Homologous recombination (HR) is initiated by DNA end resection, a process in which stretches of single-strand DNA (ssDNA) are generated and used for homology search. Factors implicated in resection include nucleases MRE11, EXO1, and DNA2, which process DNA ends into 3' ssDNA overhangs; helicases such as BLM, which unwind DNA; and other proteins such as BRCA1 and CtIP whose functions remain unclear. CDK-mediated phosphorylation of CtIP on T847 is required to promote resection, whereas CDK-dependent phosphorylation of CtIP-S327 is required for interaction with BRCA1. Here, we provide evidence that CtIP functions independently of BRCA1 in promoting DSB end resection. First, using mouse models expressing S327A or T847A mutant CtIP as a sole species, and B cells deficient in CtIP, we show that loss of the CtIP-BRCA1 interaction does not detectably affect resection, maintenance of genomic stability or viability, whereas T847 is essential for these functions. Second, although loss of 53BP1 rescues the embryonic lethality and HR defects in BRCA1-deficient mice, it does not restore viability or genome integrity in CtIP(-/-) mice. Third, the increased resection afforded by loss of 53BP1 and the rescue of BRCA1-deficiency depend on CtIP but not EXO1. Finally, the sensitivity of BRCA1-deficient cells to poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibition is partially rescued by the phospho-mimicking mutant CtIP (CtIP-T847E). Thus, in contrast to BRCA1, CtIP has indispensable roles in promoting resection and embryonic development.
The common ?-chain (?c) plays a central role in signaling by IL-2 and other ?c-dependent cytokines. Here we report that activated T cells produce an alternatively spliced form of ?c mRNA that results in protein expression and secretion of the ?c extracellular domain. The soluble form of ?c (s?c) is present in serum and directly binds to IL-2R? and IL-7R? proteins on T cells to inhibit cytokine signaling and promote inflammation. s?c suppressed IL-7 signaling to impair naive T cell survival during homeostasis and exacerbated Th17-cell-mediated inflammation by inhibiting IL-2 signaling upon T cell activation. Reciprocally, the severity of Th17-cell-mediated inflammatory diseases was markedly diminished in mice lacking s?c. Thus, s?c expression is a naturally occurring immunomodulator that regulates ?c cytokine signaling and controls T cell activation and differentiation.
Mutations of STAT3 underlie the autosomal dominant form of hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIES). STAT3 has critical roles in immune cells and thus, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), might be a reasonable therapeutic strategy in this disease. However, STAT3 also has critical functions in nonhematopoietic cells and dissecting the protean roles of STAT3 is limited by the lethality associated with germline deletion of Stat3. Thus, predicting the efficacy of HSCT for HIES is difficult. To begin to dissect the importance of STAT3 in hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells as it relates to HIES, we generated a mouse model of this disease. We found that these transgenic mice recapitulate multiple aspects of HIES, including elevated serum IgE and failure to generate Th17 cells. We found that these mice were susceptible to bacterial infection that was partially corrected by HSCT using wild-type bone marrow, emphasizing the role played by the epithelium in the pathophysiology of HIES.
Lineage fate in the thymus is determined by mutually exclusive expression of the transcription factors ThPOK and Runx3, with ThPOK imposing the CD4(+) lineage fate and Runx3 promoting the CD8(+) lineage fate. While it is known that cytokine signals induce thymocytes to express Runx3, it is not known how ThPOK prevents thymocytes from expressing Runx3 and adopting the CD8(+) lineage fate, nor is it understood why ThPOK itself imposes the CD4(+) lineage fate on thymocytes. We now report that genes encoding members of the SOCS (suppressor of cytokine signaling) family are critical targets of ThPOK and that their induction by ThPOK represses Runx3 expression and promotes the CD4(+) lineage fate. Thus, induction of SOCS-encoding genes is the main mechanism by which ThPOK imposes the CD4(+) lineage fate in the thymus.
Preclinical therapeutic assessment currently relies on the growth response of established human cell lines xenografted into immunocompromised mice, a strategy that is generally not predictive of clinical outcomes. Immunocompetent genetically engineered mouse (GEM)-derived tumor allograft models offer highly tractable preclinical alternatives and facilitate analysis of clinically promising immunomodulatory agents. Imageable reporters are essential for accurately tracking tumor growth and response, particularly for metastases. Unfortunately, reporters such as luciferase and GFP are foreign antigens in immunocompetent mice, potentially hindering tumor growth and confounding therapeutic responses. Here we assessed the value of reporter-tolerized GEMs as allograft recipients by targeting minimal expression of a luciferase-GFP fusion reporter to the anterior pituitary gland (dubbed the "Glowing Head" or GH mouse). The luciferase-GFP reporter expressed in tumor cells induced adverse immune responses in wildtype mouse, but not in GH mouse, as transplantation hosts. The antigenicity of optical reporters resulted in a decrease in both the growth and metastatic potential of the labeled tumor in wildtype mice as compared to the GH mice. Moreover, reporter expression can also alter the tumor response to chemotherapy or targeted therapy in a context-dependent manner. Thus the GH mice and experimental approaches vetted herein provide concept validation and a strategy for effective, reproducible preclinical evaluation of growth and response kinetics for traceable tumors.
