Inhibitors against the p110? isoform of phosphoinositide-3-OH kinase (PI(3)K) have shown remarkable therapeutic efficacy in some human leukaemias. As p110? is primarily expressed in leukocytes, drugs against p110? have not been considered for the treatment of solid tumours. Here we report that p110? inactivation in mice protects against a broad range of cancers, including non-haematological solid tumours. We demonstrate that p110? inactivation in regulatory T cells unleashes CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells and induces tumour regression. Thus, p110? inhibitors can break tumour-induced immune tolerance and should be considered for wider use in oncology.
The cytokine IL-21 is a potent immune modulator with diverse mechanisms of action on multiple cell types. IL-21 is in clinical use to promote tumor rejection and is an emerging target for neutralization in the setting of autoimmunity. Despite its clinical potential, the biological actions of IL-21 are not yet fully understood and the full range of effects of this pleiotropic cytokine are still being uncovered. In this study, we identify a novel role for IL-21 as an inducer of the costimulatory ligand CD86 on B lymphocytes. CD86 provides critical signals through T cell-expressed CD28 that promote T cell activation in response to Ag engagement. Expression levels of CD86 are tightly regulated in vivo, being actively decreased by regulatory T cells and increased in response to pathogen-derived signals. In this study, we demonstrate that IL-21 can trigger potent and sustained CD86 upregulation through a STAT3 and PI3K-dependent mechanism. We show that elevated CD86 expression has functional consequences for the magnitude of CD4 T cell responses both in vitro and in vivo. These data pinpoint CD86 upregulation as an additional mechanism by which IL-21 can elicit immunomodulatory effects.
In this issue of Chemistry & Biology, Winkler and colleagues describe the discovery and preclinical development of IPI-145, a new inhibitor of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) isoforms p110? and p110? that have entered clinical trials.
Genetic mutations cause primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) that predispose to infections. Here, we describe activated PI3K-? syndrome (APDS), a PID associated with a dominant gain-of-function mutation in which lysine replaced glutamic acid at residue 1021 (E1021K) in the p110? protein, the catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase ? (PI3K?), encoded by the PIK3CD gene. We found E1021K in 17 patients from seven unrelated families, but not among 3346 healthy subjects. APDS was characterized by recurrent respiratory infections, progressive airway damage, lymphopenia, increased circulating transitional B cells, increased immunoglobulin M, and reduced immunoglobulin G2 levels in serum and impaired vaccine responses. The E1021K mutation enhanced membrane association and kinase activity of p110?. Patient-derived lymphocytes had increased levels of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate and phosphorylated AKT protein and were prone to activation-induced cell death. Selective p110? inhibitors IC87114 and GS-1101 reduced the activity of the mutant enzyme in vitro, which suggested a therapeutic approach for patients with APDS.
The completion of human and mouse genome sequencing has confronted us with huge amount of data sequences that certainly need decades and many generations of scientists to be reasonably interpreted and assigned to physiological functions, and subsequently fruitfully translated into medical application. A means to assess the function of genes provides gene targeting in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) that enables to introduce site-specific modifications in the mouse genome, and analyze their physiological consequences. Gene targeting enables almost any type of genetic modifications of interest, ranging from gene insertion (e.g., insertion of human-specific genes or reporter genes), gene disruption, point mutations, and short- and long-range deletions, inversions. Site-specific modification into the genome of ESCs can be reached by homologous recombination using targeting vectors. Here, we describe a protocol to generate targeting constructs and homologous recombinant ESCs.
