The nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor pyrin domain-containing 3 (Nlrp3) inflammasome plays an important role in inflammation by controlling the maturation and secretion of the cytokines IL-1? and IL-18 in response to multiple stimuli including pore-forming toxins, particulate matter, and ATP. Although the pathways activated by the latter stimuli lead to a decrease in intracellular K(+) concentration, which is required for inflammasome activation, the mechanism by which microbial RNA activates Nlrp3, remains poorly understood. In this study, we found that cytosolic poly(I:C), but not total RNA from healthy macrophages, macrophages undergoing pyroptosis, or mitochondrial RNA, induces caspase-1 activation and IL-1? release through the Nlrp3 inflammasome. Experiments with macrophages deficient in Tlr3, Myd88, or Trif, indicate that poly(I:C) induces Nlrp3 activation independently of TLR signaling. Further analyses revealed that the cytosolic sensors Rig-I and melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 act redundantly via the common adaptor mitochondrial antiviral signaling (Mavs) to induce Nlrp3 activation in response to poly(I:C), but not ATP or nigericin. Mechanistically, Mavs triggered membrane permeabilization and K(+) efflux independently of the inflammasome which were required for poly(I:C)-induced Nlrp3 activation. We conclude that poly (I:C) activates the inflammasome through an Mavs-dependent surveillance pathway that converges into a common K(+) lowering step in the cytosol that is essential for the induction of Nlrp3 activation.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) have long been implicated in the pathogenesis of lupus. However, this conclusion has been largely based on a correlative link between the copious production of IFN-?/? by pDCs and the IFN-?/? "signature" often seen in human lupus patients. The specific contribution of pDCs to disease in vivo has not been investigated in detail. For this reason, we generated a strain of BXSB lupus-prone mice in which pDCs can be selectively depleted in vivo. Early, transient ablation of pDCs before disease initiation resulted in reduced splenomegaly and lymphadenopathy, impaired expansion and activation of T and B cells, reduced antibodies against nuclear autoantigens and improved kidney pathology. Amelioration of pathology coincided with decreased transcription of IFN-?/?-induced genes in tissues. PDC depletion had an immediate impact on the activation of immune cells, and importantly, the beneficial effects on pathology were sustained even though pDCs later recovered, indicating an early pDC contribution to disease. Together, our findings demonstrate a critical function for pDCs during the IFN-?/?-dependent initiation of autoimmune lupus and point to pDCs as an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of SLE.
Recent years have witnessed the discovery of an unprecedented complexity in innate lymphocyte lineages, now collectively referred to as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). ILCs are preferentially located at barrier surfaces and are important for protection against pathogens and for the maintenance of organ homeostasis. Inappropriate activation of ILCs has been linked to the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Recent evidence suggests that ILCs can be grouped into two separate lineages, cytotoxic ILCs represented by conventional natural killer (cNK) cells and cytokine-producing helper-like ILCs (i.e., ILC1s, ILC2s, ILC3s). We will focus here on current work in humans and mice that has identified core transcriptional circuitry required for the commitment of lymphoid progenitors to the ILC lineage. The striking similarities in transcriptional control of ILC and T cell lineages reveal important insights into the evolution of transcriptional programs required to protect multicellular organisms against infections and to fortify barrier surfaces.
Gastrointestinal motility causes movement of food during digestion through contractions of the gut smooth muscle. The enteric nervous system regulates these events, and Muller et al. now find that its interaction with the immune system, in concert with gut microbiota, provides an additional layer of regulation to this complex task.
Genetic variants in the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) have been linked to Nasu-Hakola disease, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and FTD-like syndrome without bone involvement. TREM2 is an innate immune receptor preferentially expressed by microglia and is involved in inflammation and phagocytosis. Whether and how TREM2 missense mutations affect TREM2 function is unclear. We report that missense mutations associated with FTD and FTD-like syndrome reduce TREM2 maturation, abolish shedding by ADAM proteases, and impair the phagocytic activity of TREM2-expressing cells. As a consequence of reduced shedding, TREM2 is virtually absent in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma of a patient with FTD-like syndrome. A decrease in soluble TREM2 was also observed in the CSF of patients with AD and FTD, further suggesting that reduced TREM2 function may contribute to increased risk for two neurodegenerative disorders.