The zinc-finger protein Ikaros is a key player in T-cell development and a potent tumor suppressor in thymocytes. To understand the molecular basis of its function, we disabled Ikaros activity in vivo using a dominant negative Ikaros transgene (DN-IkTg). In DN-IkTg mice, T-cell development was severely suppressed, and positively selected thymocytes clonally expanded, resulting in a small thymus with a heavily skewed T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. Notably, DN-IkTg induced vigorous proliferation concomitant to downregulation of antiapoptotic factor expression such as Bcl2. Ikaros activity was required during positive selection, and specifically at the CD4(+)CD8(lo) intermediate stage of thymocyte differentiation, where it prevented persistent TCR signals from inducing aberrant proliferation and expansion. In particular, DN-IkTg induced the accumulation of CD4 single-positive (SP) thymocytes with a developmentally transitional phenotype, and it imposed a developmental arrest accompanied by massive apoptosis. Thus, we identified an in vivo requirement for Ikaros function, which is to suppress the proliferative potential of persistent TCR signals and to promote the survival and differentiation of positively selected thymocytes.
Increased serum levels of IL-15 are reported in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Here we report elevated serum soluble IL-15R? levels in human T1D. To investigate the role of IL-15/IL-15R? in the pathogenesis of T1D, we generated double transgenic mice with pancreatic ?-cell expression of IL-15 and IL-15R?. The mice developed hyperglycemia, marked mononuclear cell infiltration, ?-cell destruction, and anti-insulin autoantibodies that mimic early human T1D. The diabetes in this model was reversed by inhibiting IL-15 signaling with anti-IL2/IL15R? (anti-CD122), which blocks IL-15 transpresentation. Furthermore, the diabetes could be reversed by administration of the Janus kinase 2/3 inhibitor tofacitinib, which blocks IL-15 signaling. In an alternative diabetes model, nonobese diabetic mice, IL15/IL-15R? expression was increased in islet cells in the prediabetic stage, and inhibition of IL-15 signaling with anti-CD122 at the prediabetic stage delayed diabetes development. In support of the view that these observations reflect the conditions in humans, we demonstrated pancreatic islet expression of both IL-15 and IL-15R? in human T1D. Taken together our data suggest that disordered IL-15 and IL-15R? may be involved in T1D pathogenesis and the IL-15/IL15R? system and its signaling pathway may be rational therapeutic targets for early T1D.
Thymic selection requires signaling by the protein tyrosine kinase Lck to generate T cells expressing ?? T cell antigen receptors (TCR). For reasons not understood, the thymus selects only ??TCR that are restricted by major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-encoded determinants. Here, we report that Lck proteins that were coreceptor associated promoted thymic selection of conventionally MHC-restricted TCR, but Lck proteins that were coreceptor free promoted thymic selection of MHC-independent TCR. Transgenic TCR with MHC-independent specificity for CD155 utilized coreceptor-free Lck to signal thymic selection in the absence of MHC, unlike any transgenic TCR previously described. Thus, the thymus can select either MHC-restricted or MHC-independent ??TCR depending on whether Lck is coreceptor associated or coreceptor free. We conclude that the intracellular state of Lck determines the specificity of thymic selection and that Lck association with coreceptor proteins during thymic selection is the mechanism by which MHC restriction is imposed on a randomly generated ??TCR repertoire.
Prostate stem cells are thought to be responsible for generation of all prostate epithelial cells and for tissue maintenance. The lineage relationship between basal and luminal cells in the prostate is not well clarified. We developed a mouse model to trace cell fate and a mouse model with a slowly cycling cell label to provide insight into this question. The results obtained indicate that putative mouse prostate stem cells are likely to reside in the basal layer.
Immune tolerance requires regulatory T (Treg) cells to prevent autoimmune disease, with the transcription factor Foxp3 functioning as the critical regulator of Treg cell development and function. We report here that Foxp3 was lethal to developing Treg cells in the thymus because it induced a unique proapoptotic protein signature (Puma???p-Bim??p-JNK??DUSP6?) and repressed expression of prosurvival Bcl-2 molecules. However, Foxp3 lethality was prevented by common gamma chain (?c)-dependent cytokine signals that were present in the thymus in limiting amounts sufficient to support only ?1 million Treg cells. Consequently, most newly arising Treg cells in the thymus were deprived of this signal and underwent Foxp3-induced death, with Foxp3?CD25? Treg precursor cells being the most susceptible. Thus, we identify Foxp3 as a proapoptotic protein that requires developing Treg cells to compete with one another for limiting amounts of ?c-dependent survival signals in the thymus.
Lymphocyte activation is initiated by a global increase in messenger RNA synthesis. However, the mechanisms driving transcriptome amplification during the immune response are unknown. By monitoring single-stranded DNA genome wide, we show that the genome of naive cells is poised for rapid activation. In G0, ?90% of promoters from genes to be expressed in cycling lymphocytes are polymerase loaded but unmelted and support only basal transcription. Furthermore, the transition from abortive to productive elongation is kinetically limiting, causing polymerases to accumulate nearer to transcription start sites. Resting lymphocytes also limit the expression of the transcription factor IIH complex, including XPB and XPD helicases involved in promoter melting and open complex extension. To date, two rate-limiting steps have been shown to control global gene expression in eukaryotes: preinitiation complex assembly and polymerase pausing. Our studies identify promoter melting as a third key regulatory step and propose that this mechanism ensures a prompt lymphocyte response to invading pathogens.
