Severe forms of pneumococcal meningitis, bacteraemia and pneumonia result in more than 1 million deaths each year despite the widespread introduction of carbohydrate-protein conjugate vaccines against Streptococcus pneumoniae. Here we describe a new and highly efficient antipneumococcal vaccine design based on synthetic conjugation of S. pneumoniae capsule polysaccharides to the potent lipid antigen ?-galactosylceramide, which stimulates invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells when presented by the nonpolymorphic antigen-presenting molecule CD1d. Mice injected with the new lipid-carbohydrate conjugate vaccine produced high-affinity IgG antibodies specific for pneumococcal polysaccharides. Vaccination stimulated germinal center formation; accumulation of iNKT cells with a T follicular helper cell phenotype; and increased frequency of carbohydrate-specific, long-lived memory B cells and plasmablasts. This new lipid-carbohydrate vaccination strategy induced potent antipolysaccharide immunity that protected against pneumococcal disease in mice and may also prove effective for the design of carbohydrate-based vaccines against other major bacterial pathogens.
T cells that recognize nonpeptidic antigens, and thereby are identified as nonclassical, represent important yet poorly characterized effectors of the immune response. They are present in large numbers in circulating blood and tissues and are as abundant as T cells recognizing peptide antigens. Nonclassical T cells exert multiple functions including immunoregulation, tumor control, and protection against infections. They recognize complexes of nonpeptidic antigens such as lipid and glycolipid molecules, vitamin B2 precursors, and phosphorylated metabolites of the mevalonate pathway. Each of these antigens is presented by antigen-presenting molecules other than major histocompatibility complex (MHC), including CD1, MHC class I-related molecule 1 (MR1), and butyrophilin 3A1 (BTN3A1) molecules. Here, we discuss how nonclassical T cells participate in the recognition of mycobacterial antigens and in the mycobacterial-specific immune response.
T cells that recognize self-lipids presented by CD1c are frequent in the peripheral blood of healthy individuals and kill transformed hematopoietic cells, but little is known about their antigen specificity and potential antileukemia effects. We report that CD1c self-reactive T cells recognize a novel class of self-lipids, identified as methyl-lysophosphatidic acids (mLPAs), which are accumulated in leukemia cells. Primary acute myeloid and B cell acute leukemia blasts express CD1 molecules. mLPA-specific T cells efficiently kill CD1c(+) acute leukemia cells, poorly recognize nontransformed CD1c-expressing cells, and protect immunodeficient mice against CD1c(+) human leukemia cells. The identification of immunogenic self-lipid antigens accumulated in leukemia cells and the observed leukemia control by lipid-specific T cells in vivo provide a new conceptual framework for leukemia immune surveillance and possible immunotherapy.
The ability of innate immune cells to sense and respond to impending danger varies by anatomical location. The liver is considered tolerogenic but is still capable of mounting a successful immune response to clear various infections. To understand whether hepatic immune cells tune their response to different infectious challenges, we probed mononuclear cells purified from human healthy and diseased livers with distinct pathogen-associated molecules. We discovered that only the TLR8 agonist ssRNA40 selectively activated liver-resident innate immune cells to produce substantial quantities of IFN-?. We identified CD161(Bright) mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) and CD56(Bright) NK cells as the responding liver-resident innate immune cells. Their activation was not directly induced by the TLR8 agonist but was dependent on IL-12 and IL-18 production by ssRNA40-activated intrahepatic monocytes. Importantly, the ssRNA40-induced cytokine-dependent activation of MAIT cells mirrored responses induced by bacteria, i.e., generating a selective production of high levels of IFN-?, without the concomitant production of TNF-? or IL-17A. The intrahepatic IFN-? production could be detected not only in healthy livers, but also in HBV- or HCV-infected livers. In conclusion, the human liver harbors a network of immune cells able to modulate their immunological responses to different pathogen-associated molecules. Their ability to generate a strong production of IFN-? upon stimulation with TLR8 agonist opens new therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of diverse liver pathologies.
Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Among them, tuberculosis (TB) remains a major threat to public health, exacerbated by the emergence of multiple drug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). MDR-Mtb strains are resistant to first-line anti-TB drugs such as isoniazid and rifampicin; whereas XDR-Mtb strains are resistant to additional drugs including at least to any fluoroquinolone and one of the second-line anti-TB injectable drugs such as kanamycin, capreomycin, or amikacin. Clinically, these strains have significantly impacted the management of TB in high-incidence developing countries, where systemic surveillance of TB drug resistance is lacking. For effective management of TB on-site, early detection of drug resistance is critical to initiate treatment, to reduce mortality, and to thwart drug-resistant TB transmission. In this review, we discuss the diagnostic challenges to detect drug-resistant TB at the point-of-care (POC). Moreover, we present the latest advances in nano/microscale technologies that can potentially detect TB drug resistance to improve on-site patient care.
Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are abundant in humans and recognize conserved bacterial antigens derived from riboflavin precursors, presented by the non-polymorphic MHC class I-like molecule MR1. Here we show that human MAIT cells are remarkably oligoclonal in both the blood and liver, display high inter-individual homology and exhibit a restricted length CDR3? domain of the TCRV? chain. We extend this analysis to a second sub-population of MAIT cells expressing a semi-invariant TCR conserved between individuals. Similar to 'conventional' MAIT cells, these lymphocytes react to riboflavin-synthesizing microbes in an MR1-restricted manner and infiltrate solid tissues. Both MAIT cell types release Th0, Th1 and Th2 cytokines, and sCD40L in response to bacterial infection, show cytotoxic capacity against infected cells and promote killing of intracellular bacteria, thus suggesting important protective and immunoregulatory functions of these lymphocytes.
Plasmalogen lysophosphatidylethanolamine (pLPE) had been identified as a self antigen for natural killer T cells (NKT cells). It is very important in the development, maturation and activation of NKT cells in thymus. Besides, pLPE is a novel type of antigen for NKT cells. To evaluate the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of this new antigen, pLPE and its analogues referred to different aliphatic chains and linkages at the sn-1 position of the glycerol backbone were synthesized, and the biological activities of these analogues was characterized. It is discovered that the linkages between phosphate and lipid moiety are not important for the antigens' activities. The pLPE analogues 1, 3, 4, 7 and 9, which have additional double bonds on lipid parts, were identified as new NKT agonists. Moreover, the analogues 4, 7 and 9 were discovered as potent Th2 activators for NKT cells.
Invariant natural killer T cells are preactivated lymphocytes that react upon recognition of CD1d-antigen complexes. Accordingly, any type of CD1d-positive cell could behave as antigen-presenting cell (APC). In this issue of Immunity, Arora et al. (2014), report that professional APCs still make the difference.
T-cells recognize lipid antigens presented by dedicated antigen-presenting molecules that belong to the CD1 family. This review discusses the structural properties of CD1 molecules, the nature of mycobacterial lipid antigens, and the phenotypic and functional properties of T-cells recognizing mycobacterial lipids. In humans, the five CD1 genes encode structurally similar glycoproteins that recycle in and thus survey different cellular endosomal compartments. The structure of the CD1-lipid-binding pockets, their mode of intracellular recycling and the type of CD1-expressing antigen-presenting cells all contribute to diversify lipid immunogenicity and presentation to T-cells. Mycobacteria produce a large variety of lipids, which form stable complexes with CD1 molecules and stimulate specific T-cells. The structures of antigenic lipids may be greatly different from each other and each lipid may induce unique T-cells capable of discriminating small lipid structural changes. The important functions of some lipid antigens within mycobacterial cells prevent the generation of negative mutants capable of escaping this type of immune response. T-cells specific for lipid antigens are stimulated in tuberculosis and exert protective functions. The mechanisms of antigen recognition, the type of effector functions and the mode of lipid-specific T-cell priming are discussed, emphasizing recent evidence of the roles of lipid-specific T-cells in tuberculosis.
The longer, the better: Increasing the lengths of the 1,3-methyl-branched fatty acyl chain units in mycobacterial diacylated sulfoglycolipid (Acyl2 SGL) analogues led to dramatic improvements in their antigenic properties and gave products more potent than the natural antigen Acyl2 SGLs.
