Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell neoplasm that results from clonal expansion of an Ig-secreting terminally differentiated B cell. Advanced MM is characterized by tissue damage that involves bone, kidney, and other organs and is typically associated with recurrent genetic abnormalities. IL-6 signaling via the IL-6 signal transducer GP130 has been implicated as an important driver of MM pathogenesis. Here, we demonstrated that ectopic expression of constitutively active GP130 (L-GP130) in a murine retroviral transduction-transplantation model induces rapid MM development of high penetrance. L-GP130-expressing mice recapitulated all of the characteristics of human disease, including monoclonal gammopathy, BM infiltration with lytic bone lesions, and protein deposition in the kidney. Moreover, the disease was easily transplantable and allowed different therapeutic options to be evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Using this model, we determined that GP130 signaling collaborated with MYC to induce MM and was responsible and sufficient for directing the plasma cell phenotype. Accordingly, we identified Myc aberrations in the L-GP130 MM model. Evaluation of human MM samples revealed recurrent activation of STAT3, a downstream target of GP130 signaling. Together, our results indicate that deregulated GP130 activity contributes to MM pathogenesis and that pathways downstream of GP130 activity have potential as therapeutic targets in MM.
Angiotensin (Ang) II is a potent mediator of both hypertension and cardiac damage; however, the mechanisms by which this occur remain unclear. B-cell lymphoma/leukemia 10 (Bcl10) is a member of the CBM signalosome, which links Ang II and nuclear factor-?B signaling. We hypothesized that Bcl10 is pivotal in the pathogenesis of Ang II-induced cardiac damage. Ang II infusion in mice lacking Bcl10 resulted in reduced cardiac fibrosis, less cellular infiltration, and improved arrhythmogenic electric remodeling, despite a similar degree of hypertension or cardiac hypertrophy. Adoptive transfer of bone marrow (BM), whereby Bcl10 knockout or wildtype BM was transferred to their opposite genotype recipients, revealed the dual importance of Bcl10 within both cardiac and immune cells. Loss of Bcl10 in cardiac cells resulted in reduced expression of genes important for the adhesion and recruitment of immune cells. In vitro experiments demonstrated that adhesion of monocytes to Ang II-treated endothelial cells also required Bcl10. Additionally, Bcl10 deficiency in macrophages reduced their intrinsic migratory ability. To address the role of BM-derived fibroblasts in the formation of cardiac fibrosis, we explored whether Bcl10 is also important for the infiltration of BM-derived (myo)fibroblasts into the heart. The transfer of green fluorescent protein positive wildtype BM into Bcl10 knockout recipient mice revealed a reduced number of noncardiac (myo)fibroblasts compared with those wildtype recipients. Our results demonstrate the significant role of Bcl10 in multiple cell types important for the generation of Ang II-induced cardiac damage and electric remodeling and may provide a new avenue for therapeutic intervention.
Infection with the gram-negative bacterium Helicobacter pylori is the most prevalent chronic bacterial infection, affecting ?50% of the world's population, and is the main risk factor of gastric cancer. The proinflammatory cytokine IL-1? plays a crucial role in the development of gastric tumors and polymorphisms in the IL-1 gene cluster leading to increased IL-1? production have been associated with increased risk for gastric cancer. To be active, pro-IL-1? must be cleaved by the inflammasome, an intracellular multiprotein complex implicated in physiological and pathological inflammation. Recently, H. pylori was postulated to activate the inflammasome in murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells; however, the molecular mechanisms as well as the bacterial virulence factor acting as signal 2 activating the inflammasome remain elusive. In this study, we analyzed the inflammasome complex regulating IL-1? upon H. pylori infection as well as the molecular mechanisms involved. Our results indicate that H. pylori-induced IL-1? secretion is mediated by activation of the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family, pyrin domain-containing 3 inflammasome. We also show that reactive oxygen species, potassium efflux, and lysosomal destabilization are the main cellular mechanisms responsible of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain family, pyrin domain-containing 3 inflammasome activation upon H. pylori infection, and identify vacuolating cytotoxin A and cag pathogenicity island as the bacterial virulence determinants involved. Moreover, in vivo experiments indicate an important role for the inflammasome in the onset and establishment of H. pylori infection and in the subsequent inflammatory response of the host.
Upon activation of CD4+ T helper cells the transcription factor complex NF-?B becomes activated and its subunits are able to translocate to the nucleus. There, the dimerized proteins regulate the transcription of for example cytokine and pro-survival genes. This process is of central importance for a proper function of T helper cells as its loss causes severe immunodeficiency, whereas its deregulation can contribute to lymphomagenesis or autoimmunity. In this protocol we describe four methods to investigate NF-?B activation in T helper cells by testing (1) the assembly of the Carma1-Malt1-Bcl10 complex by co-immunoprecipitation, (2) the activation of the IKK complex and the degradation of I?B? by western blot analysis, (3) the degradation of I?B? by intracellular flow cytometry, and (4) the nuclear translocation and DNA binding activity of NF-?B by nonradioactive electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA).
Humoral autoimmunity paralleled by the accumulation of follicular helper T cells (TFH cells) is linked to mutation of the gene encoding the RNA-binding protein roquin-1. Here we found that T cells lacking roquin caused pathology in the lung and accumulated as cells of the TH17 subset of helper T cells in the lungs. Roquin inhibited TH17 cell differentiation and acted together with the endoribonuclease regnase-1 to repress target mRNA encoding the TH17 cell-promoting factors IL-6, ICOS, c-Rel, IRF4, I?BNS and I?B?. This cooperation required binding of RNA by roquin and the nuclease activity of regnase-1. Upon recognition of antigen by the T cell antigen receptor (TCR), roquin and regnase-1 proteins were cleaved by the paracaspase MALT1. Thus, this pathway acts as a 'rheostat' by translating TCR signal strength via graded inactivation of post-transcriptional repressors and differential derepression of targets to enhance TH17 differentiation.