CD4(+) helper T cells are essential for immune responses and differentiate in the thymus from CD4(+) CD8(+) "double-positive" (DP) thymocytes. The transcription factor Runx3 inhibits CD4(+) T-cell differentiation by repressing Cd4 gene expression; accordingly, Runx3 is not expressed in DP thymocytes or developing CD4(+) T cells. The transcription factor Thpok is upregulated in CD4-differentiating thymocytes and required to repress Runx3. However, how Runx3 is controlled at early stages of CD4(+) T-cell differentiation, before the onset of Thpok expression, remains unknown. Here we show that Gata3, a transcription factor preferentially and transiently upregulated by CD4(+) T-cell precursors, represses Runx3 and binds the Runx3 locus in vivo. Accordingly, we show that high-level Gata3 expression and expression of Runx3 are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, whereas Runx3 represses Cd4, we show that Gata3 promotes Cd4 expression in Thpok-deficient thymocytes. Thus, in addition to its previously documented role in promoting CD4-lineage gene-expression, Gata3 represses CD8-lineage gene expression. These findings identify Gata3 as a critical pivot of CD4-CD8 lineage differentiation.
Type I IFNs (IFN-I) are normally produced during antiviral responses, yet high levels of chronic IFN-I expression correlate with autoimmune disease. A variety of viral sensors generate IFN-I in their response, but other than TLRs, it is not fully known which pathways are directly involved in the development of spontaneous immune pathologies. To further explore the link between IFN-I induced by viral pathways and autoimmunity, we generated a new transgenic mouse line containing multiple copies of Ifih1, a gene encoding the cytoplasmic dsRNA sensor MDA5 with proven linkage to diabetes and lupus. We show that MDA5 overexpression led to a chronic IFN-I state characterized by resistance to a lethal viral infection through rapid clearance of virus in the absence of a CD8(+) or Ab response. Spontaneous MDA5 activation was not sufficient to initiate autoimmune or inflammatory pathology by itself, even though every immune cell population had signs of IFN activation. When combined with the lupus-susceptible background of the Fc?R2B deficiency, MDA5 overexpression did accelerate the production of switched autoantibodies, the incidence of glomerulonephritis, and early lethality. Thus, MDA5 transgenic mice provide evidence that chronic elevated levels of IFN-I are not sufficient to initiate autoimmunity or inflammation although they might exacerbate an ongoing autoimmune pathology.
Segmentation is an organizing principle of body plans. The segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator best illustrated by the cyclic expression of Notch signalling genes, controls the periodic cleavage of somites from unsegmented presomitic mesoderm during vertebrate segmentation. Wnt3a controls the spatiotemporal expression of cyclic Notch genes; however, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show by transcriptional profiling of Wnt3a (-/-) embryos that the bHLH transcription factor, Mesogenin1 (Msgn1), is a direct target gene of Wnt3a. To identify Msgn1 targets, we conducted genome-wide studies of Msgn1 activity in embryonic stem cells. We show that Msgn1 is a major transcriptional activator of a Notch signalling program and synergizes with Notch to trigger clock gene expression. Msgn1 also indirectly regulates cyclic genes in the Fgf and Wnt pathways. Thus, Msgn1 is a central component of a transcriptional cascade that translates a spatial Wnt3a gradient into a temporal pattern of clock gene expression.
Interleukin-22 (IL-22), which acts as either a proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory cytokine in various disease models, is markedly up-regulated in chronic liver diseases, including hepatitis B and C. In this report, we demonstrate a strong correlation between IL-22 expression in the liver with active, inflammatory human liver disease. To clarify the role of IL-22 up-regulation in the pathogenesis of liver diseases, liver-specific IL-22 transgenic (IL-22TG) mice, under the control of albumin promoter, were developed. Despite elevated IL-22 serum levels ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 pg/mL, IL-22TG mice developed normally without obvious adverse phenotypes or evidence of chronic inflammation (except for slightly thicker epidermis and minor inflammation of the skin) compared with wild-type mice. Interestingly, IL-22TG mice were completely resistant to concanavalin A-induced T cell hepatitis with minimal effect on liver inflammation and had accelerated liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. Although they did not spontaneously develop liver tumors, IL-22TG mice were more susceptible to diethylnitrosamine-induced liver cancer. Microarray analyses revealed that a variety of antioxidant, mitogenic, acute phase genes were up-regulated in the livers of IL-22TG mice compared with those from wild-type mice.
Missense mutations in the C-terminal B30.2 domain of pyrin cause familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), the most common Mendelian autoinflammatory disease. However, it remains controversial as to whether FMF is due to the loss of an inhibitor of inflammation or to the activity of a proinflammatory molecule. We generated both pyrin-deficient mice and "knockin" mice harboring mutant human B30.2 domains. Homozygous knockin, but not pyrin-deficient, mice exhibited spontaneous bone marrow-dependent inflammation similar to but more severe than human FMF. Caspase-1 was constitutively activated in knockin macrophages and active IL-1? was secreted when stimulated with lipopolysaccharide alone, which is also observed in FMF patients. The inflammatory phenotype of knockin mice was completely ablated by crossing with IL-1 receptor-deficient or adaptor molecule ASC-deficient mice, but not NLRP3-deficient mice. Thus, our data provide evidence for an ASC-dependent NLRP3-independent inflammasome in which gain-of-function pyrin mutations cause autoinflammatory disease.
