissue-resident memory T cells to treat other tissue-specific inflammatory/autoimmune disorders.

Hunger Pains: Stimulating the Appetite of the Immune System for Cancer

Cancer Cell. Jul, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27411584

In this issue, Pietrocola et al. and Di Biase et al. independently demonstrate that caloric restriction from fasting and pharmacologic inhibition results in an enhanced immunogenic response leading to reduced tumor growth. These two studies provide an exciting connection between the emerging fields of cancer and immune metabolism.

Leucine Metabolism in T Cell Activation: MTOR Signaling and Beyond

Advances in Nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). Jul, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27422517

In connection with the increasing interest in metabolic regulation of the immune response, this review discusses current advances in understanding the role of leucine and leucine metabolism in T lymphocyte (T cell) activation. T cell activation during the development of an immune response depends on metabolic reprogramming to ensure that sufficient nutrients and energy are taken up by the highly proliferating T cells. Leucine has been described as an important essential amino acid and a nutrient signal that activates complex 1 of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1), which is a critical regulator of T cell proliferation, differentiation, and function. The role of leucine in these processes is further discussed in relation to amino acid transporters, leucine-degrading enzymes, and other metabolites of leucine metabolism. A new model of T cell regulation by leucine is proposed and outlines a chain of events that leads to the activation of mTORC1 in T cells.

An Fc-Small Molecule Conjugate for Targeted Inhibition of the Adenosine 2A Receptor

Chembiochem : a European Journal of Chemical Biology. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27432157

The adenosine A2A receptor (A2A R) is expressed in immune cells, as well as brain and heart tissue, and has been intensively studied as a therapeutic target for multiple disease indications. Inhibitors of the A2A R have the potential for stimulating immune response, which could be valuable for cancer immune surveillance and mounting a response against pathogens. One well-established potent and selective small molecule A2A R antagonist, ZM-241385 (ZM), has a short pharmacokinetic half-life and the potential for systemic toxicity due to A2A R effects in the brain and the heart. In this study, we designed an analogue of ZM and tethered it to the Fc domain of the immunoglobulin IgG3 by using expressed protein ligation. The resulting protein-small molecule conjugate, Fc-ZM, retained high affinity for two Fc receptors: FcγRI and the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn. In addition, Fc-ZM was a potent A2A R antagonist, as measured by a cell-based cAMP assay. Cell-based assays also revealed that Fc-ZM could stimulate interferon γ production in splenocytes in a fashion that was dependent on the presence of A2A R. We found that Fc-ZM, compared with the small molecule ZM, was a superior A2A R antagonist in mice, consistent with the possibility that Fc attachment can improve pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic properties of the small molecule.

De Novo DNA Methylation by DNA Methyltransferase 3a Controls Early Effector CD8+ T-cell Fate Decisions Following Activation

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27582468

DNMT3a is a de novo DNA methyltransferase expressed robustly after T-cell activation that regulates plasticity of CD4(+) T-cell cytokine expression. Here we show that DNMT3a is critical for directing early CD8(+) T-cell effector and memory fate decisions. Whereas effector function of DNMT3a knockout T cells is normal, they develop more memory precursor and fewer terminal effector cells in a T-cell intrinsic manner compared with wild-type animals. Rather than increasing plasticity of differentiated effector CD8(+) T cells, loss of DNMT3a biases differentiation of early effector cells into memory precursor cells. This is attributed in part to ineffective repression of Tcf1 expression in knockout T cells, as DNMT3a localizes to the Tcf7 promoter and catalyzes its de novo methylation in early effector WT CD8(+) T cells. These data identify DNMT3a as a crucial regulator of CD8(+) early effector cell differentiation and effector versus memory fate decisions.

Deletion of MTORC1 Activity in CD4+ T Cells Is Associated with Lung Fibrosis and Increased γδ T Cells

PloS One. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27649073

Pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating, incurable disease in which chronic inflammation and dysregulated, excessive wound healing lead to progressive fibrosis, lung dysfunction, and ultimately death. Prior studies have implicated the cytokine IL-17A and Th17 cells in promoting the development of fibrosis. We hypothesized that loss of Th17 cells via CD4-specific deletion of mTORC1 activity would abrogate the development of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. However, in actuality loss of Th17 cells led to increased mortality and fibrosis in response to bleomycin. We found that in the absence of Th17 cells, there was continued production of IL-17A by γδ T cells. These IL-17A+ γδ T cells were associated with increased lung neutrophils and M2 macrophages, accelerated development of fibrosis, and increased mortality. These data elucidate the critical role of IL-17A+ γδ T cells in promoting chronic inflammation and fibrosis, and reveal a novel therapeutic target for treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.

Warburg Meets Epigenetics

Science (New York, N.Y.). Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27789830

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