Human T cells that express a T cell antigen receptor (TCR) containing ?-chain variable region 9 and ?-chain variable region 2 (V?9V?2) recognize phosphorylated prenyl metabolites as antigens in the presence of antigen-presenting cells but independently of major histocompatibility complex (MHC), the MHC class I-related molecule MR1 and antigen-presenting CD1 molecules. Here we used genetic approaches to identify the molecule that binds and presents phosphorylated antigens. We found that the butyrophilin BTN3A1 bound phosphorylated antigens with low affinity, at a stoichiometry of 1:1, and stimulated mouse T cells with transgenic expression of a human V?9V?2 TCR. The structures of the BTN3A1 distal domain in complex with host- or microbe-derived phosphorylated antigens had an immunoglobulin-like fold in which the antigens bound in a shallow pocket. Soluble V?9V?2 TCR interacted specifically with BTN3A1-antigen complexes. Accordingly, BTN3A1 represents an antigen-presenting molecule required for the activation of V?9V?2 T cells.
Human mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a T cell population characterized by the expression of a semi-invariant TCR capable of recognizing bacterial products in the context of MR1. MAIT cells are enriched in the human liver, which is constantly exposed to bacterial products from the intestine. Whether this specific parenchymal localization influences their function remains unknown. We analyzed MAIT cells resident in the vascular bed of livers and showed that they represented the majority of T cells expressing NK markers and the dominant IL-17A(+) T cell subset in the human liver sinusoids. In comparison with MAIT cells purified from peripheral blood, intrasinusoidal MAIT cells expressed markers of T cell activation; however, TCR-mediated cytokine production was equally suppressed in both circulating and intrasinusoidal MAIT cells. MAIT cells also expressed high levels of IL-7R, and we showed that IL-7, a cytokine produced by hepatocytes during inflammation, regulated TCR-mediated activation of MAIT cells, licensing them to dramatically increase Th1 cytokines and IL-17A production. Our quantitative and functional data indicate that MAIT cells are a specialized cell population highly adapted to exert their immune functions in the vascular network of the liver.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the most devastating infectious diseases and its eradication is still unattainable given the limitations of current technologies for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The World Health Organizations goal to eliminate TB globally by 2050 remains an ongoing challenge as delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis of TB continue to fuel the worldwide epidemic. Despite considerable improvements in diagnostics for the last few decades, a simple and effective point-of-care TB diagnostic test is yet not available. Here, we review the current assays used for TB diagnosis, and highlight the recent advances in nanotechnology and microfluidics that potentially enable new approaches for TB diagnosis in resource-constrained settings.
The mechanisms permitting nonpolymorphic CD1 molecules to present lipid antigens that differ considerably in polar head and aliphatic tails remain elusive. It is also unclear why hydrophobic motifs in the aliphatic tails of some antigens, which presumably embed inside CD1 pockets, contribute to determinants for T-cell recognition. The 1.9-Å crystal structure of an active complex of CD1b and a mycobacterial diacylsulfoglycolipid presented here provides some clues. Upon antigen binding, endogenous spacers of CD1b, which consist of a mixture of diradylglycerols, moved considerably within the lipid-binding groove. Spacer displacement was accompanied by F pocket closure and an extensive rearrangement of residues exposed to T-cell receptors. Such structural reorganization resulted in reduction of the A pocket capacity and led to incomplete embedding of the methyl-ramified portion of the phthioceranoyl chain of the antigen, explaining why such hydrophobic motifs are critical for T-cell receptor recognition. Mutagenesis experiments supported the functional importance of the observed structural alterations for T-cell stimulation. Overall, our data delineate a complex molecular mechanism combining spacer repositioning and ligand-induced conformational changes that, together with pocket intricacy, endows CD1b with the required molecular plasticity to present a broad range of structurally diverse antigens.
