Pathogenic and nonpathogenic species of bacteria and fungi release membrane vesicles (MV), containing proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids, into the extracellular milieu. Previously, we demonstrated that several mycobacterial species, including bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, release MV containing lipids and proteins that subvert host immune response in a Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)-dependent manner (R. Prados-Rosales et al., J. Clin. Invest. 121:1471-1483, 2011, doi:10.1172/JCI44261). In this work, we analyzed the vaccine potential of MV in a mouse model and compared the effects of immunization with MV to those of standard BCG vaccination. Immunization with MV from BCG or M. tuberculosis elicited a mixed humoral and cellular response directed to both membrane and cell wall components, such as lipoproteins. However, only vaccination with M. tuberculosis MV was able to protect as well as live BCG immunization. M. tuberculosis MV boosted BCG vaccine efficacy. In summary, MV are highly immunogenic without adjuvants and elicit immune responses comparable to those achieved with BCG in protection against M. tuberculosis.
Many hematopoietic cell types express CD1d and are capable of presenting glycolipid antigens to invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells). However, the question of which cells are the principal presenters of glycolipid antigens in vivo remains controversial, and it has been suggested that this might vary depending on the structure of a particular glycolipid antigen. Here we have shown that a single type of cell, the CD8?(+) DEC-205(+) dendritic cell, was mainly responsible for capturing and presenting a variety of different glycolipid antigens, including multiple forms of ?-galactosylceramide that stimulate widely divergent cytokine responses. After glycolipid presentation, these dendritic cells rapidly altered their expression of various costimulatory and coinhibitory molecules in a manner that was dependent on the structure of the antigen. These findings show flexibility in the outcome of two-way communication between CD8?(+) dendritic cells and iNKT cells, providing a mechanism for biasing toward either proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory responses.
Recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guèrin (rBCG) has been explored as a vector for vaccines against HIV because of its ability to induce long lasting humoral and cell mediated immune responses. To maximize the potential for rBCG vaccines to induce effective immunity against HIV, various strategies are being employed to improve its ability to prime CD8+ T cells, which play an important role in the control of HIV infections. In this study we adopted a previously described approach of incorporating glycolipids that activate CD1d-restricted natural killer T (NKT) cells to enhance priming of CD8+ T cells by rBCG strains expressing an SIV Gag antigen (rBCG-SIV gag). We found that the incorporation of the synthetic NKT activating glycolipid ?-galactosylceramide (?-GC) into rBCG-SIV gag significantly enhanced CD8+ T cell responses against an immunodominant Gag epitope, compared to responses primed by unmodified rBCG-SIV gag. The abilities of structural analogues of ?-GC to enhance CD8+ T cell responses to rBCG were compared in both wild type and partially humanized mice that express human CD1d molecules in place of mouse CD1d. These studies identified an ?-GC analogue known as 7DW8-5, which has previously been used successfully as an adjuvant in non-human primates, as a promising compound for enhancing immunogenicity of antigens delivered by rBCG.vectors. Our findings support the incorporation of synthetic glycolipid activators of NKT cells as a novel approach to enhance the immunogenicity of rBCG-vectored antigens for induction of CD8+ T cell responses. The glycolipid adjuvant 7DW8-5 may be a promising candidate for advancing to non-human primate and human clinical studies for the development of HIV vaccines based on rBCG vectors.
The varied rates of protection induced by Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine against tuberculosis has been attributed to many factors such as genetic variability among BCG strains, rapid clearance of BCG in some populations, and different levels of previous exposure of vaccinated populations to environmental mycobacteria. However, the methods and conditions employed to prepare this vaccine for human usage by various manufacturers have not been investigated as potential factors contributing to the variation in vaccine efficacy. A review of the literature indicates discrepancies between the approach for growing BCG vaccine in the laboratory to assess immune responses and protective ability in animal models, and that employed for production of the vaccine for administration to humans. One of the major differences is in the growth medium used for routine propagation in the laboratory and the one used for bulk vaccine production by manufacturers. Here we compared the immunogenicity of the BCG vaccine grown in Middlebrook 7H9 medium, the most commonly used medium in laboratory studies, against that grown in Sauton medium, which is used for growing BCG by most manufacturers. Our results showed clear differences in the behavior of BCG grown in these different culture media. Compared to BCG grown in Middlebrook 7H9 medium, BCG grown in Sauton media was more persistent inside macrophages, more effective at inhibiting apoptosis of infected cells, induced stronger inflammatory responses and stimulated less effective immunity against aerosol challenge with a virulent Mtb strain. These findings suggested that the growth medium used for producing BCG vaccine is an important factor that deserves increased scrutiny in ongoing efforts to produce more consistently effective vaccines against Mtb.