Cutaneous malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive and frequently chemoresistant cancer, the incidence of which continues to rise. Epidemiological studies show that the major aetiological melanoma risk factor is ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation, with the highest risk associated with intermittent burning doses, especially during childhood. We have experimentally validated these epidemiological findings using the hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor transgenic mouse model, which develops lesions in stages highly reminiscent of human melanoma with respect to biological, genetic and aetiological criteria, but only when irradiated as neonatal pups with UVB, not UVA. However, the mechanisms underlying UVB-initiated, neonatal-specific melanomagenesis remain largely unknown. Here we introduce a mouse model permitting fluorescence-aided melanocyte imaging and isolation following in vivo UV irradiation. We use expression profiling to show that activated neonatal skin melanocytes isolated following a melanomagenic UVB dose bear a distinct, persistent interferon response signature, including genes associated with immunoevasion. UVB-induced melanocyte activation, characterized by aberrant growth and migration, was abolished by antibody-mediated systemic blockade of interferon-? (IFN-?), but not type-I interferons. IFN-? was produced by macrophages recruited to neonatal skin by UVB-induced ligands to the chemokine receptor Ccr2. Admixed recruited skin macrophages enhanced transplanted melanoma growth by inhibiting apoptosis; notably, IFN-? blockade abolished macrophage-enhanced melanoma growth and survival. IFN-?-producing macrophages were also identified in 70% of human melanomas examined. Our data reveal an unanticipated role for IFN-? in promoting melanocytic cell survival/immunoevasion, identifying a novel candidate therapeutic target for a subset of melanoma patients.
Th17 cells have been described as short lived, but this view is at odds with their capacity to trigger protracted damage to normal and transformed tissues. We report that Th17 cells, despite displaying low expression of CD27 and other phenotypic markers of terminal differentiation, efficiently eradicated tumors and caused autoimmunity, were long lived, and maintained a core molecular signature resembling early memory CD8(+) cells with stem cell-like properties. In addition, we found that Th17 cells had high expression of Tcf7, a direct target of the Wnt and ?-catenin signaling axis, and accumulated ?-catenin, a feature observed in stem cells. In vivo, Th17 cells gave rise to Th1-like effector cell progeny and also self-renewed and persisted as IL-17A-secreting cells. Multipotency was required for Th17 cell-mediated tumor eradication because effector cells deficient in IFN-? or IL-17A had impaired activity. Thus, Th17 cells are not always short lived and are a less-differentiated subset capable of superior persistence and functionality.
Adipose-specific inactivation of both AP-1 and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) families of B-ZIP transcription factors in transgenic mice causes severe lipoatrophy. To evaluate whether inactivation of only C/EBP members was critical for lipoatrophy, A-C/EBP, a dominant-negative protein that specifically inhibits the DNA binding of the C/EBP members, was expressed in adipose tissue. For the first 2 weeks after birth, aP2-A-C/EBP mice had no white adipose tissue (WAT), drastically reduced brown adipose tissue (BAT), and exhibited marked hepatic steatosis, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia. However, WAT appeared during the third week, coinciding with significantly improved metabolic functioning. In adults, BAT remained reduced, causing cold intolerance. At 30 weeks, the aP2-A-C/EBP mice had only 35% reduced WAT, with clear morphological signs of lipodystrophy in subcutaneous fat. Circulating leptin and adiponectin levels were less than the wild-type levels, and these mice exhibited impaired triglyceride clearance. Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and reduced free fatty acid release in response to ?3-adrenergic agonist suggest improper functioning of the residual WAT. Gene expression analysis of inguinal WAT identified reduced mRNA levels of several enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis and glucose metabolism that are known C/EBP? transcriptional targets. There were increased levels for genes involved in inflammation and muscle differentiation. However, when dermal fibroblasts from aP2-A-C/EBP mice were differentiated into adipocytes in tissue culture, muscle markers were elevated more than the inflammatory markers. These results demonstrate that the C/EBP family is essential for adipose tissue development during the early postnatal period, the regulation of glucose and lipid homeostasis in adults, and the suppression of the muscle lineage.
Psoriasis is a common complex genetic disease characterized by hyperplasia and inflammation in the skin; however, the relative contributions of epidermal cells and the immune system to disease pathogenesis remain unclear. Linkage studies have defined a psoriasis susceptibility locus (PSORS4) on 1q21, the epidermal differentiation complex, which includes genes for small S100 calcium-binding proteins. These proteins are involved in extracellular and intracellular signaling during epithelial host defense, linking innate and adaptive immunity. Inflammation-prone psoriatic skin constitutively expresses elevated concentrations of S100A7 (psoriasin) and S100A15 (koebnerisin) in the epidermis. Here, we report that genetically modified mice expressing elevated amounts of doxycycline-regulated mS100a7a15 in skin keratinocytes demonstrated an exaggerated inflammatory response when challenged by exogenous stimuli such as abrasion (Koebner phenomenon). This immune response was characterized by immune cell infiltration and elevated concentrations of T helper 1 (T(H)1) and T(H)17 proinflammatory cytokines, which have been linked to the pathogenesis of psoriasis and were further amplified upon challenge. Both inflammation priming and amplification required mS100a7a15 binding to the receptor of advanced glycation end products (RAGE). mS100a7a15 potentiated inflammation by acting directly as a chemoattractant for leukocytes, further increasing the number of inflammatory cells infiltrating the skin. This study provides a pathogenetic psoriasis model using a psoriasis candidate gene to link the epidermis and innate immune system in inflammation priming, highlighting the S100A7A15-RAGE axis as a potential therapeutic target.