Dysregulated signals from the external environment and/or the internal milieu of the skin can lead to pathological conditions such as psoriasis. Di Meglio et al. (2014) show that the environment-responsive transcription factor AhR acts in keratinocytes to suppress psoriatic lesions.
Although the transcription factor c-Myc is essential for the establishment of a metabolically active and proliferative state in T cells after priming, its expression is transient. It remains unknown how T cell activation is maintained after c-Myc expression is downregulated. Here we identified AP4 as the transcription factor that was induced by c-Myc and sustained activation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Despite normal priming, AP4-deficient CD8+ T cells failed to continue transcription of a broad range of c-Myc-dependent targets. Mice lacking AP4 specifically in CD8+ T cells showed enhanced susceptibility to infection with West Nile virus. Genome-wide analysis suggested that many activation-induced genes encoding molecules involved in metabolism were shared targets of c-Myc and AP4. Thus, AP4 maintains c-Myc-initiated cellular activation programs in CD8+ T cells to control microbial infection.
The role of the TNF family member CD70 in adaptive T cell responses has been intensively studied, but its function in innate responses is still under investigation. In this study, we show that CD70 inhibits the early innate response to murine CMV (MCMV) but is essential for the optimal generation of virus-specific CD8 T cells. CD70(-/-) mice reacted to MCMV infection with a robust type I IFN and proinflammatory cytokine response. This response was sufficient for initial control of MCMV, although at later time points, CD70(-/-) mice became more susceptible to MCMV infection. The heightened cytokine response during the early phase of MCMV infection in CD70(-/-) mice was paralleled by a reduction in regulatory T cells (Treg). Treg from naive CD70(-/-) mice were not as efficient at suppressing T cell proliferation compared with Treg from naive wild-type mice, and depletion of Treg during MCMV infection in Foxp3-diphtheria toxin receptor mice or in wild-type mice recapitulated the phenotype observed in CD70(-/-) mice. Our study demonstrates that although CD70 is required for the activation of the antiviral adaptive response, it has a regulatory role in early cytokine responses to viruses such as MCMV, possibly through maintenance of Treg survival and function.
Phagocytosis and inflammation within the lungs is crucial for host defense during bacterial pneumonia. Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-2 was proposed to negatively regulate TLR-mediated responses and enhance phagocytosis by macrophages, but the role of TREM-2 in respiratory tract infections is unknown. Here, we established the presence of TREM-2 on alveolar macrophages (AM) and explored the function of TREM-2 in the innate immune response to pneumococcal infection in vivo. Unexpectedly, we found Trem-2-/- AM to display augmented bacterial phagocytosis in vitro and in vivo compared to WT AM. Mechanistically, we detected that in the absence of TREM-2, pulmonary macrophages selectively produced elevated complement component 1q (C1q) levels. We found that these increased C1q levels depended on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR-?) activity and were responsible for the enhanced phagocytosis of bacteria. Upon infection with S. pneumoniae, Trem-2-/- mice exhibited an augmented bacterial clearance from lungs, decreased bacteremia and improved survival compared to their WT counterparts. This work is the first to disclose a role for TREM-2 in clinically relevant respiratory tract infections and demonstrates a previously unknown link between TREM-2 and opsonin production within the lungs.
Nfil3 is viewed as an obligate transcription factor for NK cell development. However, mouse CMV (MCMV) infection recently was shown to bypass the requirement for Nfil3 by inducing the appearance of NK cells that express the MCMV-specific receptor Ly49H. Thus, signals transmitted by Ly49H and proinflammatory cytokines are sufficient to promote NK cell differentiation in the absence of Nfil3. In this study, we report that salivary gland (SG) NK cells develop in an Nfil3-independent fashion in the steady-state in the absence of MCMV or any infection. Moreover, we show that SG NK cells have an integrin profile reminiscent of tissue-resident lymphocytes and express TRAIL for killing target cells. These results demonstrate that SG NK cells, although related to conventional NK cells, are a distinct subset of innate lymphoid cells that deviates from the conventional developmental pathway, perhaps under the influence of tissue-specific factors.
Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 1 (TREM-1) is a superimmunoglobulin receptor expressed on myeloid cells that plays an important role in the amplification of inflammation. Recent studies suggest a role for TREM-1 in tumor-associated macrophages with relationship to tumor growth and progression. Whether the effects of TREM-1 on inflammation and tumor growth are mediated by an alteration in cell survival signaling is not known. In these studies, we show that TREM-1 knock-out macrophages exhibit an increase in apoptosis of cells in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) suggesting a role for TREM-1 in macrophage survival. Specific ligation of TREM-1 with monoclonal TREM-1 (mTREM-1) or overexpression of TREM-1 with adeno-TREM-1 induced B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) with depletion of the key executioner caspase-3 prevents the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. TREM-1 knock-out cells showed lack of induction of Bcl2 with an increase in caspase-3 activation in response to lipopolysaccharide. In addition overexpression of TREM-1 with adeno-TREM-1 led to an increase in mitofusins (MFN1 and MFN2) and knockdown of TREM-1 decreased the expression of mitofusins suggesting that TREM-1 contributes to the maintenance of mitochondrial integrity favoring cell survival. Investigations into potential mechanisms by which TREM-1 alters cell survival showed that TREM-1-induced Bcl-2 in an Egr2-dependent manner. Furthermore, our data shows that expression of Egr2 in response to specific ligation of TREM-1 is ERK mediated. These data for the first time provide novel mechanistic insights into the role of TREM-1 as an anti-apoptotic protein that prolongs macrophage survival.
Retention of lymphocytes in the intestinal mucosa requires specialized chemokine receptors and adhesion molecules. We find that both CD4(+)CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells in the intestinal epithelium, as well as CD8(+) T cells in the intestinal mucosa and mesenteric lymph nodes, express the cell adhesion molecule class I-restricted T cell-associated molecule (Crtam) upon activation, whereas the ligand of Crtam, cell adhesion molecule 1 (Cadm1), is expressed on gut CD103(+)DCs. Lack of Crtam-Cadm1 interactions in Crtam(-/-) and Cadm1(-/-) mice results in loss of CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells, which arise from mucosal CD4(+) T cells that acquire a CD8 lineage expression profile. After acute oral infection with Toxoplasma gondii, both WT and Crtam(-/-) mice mounted a robust TH1 response, but markedly fewer TH17 cells were present in the intestinal mucosa of Crtam(-/-) mice. The almost exclusive TH1 response in Crtam(-/-) mice resulted in more efficient control of intestinal T. gondii infection. Thus, Crtam-Cadm1 interactions have a major impact on the residency and maintenance of CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells in the gut mucosa in the steady state. During pathogenic infection, Crtam-Cadm1 interactions regulate the dynamic equilibrium between newly formed CD4(+) T cells and their retention in the gut, thereby shaping representation of disparate CD4(+) T cell subsets and the overall quality of the CD4(+) T cell response.
Streptococcus (S.) pneumoniae is a common Gram-positive pathogen in community-acquired pneumonia and sepsis. Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 (TREM-1) is a receptor on phagocytes known to amplify inflammatory responses. Previous studies showed that TREM-1 inhibition protects against lethality during experimental Gram-negative sepsis. We here aimed to investigate the role of TREM-1 in an experimental model of pneumococcal pneumonia, using TREM-1/3-deficient (Trem-1/3(-/-) ) and wild-type (Wt) mice. Additionally ex vivo responsiveness of Trem-1/3(-/-) neutrophils and macrophages was examined. S. pneumoniae infection resulted in a rapid recruitment of TREM-1-positive neutrophils into the bronchoalveolar space, while high constitutive TREM-1 expression on alveolar macrophages remained unchanged. TREM-1/3 deficiency led to increased lethality, accompanied by enhanced growth of S. pneumoniae at the primary site of infection and increased dissemination to distant organs. Within the first 3-6?h of infection, Trem-1/3(-/-) mice demonstrated a strongly impaired innate immune response in the airways, as reflected by reduced local release of cytokines and chemokines and a delayed influx of neutrophils. Trem-1/3(-/-) alveolar macrophages produced fewer cytokines upon exposure to S. pneumoniae in vitro and were less capable of phagocytosing this pathogen. TREM-1/3 deficiency did not influence neutrophil responsiveness to S. pneumoniae. These results identify TREM-1 as a key player in protective innate immunity during pneumococcal pneumonia, most likely by enhancing the early immune response of alveolar macrophages.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produce IFN-I in response to viruses and are routinely identified in mice by SiglecH expression. SiglecH is a sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectin that has an immunomodulatory role during viral infections. In this study, we evaluated the impact of SiglecH deficiency on cytokine responses in the presence and absence of pDC. We found that lack of SiglecH enhanced IFN-I responses to viral infection, regardless of whether pDC were depleted. We also examined the expression pattern of SiglecH and observed that it was expressed by specialized macrophages and progenitors of classical dendritic cells and pDC. Accordingly, marginal zone macrophages and pDC precursors were eliminated in newly generated SiglecH-diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR)-transgenic (Tg) mice but not in CLEC4C-DTR-Tg mice after diphtheria toxin (DT) treatment. Using two bacterial models, we found that SiglecH-DTR-Tg mice injected with DT had altered bacterial uptake and were more susceptible to lethal Listeria monocytogenes infection than were DT-treated CLEC4C-DTR-Tg mice. Taken together, our findings suggest that lack of SiglecH may affect cytokine responses by cell types other than pDC during viral infections, perhaps by altering viral distribution or burden, and that cell depletion in SiglecH-DTR-Tg mice encompasses more than pDC.