CD40, a member of the TNF receptor family, is expressed on all mature B cells and on most B-cell lymphomas. Recently, we have shown that constitutive activation of CD40 signaling in B cells induced by a fusion protein consisting of the transmembrane part of the Epstein-Barr viral latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) and the cytoplasmic part of CD40 (LMP1/CD40) drives B-cell lymphoma development in transgenic mice. Because LMP1/CD40-expressing B cells showed an upregulation of CD19, we investigated CD19's function in CD40-driven B-cell expansion and lymphomagenesis. Here, we demonstrate that ablation of CD19 in LMP1/CD40 transgenic mice resulted in a severe loss and reduced lifespan of mature B cells and completely abrogated development of B-cell lymphoma. CD19 is localized to lipid rafts and constitutively activated by the LMP1/CD40 fusion protein in B cells. We provide evidence that the improved survival and malignant transformation of LMP1/CD40-expressing B cells are dependent on activation of the MAPK Erk that is mediated through CD19 in a PI3K-dependent manner. Our data suggest that constitutively active CD40 is dependent on CD19 to transmit survival and proliferation signals. Moreover, we detected a similarly functioning prosurvival pathway involving phosphorylated CD19 and PI3K-dependent Erk phosphorylation in human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cell lines. Our data provide evidence that CD19 plays an important role in transmitting survival and proliferation signals downstream of CD40 and therefore might be an interesting therapeutic target for the treatment of lymphoma undergoing chronic CD40 signaling.
Next-generation DNA sequencing has accelerated the genetic characterization of many human primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs). These discoveries can be lifesaving for the affected patients and also provide a unique opportunity to study the effect of specific genes on human immune function. In the past 18 months, a number of independent groups have begun to define novel PIDs caused by defects in the caspase recruitment domain family, member 11 (CARD11)-B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/lymphoma 10 (BCL10)-mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma translocation gene 1 (MALT1 [CBM]) signalosome complex. The CBM complex forms an essential molecular link between the triggering of cell-surface antigen receptors and nuclear factor ?B activation. Germline mutations affecting the CBM complex are now recognized as the cause of novel combined immunodeficiency phenotypes, which all share abnormal nuclear factor ?B activation and dysregulated B-cell development as defining features. For this "Current perspectives" article, we have engaged experts in both basic biology and clinical immunology to capture the worldwide experience in recognizing and managing patients with PIDs caused by CBM complex mutations.
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) has been identified as a potent regulator of innate immune responses, and loss-of-function mutations in XIAP cause the development of the X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome type 2 (XLP-2) in humans. Using gene-targeted mice, we show that loss of XIAP or deletion of its RING domain lead to excessive cell death and IL-1? secretion from dendritic cells triggered by diverse Toll-like receptor stimuli. Aberrant IL-1? secretion is TNF dependent and requires RIP3 but is independent of cIAP1/cIAP2. The observed cell death also requires TNF and RIP3 but proceeds independently of caspase-1/caspase-11 or caspase-8 function. Loss of XIAP results in aberrantly elevated ubiquitylation of RIP1 outside of TNFR complex I. Virally infected Xiap(-/-) mice present with symptoms reminiscent of XLP-2. Our data show that XIAP controls RIP3-dependent cell death and IL-1? secretion in response to TNF, which might contribute to hyperinflammation in patients with XLP-2.
Microbial and danger signals result in inflammasome activation and release of inflammatory cytokines through mechanisms that remain elusive. Cai et al. and Lu et al. show that triggering of inflammasome sensors induces prion-like polymerization of the adaptor ASC into filaments. These structures function as platforms for inflammatory cytokine production and represent a unified mechanism for inflammasome assembly.
Recognition of cell death by the innate immune system triggers inflammatory responses. However, how these reactions are regulated is not well understood. Here, we identify the inhibitory C-type lectin receptor Clec12a as a specific receptor for dead cells. Both human and mouse Clec12a could physically sense uric acid crystals (monosodium urate, MSU), which are key danger signals for cell-death-induced immunity. Clec12a inhibited inflammatory responses to MSU in vitro, and Clec12a-deficient mice exhibited hyperinflammatory responses after being challenged with MSU or necrotic cells and after radiation-induced thymocyte killing in vivo. Thus, we identified a negative regulatory MSU receptor that controls noninfectious inflammation in response to cell death that has implications for autoimmunity and inflammatory disease.
Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) in the cytoplasm triggers the production of interleukin 1? (IL-1?) as an antiviral host response, and deregulation of the pathways involved can promote inflammatory disease. Here we report a direct cytosolic interaction between the DNA-damage sensor Rad50 and the innate immune system adaptor CARD9. Transfection of dendritic cells with dsDNA or infection of dendritic cells with a DNA virus induced the formation of dsDNA-Rad50-CARD9 signaling complexes for activation of the transcription factor NF-?B and the generation of pro-IL-1?. Primary cells conditionally deficient in Rad50 or lacking CARD9 consequently exhibited defective DNA-induced production of IL-1?, and Card9(-/-) mice had impaired inflammatory responses after infection with a DNA virus in vivo. Our results define a cytosolic DNA-recognition pathway for inflammation and a physical and functional connection between a conserved DNA-damage sensor and the innate immune response to pathogens.
The recruitment of immune cells into solid tumors is an essential prerequisite of tumor development. Depending on the prevailing polarization profile of these infiltrating leucocytes, tumorigenesis is either promoted or blocked. Here, we identify I?B kinase ? (IKK?) as a central regulator of a tumoricidal microenvironment during intestinal carcinogenesis. Mice deficient in IKK? kinase activity are largely protected from intestinal tumor development that is dependent on the enhanced recruitment of interferon ? (IFN?)-expressing M1-like myeloid cells. In IKK? mutant mice, M1-like polarization is not controlled in a cell-autonomous manner but, rather, depends on the interplay of both IKK? mutant tumor epithelia and immune cells. Because therapies aiming at the tumor microenvironment rather than directly at the mutated cancer cell may circumvent resistance development, we suggest IKK? as a promising target for colorectal cancer (CRC) therapy.