The ability to introduce DNA sequences (e.g., genes) of interest into the germline genome has rendered the mouse a powerful and indispensable experimental model in fundamental and medical research. The DNA sequences can be integrated into the genome randomly or into a specific locus by homologous recombination, in order to: (1) delete or insert mutations into genes of interest to determine their function, (2) introduce human genes into the genome of mice to generate animal models enabling study of human-specific genes and diseases, e.g., mice susceptible to infections by human-specific pathogens of interest, (3) introduce individual genes or genomes of pathogens (such as viruses) in order to examine the contributions of such genes to the pathogenesis of the parent pathogens, (4) and last but not least introduce reporter genes that allow monitoring in vivo or ex vivo the expression of genes of interest. Furthermore, the use of recombination systems, such as Cre/loxP or FRT/FLP, enables conditional induction or suppression of gene expression of interest in a restricted period of mouses lifetime, in a particular cell type, or in a specific tissue. In this review, we will give an updated summary of the gene targeting technology and discuss some important considerations in the design of gene-targeted mice.
Mammalian cells can express up to four different class I phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) isoforms, each of which is engaged by tyrosine kinases or G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to generate the second messenger signaling molecule PtdIns(3,4,5)P? (PIP?). The p110? and p110? isoforms are relatively widely expressed, whereas p110? and p110? are more highly expressed in cells of the immune system than in other cell types. Nevertheless, each of the four class I PI3Ks have been shown to participate in the orchestration of the signaling events that lead to immune cell development and control of gene expression, skewing toward individual cell lineage subsets and proliferation.
Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) control many important aspects of immune cell development, differentiation, and function. Mammals have eight PI3K catalytic subunits that are divided into three classes based on similarities in structure and function. Specific roles for the class I PI3Ks have been broadly investigated and are relatively well understood, as is the function of their corresponding phosphatases. More recently, specific roles for the class II and class III PI3Ks have emerged. Through vertebrate evolution and in parallel with the evolution of adaptive immunity, there has been a dramatic increase not only in the genes for PI3K subunits but also in genes for phosphatases that act on 3-phosphoinositides and in 3-phosphoinositide-binding proteins. Our understanding of the PI3Ks in immunity is guided by fundamental discoveries made in simpler model organisms as well as by appreciating new adaptations of this signaling module in mammals in general and in immune cells in particular.
The role of p110? PI3K in lymphoid cells has been studied extensively, showing its importance in immune cell differentiation, activation and development. Altered T cell localization in p110?-deficient mouse spleen suggested a role for p110? in non-hematopoietic stromal cells, which maintain hematopoietic cell segregation. We tested this hypothesis using p110?(WT/WT) mouse bone marrow to reconstitute lethally irradiated p110?(WT/WT) or p110?(D910A/D910A) (which express catalytically inactive p110?) recipients, and studied localization, number and percentage of hematopoietic cell subsets in spleen and lymph nodes, in homeostatic conditions and after antigen stimulation. These analyses showed diffuse T cell areas in p110?(D910A/D910A) and in reconstituted p110?(D910A/D910A) mice in homeostatic conditions. In these mice, spleen CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell numbers did not increase in response to antigen, suggesting that a p110?(D910A/D910A) stroma defect impedes correct T cell response. FACS analysis of spleen stromal cell populations showed a decrease in the percentage of gp38(-)CD31(+) cells in p110?(D910A/D910A) mice. qRT-PCR studies detected p110? mRNA expression in p110?(WT/WT) spleen gp38(-)CD31(+) and gp38(+)CD31(+) subsets, which was reduced in p110?(D910A/D910A) spleen. Lack of p110? activity in these cell populations correlated with lower LT?R, CCL19 and CCL21 mRNA levels; these molecules participate in T cell localization to specific spleen areas. Our results could explain the lower T cell numbers and more diffuse T cell areas found in p110?(D910A/D910A) mouse spleen, as well as the lower T cell expansion after antigen stimulation in p110?(D910A/D910A) compared with p110?(WT/WT) mice.