Recent genome-wide association studies linked variants in TREM2 to a strong increase in the odds of developing Alzheimer's disease. The mechanism by which TREM2 influences the susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease is currently unknown. TREM2 is expressed by microglia and is thought to regulate phagocytic and inflammatory microglial responses to brain pathology. Given that a single allele of variant TREM2, likely resulting in a loss of function, conferred an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, we tested whether loss of one functional trem2 allele would affect A? plaque deposition or the microglial response to A? pathology in APPPS1-21 mice.
IL-34 is a recently discovered cytokine that acts on tissue resident macrophages and Langerhans cells upon binding the receptor for CSF-1, CSF-1R. The existence of two ligands for CSF-1R, IL-34, and CSF-1, raises several intriguing questions. Are IL-34 and CSF-1 redundant or does each perform temporally and spatially distinct functions? Is IL-34 involved in human pathology? Would therapeutic strategies based on selective inhibition or administration of either IL-34 or CSF-1 be advantageous for preventing human pathology? Recent in vivo studies indicate that IL-34 promotes the development, survival, and function of microglia and Langerhans cells; therefore, this cytokine may predominately function in brain and skin biology. Here, we review the evidence for IL-34 as a key cytokine in the development and function of these two diverse cell types and discuss its potential role in pathological conditions.
CD96, CD226 (DNAM-1) and TIGIT belong to an emerging family of receptors that interact with nectin and nectin-like proteins. CD226 activates natural killer (NK) cell-mediated cytotoxicity, whereas TIGIT reportedly counterbalances CD226. In contrast, the role of CD96, which shares the ligand CD155 with CD226 and TIGIT, has remained unclear. In this study we found that CD96 competed with CD226 for CD155 binding and limited NK cell function by direct inhibition. As a result, Cd96(-/-) mice displayed hyperinflammatory responses to the bacterial product lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and resistance to carcinogenesis and experimental lung metastases. Our data provide the first description, to our knowledge, of the ability of CD96 to negatively control cytokine responses by NK cells. Blocking CD96 may have applications in pathologies in which NK cells are important.
The transcription factors c-Myc and N-Myc--encoded by Myc and Mycn, respectively--regulate cellular growth and are required for embryonic development. A third paralogue, Mycl1, is dispensable for normal embryonic development but its biological function has remained unclear. To examine the in vivo function of Mycl1 in mice, we generated an inactivating Mycl1(gfp) allele that also reports Mycl1 expression. We find that Mycl1 is selectively expressed in dendritic cells (DCs) of the immune system and controlled by IRF8, and that during DC development, Mycl1 expression is initiated in the common DC progenitor concurrent with reduction in c-Myc expression. Mature DCs lack expression of c-Myc and N-Myc but maintain L-Myc expression even in the presence of inflammatory signals such as granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. All DC subsets develop in Mycl1-deficient mice, but some subsets such as migratory CD103(+) conventional DCs in the lung and liver are greatly reduced at steady state. Importantly, loss of L-Myc by DCs causes a significant decrease in in vivo T-cell priming during infection by Listeria monocytogenes and vesicular stomatitis virus. The replacement of c-Myc by L-Myc in immature DCs may provide for Myc transcriptional activity in the setting of inflammation that is required for optimal T-cell priming.