The development of hematopoietic neoplasms is often associated with mutations, altered gene expression or chromosomal translocations. Recently, the t(5, 9)(q33;q22) translocation was found in a subset of peripheral T cell lymphomas and was shown to result in an IL-2-inducible kinase-spleen tyrosine kinase (ITK-Syk) fusion transcript. In this study, we show that T cell-specific expression of the ITK-Syk oncogene in mice leads to an early onset and aggressive polyclonal T cell lymphoproliferation with concomitant B cell expansion and systemic inflammation by 7-9 wk of age. Because this phenotype is strikingly different from previous work showing that ITK-Syk expression causes clonal T cell lymphoma by 20-27 wk of age, we investigated the underlying molecular mechanism in more detail. We show that the reason for the severe phenotype is the lack of B-lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp-1) induction by low ITK-Syk expression. In contrast, high ITK-Syk oncogene expression induces terminal T cell differentiation in the thymus by activating Blimp-1, thereby leading to elimination of oncogene-expressing cells early in development. Our data suggest that terminal differentiation is an important mechanism to prevent oncogene-expressing cells from malignant transformation, as high ITK-Syk oncogene activity induces cell elimination. Accordingly, for transformation, a specific amount of oncogene is required, or alternatively, the induction of terminal differentiation is defective.
TGF-? is widely held to be critical for the maintenance and function of regulatory T (T(reg)) cells and thus peripheral tolerance. This is highlighted by constitutive ablation of TGF-? receptor (TR) during thymic development in mice, which leads to a lethal autoimmune syndrome. Here we describe that TGF-?-driven peripheral tolerance is not regulated by TGF-? signalling on mature CD4? T cells. Inducible TR2 ablation specifically on CD4? T cells did not result in a lethal autoinflammation. Transfer of these TR2-deficient CD4? T cells to lymphopenic recipients resulted in colitis, but not overt autoimmunity. In contrast, thymic ablation of TR2 in combination with lymphopenia led to lethal multi-organ inflammation. Interestingly, deletion of TR2 on mature CD4? T cells does not result in the collapse of the T(reg) cell population as observed in constitutive models. Instead, a pronounced enlargement of both regulatory and effector memory T cell pools was observed. This expansion is cell-intrinsic and seems to be caused by increased T cell receptor sensitivity independently of common gamma chain-dependent cytokine signals. The expression of Foxp3 and other regulatory T cells markers was not dependent on TGF-? signalling and the TR2-deficient T(reg) cells retained their suppressive function both in vitro and in vivo. In summary, absence of TGF-? signalling on mature CD4? T cells is not responsible for breakdown of peripheral tolerance, but rather controls homeostasis of mature T cells in adult mice.
The success of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation is limited by acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), a severe complication accompanied by high mortality rates. Yet, the molecular mechanisms initiating this disease remain poorly defined. In this study, we show that, after conditioning therapy, intestinal commensal bacteria and the damage-associated molecular pattern uric acid contribute to Nlrp3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1? production and that gastrointestinal decontamination and uric acid depletion reduced GvHD severity. Early blockade of IL-1? or genetic deficiency of the IL-1 receptor in dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells improved survival. The Nlrp3 inflammasome components Nlrp3 and Asc, which are required for pro-IL-1? cleavage, were critical for the full manifestation of GvHD. In transplanted mice, IL-1? originated from multiple intestinal cell compartments and exerted its effects on DCs and T cells, the latter being preferentially skewed toward Th17. Compatible with these mouse data, increased levels of active caspase-1 and IL-1? were found in circulating leukocytes and intestinal GvHD lesions of patients. Thus, the identification of a crucial role for the Nlrp3 inflammasome sheds new light on the pathogenesis of GvHD and opens a potential new avenue for the targeted therapy of this severe complication.
Combined immunodeficiency (CID) is characterized by severe recurrent infections with normal numbers of T and B lymphocytes but with deficient cellular and humoral immunity. Most cases are sporadic, but autosomal recessive inheritance has been described. In most cases, the cause of CID remains unknown.
Type I interferon (IFN) is crucial during infection through its antiviral properties and by coordinating the immunocompetent cells involved in antiviral or antibacterial immunity. Type I IFN (IFN-? and IFN-?) is produced after virus or bacteria recognition by cytosolic receptors or membrane-bound TLR receptors following the activation of the transcription factors IRF3 or IRF7. IFN-? production after fungal infection was recently reported, although the underlying mechanism remains controversial. Here we describe that IFN-? production by dendritic cells (DCs) induced by Candida albicans is largely dependent on Dectin-1- and Dectin-2-mediated signaling. Dectin-1-induced IFN-? production required the tyrosine kinase Syk and the transcription factor IRF5. Type I IFN receptor-deficient mice had a lower survival after C. albicans infection, paralleled by defective renal neutrophil infiltration. IFN-? production by renal infiltrating leukocytes was severely reduced in C. albicans-infected mice with Syk-deficient DCs. These data indicate that Dectin-induced IFN-? production by renal DCs is crucial for defense against C. albicans infection.
Primary immunodeficiencies represent model diseases for the mechanistic understanding of the human innate and adaptive immune response. They are clinically highly relevant per se because in patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), infections caused by opportunistic pathogens are typically life-threatening early in life.
Caspase recruitment domain-containing protein (Card)9 is a nonredundant adapter protein that functions in the innate immune system in the assembly of multifunctional signaling complexes. Together with B cell lymphoma (Bcl)10 and the paracaspase, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma translocation protein (Malt)1, Card9 links spleen-tyrosine kinase (Syk)-coupled C-type lectin receptors to inflammatory responses. Card9 signaling also responds to intracellular danger sensors, such as retinoic acid-inducible gene 1 (RIG-I)-like receptors (RLRs) and nucleotide-oligomerization domain (Nod)2. Card9 complexes are engaged upon fungal, bacterial, or viral recognition, and they are essential for host protection. Moreover, Card9 polymorphisms are commonly associated with human inflammatory diseases. Here, we discuss the molecular regulation and the physiological functions of Card9 in host defense and immune homeostasis, and provide a framework for the therapeutic targeting of Card9 signaling in immune-mediated diseases.