Neutrophils are activated by immunoglobulin G (IgG)-containing immune complexes through receptors that recognize the Fc portion of IgG (Fc?Rs). Here, we used genetic and pharmacological approaches to define a selective role for the ? isoform of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K?) in Fc?R-dependent activation of mouse neutrophils by immune complexes of IgG and antigen immobilized on a plate surface. At low concentrations of immune complexes, loss of PI3K? alone substantially inhibited the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by neutrophils, whereas at higher doses, similar suppression of ROS production was achieved only by targeting both PI3K? and PI3K?, suggesting that this pathway displays stimulus strength-dependent redundancy. Activation of PI3K? by immune complexes involved cooperation between Fc?Rs and BLT1, the receptor for the endogenous proinflammatory lipid leukotriene B?. Coincident activation by a tyrosine kinase-coupled receptor (Fc?R) and a heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptor (BLT1) may provide a rationale for the preferential activation of the ? isoform of PI3K. PI3K?-deficient mice were highly protected in an Fc?R-dependent model of autoantibody-induced skin blistering and were partially protected in an Fc?R-dependent model of inflammatory arthritis, whereas combined deficiency of PI3K? and PI3K? resulted in near-complete protection in the latter case. These results define PI3K? as a potential therapeutic target in inflammatory disease.
The PI3K pathway has emerged as a key regulator of regulatory T cell (Treg) development and homeostasis and is required for full Treg-mediated suppression. To identify new genes involved in PI3K-dependent suppression, we compared the transcriptome of WT and p110?(D910A) Tregs. Among the genes that were differentially expressed was the gene for the transmembrane cyclic ADP ribose hydrolase CD38. Here we show that CD38 is expressed mainly by a subset of Foxp3(+)CD25(+)CD4(+) T cells originating in the thymus and on Tregs in the spleen. CD38(high) WT Tregs showed superior suppressive activity to CD38(low) Tregs, which failed to upregulate CD73, a surface protein which is important for suppression. However, Tregs from heterozygous CD38(+/-) mice were unimpaired despite lower levels of CD38 expression. Therefore, CD38 can be used as a marker for Tregs with high suppressive activity and the impaired Treg function in p110?(D910A) mice can in part be explained by the failure of CD38(high) cells to develop.
In cytotoxic T cells (CTL), Akt, also known as protein kinase B, is activated by the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) and the cytokine interleukin 2 (IL-2). Akt can control cell metabolism in many cell types but whether this role is important for CTL function has not been determined. Here we have shown that Akt does not mediate IL-2- or TCR-induced cell metabolic responses; rather, this role is assumed by other Akt-related kinases. There is, however, a nonredundant role for sustained and strong activation of Akt in CTL to coordinate the TCR- and IL-2-induced transcriptional programs that control expression of key cytolytic effector molecules, adhesion molecules, and cytokine and chemokine receptors that distinguish effector versus memory and naive T cells. Akt is thus dispensable for metabolism, but the strength and duration of Akt activity dictates the CTL transcriptional program and determines CTL fate.
CD31 is an Ig-like molecule expressed by leukocytes and endothelial cells with an established role in the regulation of leukocyte trafficking. Despite genetic deletion of CD31 being associated with exacerbation of T cell-mediated autoimmunity, the contribution of this molecule to T-cell responses is largely unknown. Here we report that tumor and allograft rejection are significantly enhanced in CD31-deficient mice, which are also resistant to tolerance induction. We propose that these effects are dependent on an as yet unrecognized role for CD31-mediated homophilic interactions between T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs) during priming. We show that loss of CD31 interactions leads to enhanced primary clonal expansion, increased killing capacity, and diminished regulatory functions by T cells. Immunomodulation by CD31 signals correlates with a partial inhibition of proximal T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling, specifically Zap-70 phosphorylation. However, CD31-deficient mice do not develop autoimmunity due to increased T-cell death following activation, and we show that CD31 triggering induces Erk-mediated prosurvival activity in T cells either in conjunction with TCR signaling or autonomously. We conclude that CD31 functions as a nonredundant comodulator of T-cell responses, which specializes in sizing the ensuing immune response by setting the threshold for T-cell activation and tolerance, while preventing memory T-cell death.