CD1e is a member of the CD1 family that participates in lipid antigen presentation without interacting with the T-cell receptor. It binds lipids in lysosomes and facilitates processing of complex glycolipids, thus promoting editing of lipid antigens. We find that CD1e may positively or negatively affect lipid presentation by CD1b, CD1c, and CD1d. This effect is caused by the capacity of CD1e to facilitate rapid formation of CD1-lipid complexes, as shown for CD1d, and also to accelerate their turnover. Similar results were obtained with antigen-presenting cells from CD1e transgenic mice in which lipid complexes are assembled more efficiently and show faster turnover than in WT antigen-presenting cells. These effects maximize and temporally narrow CD1-restricted responses, as shown by reactivity to Sphingomonas paucimobilis-derived lipid antigens. CD1e is therefore an important modulator of both group 1 and group 2 CD1-restricted responses influencing the lipid antigen availability as well as the generation and persistence of CD1-lipid complexes.
iNKT cells are a unique T cell subset, which is CD1d-restricted and specific for glycolipid antigens. In advanced atherosclerotic plaques, focal collections of inflammatory cells correlate with areas of intraplaque neovascularization. We reported recently that iNKT cells might facilitate intraplaque neovascularization by enhancing EC migration and sprouting in an IL-8-dependent manner. This study investigated the participating effector mechanisms. In ECs, CM, derived from antigen-stimulated human iNKT cells (CM+), induced up-regulation of IL-8R CXCR2 and the phosphorylation of EGFR and of multiple intracellular signaling effectors, including FAK, Src, Erk, Jnk, p38-MAPK, and STAT1 and -3. We found that a cascade of events, which were IL-8-dependent and involved EGFR activation, was responsible for signaling through FAK and Src kinases and necessary for acquisition of angiogenic morphology, migration in a two-dimensional wound assay, and sprout outgrowth in a three-dimensional model of angiogenesis in vitro. The data support that IL-8-dependent activation of angiogenic behavior in ECs, in response to activated iNKT, involves CXCR2, transactivation of EGFR, and subsequent FAK/Src signaling. We found too that activated iNKT increased VEGFR2 expression in ECs. Functional studies confirmed that EGF is the motogenic-enhancing factor in CM+ and is necessary, together with an exogenous source of VEGF, for iNKT-promoted sprout formation. EGFR inhibition may represent a novel therapeutic modality aimed at plaque stabilization through control of neovascularization within developing atherosclerotic plaques.
CD1e is the only human CD1 protein existing in soluble form in the late endosomes of dendritic cells, where it facilitates the processing of glycolipid antigens that are ultimately recognized by CD1b-restricted T cells. The precise function of CD1e remains undefined, thus impeding efforts to predict the participation of this protein in the presentation of other antigens. To gain insight into its function, we determined the crystal structure of recombinant CD1e expressed in human cells at 2.90-Å resolution. The structure revealed a groove less intricate than in other CD1 proteins, with a significantly wider portal characterized by a 2 Å-larger spacing between the ?1 and ?2 helices. No electron density corresponding to endogenous ligands was detected within the groove, despite the presence of ligands unequivocally established by native mass spectrometry in recombinant CD1e. Our structural data indicate that the water-exposed CD1e groove could ensure the establishment of loose contacts with lipids. In agreement with this possibility, lipid association and dissociation processes were found to be considerably faster with CD1e than with CD1b. Moreover, CD1e was found to mediate in vitro the transfer of lipids to CD1b and the displacement of lipids from stable CD1b-antigen complexes. Altogether, these data support that CD1e could have evolved to mediate lipid-exchange/editing processes with CD1b and point to a pathway whereby the repertoire of lipid antigens presented by human dendritic cells might be expanded.
Liver organogenesis and cancerogenesis share common mechanisms. HOX genes control normal development, primary cellular processes and are characterized by a unique genomic network organization. Less is known about the involvement of HOX genes with liver cancerogenesis. The comparison of the HOX gene network expression between nontumorous livers and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) highlights significant differences in the locus A HOX genes, located on chromosome 7, with a consistent overexpression of HOXA13 mRNA thus validating this gene deregulation as a feature of HCC. HOXA13 is a determinant of gut primordia and posterior body structures. Transcriptome analysis of HCC/nontumorous liver mRNAs, selected on the basis of HOXA13 overexpression, recognizes a set of deregulated genes. The matching of these genes with previously reported HCC transcriptome analysis identifies cell-cycle and nuclear pore-related HCC phenotype displaying poor prognosis. HOXA13 and HOXA7 homeoproteins share a consensus sequence that physically links eIF4E nuclear bodies acting on the export of specific mRNAs (c-myc, FGF-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and cyclin D1). We report the protein-protein interaction between HOXA13 and eIF4E in liver cancer cells and the deregulation of eIF4E mRNA and protein in cell cycle/nuclear pore HCC group phenotype and in T4 stage HCCs, respectively. Thus, transcriptional and post-transcriptional HOXA13 deregulation is involved in HCC possibly through the mRNA nuclear export of eIF4E-dependent transcripts.