Tumor cell survival critically depends on heterotypic communication with benign cells in the microenvironment. Here, we describe a survival signaling pathway activated in stromal cells by contact to B cells from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The expression of protein kinase C (PKC)-?II and the subsequent activation of NF-?B in bone marrow stromal cells are prerequisites to support the survival of malignant B cells. PKC-? knockout mice are insusceptible to CLL transplantations, underscoring the in vivo significance of the PKC-?II-NF-?B signaling pathway in the tumor microenvironment. Upregulated stromal PKC-?II in biopsies from patients with CLL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and mantle cell lymphoma suggests that this pathway may commonly be activated in a variety of hematological malignancies.
Members of the PRDM protein family have been shown to play important roles during embryonic development. Previous in vitro and in situ analyses indicated a function of Prdm6 in cells of the vascular system. To reveal physiological functions of Prdm6, we generated conditional Prdm6-deficient mice. Complete deletion of Prdm6 results in embryonic lethality due to cardiovascular defects associated with aberrations in vascular patterning. However, smooth muscle cells could be regularly differentiated from Prdm6-deficient embryonic stem cells and vascular smooth muscle cells were present and proliferated normally in Prdm6-deficient embryos. Conditional deletion of Prdm6 in the smooth muscle cell lineage using a SM22-Cre driver line resulted in perinatal lethality due to hemorrhage in the lungs. We thus identified Prdm6 as a factor that is essential for the physiological control of cardiovascular development.
The outcome of infection depends on multiple layers of immune regulation, with innate immunity playing a decisive role in shaping protection or pathogenic sequelae of acquired immunity. The contribution of pattern recognition receptors and adaptor molecules in immunity to malaria remains poorly understood. Here, we interrogate the role of the caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 9 (CARD9) signaling pathway in the development of experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) using the murine Plasmodium berghei ANKA infection model. CARD9 expression was upregulated in the brains of infected wild-type (WT) mice, suggesting a potential role for this pathway in ECM pathogenesis. However, P. berghei ANKA-infected Card9(-/-) mice succumbed to neurological signs and presented with disrupted blood-brain barriers similar to WT mice. Furthermore, consistent with the immunological features associated with ECM in WT mice, Card9(-/-) mice revealed (i) elevated levels of proinflammatory responses, (ii) high frequencies of activated T cells, and (iii) CD8(+) T cell arrest in the cerebral microvasculature. We conclude that ECM develops independently of the CARD9 signaling pathway.
Activation of NF-?B transcription factors by receptors of the innate or adaptive immune system is essential for host defense. However, after danger is eliminated, NF-?B signaling needs to be tightly downregulated for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis. This review highlights key negative regulatory principles that affect the amount, localization or conformational properties of NF-?B-activating proteins to attenuate the NF-?B response. These mechanisms are needed to prevent inflammation, autoimmune disease and oncogenesis.
Activation of the RIG-I signaling molecule is essential for antiviral immunity but mechanisms downmodulating the response are ill defined. In this issue of Immunity, Rajput et al. (2011) describe caspase-8-mediated RIP1 cleavage as a key step for restricting RIG-I signaling.
As a hallmark of tuberculosis (TB), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) induces granulomatous lung lesions and systemic inflammatory responses during active disease. Molecular regulation of inflammation is associated with inflammasome assembly. We determined the extent to which MTB triggers inflammasome activation and how this impacts on the severity of TB in a mouse model. MTB stimulated release of mature IL-1? in macrophages while attenuated M. bovis BCG failed to do so. Tubercle bacilli specifically activated the NLRP3 inflammasome and this propensity was strictly controlled by the virulence-associated RD1 locus of MTB. However, Nlrp3-deficient mice controlled pulmonary TB, a feature correlated with NLRP3-independent production of IL-1? in infected lungs. Our studies demonstrate that MTB activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in macrophages in an ESX-1-dependent manner. However, during TB, MTB promotes NLRP3- and caspase-1-independent IL-1? release in myeloid cells recruited to lung parenchyma and thus overcomes NLRP3 deficiency in vivo in experimental models.
Chromoblastomycosis is a chronic skin infection caused by the fungus Fonsecaea pedrosoi. Exploring the reasons underlying the chronic nature of F. pedrosoi infection in a murine model of chromoblastomycosis, we find that chronicity develops due to a lack of pattern recognition receptor (PRR) costimulation. F. pedrosoi was recognized primarily by C-type lectin receptors (CLRs), but not by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which resulted in the defective induction of proinflammatory cytokines. Inflammatory responses to F. pedrosoi could be reinstated by TLR costimulation, but also required the CLR Mincle and signaling via the Syk/CARD9 pathway. Importantly, exogenously administering TLR ligands helped clear F. pedrosoi infection in vivo. These results demonstrate how a failure in innate recognition can result in chronic infection, highlight the importance of coordinated PRR signaling, and provide proof of the principle that exogenously applied PRR agonists can be used therapeutically.
Early detection of viruses by the innate immune system is critical for host defense. Antiviral immunity is initiated by germline encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that recognize viral pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) such as nucleic acids. Intracellular PRRs then drive the production of interferons and cytokines to orchestrate immune responses. One key host factor that is critical for antiviral immunity and for systemic inflammatory reactions including fever is interleukin-1beta (IL-1?). Here we discuss current insights into the molecular mechanisms how the cytosolic RNA helicase RIG-I triggers NF-?B signaling and inflammasome activation specifically for RNA virus-induced IL-1? production.
The propensity of helminths, such as schistosomes, to immunomodulate the hosts immune system is an essential aspect of their survival. Previous research has demonstrated how soluble schistosomal egg antigens (SEA) dampen TLR-signaling during innate immune responses. We show here that the suppressive effect by SEA on TLR signaling is simultaneously coupled to the activation of the Nlrp3 (NLR family, pyrin domain containing 3) inflammasome and thus IL-1? production. Therefore, the responsible protein component of SEA contains the second signal that is required to trigger proteolytic pro-IL-1? processing. Moreover, the SEA component binds to the Dectin-2/FcR? (Fc receptor ? chain) complex and activates the Syk kinase signaling pathway to induce reactive oxygen species and potassium efflux. As IL-1? has been shown to be an essential orchestrator against several pathogens we studied the in vivo consequences of Schistosoma mansoni infection in mice deficient in the central inflammasome adapter ASC and Nlrp3 molecule. These mice failed to induce local IL-1? levels in the liver and showed decreased immunopathology. Interestingly, antigen-specific Th1, Th2, and Th17 responses were down-regulated. Overall, these data imply that component(s) within SEA induce IL-1? production and unravel a crucial role of Nlrp3 during S. mansoni infection.