We report the involvement of an evolutionarily conserved set of mycobacterial genes, the esx-3 region, in evasion of bacterial killing by innate immunity. Whereas high-dose intravenous infections of mice with the rapidly growing mycobacterial species Mycobacterium smegmatis bearing an intact esx-3 locus were rapidly lethal, infection with an M. smegmatis ?esx-3 mutant (here designated as the IKE strain) was controlled and cleared by a MyD88-dependent bactericidal immune response. Introduction of the orthologous Mycobacterium tuberculosis esx-3 genes into the IKE strain resulted in a strain, designated IKEPLUS, that remained susceptible to innate immune killing and was highly attenuated in mice but had a marked ability to stimulate bactericidal immunity against challenge with virulent M. tuberculosis. Analysis of these adaptive immune responses indicated that the highly protective bactericidal immunity elicited by IKEPLUS was dependent on CD4(+) memory T cells and involved a distinct shift in the pattern of cytokine responses by CD4(+) cells. Our results establish a role for the esx-3 locus in promoting mycobacterial virulence and also identify the IKE strain as a potentially powerful candidate vaccine vector for eliciting protective immunity to M. tuberculosis.
Structural variants of ?-galactosylceramide (?GC) that activate invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) are being developed as potential immunomodulatory agents for a variety of applications. Identification of specific forms of these glycolipids that bias responses to favor production of proinflammatory vs anti-inflammatory cytokines is central to current efforts, but this goal has been hampered by the lack of in vitro screening assays that reliably predict the in vivo biological activity of these compounds. Here we describe a fluorescence-based assay to identify functionally distinct ?GC analogues. Our assay is based on recent findings showing that presentation of glycolipid antigens by CD1d molecules localized to plasma membrane detergent-resistant microdomains (lipid rafts) is correlated with induction of interferon-? secretion and Th1-biased cytokine responses. Using an assay that measures lipid raft residency of CD1d molecules loaded with ?GC, we screened a library of ?200 synthetic ?GC analogues and identified 19 agonists with potential Th1-biasing activity. Analysis of a subset of these novel candidate Th1 type agonists in vivo in mice confirmed their ability to induce systemic cytokine responses consistent with a Th1 type bias. These results demonstrate the predictive value of this novel in vitro assay for assessing the in vivo functionality of glycolipid agonists and provide the basis for a relatively simple high-throughput assay for identification and functional classification of iNKT cell activating glycolipids.
CD1d-restricted natural killer T cells with invariant T cell receptor ? chains (iNKT cells) are a unique lymphocyte subset that responds to recognition of specific lipid and glycolipid antigens. They are conserved between mice and humans and exert various immunoregulatory functions through their rapid secretion of a variety of cytokines and secondary activation of dendritic cells, B cells and NK cells. In the current study, we analyzed the range of functional activation states of human iNKT cells using a library of novel analogs of ?-galactosylceramide (?GalCer), the prototypical iNKT cell antigen. Measurement of cytokines secreted by human iNKT cell clones over a wide range of glycolipid concentrations revealed that iNKT cell ligands could be classified into functional groups, correlating with weak versus strong agonistic activity. The findings established a hierarchy for induction of different cytokines, with thresholds for secretion being consistently lowest for IL-13, higher for interferon-? (IFN?), and even higher for IL-4. These findings suggested that human iNKT cells can be intrinsically polarized to selective production of IL-13 by maintaining a low level of activation using weak agonists, whereas selective polarization to IL-4 production cannot be achieved through modulating the strength of the activating ligand. In addition, using a newly designed in vitro system to assess the ability of human iNKT cells to transactivate NK cells, we found that robust secondary induction of interferon-? secretion by NK cells was associated with strong but not weak agonist ligands of iNKT cells. These results indicate that polarization of human iNKT cell responses to Th2-like or anti-inflammatory effects may best be achieved through selective induction of IL-13 and suggest potential discrepancies with findings from mouse models that may be important in designing iNKT cell-based therapies in humans.