CD1 molecules present lipid antigens to T cells. An intriguing subset of human T cells recognize CD1-expressing cells without deliberately added lipids. Frequency, subset distribution, clonal composition, naïve-to-memory dynamic transition of these CD1 self-reactive T cells remain largely unknown. By screening libraries of T-cell clones, generated from CD4(+) or CD4(-) CD8(-) double negative (DN) T cells sorted from the same donors, and by limiting dilution analysis, we find that the frequency of CD1 self-reactive T cells is unexpectedly high in both T-cell subsets, in the range of 1/10-1/300 circulating T cells. These T cells predominantly recognize CD1a and CD1c and express diverse TCRs. Frequency comparisons of T-cell clones from sorted naïve and memory compartments of umbilical cord and adult blood show that CD1 self-reactive T cells are naïve at birth and undergo an age-dependent increase in the memory compartment, suggesting a naïve/memory adaptive-like population dynamics. CD1 self-reactive clones exhibit mostly Th1 and Th0 functional activities, depending on the subset and on the CD1 isotype restriction. These findings unveil the unanticipated relevance of self-lipid T-cell response in humans and clarify the basic parameters of the lipid-specific T-cell physiology.
Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory lipid storage disease of large arteries, is complicated by cardiovascular events usually precipitated by plaque rupture or erosion. Inflammation participates in lesion progression and plaque rupture. Identification of leukocyte populations involved in plaque destabilization is important for effective prevention of cardiovascular events. This study investigates CD1d-expressing cells and invariant NKT cells (iNKT) in human arterial tissue, their correlation with disease severity and symptoms, and potential mechanisms for their involvement in plaque formation and/or destabilization. CD1d-expressing cells were present in advanced plaques in patients who suffered from cardiovascular events in the past and were most abundant in plaques with ectopic neovascularization. Confocal microscopy detected iNKT cells in plaques, and plaque-derived iNKT cell lines promptly produced proinflammatory cytokines when stimulated by CD1d-expressing APC-presenting ?-galactosylceramide lipid antigen. Furthermore, iNKT cells were diminished in the circulating blood of patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis. Activated iNKT cell-derived culture supernatants showed angiogenic activity in a human microvascular endothelial cell line HMEC-1-spheroid model of in vitro angiogenesis and strongly activated human microvascular endothelial cell line HMEC-1 migration. This functional activity was ascribed to IL-8 released by iNKT cells upon lipid recognition. These findings introduce iNKT cells as novel cellular candidates promoting plaque neovascularization and destabilization in human atherosclerosis.
A major step in understanding differences in the nature of Ag presentation was the realization that MHC class I samples peptides transported to the endoplasmic reticulum from the cytosol, whereas MHC class II samples peptides from lysosomes. In contrast to MHC class I and II molecules that present protein Ags, CD1 molecules present lipid Ags for recognition by specific T cells. Each of the five members of the CD1 family (CD1a-e) localizes to a distinct subcompartment of endosomes. Accordingly, it has been widely assumed that the distinct trafficking of CD1 isoforms must also have evolved to enable them to sample lipid Ags that traffic via different routes. Among the CD1 isoforms, CD1a is unusual because it does not have a tyrosine-based cytoplasmic sorting motif and uniquely localizes to the early endocytic recycling compartment. This led us to predict that CD1a might have evolved to focus on lipids that localize to early endocytic/recycling compartments. Strikingly, we found that the glycolipid Ag sulfatide also localized almost exclusively to early endocytic and recycling compartments. Consistent with colocalization of CD1a and sulfatide, wild-type CD1a molecules efficiently presented sulfatide to CD1a-restricted, sulfatide-specific T cells. In contrast, CD1a:CD1b tail chimeras, that retain the same Ag-binding capacity as CD1a but traffic based on the cytoplasmic tail of CD1b to lysosomes, failed to present sulfatide efficiently. Thus, the intracellular trafficking route of CD1a is essential for efficient presentation of lipid Ags that traffic through the early endocytic and recycling pathways.