Meiosis is a crucial process for the production of functional gametes. However, the biological significance of many genes expressed during the meiotic phase remains poorly understood, mainly because of the lethal phenotypes of the knockout mice. Functional analysis of such genes using the conditional knockout approach is hindered by the lack of suitable Cre transgenic lines. We describe here the generation of transgenic mice expressing Cre recombinase under the control of the meiotic Spo11 gene. Using LacZ-R26(loxP) and EYFP-R26(loxP) reporter mice, we show the specific expression and activity of Cre during meiosis in males and females. Spo11(Cre) mice were then crossed with floxed Nbs1 and JAM-C mice to produce conditional knockouts. A strong reduction of Nbs1 and JAM-C protein levels was found in the testis. Although Nbs1-deleted mice developed minor gonadal abnormalities, JAM-C-knockout mice showed a spermiogenetic arrest, as previously described for the null mice. These results provide strong evidence that Spo11(Cre) transgenic mice represent a powerful tool for deleting genes of interest specifically in meiotic and/or in postmeiotic germ cells.
The interleukin (IL)-22R1 chain of the heterodimeric IL-22 receptor is not expressed on normal leukocytes, but this receptor is expressed on T cells from anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK(+)) anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) patients. To investigate the consequences of aberrant expression of this receptor on lymphocytes, we generated transgenic mice that express IL-22R1 on lymphocytes. The health of these animals progressively deteriorated at 8 to 12 weeks of age, as they displayed respiratory distress, rough coat and sluggish movement, and subsequent lethality due to multiorgan inflammation. The IL-22R1 transgenic animals developed neutrophilia that correlated with increased levels of circulating IL-17 and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. In addition, these mice had increased serum IL-22 levels, suggesting that T cells expressing IL-22R1 generate IL-22 in a positive autoregulatory loop. As a result of the mouse model findings, we analyzed circulating cytokine levels in ALK(+)ALCL patients and detected elevated levels of IL-22, IL-17, and IL-8 in untreated patient samples. Importantly, IL-22 and IL-17 were undetectable in all patients who were in complete remission after chemotherapy. This study documents a previously unknown role of IL-22R1 in inflammation and identifies the involvement of IL-22R1/IL-22 in ALK(+)ALCL.
The process of regeneration is most readily studied in species of sponge, hydra, planarian and salamander (i.e., newt and axolotl). The closure of MRL mouse ear pinna through-and-through holes provides a mammalian model of unusual wound healing/regeneration in which a blastema-like structure closes the ear hole and cartilage and hair follicles are replaced. Recent studies, based on a broad level of DNA damage and a cell cycle pattern of G?/M "arrest," showed that p21(Cip1/Waf1) was missing from the MRL mouse ear and that a p21-null mouse could close its ear holes. Given the p53/p21 axis of control of DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and senescence, we tested the role of p53 in the ear hole regenerative response. Using backcross mice, we found that loss of p53 in MRL mice did not show reduced healing. Furthermore, cross sections of MRL. p53(-/-) mouse ears at 6 weeks post-injury showed an increased level of adipocytes and chondrocytes in the region of healing whereas MRL or p21(-/-) mice showed chondrogenesis alone in this same region, though at later time points. In addition, we also investigated other cell cycle-related mutant mice to determine how p21 was being regulated. We demonstrate that p16 and Gadd45 null mice show little healing capacity. Interestingly, a partial healing phenotype in mice with a dual Tgf?/Rag2 knockout mutation was seen. These data demonstrate an independence of p53 signaling for mouse appendage regeneration and suggest that the role of p21 in this process is possibly through the abrogation of the Tgf?/Smad pathway.
While most CD4(+) T cells are MHC class II-restricted, a small subset, including the CD1d-restricted invariant NKT (iNKT) cells, are selected on non-classical MHC-I or MHC-I-like molecules. We previously showed that the sequential activity of two zinc finger transcription factors, Gata3 and Thpok, promotes the differentiation of conventional, MHC II-restricted thymocytes into CD4(+) T cells. In the current study, we show that a Gata3-Thpok cascade is required for the differentiation of CD4(+) iNKT cells. Gata3 is required for iNKT cells to express Thpok, whereas Thpok is needed for proper NKT cell differentiation, and notably for NKT cells to maintain CD4 and terminate CD8 expression. These findings identify the sequential activity of Gata3 and Thpok as a hallmark of CD4(+) T-cell differentiation, regardless of MHC restriction.
Protein translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum is mediated by signal sequences that vary widely in primary structure. In vitro studies suggest that such signal sequence variations may correspond to subtly different functional properties. Whether comparable functional differences exist in vivo and are of sufficient magnitude to impact organism physiology is unknown. Here, we investigate this issue by analyzing in transgenic mice the impact of signal sequence efficiency for mammalian prion protein (PrP). We find that replacement of the average efficiency signal sequence of PrP with more efficient signals rescues mice from neurodegeneration caused by otherwise pathogenic PrP mutants in a downstream hydrophobic domain (HD). This effect is explained by the demonstration that efficient signal sequence function precludes generation of a cytosolically exposed, disease-causing transmembrane form of PrP mediated by the HD mutants. Thus, signal sequences are functionally nonequivalent in vivo, with intrinsic inefficiency of the native PrP signal being required for pathogenesis of a subset of disease-causing PrP mutations.
Immature CD4(+)CD8(+) (double-positive (DP)) thymocytes are signaled via T cell antigen receptors (TCRs) to undergo positive selection and become responsive to intrathymic cytokines such as interleukin 7 (IL-7). We report here that cytokine signaling is required for positively selected thymocytes to express the transcription factor Runx3, specify CD8 lineage choice and differentiate into cytotoxic-lineage T cells. In DP thymocytes genetically engineered to be cytokine responsive, IL-7 signaling induced TCR-unsignaled DP thymocytes to express Runx3 and to differentiate into mature CD8(+) T cells, completely circumventing positive selection. We conclude that TCR-mediated positive selection converts DP cells into cytokine-responsive thymocytes, but it is subsequent signaling by intrathymic cytokines that specifies CD8 lineage choice and promotes differentiation into cytotoxic-lineage T cells.