KRN7000 is an important ligand identified for CD1d protein of APC, and KRN7000/CD1d complex can stimulate NKT cells to release a broad range of bioactive cytokines. In an effort to understand the structure-activity relationships, we have carried out syntheses of 26 new KRN7000 analogues incorporating aromatic residues in either or both side chains. Structural variations of the phytosphingosine moiety also include varying stereochemistry at C3 and C4, and 4-deoxy and 3,4-dideoxy versions. Their biological activities are described.
The attenuated strain of Mycobacterium bovis known as bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been widely used as a vaccine for prevention of disease by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but with relatively little evidence of success. Recent studies suggest that the failure of BCG may be due to its retention of immune evasion mechanisms that delay or prevent the priming of robust protective cell-mediated immunity. In this study, we describe an approach to enhance the immunogenicity of BCG by incorporating glycolipid activators of CD1d-restricted NKT cells, a conserved T cell subset with the potential to augment many types of immune responses. A method was developed for stably incorporating two forms of the NKT cell activator alpha-galactosylceramide into live BCG organisms, and the impact of this on stimulation of T cell responses and protective antimycobacterial immunity was evaluated. We found that live BCG containing relatively small amounts of incorporated alpha-galactosylceramide retained the ability to robustly activate NKT cells. Compared with immunization with unmodified BCG, the glycolipid-modified BCG stimulated increased maturation of dendritic cells and markedly augmented the priming of Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells responses. These effects were correlated with improved protective effects of vaccination in mice challenged with virulent M. tuberculosis. These results support the view that mycobacteria possess mechanisms to avoid stimulation of CD8(+) T cell responses and that such responses contribute significantly to protective immunity against these pathogens. Our findings raise the possibility of a simple modification of BCG that could yield a more effective vaccine for control of tuberculosis.
In spite of their relatively limited antigen receptor repertoire, CD1d-restricted NKT cells recognize a surprisingly diverse range of lipid and glycolipid antigens. Recent studies of natural and synthetic CD1d-presented antigens provide an increasingly detailed picture of how the specific structural features of these lipids and glycolipids influence their ability to be presented to NKT cells and stimulate their diverse immunologic functions. Particularly for synthetic analogues of alpha-galactosylceramides which have been the focus of intense recent investigation, it is becoming clear that the design of glycolipid antigens with the ability to precisely control the specific immunologic activities of NKT cells is likely to be feasible. The emerging details of the mechanisms underlying the structure-activity relationship of NKT cell antigens will assist greatly in the design and production of immunomodulatory agents for the precise manipulation of NKT cells and the many other components of the immune system that they influence.
CD1d-restricted natural killer T cells (NKT cells) possess a wide range of effector and regulatory activities that are related to their ability to secrete both T helper 1 (Th1) cell- and Th2 cell-type cytokines. We analyzed presentation of NKT cell activating alpha galactosylceramide (alphaGalCer) analogs that give predominantly Th2 cell-type cytokine responses to determine how ligand structure controls the outcome of NKT cell activation. Using a monoclonal antibody specific for alphaGalCer-CD1d complexes to visualize and quantitate glycolipid presentation, we found that Th2 cell-type cytokine-biasing ligands were characterized by rapid and direct loading of cell-surface CD1d proteins. Complexes formed by association of these Th2 cell-type cytokine-biasing alphaGalCer analogs with CD1d showed a distinctive exclusion from ganglioside-enriched, detergent-resistant plasma membrane microdomains of antigen-presenting cells. These findings help to explain how subtle alterations in glycolipid ligand structure can control the balance of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory activities of NKT cells.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.