The conformationally based piperidinone sphingosine analogues 7, 8, 15, and 16 were synthesized from allylic alcohol 34 via lactams 31 and 32. The L-arabino diol 7 and the L-ribo diol 8 were transformed into the amino alcohols 17-24. The L-gluco ceramide analogues 43, 46a, and 47, and the L-altro ceramide analogues 51a and 52 were synthesized from either 31 or 32. The L-ribo diols 8 and 16, and the amino alcohols 19 and 20 inhibit sphingosine kinase 1 (SPHK1), while the L-arabino analogues 7, 15, 17, and 18 are inactive. The L-arabino and the L-ribo dimethylamines 21-24, the L-gluco ceramide analogues 43, 46a, and 47, and the L-altro ceramide analogues 51a and 52 did not block SPHK1. Neither the L-arabino diol 7 nor the L-ribo diol 8 inhibited SPHK2 or ceramide kinase. The L-arabino diols 7 and 15 stimulate invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells when presented by living antigen-presenting cells (APC) and also by plate-bound human CD1d, whereas the L-ribo diols 8 and 16, the L-arabino amino alcohols 17-18, and the dimethylamines 21-22 did not activate iNKT cells. The L-gluco ceramide analogues 43, 46a, and 47 had strongly stimulatory effects on iNKT cells when presented by living APC and also by plate-bound human CD1d, whereas the L-altro ceramide analogue 52 activated only weakly. All activatory compounds induced preferentially the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, indicating the formation of a stable CD1d--lipid--T-cell receptor complex.
T lymphocytes are the cells of the immune system that may recognize glycolipids as antigens. T cells recognize lipids associated with the non-polymorphic molecules of the CD1 family present on the membrane of antigen-presenting cells. CD1 molecules contain hydrophobic pockets, which bind a large variety of lipid molecules in various manners. Lipid antigenicity is determined by their mode of uptake, membrane trafficking properties, degradation within endosomal compartments and capacity to form stable complexes with CD1. Extracellular and intracellular lipid binding proteins participate in lipid handling and loading on CD1 molecules within antigen-presenting cells. Recent crystal structures have disclosed how the T cell receptor contacts CD1-lipid complexes, revealing the contribution of both CD1 and lipid residues in making functionally relevant contacts. Lipid-specific T cells are important in autoimmunity, cancer surveillance, protection during infections, and in immunoregulation. The immunogenicity of lipids is being exploited in novel approaches to immunotherapy, including inhibition of autoimmunity and anti-cancer and bacterial vaccines.
The recognition of both protein and lipid antigens follows similar strategies that rely on different molecular mechanisms. APC present lipid antigens exploiting the same mechanisms implicated in lipid translocation, lipoprotein assembly and lipid degradation. An important issue is how the lipid structure contributes to antigenicity. Lipid hydrophobicity influences the modes of internalization by APC, the trafficking through different membrane compartments, the binding to CD1 molecules and the stability of antigenic complexes. Some glycolipids with large hydrophilic parts require processing of the sugar moieties exerted by lysosomal hydrolases. Finally, extraction of lipids from membranes, their solubilization and loading on CD1 molecules are facilitated by the same lysosomal lipid-binding proteins that are also instrumental in lipid catabolism. More recent investigations reveal how lipid-specific immunity is regulated during infections. In this review we describe the main cellular and biochemical rules of lipid antigen presentation and discuss their implications in anti-microbial and autoimmune responses.