As chemotherapy and molecular therapy improve the systemic survival of breast cancer patients, the incidence of brain metastases increases. Few therapeutic strategies exist for the treatment of brain metastases because the blood-brain barrier severely limits drug access. We report the pharmacokinetic, efficacy, and mechanism of action studies for the histone deactylase inhibitor vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) in a preclinical model of brain metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer.
Interleukin (IL)-10 is an immunoregulatory cytokine that is produced by diverse cell populations. Studies in mice suggest that the cellular source of IL-10 is a key determinant in various disease pathologies, yet little is known regarding the control of tissue-specific human IL-10 expression. To assess cell type-specific human IL-10 regulation, we created a human IL-10 transgenic mouse with a bacterial artificial chromosome (hIL10BAC) in which the IL10 gene is positioned centrally. Since human IL-10 is biologically active in the mouse, we could examine the in vivo capacity of tissue-specific human IL-10 expression to recapitulate IL-10-dependent phenotypes by reconstituting Il10(-/-) mice (Il10(-/-)/hIL10BAC). In response to LPS, Il10(-/-)/hIL10BAC mice proficiently regulate IL-10-target genes and normalize sensitivity to LPS toxicity via faithful human IL-10 expression from macrophages and dendritic cells. However, in the Leishmania donovani model of pathogen persistence, Il10(-/-)/hIL10BAC mice did not develop the characteristic IL-10(+)IFN-gamma(+)CD4 T cell subset thought to mediate persistence and, like Il10(-/-) mice, cleared the parasites. Furthermore, the IL-10-promoting cytokine IL-27 failed to regulate transgenic human IL-10 production in CD4(+) T cells in vitro which together suggests that the hIL10BAC encodes for weak T cell-specific IL-10 expression. Thus, the hIL10BAC mouse is a model of human gene structure and function revealing tissue-specific regulatory requirements for IL-10 expression which impacts disease outcomes.
TNF, lymphotoxin (LT)-alpha, LT-beta and LIGHT are members of a larger superfamily of TNF-related cytokines that can cross-utilize several receptors. Although LIGHT has been implicated in thymic development and function, the role of TNF and LT remains incompletely defined. To address this, we created a model of modest homeostatic overexpression of TNF/LT cytokines using the genomic human TNF/LT locus as a low copy number Tg. Strikingly, expression of Tg TNF/LT gene products led to profound early thymic atrophy characterized by decreased numbers of thymocytes and cortical thymic epithelial cells, partial block of thymocyte proliferation at double negative (DN) 1 stage, increased apoptosis of DN2 thymocytes and severe decline of T-cell numbers in the periphery. Results of backcrossing to TNFR1-, LTbetaR- or TNF/LT-deficient backgrounds and of reciprocal bone marrow transfers implicated both LT-alpha/LT-beta to LTbetaR and TNF/LT-alpha to TNFR1 signaling in accelerated thymus degeneration. We hypothesize that chronic infections can promote thymic atrophy by upregulating LT and TNF production.
Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is required for lymphocyte development and homeostasis although the actual sites of IL-7 production have never been clearly identified. We produced a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mouse expressing ECFP in the Il7 locus. The construct lacked a signal peptide and ECFP (enhanced cyan fluorescent protein) accumulated inside IL-7-producing stromal cells in thoracic thymus, cervical thymus and bone marrow. In thymus, an extensive reticular network of IL-7-containing processes extended from cortical and medullary epithelial cells, closely contacting thymocytes. Central memory CD8 T cells, which require IL-7 and home to bone marrow, physically associated with IL-7-producing cells as we demonstrate by intravital imaging.
Many antigens recognized by tumor-reactive cytotoxic CD8+ T cells are self-antigens. Tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP-2) is a melanogenic enzyme expressed by both melanocytes and melanomas that is reported to be a candidate melanoma rejection antigen. To study the role of self-reactive CD8+ T cells in tumor immunity and autoimmunity, we generated mice that bear a T-cell receptor transgene (TCR Tg) specific for the TRP-2(180-188) epitope. TRP-2 TCR Tg mice did not spontaneously develop depigmentation despite systemic expression of TRP-2 in the skin. Peripheral T cells from these TCR Tg mice exhibited a naive phenotype and proliferated in response to TRP-2 in vitro. In addition, transfer of in vitro-activated Tg T cells reduced B16 pulmonary tumor burden, but not subcutaneous tumors. We next sought to determine the in vivo responses of the Tg T cells to endogenous and tumor-derived TRP-2. Adoptive transfer of naive TCR Tg T cells into wild-type C57BL/6 mice, in combination with a TRP-2-pulsed dendritic cell vaccine, induced proliferation of the Tg T cells and resulted in migration of the Tg T cells into a subcutaneous B16 melanoma tumor. Although these tumor-infiltrating Tg T cells remained reactive against TRP-2, they did not reduce growth of the primary subcutaneous tumor; similarly, these in vivo-primed effector cells had no significant effect on the growth of pulmonary nodules. These data demonstrate that despite in vivo priming, tumor-infiltrating T cells may fail to reduce tumor burden. Determining the basis for the inability of the tumor microenvironment to sustain effective antitumor responses will be critical for designing newer, more potent antitumor immunotherapies.