The generation of high-affinity Abs is essential for immunity and requires collaboration between B and T cells within germinal centers (GCs). By using novel mouse models with a conditional deletion of the p110? catalytic subunit of the PI3K pathway, we established that p110? is required in T cells, but not in B cells, for the GC reaction. We found the formation of T follicular helper (T(FH)) cells to be critically dependent on p110? in T cells. Furthermore, by deleting phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10, which opposes p110? in activated T cells, we found a positive correlation between increased numbers of T(FH) cells and GC B cells. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that T cell help is the limiting factor in the GC reaction. P110? was not required for the expression of B cell lymphoma 6, the downregulation of CCR7, or T cell entry into primary follicles. Instead, p110? was the critical catalytic subunit for ICOS downstream signaling and the production of key T(FH) cytokines and effector molecules. Our findings support a model in which the magnitude of the GC reaction is controlled by the activity of the PI3K pathway in T(FH) cells.
B cell development is controlled by a series of checkpoints that ensure that the immunoglobulin (Ig)-encoding genes produce a functional B cell receptor (BCR) and antibodies. As part of this process, recombination-activating gene (Rag) proteins regulate the in-frame assembly of the Ig-encoding genes. The BCR consists of Ig proteins in complex with the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-containing Igalpha and Igbeta chains. Whereas the activation of the tyrosine kinases Src and Syk is essential for BCR signaling, the pathways that act downstream of these kinases are incompletely defined. Previous work has revealed a key role for the p110delta isoform of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) in agonist-induced BCR signaling; however, early B cell development and mature B cell survival, which depend on agonist-independent or "tonic" BCR signaling, are not substantially affected by a deficiency in p110delta. Here, we show that p110alpha, but not p110beta, compensated in the absence of p110delta to promote early B cell development in the bone marrow and B cell survival in the spleen. In the absence of both p110alpha and p110delta activities, pre-BCR signaling failed to suppress the production of Rag proteins and to promote developmental progression of B cell progenitors. Unlike p110delta, however, p110alpha did not contribute to agonist-induced BCR signaling. These studies indicate that either p110alpha or p110delta can mediate tonic signaling from the BCR, but only p110delta can contribute to antigen-dependent activation of B cells.
Lymphocyte development and function are regulated by tyrosine kinase and G-protein coupled receptors. Each of these classes of receptors activates phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). In this chapter, we summarize current understanding of how PI3K contributes to key aspects of the adaptive immune system.
Engagement of the T-cell receptor (TCR) in human primary T cells activates a cyclic AMP (cAMP)-protein kinase A (PKA)-Csk inhibitory pathway that prevents full T-cell activation in the absence of a coreceptor stimulus. Here, we demonstrate that stimulation of CD28 leads to recruitment to lipid rafts of a beta-arrestin/phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) complex that serves to degrade cAMP locally. Redistribution of the complex from the cytosol depends on Lck and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity. Protein kinase B (PKB) interacts directly with beta-arrestin to form part of the supramolecular complex together with sequestered PDE4. Translocation is mediated by the PKB plextrin homology (PH) domain, thus revealing a new role for PKB as an adaptor coupling PI3K and cAMP signaling. Functionally, PI3K activation and phosphatidylinositol-(3,4,5)-triphosphate (PIP3) production, leading to recruitment of the supramolecular PKB/beta-arrestin/PDE4 complex to the membrane via the PKB PH domain, results in degradation of the TCR-induced cAMP pool located in lipid rafts, thereby allowing full T-cell activation to proceed.