The CARMA1, Bcl10, and MALT1 proteins together constitute a signaling complex (CBM signalosome) that mediates antigen-dependent activation of NF-kappaB in lymphocytes, thereby representing a cornerstone of the adaptive immune response. Although CARMA1 is restricted to cells of the immune system, the analogous CARMA3 protein has a much wider expression pattern. Emerging evidence suggests that CARMA3 can substitute for CARMA1 in non-immune cells to assemble a CARMA3-Bcl10-MALT1 signalosome and mediate G protein-coupled receptor activation of NF-kappaB. Here we show that one G protein-coupled receptor, the type 1 receptor for angiotensin II, utilizes this mechanism for activation of NF-kappaB in endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells, thereby inducing pro-inflammatory signals within the vasculature, a key factor in atherogenesis. Further, we demonstrate that Bcl10-deficient mice are protected from developing angiotensin-dependent atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysms. By uncovering a novel vascular role for the CBM signalosome, these findings illustrate that CBM-dependent signaling has functions outside the realm of adaptive immunity and impacts pathobiology more broadly than previously known.
Spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) is known to have a crucial role in adaptive immune receptor signalling. However, recent reports indicate that SYK also mediates other, unexpectedly diverse biological functions, including cellular adhesion, innate immune recognition, osteoclast maturation, platelet activation and vascular development. SYK is activated by C-type lectins and integrins, and activates new targets, including the CARD9-BCL-10-MALT1 pathway and the NLRP3 inflammasome. Studies using Drosophila melanogaster suggest that there is an evolutionarily ancient origin of SYK-mediated signalling. Moreover, SYK has a crucial role in autoimmune diseases and haematological malignancies. This Review summarizes our current understanding of the diverse functions of SYK and how this is being translated for therapeutic purposes.
Peripheral T cell lymphomas (PTCLs) are highly aggressive malignancies with poor prognosis. Their molecular pathogenesis is not well understood and small animal models for the disease are lacking. Recently, the chromosomal translocation t(5;9)(q33;q22) generating the interleukin-2 (IL-2)-inducible T cell kinase (ITK)-spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) fusion tyrosine kinase was identified as a recurrent event in PTCL. We show that ITK-SYK associates constitutively with lipid rafts in T cells and triggers antigen-independent phosphorylation of T cell receptor (TCR)-proximal proteins. These events lead to activation of downstream pathways and acute cellular outcomes that correspond to regular TCR ligation, including up-regulation of CD69 or production of IL-2 in vitro or deletion of thymocytes and activation of peripheral T cells in vivo. Ultimately, conditional expression of patient-derived ITK-SYK in mice induces highly malignant PTCLs with 100% penetrance that resemble the human disease. Our work demonstrates that constitutively enforced antigen receptor signaling can, in principle, act as a powerful oncogenic driver. Moreover, we establish a robust clinically relevant and genetically tractable model of human PTCL.
The cross talk between host and pathogen starts with recognition of bacterial signatures through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which mobilize downstream signaling cascades. We investigated the role of the cytosolic adaptor caspase recruitment domain family, member 9 (CARD9) in tuberculosis. This adaptor was critical for full activation of innate immunity by converging signals downstream of multiple PRRs. Card9(-/-) mice succumbed early after aerosol infection, with higher mycobacterial burden, pyogranulomatous pneumonia, accelerated granulocyte recruitment, and higher abundance of proinflammatory cytokines and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in serum and lung. Neutralization of G-CSF and neutrophil depletion significantly prolonged survival, indicating that an exacerbated systemic inflammatory disease triggered lethality of Card9(-/-) mice. CARD9 deficiency had no apparent effect on T cell responses, but a marked impact on the hematopoietic compartment. Card9(-/-) granulocytes failed to produce IL-10 after Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, suggesting that an absent antiinflammatory feedback loop accounted for granulocyte-dominated pathology, uncontrolled bacterial replication, and, ultimately, death of infected Card9(-/-) mice. Our data provide evidence that deregulated innate responses trigger excessive lung inflammation and demonstrate a pivotal role of CARD9 signaling in autonomous innate host defense against tuberculosis.
Infections with fungi can cause systemic life-threatening diseases in immunocompromised individuals like cancer or AIDS patients. Recent work has uncovered essential roles for C-type lectin pattern recognition receptors, spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) and the cytosolic NLRP3 inflammasome in innate antifungal immunity. Upon fungal infection, SYK is activated by several ITAM-containing or ITAM-coupled C-type lectin receptors on myeloid cells leading to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-1beta to initiate antifungal responses. Mature IL-1beta production requires in addition to the synthesis of pro-IL-1beta a cleavage of the precursor protein by the inflammatory Caspase-1 which is controlled within the NLRP3 inflammasome.
The mycobacterial cord factor trehalose-6,6-dimycolate (TDM) and its synthetic analog trehalose-6,6-dibehenate (TDB) are potent adjuvants for Th1/Th17 vaccination that activate Syk-Card9 signaling in APCs. In this study, we have further investigated the molecular mechanism of innate immune activation by TDM and TDB. The Syk-coupling adapter protein FcRgamma was essential for macrophage activation and Th17 adjuvanticity. The FcRgamma-associated C-type lectin receptor Mincle was expressed in macrophages and upregulated by TDM and TDB. Recombinant Mincle-Fc fusion protein specifically bound to the glycolipids. Genetic ablation of Mincle abolished TDM/TDB-induced macrophage activation and induction of T cell immune responses to a tuberculosis subunit vaccine. Macrophages lacking Mincle or FcRgamma were impaired in the inflammatory response to Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin. These results establish that Mincle is a key receptor for the mycobacterial cord factor and controls the Th1/Th17 adjuvanticity of TDM and TDB.