The lineage fate of developing thymocytes is determined by the persistence or cessation of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling during positive selection, with persistent TCR signaling required for CD4 lineage choice. We show here that transcriptional upregulation of CD4 expression is essential for error-free lineage choice during major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II)-specific positive selection and is critical for error-free lineage choice in TCR-transgenic mice whose thymocytes compete for the identical selecting ligand. CD4 upregulation occurred for endogenously encoded CD4 coreceptors, but CD4 transgenes were downregulated during positive selection, disrupting MHC II-specific TCR signaling and causing lineage errors regardless of the absolute number or signaling strength of transgenic CD4 proteins. Thus, the kinetics of CD4 coreceptor expression during MHC II-specific positive selection determines the integrity of CD4 lineage choice, revealing an elegant symmetry between coreceptor kinetics and lineage choice.
STAF [Sec (selenocysteine) tRNA gene transcription activating factor] is a transcription activating factor for a number of RNA Pol III- and RNA Pol II-dependent genes including the Trsp [Sec tRNA gene], which in turn controls the expression of all selenoproteins. Here, the role of STAF in regulating expression of Sec tRNA and selenoproteins was examined. We generated transgenic mice expressing the Trsp transgene lacking the STAF-binding site and made these mice dependent on the transgene for survival by removing the wild-type Trsp. The level of Sec tRNA was unaffected or slightly elevated in heart and testis, but reduced approximately 60% in liver and kidney, approximately 70% in lung and spleen and approximately 80% in brain and muscle compared with the corresponding organs in control mice. Moreover, the ratio of the two isoforms of Sec tRNA that differ by methylation at position 34 (Um34) was altered significantly, and the Um34-containing form was substantially reduced in all tissues examined. Selenoprotein expression in these animals was most affected in tissues in which the Sec tRNA levels were most severely reduced. Importantly, mice had a neurological phenotype strikingly similar to that of mice in which the selenoprotein P gene had been removed and their life span was substantially reduced. The results indicate that STAF influences selenoprotein expression by enhancing Trsp synthesis in an organ-specific manner and by controlling Sec tRNA modification in each tissue examined.
Cytopenias are key prognostic indicators of life-threatening infection, contributing to immunosuppression and mortality. Here we define a role for Caspase-1-dependent death, known as pyroptosis, in infection-induced cytopenias by studying inflammasome activation in hematopoietic progenitor cells. The NLRP1a inflammasome is expressed in hematopoietic progenitor cells and its activation triggers their pyroptotic death. Active NLRP1a induced a lethal systemic inflammatory disease that was driven by Caspase-1 and IL-1? but was independent of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) and ameliorated by IL-18. Surprisingly, in the absence of IL-1?-driven inflammation, active NLRP1a triggered pyroptosis of hematopoietic progenitor cells resulting in leukopenia at steady state. During periods of hematopoietic stress induced by chemotherapy or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection, active NLRP1a caused prolonged cytopenia, bone marrow hypoplasia, and immunosuppression. Conversely, NLRP1-deficient mice showed enhanced recovery from chemotherapy and LCMV infection, demonstrating that NLRP1 acts as a cellular sentinel to alert Caspase-1 to hematopoietic and infectious stress.
One obstacle in eliciting potent antitumor immune responses is the induction of tolerance to tumor antigens. TCR(lo) mice bearing a TCR transgene specific for the melanoma antigen tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2, Dct) harbor T cells that maintain tumor antigen responsiveness but lack the ability to control melanoma outgrowth. We used this model to determine whether higher avidity T cells could control tumor growth without becoming tolerized. As a part of the current study, we developed a second TRP-2-specific TCR transgenic mouse line (TCR(hi)) that bears higher avidity T cells and spontaneously developed autoimmune depigmentation. In contrast to TCR(lo) T cells, which were ignorant of tumor-derived antigen, TCR(hi) T cells initially delayed subcutaneous B16 melanoma tumor growth. However, persistence in the tumor microenvironment resulted in reduced IFN-? production and CD107a (Lamp1) mobilization, hallmarks of T-cell tolerization. IFN-? expression by TCR(hi) T cells was critical for upregulation of MHC-I on tumor cells and control of tumor growth. Blockade of PD-1 signals prevented T-cell tolerization and restored tumor immunity. Depletion of tumor-associated dendritic cells (TADC) reduced tolerization of TCR(hi) T cells and enhanced their antitumor activity. In addition, TADCs tolerized TCR(hi) T cells but not TCR(lo) T cells in vitro. Our findings show that T-cell avidity is a critical determinant of not only tumor control but also susceptibility to tolerization in the tumor microenvironment. For this reason, care should be exercised when considering T-cell avidity in designing cancer immunotherapeutics.
The thymus generates T cells with diverse specificities and functions. To assess the contribution of cytokine receptors to the differentiation of T cell subsets in the thymus, we constructed conditional knockout mice in which IL-7R? or common cytokine receptor ? chain (?(c)) genes were deleted in thymocytes just before positive selection. We found that ?(c) expression was required to signal the differentiation of MHC class I (MHC-I)-specific thymocytes into CD8(+) cytotoxic lineage T cells and into invariant natural killer T cells but did not signal the differentiation of MHC class II (MHC-II)-specific thymocytes into CD4(+) T cells, even into regulatory Foxp3(+)CD4(+) T cells which require ?(c) signals for survival. Importantly, IL-7 and IL-15 were identified as the cytokines responsible for CD8(+) cytotoxic T cell lineage specification in vivo. Additionally, we found that small numbers of aberrant CD8(+) T cells expressing Runx3d could arise without ?(c) signaling, but these cells were developmentally arrested before expressing cytotoxic lineage genes. Thus, ?(c)-transduced cytokine signals are required for cytotoxic lineage specification in the thymus and for inducing the differentiation of MHC-I-selected thymocytes into functionally mature T cells.