We have previously described critical and nonredundant roles for the phosphoinositide 3-kinase p110delta during the activation and differentiation of naive T cells, and p110delta inhibitors are currently being developed for clinical use. However, to effectively treat established inflammatory or autoimmune diseases, it is important to be able to inhibit previously activated or memory T cells. In this study, using the isoform-selective inhibitor IC87114, we show that sustained p110delta activity is required for interferon-gamma production. Moreover, acute inhibition of p110delta inhibits cytokine production and reduces hypersensitivity responses in mice. Whether p110delta played a similar role in human T cells was unknown. Here we show that IC87114 potently blocked T-cell receptor-induced phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling by both naive and effector/memory human T cells. Importantly, IC87114 reduced cytokine production by memory T cells from healthy and allergic donors and from inflammatory arthritis patients. These studies establish that previously activated memory T cells are at least as sensitive to p110delta inhibition as naive T cells and show that mouse models accurately predict p110delta function in human T cells. There is therefore a strong rationale for p110delta inhibitors to be considered for therapeutic use in T-cell-mediated autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) is a key component of the translational machinery in eukaryotic cells and is essential for ribosome biogenesis. rpS6 is phosphorylated on evolutionarily conserved serine residues, and data indicate that rpS6 phosphorylation might regulate cell growth and protein synthesis. Studies in cell lines have shown an important role for the serine kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in rpS6 phosphorylation, further linking rpS6 to control of cellular metabolism. rpS6 is essential in T cells because its deletion in mouse double-positive thymocyte cells results in a complete block in T cell development; however, the signaling pathway leading to rpS6 phosphorylation downstream of TCR stimulation has yet to be fully characterized. We show that maximal TCR-induced rpS6 phosphorylation in CD8 T cells requires both Lck and Fyn activity and downstream activation of PI3K, mTOR, and MEK/ERK MAPK pathways. We demonstrate that there is cross-talk between the PI3K and MAPK pathways as well as PI3K-independent mTOR activity, which result in differential phosphorylation of specific rpS6 serine residues. These results place rpS6 phosphorylation as a point of convergence for multiple crucial signaling pathways downstream of TCR triggering.
Caloric restriction (CR) protects against aging and disease, but the mechanisms by which this affects mammalian life span are unclear. We show in mice that deletion of ribosomal S6 protein kinase 1 (S6K1), a component of the nutrient-responsive mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling pathway, led to increased life span and resistance to age-related pathologies, such as bone, immune, and motor dysfunction and loss of insulin sensitivity. Deletion of S6K1 induced gene expression patterns similar to those seen in CR or with pharmacological activation of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a conserved regulator of the metabolic response to CR. Our results demonstrate that S6K1 influences healthy mammalian life-span and suggest that therapeutic manipulation of S6K1 and AMPK might mimic CR and could provide broad protection against diseases of aging.
Resistance to Leishmania major and most intracellular pathogens is usually associated with a strong T cell-mediated immunity, particularly a CD4(+) Th1 response. Mice with an inactivating knock-in mutation in the p110delta isoform of PI3K (referred to as p110delta(D910A)) show severely impaired T cell responses. Because a strong T cell response is thought to mediate resistance to intracellular pathogens, we examined the outcome of L. major infection in p110delta(D910A) mice. Paradoxically, p110delta(D910A) mice on "resistant" and "susceptible" genetic backgrounds showed more robust resistance manifested as significantly reduced lesion size and accelerated parasite clearance. This enhanced resistance was associated with dramatically diminished immune responses, including impaired cell proliferation and effector cytokine (IFN-gamma and TNF) production. Interestingly, the ability of macrophages and dendritic cells from p110delta(D910A) mice to produce NO and destroy Leishmania parasites was similar to those of wild-type mice. We show that the enhanced resistance of p110delta(D910A) mice was due to impaired expansion and effector functions of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Adoptive transfer studies demonstrated that p110delta(D910A) mice lost their increased resistance when given enriched Tregs from wild-type mice. We suggest on the basis of these and further observations that the lack of this enzyme prominently affects Treg expansion and homing to infection sites, and that in the absence of Tregs, weak Th1 responses are capable of containing parasites and prevent pathology. We also suggest that temporary pharmacological inhibition of this enzyme may be a very effective form of treatment against cutaneous leishmaniasis.