Host protection against fungi depends on intact innate and adaptive immune responses. Consistently, fungal infections can cause systemic life-threatening diseases in immunocomprimised individuals, suffering e.g. from cancer or AIDS. Recent work has uncovered essential roles for the spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) and the cytosolic NLRP3 inflammasome for Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) production in innate antifungal immunity. Upon fungal infection, SYK is activated by several C-type lectin pattern recognition receptors on myeloid cells. Subsequently, SYK signals for the production of reactive oxygen species and for gene transcription to induce pro-inflammatory factors, including pro-IL-1beta to initiate antifungal responses. Mature IL-1beta production additionally requires cleavage of the pro-IL-1beta precursor protein by the inflammatory caspase-1 which is controlled within the NLRP3 inflammasome. Here, we discuss how SYK signaling cooperates with the NLRP3 inflammasome for IL-1beta production in antifungal immunity.
B cell activation factor of the TNF family (BAFF) activates noncanonical nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) heterodimers that promote B cell survival. We show that although MALT1 is largely dispensable for canonical NF-kappaB signaling downstream of the B cell receptor, the absence of MALT1 results in impaired BAFF-induced phosphorylation of NF-kappaB2 (p100), p100 degradation, and RelB nuclear translocation in B220(+) B cells. This corresponds with impaired survival of MALT1(-/-) marginal zone (MZ) but not follicular B cells in response to BAFF stimulation in vitro. MALT1(-/-) MZ B cells also express higher amounts of TRAF3, a known negative regulator of BAFF receptor-mediated signaling, and TRAF3 was found to interact with MALT1. Furthermore, phenotypes associated with overexpression of BAFF, including increased MZ B cell numbers, elevated serum immunoglobulin titers, and spontaneous germinal center formation, were found to be dependent on B cell-intrinsic MALT1 expression. Our results demonstrate a novel role for MALT1 in biological outcomes induced by BAFF-mediated signal transduction.
Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis may be manifested as a primary immunodeficiency characterized by persistent or recurrent infections of the mucosa or the skin with candida species. Most cases are sporadic, but both autosomal dominant inheritance and autosomal recessive inheritance have been described.
Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of lymphoma in humans. The aggressive activated B cell-like (ABC) subtype of DLBCL is characterized by constitutive NF-kappaB activity and requires signals from CARD11, BCL10, and the paracaspase MALT1 for survival. CARD11, BCL10, and MALT1 are scaffold proteins that normally associate upon antigen receptor ligation. Signal-induced CARD11-BCL10-MALT1 (CBM) complexes couple upstream events to IkappaB kinase (IKK)/NF-kappaB activation. MALT1 also possesses a recently recognized proteolytic activity that cleaves and inactivates the negative NF-kappaB regulator A20 and BCL10 upon antigen receptor ligation. Yet, the relevance of MALT1 proteolytic activity for malignant cell growth is unknown. Here, we demonstrate preassembled CBM complexes and constitutive proteolysis of the two known MALT1 substrates in ABC-DLBCL, but not in germinal center B cell-like (GCB) DLBCL. ABC-DLBCL cell treatment with a MALT1 protease inhibitor blocks A20 and BCL10 cleavage, reduces NF-kappaB activity, and decreases the expression of NF-kappaB targets genes. Finally, MALT1 paracaspase inhibition results in death and growth retardation selectively in ABC-DLBCL cells. Thus, our results indicate a growth-promoting role for MALT1 paracaspase activity in ABC-DLBCL and suggest that a pharmacological MALT1 protease inhibition could be a promising approach for lymphoma treatment.
Innate immune cells detect pathogens via pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which signal for initiation of immune responses to infection. Studies with Dectin-1, a PRR for fungi, have defined a novel innate signaling pathway involving Syk kinase and the adaptor CARD9, which is critical for inducing Th17 responses to fungal infection. We show that another C-type lectin, Dectin-2, also signals via Syk and CARD9, and contributes to dendritic cell (DC) activation by fungal particles. Unlike Dectin-1, Dectin-2 couples to Syk indirectly, through association with the FcRgamma chain. In a model of Candida albicans infection, blockade of Dectin-2 did not affect innate immune resistance but abrogated Candida-specific T cell production of IL-17 and, in combination with the absence of Dectin-1, decreased Th1 responses to the organism. Thus, Dectin-2 constitutes a major fungal PRR that can couple to the Syk-CARD9 innate signaling pathway to activate DCs and regulate adaptive immune responses to fungal infection.
Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta) is a potent proinflammatory factor during viral infection. Its production is tightly controlled by transcription of Il1b dependent on the transcription factor NF-kappaB and subsequent processing of pro-IL-1 beta by an inflammasome. However, the sensors and mechanisms that facilitate RNA virus-induced production of IL-1 beta are not well defined. Here we report a dual role for the RNA helicase RIG-I in RNA virus-induced proinflammatory responses. Whereas RIG-I-mediated activation of NF-kappaB required the signaling adaptor MAVS and a complex of the adaptors CARD9 and Bcl-10, RIG-I also bound to the adaptor ASC to trigger caspase-1-dependent inflammasome activation by a mechanism independent of MAVS, CARD9 and the Nod-like receptor protein NLRP3. Our results identify the CARD9-Bcl-10 module as an essential component of the RIG-I-dependent proinflammatory response and establish RIG-I as a sensor able to activate the inflammasome in response to certain RNA viruses.
The Carma1-Bcl10-Malt1 signaling module bridges TCR signaling to the canonical IkappaB kinase (IKK)/NF-kappaB pathway. Covalent attachment of regulatory ubiquitin chains to Malt1 paracaspase directs TCR signaling to IKK activation. Further, the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 was recently suggested to suppress T cell activation, but molecular targets for A20 remain elusive. In this paper, we show that A20 regulates the strength and duration of the IKK/NF-kappaB response upon TCR/CD28 costimulation. By catalyzing the removal of K63-linked ubiquitin chains from Malt1, A20 prevents sustained interaction between ubiquitinated Malt1 and the IKK complex and thus serves as a negative regulator of inducible IKK activity. Upon T cell stimulation, A20 is rapidly removed and paracaspase activity of Malt1 has been suggested to cleave A20. Using antagonistic peptides or reconstitution of Malt1(-/-) T cells, we show that Malt1 paracaspase activity is required for A20 cleavage and optimal IL-2 production, but dispensable for initial IKK/NF-kappaB signaling in CD4(+) T cells. However, proteasomal inhibition impairs A20 degradation and impedes TCR/CD28-induced IKK activation. Taken together, A20 functions as a Malt1 deubiquitinating enzyme and proteasomal degradation and de novo synthesis of A20 contributes to balance TCR/CD28-induced IKK/NF-kappaB signaling.