T-bet is a critical transcription factor for T helper 1 (Th1) cell differentiation. To study the regulation and functions of T-bet, we developed a T-bet-ZsGreen reporter mouse strain. We determined that interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interferon-? (IFN-?) were redundant in inducing T-bet in mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii and that T-bet did not contribute to its own expression when induced by IL-12 and IFN-?. By contrast, T-bet and the transcription factor Stat4 were critical for IFN-? production whereas IFN-? signaling was dispensable for inducing IFN-?. Loss of T-bet resulted in activation of an endogenous program driving Th2 cell differentiation in cells expressing T-bet-ZsGreen. Genome-wide analyses indicated that T-bet directly induced many Th1 cell-related genes but indirectly suppressed Th2 cell-related genes. Our study revealed redundancy and synergy among several Th1 cell-inducing pathways in regulating the expression of T-bet and IFN-?, and a critical role of T-bet in suppressing an endogenous Th2 cell-associated program.
Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) mutated (ATM) is a key deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage signaling kinase that regulates DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and apoptosis. The majority of patients with A-T, a cancer-prone neurodegenerative disease, present with null mutations in Atm. To determine whether the functions of ATM are mediated solely by its kinase activity, we generated two mouse models containing single, catalytically inactivating point mutations in Atm. In this paper, we show that, in contrast to Atm-null mice, both D2899A and Q2740P mutations cause early embryonic lethality in mice, without displaying dominant-negative interfering activity. Using conditional deletion, we find that the D2899A mutation in adult mice behaves largely similar to Atm-null cells but shows greater deficiency in homologous recombination (HR) as measured by hypersensitivity to poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibition and increased genomic instability. These results may explain why missense mutations with no detectable kinase activity are rarely found in patients with classical A-T. We propose that ATM kinase-inactive missense mutations, unless otherwise compensated for, interfere with HR during embryogenesis.
Interleukin-7 receptor ? (IL-7R?) is essential for T cell survival and differentiation. Glucocorticoids are potent enhancers of IL-7R? expression with diverse roles in T cell biology. Here we identify the transcriptional repressor, growth factor independent-1 (Gfi1), as a novel intermediary in glucocorticoid-induced IL-7R? up-regulation. We found Gfi1 to be a major inhibitory target of dexamethasone by microarray expression profiling of 3B4.15 T-hybridoma cells. Concordantly, retroviral transduction of Gfi1 significantly blunted IL-7R? up-regulation by dexamethasone. To further assess the role of Gfi1 in vivo, we generated bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice, in which a modified Il7r locus expresses GFP to report Il7r gene transcription. By introducing this BAC reporter transgene into either Gfi1-deficient or Gfi1-transgenic mice, we document in vivo that IL-7R? transcription is up-regulated in the absence of Gfi1 and down-regulated when Gfi1 is overexpressed. Strikingly, the in vivo regulatory role of Gfi1 was specific for CD8(+), and not CD4(+) T cells or immature thymocytes. These results identify Gfi1 as a specific transcriptional repressor of the Il7r gene in CD8 T lymphocytes in vivo.
Clonal deletion of autoreactive thymocytes is important for self-tolerance, but the intrathymic signals that induce clonal deletion have not been clearly identified. We now report that clonal deletion during negative selection required CD28-mediated costimulation of autoreactive thymocytes at the CD4(+)CD8(lo) intermediate stage of differentiation. Autoreactive thymocytes were prevented from undergoing clonal deletion by either a lack of CD28 costimulation or transgenic overexpression of the antiapoptotic factors Bcl-2 or Mcl-1, with surviving thymocytes differentiating into anergic CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative thymocytes positive for the T cell antigen receptor ?? subtype (TCR??) that preferentially migrated to the intestine, where they re-expressed CD8? and were sequestered as CD8??(+) intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). Our study identifies costimulation by CD28 as the intrathymic signal required for clonal deletion and identifies CD8??(+) IELs as the developmental fate of autoreactive thymocytes that survive negative selection.
CTLA-4 proteins contribute to the suppressor function of regulatory T cells (Tregs), but the mechanism by which they do so remains incompletely understood. In the present study, we assessed CTLA-4 protein function in both Tregs and conventional (Tconv) CD4(+) T cells. We report that CTLA-4 proteins are responsible for all 3 characteristic Treg functions of suppression, TCR hyposignaling, and anergy. However, Treg suppression and anergy only required the external domain of CTLA-4, whereas TCR hyposignaling required its internal domain. Surprisingly, TCR hyposignaling was neither required for Treg suppression nor anergy because costimulatory blockade by the external domain of CTLA-4 was sufficient for both functions. We also report that CTLA-4 proteins were localized in Tregs in submembrane vesicles that rapidly recycled to/from the cell surface, whereas CTLA-4 proteins in naive Tconv cells were retained in Golgi vesicles away from the cell membrane and had no effect on Tconv cell function. However, TCR signaling of Tconv cells released CTLA-4 proteins from Golgi retention and caused activated Tconv cells to acquire suppressor function. Therefore, the results of this study demonstrate the importance of intracellular localization for CTLA-4 protein function and reveal that CTLA-4 protein externalization imparts suppressor function to both regulatory and conventional CD4(+) T cells.
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