CD4(+) T cells use the chemokine receptor CCR7 to home to and migrate within lymphoid tissue, where T-cell activation takes place. Using primary T-cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic (tg) CD4(+) T cells, we explored the effect of CCR7 ligands, in particular CCL21, on T-cell activation. We found that the presence of CCL21 during early time points strongly increased in vitro T-cell proliferation after TCR stimulation, correlating with increased expression of early activation markers. CCL21 costimulation resulted in increased Ras- and Rac-GTP formation and enhanced phosphorylation of Akt, MEK, and ERK but not p38 or JNK. Kinase-dead PI3Kdelta(D910A/D910A) or PI3Kgamma-deficient TCR-tg CD4(+) T cells showed similar responsiveness to CCL21 costimulation as control CD4(+) T cells. Conversely, deficiency in the Rac guanine exchange factor DOCK2 significantly impaired CCL21-mediated costimulation in TCR-tg CD4(+) T cells, concomitant with impaired Rac- but not Ras-GTP formation. Using lymph node slices for live monitoring of T-cell behavior and activation, we found that G protein-coupled receptor signaling was required for early CD69 expression but not for Ca(2+) signaling. Our data suggest that the presence of CCL21 during early TCR signaling lowers the activation threshold through Ras- and Rac-dependent pathways leading to increased ERK phosphorylation.
The mechanisms that regulate NK cell trafficking are unclear. Phosphoinositide-3 kinases (PI3K) control cell motility and the p110gamma and p110delta isoforms are mostly expressed in leukocytes, where they transduce signals downstream of G protein coupled receptors (GPCR) or tyrosine kinase receptors, respectively. Here, we set out to determine the relative contribution of p110gamma and p110delta to NK cell migration in mice. Using a combination of single-cell imaging analysis of transgenic cells reporting on PI3K activity in real time and small molecule inhibitors of p110gamma and p110delta, we show here that the tyrosine-kinase coupled p110delta is linked to GPCR signaling and, depending on the GPCR, may even be preferentially activated over p110gamma. Using gene-targeted mice, we showed that both isoforms were essential for NK cell chemotaxis to CXCL12 and to CCL3 and, in vivo, for normal NK cell migration during pregnancy and to the inflamed peritoneum. By contrast, only p110delta was indispensable for chemotaxis to S1P and CXCL10 and for NK cell distribution throughout lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues and for extravasation to tumors. These results implicate p110delta downstream of GPCRs in NK cells and highlight its nonredundant role as a key regulator of NK cell trafficking in health and disease.
Foxp3 is a transcription factor that is essential for the normal development of regulatory T cells (Tregs). In the absence of microRNAs (miRNAs), Foxp3(+) Tregs develop but fail to maintain immune homeostasis, leading to a scurfy-like disease. Global analysis of the network of genes regulated by Foxp3 has identified the miRNA miR-155, which is highly expressed in Tregs, as a direct target of Foxp3. In this study we report that miR-155-deficient mice have reduced numbers of Tregs, both in the thymus and periphery, due to impaired development. However, we found no evidence for defective suppressor activity of miR-155-deficient Tregs, either in vitro or in vivo. Our results indicate that miR-155 contributes to Treg development, but that additional miRNAs control Treg function.
mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1) controls transcriptional programs that determine CD8+ cytolytic T cell (CTL) fate. In some cell systems, mTORC1 couples phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) and Akt to the control of glucose uptake and glycolysis. However, PI3K-Akt-independent mechanisms control glucose metabolism in CD8+ T cells, and the role of mTORC1 has not been explored. The present study now demonstrates that mTORC1 activity in CD8+ T cells is not dependent on PI3K or Akt but is critical to sustain glucose uptake and glycolysis in CD8+ T cells. We also show that PI3K- and Akt-independent pathways mediated by mTORC1 regulate the expression of HIF1 (hypoxia-inducible factor 1) transcription factor complex. This mTORC1-HIF1 pathway is required to sustain glucose metabolism and glycolysis in effector CTLs and strikingly functions to couple mTORC1 to a diverse transcriptional program that controls expression of glucose transporters, multiple rate-limiting glycolytic enzymes, cytolytic effector molecules, and essential chemokine and adhesion receptors that regulate T cell trafficking. These data reveal a fundamental mechanism linking nutrient and oxygen sensing to transcriptional control of CD8+ T cell differentiation.