IFN regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) has been described as the master regulator of type I IFN responses and has been shown to be critical for innate antiviral immunity in vivo. In addition to type I IFN, NK cell responses are involved in the control of viral replication during acute viral infection. To investigate the role of IRF7 in the context of a viral infection that induces a strong NK cell response, the murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection model was used. WT, IRF7-deficient and IRF3/IRF7-double deficient mice were infected with MCMV. The systemic IFN-alpha response to MCMV was entirely dependent on IRF7, but independent of IRF3. However, peak IFN-beta production during MCMV infection was not affected by the lack of IRF7 or both IRF7 and IRF3. Despite the complete lack of IFN-alpha production IRF7- and IRF3/IRF7-deficient mice were surprisingly efficient in controlling MCMV replication and were only modestly more susceptible to MCMV infection than WT mice. NK cell cytotoxicity was unimpaired and NK cell IFN-gamma production was enhanced in IRF7-deficient mice correlating with increased levels of bioactive IL-12. Owing to these compensatory mechanisms IRF7-dependent antiviral immune responses were not essential for resistance against acute MCMV infection in vivo.
Fungal infections represent a serious threat, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) is a key pro-inflammatory factor in innate antifungal immunity. The mechanism by which the mammalian immune system regulates IL-1beta production after fungal recognition is unclear. Two signals are generally required for IL-1beta production: an NF-kappaB-dependent signal that induces the synthesis of pro-IL-1beta (p35), and a second signal that triggers proteolytic pro-IL-1beta processing to produce bioactive IL-1beta (p17) via Caspase-1-containing multiprotein complexes called inflammasomes. Here we demonstrate that the tyrosine kinase Syk, operating downstream of several immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-coupled fungal pattern recognition receptors, controls both pro-IL-1beta synthesis and inflammasome activation after cell stimulation with Candida albicans. Whereas Syk signalling for pro-IL-1beta synthesis selectively uses the Card9 pathway, inflammasome activation by the fungus involves reactive oxygen species production and potassium efflux. Genetic deletion or pharmalogical inhibition of Syk selectively abrogated inflammasome activation by C. albicans but not by inflammasome activators such as Salmonella typhimurium or the bacterial toxin nigericin. Nlrp3 (also known as NALP3) was identified as the critical NOD-like receptor family member that transduces the fungal recognition signal to the inflammasome adaptor Asc (Pycard) for Caspase-1 (Casp1) activation and pro-IL-1beta processing. Consistent with an essential role for Nlrp3 inflammasomes in antifungal immunity, we show that Nlrp3-deficient mice are hypersusceptible to Candida albicans infection. Thus, our results demonstrate the molecular basis for IL-1beta production after fungal infection and identify a crucial function for the Nlrp3 inflammasome in mammalian host defence in vivo.
Novel vaccination strategies against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) are urgently needed. The use of recombinant MTB antigens as subunit vaccines is a promising approach, but requires adjuvants that activate antigen-presenting cells (APCs) for elicitation of protective immunity. The mycobacterial cord factor Trehalose-6,6-dimycolate (TDM) and its synthetic analogue Trehalose-6,6-dibehenate (TDB) are effective adjuvants in combination with MTB subunit vaccine candidates in mice. However, it is unknown which signaling pathways they engage in APCs and how these pathways are coupled to the adaptive immune response. Here, we demonstrate that these glycolipids activate macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) via Syk-Card9-Bcl10-Malt1 signaling to induce a specific innate activation program distinct from the response to Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands. APC activation by TDB and TDM was independent of the C-type lectin receptor Dectin-1, but required the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif-bearing adaptor protein Fc receptor gamma chain (FcRgamma). In vivo, TDB and TDM adjuvant activity induced robust combined T helper (Th)-1 and Th-17 T cell responses to a MTB subunit vaccine and partial protection against MTB challenge in a Card9-dependent manner. These data provide a molecular basis for the immunostimulatory activity of TDB and TDM and identify the Syk-Card9 pathway as a rational target for vaccine development against tuberculosis.
The protein Bcl10 contributes to adaptive and innate immunity through the assembly of a signaling complex that plays a key role in antigen receptor and FcR-induced NF-?B activation. Here we demonstrate that Bcl10 has an NF-?B-independent role in actin and membrane remodeling downstream of FcR in human macrophages. Depletion of Bcl10 impaired Rac1 and PI3K activation and led to an abortive phagocytic cup rich in PI(4,5)P(2), Cdc42, and F-actin, which could be rescued with low doses of F-actin depolymerizing drugs. Unexpectedly, we found Bcl10 in a complex with the clathrin adaptors AP1 and EpsinR. In particular, Bcl10 was required to locally deliver the vesicular OCRL phosphatase that regulates PI(4,5)P(2) and F-actin turnover, both crucial for the completion of phagosome closure. Thus, we identify Bcl10 as an early coordinator of NF-?B-mediated immune response with endosomal trafficking and signaling to F-actin remodeling.