Group I CD1 proteins are specialized antigen-presenting molecules that present both microbial and self lipid antigens to CD1-restricted alpha/beta T lymphocytes. The production of high levels of gamma interferon and lysis of infected macrophages by lipid-specific T lymphocytes are believed to play pivotal roles mainly in the defense against mycobacterial infections. We previously demonstrated that Mycobacterium tuberculosis and bacillus Calmette-Guérin (Mycobacterium bovis BCG) induce human monocytes to differentiate into CD1- dendritic cells (DC), which cannot present lipid antigens to specific T cells. Here, we show that in human monocytes mycobacteria trigger phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase to inhibit CD1 expression in DC derived from infected monocytes. Pretreatment with a specific p38 inhibitor renders monocytes insensitive to mycobacterial subversion and allows them to differentiate into CD1+ DC, which are fully capable of presenting lipid antigens to specific T cells. We also report that one of the pathogen recognition receptors triggered by BCG to activate p38 is complement receptor 3 (CR3), as shown by reduced p38 phosphorylation and partial reestablishment of CD1 membrane expression obtained by CR3 blockade before infection. In conclusion, we propose that p38 signaling is a novel pathway exploited by mycobacteria to affect the expression of CD1 antigen-presenting cells and avoid immune recognition.
The analogues 7-9 of 7-oxaceramide and 7-oxasphingosine were synthesized from the known azidosphingosine 21. The 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole analogues 10-16 of ceramides were synthesized by the click reaction of the known azide 24. None of the analogues 7-15 was active as inhibitor of SPHK type 1 and of acid sphingomyelinase, whereas 16 is a weak inhibitor of SPHK1. Triazoles 10, 11, and 15 did not inhibit ceramide phosphorylation by CerK, and none of 7, 8, and 10-15 activated invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell clones when presented by human CD1d-transfected antigen-presenting cells (APC) or by plate-bound human CD1d . Triazoles 14 and 15 prevent binding of alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) to plate-bound human CD1d and subsequent T-cell response to alpha-GalCer. Only 15 reduced activation by alpha-GalCer significantly and independently of the cytokine measured.
The synthesis of 7-oxasphingosine (3) and 7-oxaceramide (4) was improved by starting from the 4-methoxybenzyl-protected d-galactal 9. The sphingosine analogues 5-7 and 24 were synthesized via the azido alcohol 13. The 7-thiasphingosine 5 is a poorer substrate for both isoforms of sphingosine kinase (SPHK) than sphingosine, but showed a slight preference for SPHK2. The sulfone 6 and the 7-aza compounds 7 and 24 were not phosphorylated by either SPHK1 or SPHK2, and none of 5-7 and 24 activated invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell clones when presented by human CD1d-transfected antigen-presenting cells (APC) or by plate-bound human CD1d. Only 7 and 24 associated with plate-bound recombinant CD1d prevented stimulation of iNKT cells by alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer).
CD1b-restricted T lymphocytes recognize a large diversity of mycobacterial lipids, which differ in their hydrophilic heads and the structure of their acyl appendages. Both moieties participate in the antigenicity of lipid Ags, but the structural constraints governing binding to CD1b and generation of antigenic CD1b:lipid Ag complexes are still poorly understood. Here, we investigated the structural requirements conferring antigenicity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis sulfoglycolipid Ags using a combination of CD1b:lipid binding and T cell activation assays with both living dendritic cells and plate-bound recombinant soluble CD1b. Comparison of the antigenicity of a panel of synthetic analogs, sharing the same trehalose-sulfate polar head, but differing in the structure of their acyl tails, shows that the number of C-methyl substituents on the fatty acid, the configuration of the chiral centers, and the respective localization of the two different acyl chains on the sugar moiety govern TCR recognition and T lymphocyte activation. These studies have major implications for the design of sulfoglycolipid analogs with potential use as tuberculosis subunit vaccines.
CD1e displays unique features in comparison with other CD1 proteins. CD1e accumulates in Golgi compartments of immature dendritic cells and is transported directly to lysosomes, where it is cleaved into a soluble form. In these latter compartments, CD1e participates in the processing of glycolipid antigens. In the present study, we show that the N-terminal end of the membrane-associated molecule begins at amino acid 20, whereas the soluble molecule consists of amino acids 32-333. Thus immature CD1e includes an N-terminal propeptide which is cleaved in acidic compartments and so is absent from its mature endosomal form. Mutagenesis experiments demonstrated that the propeptide controls the assembly of the CD1e alpha-chain with beta(2)-microglobulin, whereas propeptide-deleted CD1e molecules are immunologically active. Comparison of CD1e cDNAs from different mammalian species indicates that the CD1e propeptide is conserved during evolution, suggesting that it may also optimize the generation of CD1e molecules in other species.