The class 1 PI3Ks are lipid kinases with key roles in cell surface receptor-triggered signal transduction pathways. Two isoforms of the catalytic subunits, p110? and p110?, are enriched in leucocytes in which they promote activation, cellular growth, proliferation, differentiation and survival through the generation of the second messenger PIP3. Genetic inactivation or pharmaceutical inhibition of these PI3K isoforms in mice result in impaired immune responses and reduced susceptibility to autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. We review the PI3K signal transduction pathways and the effects of inhibition of p110? and/or p110? on innate and adaptive immunity. Focusing on rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus we discuss the preclinical evidence and prospects for small molecule inhibitors of p110? and/or p110? in autoimmune disease.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease triggered by interplay between immune mediators from both innate and adaptive immune systems and skin tissue, in which the IL-23/IL-17 axis is critical. PI3K? and PI3K? play important roles in various immune cell functions. We found that mice lacking functional PI3K? or PI3K? are largely protected from imiquimod (IMQ)-induced psoriasis-like dermatitis, correlating with reduced IL-17 levels in the lesions, serum, and the draining lymph nodes. TCR?? T cells were the major IL-17-producing population in the draining lymph nodes and were significantly diminished in IMQ-treated PI3K? knockin and PI3K? knockout mice. We also show that PI3K? and PI3K? inhibitors reduced IFN-? production by human TCR?? T cells and IL-17 and IFN-? production by PBMCs from psoriatic or healthy donors. In addition, inhibition of PI3K?, but not PI3K?, blocked chemotaxis of CCR6(+)IL-17-producing cells from IMQ-treated mice or healthy human donors. Taken together, these data indicate that PI3K? and/or PI3K? inhibitors should be considered for treating IL-17-driven diseases, such as psoriasis.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) prevent autoimmunity and inflammation by suppressing the activation of other T cells and antigen presenting cells. The role of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling in Treg is controversial. Some studies suggest that inhibition of the PI3K pathway is essential for the development of Tregs whereas other studies have shown reduced Treg numbers and function when PI3K activity is suppressed. Here we attempt to reconcile the different studies that have explored PI3K and the downstream effectors Akt, Foxo, and mTOR in regulatory T cell development and function and discuss the implications for health and therapeutic intervention.
PTEN, one of the most commonly mutated or lost tumor suppressors in human cancers, antagonizes signaling by the PI3K pathway. Mice with thymocyte-specific deletion of Pten rapidly develop peripheral lymphomas and autoimmunity, which may be caused by failed negative selection of thymocytes or from dysregulation of postthymic T cells. We induced conditional deletion of Pten from CD4 Th cells using a Cre knocked into the Tnfrsf4 (OX40) locus to generate OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice. Pten-deficient Th cells proliferated more and produced greater concentrations of cytokines. The OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice had a general increase in the number of lymphocytes in the lymph nodes, but not in the spleen. When transferred into wild-type (WT) mice, Pten-deficient Th cells enhanced anti-Listeria responses and the clearance of tumors under conditions in which WT T cells had no effect. Moreover, inflammatory responses were exaggerated and resolved later in OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice than in WT mice. However, in contrast with models of thymocyte-specific Pten deletion, lymphomas and autoimmunity were not observed, even in older OX40(Cre)Pten(f) mice. Hence loss of Pten enhances Th cell function without obvious deleterious effects.
Chronic rejection is the major cause of long-term heart allograft failure, characterized by tissue infiltration by recipient T cells with indirect allospecificity. Phosphoinositol-3-kinase p110? is a key mediator of T cell receptor signaling, regulating both T cell activation and migration of primed T cells to non-lymphoid antigen-rich tissue. We investigated the effect of genetic or pharmacologic inactivation of PI3K p110? on the development of chronic allograft rejection in a murine model in which HY-mismatched male hearts were transplanted into female recipients. We show that suppression of p110? activity significantly attenuates the development of chronic rejection of heart grafts in the absence of any additional immunosuppressive treatment by impairing the localization of antigen-specific T cells to the grafts, while not inducing specific T cell tolerance. p110? pharmacologic inactivation is effective when initiated after transplantation. Targeting p110? activity might be a viable strategy for the treatment of heart chronic rejection in humans.
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