Effector functions of inflammatory IL-17-producing Th (Th17) cells have been linked to autoimmune diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, what determines Th17 cell encephalitogenicity is still unresolved. Here, we show that after EAE induction, mice deficient for the NF-?B regulator MALT1 (Malt1-/- mice) exhibit strong lymphocytic infiltration in the CNS, but do not develop any clinical signs of EAE. Loss of Malt1 interfered with expression of the Th17 effector cytokines IL-17 and GM-CSF both in vitro and in vivo. In line with their impaired GM-CSF secretion, Malt1-/- Th cells failed to recruit myeloid cells to the CNS to sustain neuroinflammation, whereas autoreactive WT Th cells successfully induced EAE in Malt1-/- hosts. In contrast, Malt1 deficiency did not affect Th1 cells. Despite their significantly decreased secretion of Th17 effector cytokines, Malt1-/- Th17 cells showed normal expression of lineage-specific transcription factors. Malt1-/- Th cells failed to cleave RelB, a suppressor of canonical NF-?B, and exhibited altered cellular localization of this protein. Our results indicate that MALT1 is a central, cell-intrinsic factor that determines the encephalitogenic potential of inflammatory Th17 cells in vivo.
Immunity against infection with Listeria monocytogenes is not achieved from innate immune stimulation by contact with killed but requires viable Listeria gaining access to the cytosol of infected cells. It has remained ill-defined how such immune sensing of live Listeria occurs. Here, we report that efficient cytosolic immune sensing requires access of nucleic acids derived from live Listeria to the cytoplasm of infected cells. We found that Listeria released nucleic acids and that such secreted bacterial RNA/DNA was recognized by the cytosolic sensors RIG-I, MDA5 and STING thereby triggering interferon ? production. Secreted Listeria nucleic acids also caused RIG-I-dependent IL-1?-production and inflammasome activation. The signalling molecule CARD9 contributed to IL-1? production in response to secreted nucleic acids. In conclusion, cytosolic recognition of secreted bacterial nucleic acids by RIG-I provides a mechanistic explanation for efficient induction of immunity by live bacteria.
The success of a vaccine consists in the induction of an innate immune response and subsequent activation of the adaptive immune system. Because antigens are usually not immunogenic, the addition of adjuvants that activate innate immunity is required. The mycobacterial cord factor trehalose-6,6-dimycolate (TDM) and its synthetic adjuvant analogue trehalose-6,6-dibehenate (TDB) rely on the C-type lectin Mincle and the signaling molecules Syk and Card9 to trigger innate immunity. In this study, we show that stimulation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) with TDB induces Nlrp3 inflammasome-dependent IL-1? secretion. While Card9 is required for NF-?B activation by TDB, it is dispensable for TDB-induced activation of the Nlrp3 inflammasome. Additionally, efflux of intracellular potassium, lysosomal rupture, and oxygen radical (ROS) production are crucial for caspase-1 processing and IL-1? secretion by TDB. In an in vivo inflammation model, we demonstrate that the recruitment of neutrophils by TDB is significantly reduced in the Nlrp3-deficient mice compared to the wild-type mice, while the production of chemokines in vitro is not influenced by the absence of Nlrp3. These results identify the Nlrp3 inflammasome as an essential mediator for the induction of an innate immune response triggered by TDB.
Excess serum free fatty acids (FFAs) are fundamental to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. With high-fat feeding, FFAs activate NF-kB in target tissues, initiating negative crosstalk with insulin signaling. However, the mechanisms underlying FFA-dependent NF-kB activation remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the saturated FA, palmitate, requires Bcl10 for NF-kB activation in hepatocytes. Uptake of palmitate, metabolism to diacylglycerol, and subsequent activation of protein kinase C (PKC) appear to mechanistically link palmitate with Bcl10, known as a central component of a signaling complex that, along with CARMA3 and MALT1, activates NF-kB downstream of selected cell surface receptors. Consequently, Bcl10-deficient mice are protected from hepatic NF-kB activation and insulin resistance following brief high-fat diet, suggesting that Bcl10 plays a major role in the metabolic consequences of acute overnutrition. Surprisingly, while CARMA3 also participates in the palmitate response, MALT1 is completely dispensable, thereby revealing an apparent nonclassical role for Bcl10 in NF-kB signaling.
The Cks1 component of the SCF(Skp2) complex is necessary for p27(Kip1) ubiquitylation and degradation. Cks1 expression is elevated in various B cell malignancies including Burkitt lymphoma and multiple myeloma. We have previously shown that loss of Cks1 results in elevated p27(Kip1) levels and delayed tumor development in a mouse model of Myc-induced B cell lymphoma. Surprisingly, loss of Skp2 in the same mouse model also resulted in elevated p27(Kip1) levels but exhibited no impact on tumor onset. This raises the possibility that Cks1 could have other oncogenic activities than suppressing p27(Kip1). To challenge this notion we have targeted overexpression of Cks1 to B cells using a conditional retroviral bone marrow transduction-transplantation system. Despite potent ectopic overexpression, Cks1 was unable to promote B cell hyperproliferation or B cell malignancies, indicating that Cks1 is not oncogenic when overexpressed in B cells. Since Skp2 overexpression can drive T-cell tumorigenesis or other cancers we also widened the quest for oncogenic activity of Cks1 by ubiquitously expressing Cks1 in hematopoetic progenitors. At variance with c-Myc overexpression, which caused acute myeloid leukemia, Cks1 overexpression did not induce myeloproliferation or leukemia. Therefore, despite being associated with a poor prognosis in various malignancies, sole Cks1 expression is insufficient to induce lymphoma or a myeloproliferative disease in vivo.
C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) that couple with the kinase Syk are major pattern recognition receptors for the activation of innate immunity and host defense. CLRs recognize fungi and other forms of microbial or sterile danger, and they induce inflammatory responses through the adaptor protein Card9. The mechanisms relaying CLR proximal signals to the core Card9 module are unknown. Here we demonstrated that protein kinase C-? (PKC?) was activated upon Dectin-1-Syk signaling, mediated phosphorylation of Card9 at Thr231, and was responsible for Card9-Bcl10 complex assembly and canonical NF-?B control. Prkcd(-/-) dendritic cells, but not those lacking PKC?, PKC?, or PKC?, were defective in innate responses to Dectin-1, Dectin-2, or Mincle stimulation. Moreover, Candida albicans-induced cytokine production was blocked in Prkcd(-/-) cells, and Prkcd(-/-) mice were highly susceptible to fungal infection. Thus, PKC? is an essential link between Syk activation and Card9 signaling for CLR-mediated innate immunity and host protection.
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