CD1-restricted lipid-specific T lymphocytes are primed during infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. Here we describe the antigenicity of glycerol monomycolate (GroMM), which stimulates CD1b-restricted CD4(+) T cell clones. Chemical characterization of this antigen showed that it exists as two stereoisomers, one synthetic isomer being more stimulatory than the other. The hydroxyl groups of glycerol and the mycolic acid length are critical for triggering the T cell responses. GroMM was presented by M. tuberculosis-infected dendritic cells, demonstrating that the antigen is available for presentation during natural infection. Ex vivo experiments showed that GroMM stimulated T cells from vaccinated or latently infected healthy donors but not cells from patients with active tuberculosis, suggesting that GroMM-specific T cells are primed during infection and their detection correlates with lack of clinical active disease.
Lipids are important antigens that induce T cell-mediated specific immune responses. They are presented to T lymphocytes by a specific class of MHC-I like proteins, termed CD1. The majority of the described CD1-presented mycobacterial antigens are presented by the CD1b isoform. We previously demonstrated that the stimulation of CD1b-restricted T cells by the hexamannosylated phosphatidyl-myo-inositol (PIM(6)), a family of mycobacterial antigens, requires a prior partial digestion of the antigen oligomannoside moiety by ?-mannosidase and that CD1e is an accessory protein absolutely required for the generation of the lipid immunogenic form. Here, we show that CD1e behaves as a lipid transfer protein influencing lipid immunoediting and membrane transfer of PIM lipids. CD1e selectively assists the ?-mannosidase-dependent digestion of PIM(6) species according to their degree of acylation. Moreover, CD1e transfers only diacylated PIM from donor to acceptor liposomes and also from membranes to CD1b. This study provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms by which CD1e contributes to lipid immunoediting and CD1-restricted presentation to T cells.
Lipid-specific T cells are important participants in human immune responses. Recognition of lipid antigens contributes to host defense against pathogens that can cause debilitating diseases, including mycobacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Lipid-specific T cells also play important roles in various autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis, and in tumor surveillance. A better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate lipid-reactive T-cell functions will enable the development of novel therapies across a wide range of diseases. In recent years, our laboratory has investigated lipid antigen specificities, mechanisms of lipid antigen presentation, molecular interaction of lipid antigens with CD1 antigen-presenting molecules, and the pathogenic and regulatory functions of lipid-specific T cells in a variety of disease settings. In this review, we present recent data that illustrate the critical role played by lipid-specific immune responses in host protection, with a particular focus on human studies.
The development and maturation of semi-invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) rely on the recognition of self antigens presented by CD1d restriction molecules in thymus. The nature of the stimulatory thymic self lipids remains elusive. We isolated lipids from thymocytes and found that ether-bonded mono-alkyl glycerophosphates and the precursors and degradation products of plasmalogens stimulated iNKT cells. Synthetic analogs showed high potency in activating thymic and peripheral iNKT cells. Mice deficient in the peroxisomal enzyme glyceronephosphate O-acyltransferase (GNPAT), essential for the synthesis of ether lipids, had significant alteration of the thymic maturation of iNKT cells and fewer iNKT cells in both thymus and peripheral organs, which confirmed the role of ether-bonded lipids as iNKT cell antigens. Thus, peroxisome-derived lipids are nonredundant self antigens required for the generation of a full iNKT cell repertoire.
T cells recognizing lipid antigens are present in large numbers in circulating blood. They exert multiple functions including immunoregulation, tumour surveillance and protection during infection. Here, we review the latest information on the mechanisms of lipid antigen presentation by CD1 molecules. Recent studies have provided insight into CD1 trafficking within the cell, lipid distribution and handling, CD1 maturation, lipid antigen processing and loading. The structural resolution of all human CD1 molecules has revealed unique features that correlate with function. Molecular mechanisms regulating CD1 expression and multiple evasion mechanisms evolved by viral and bacterial pathogens have been disclosed. With rapid progression, these studies have decoded lipid-specific immunity and have revealed the important immunological role of this type of antigen recognition.
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