Cardiac macrophages are crucial for tissue repair after cardiac injury but are not well characterized. Here we identify four populations of cardiac macrophages. At steady state, resident macrophages were primarily maintained through local proliferation. However, after macrophage depletion or during cardiac inflammation, Ly6c(hi) monocytes contributed to all four macrophage populations, whereas resident macrophages also expanded numerically through proliferation. Genetic fate mapping revealed that yolk-sac and fetal monocyte progenitors gave rise to the majority of cardiac macrophages, and the heart was among a minority of organs in which substantial numbers of yolk-sac macrophages persisted in adulthood. CCR2 expression and dependence distinguished cardiac macrophages of adult monocyte versus embryonic origin. Transcriptional and functional data revealed that monocyte-derived macrophages coordinate cardiac inflammation, while playing redundant but lesser roles in antigen sampling and efferocytosis. These data highlight the presence of multiple cardiac macrophage subsets, with different functions, origins, and strategies to regulate compartment size.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produce type I interferons (IFN-I) and proinflammatory cytokines in response to viruses; however, their contribution to antiviral immunity in vivo is unclear. In this study, we investigated the impact of pDC depletion on local and systemic antiviral responses to herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections using CLEC4C-DTR transgenic mice. We found that pDC do not appear to influence viral burden or survival after vaginal HSV-2 infection, nor do they seem to contribute to virus-specific CD8 T cell responses following subcutaneous HSV-1 infection. In contrast, pDC were important for early IFN-I production, proinflammatory cytokine production, NK cell activation and CD8 T cell responses during systemic HSV-2 and HSV-1 infections. Our data also indicate that unlike pDC, TLR3-expressing cells are important for promoting antiviral responses to HSV-1 regardless of the route of virus administration.
Defense against attaching-and-effacing bacteria requires the sequential generation of interleukin 23 (IL-23) and IL-22 to induce protective mucosal responses. Although CD4(+) and NKp46(+) innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are the critical source of IL-22 during infection, the precise source of IL-23 is unclear. We used genetic techniques to deplete mice of specific subsets of classical dendritic cells (cDCs) and analyzed immunity to the attaching-and-effacing pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. We found that the signaling receptor Notch2 controlled the terminal stage of cDC differentiation. Notch2-dependent intestinal CD11b(+) cDCs were an obligate source of IL-23 required for survival after infection with C. rodentium, but CD103(+) cDCs dependent on the transcription factor Batf3 were not. Our results demonstrate a nonredundant function for CD11b(+) cDCs in the response to pathogens in vivo.
Innate sensing mechanisms trigger a variety of humoral and cellular events that are essential to adaptive immune responses. Here we describe an innate sensing pathway triggered by Plasmodium infection that regulates dendritic cell homeostasis and adaptive immunity through Flt3 ligand (Flt3l) release. Plasmodium-induced Flt3l release in mice requires Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation and type I interferon (IFN) production. We found that type I IFN supports the upregulation of xanthine dehydrogenase, which metabolizes the xanthine accumulating in infected erythrocytes to uric acid. Uric acid crystals trigger mast cells to release soluble Flt3l from a pre-synthesized membrane-associated precursor. During infection, Flt3l preferentially stimulates expansion of the CD8-?(+) dendritic cell subset or its BDCA3(+) human dendritic cell equivalent and has a substantial impact on the magnitude of T cell activation, mostly in the CD8(+) compartment. Our findings highlight a new mechanism that regulates dendritic cell homeostasis and T cell responses to infection.
An increased number of macrophages in adipose tissue is associated with insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction in obese people. However, little is known about other immune cells in adipose tissue from obese people, and whether they contribute to insulin resistance. We investigated the characteristics of T cells in adipose tissue from metabolically abnormal insulin-resistant obese (MAO) subjects, metabolically normal insulin-sensitive obese (MNO) subjects, and lean subjects. Insulin sensitivity was determined by using the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp procedure.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play an important role in innate and adaptive immunity and were shown to be identical to previously described natural interferon (IFN)-?-producing cells. Here, we describe two functionally distinct pDC subpopulations that are characterized by the differential expression of stem cell antigen-1 (Sca-1; Ly-6A/E). Sca-1(-) pDCs are mainly found in the BM, appear first during development, show a higher proliferative activity, and represent the more precursor phenotype. Sca-1(+) pDCs are mostly located in secondary lymphoid organs and represent a later developmental stage. Sca-1(-) pDCs give rise to an Sca-1(+) subset upon activation or in response to endogenous type I IFN. Interestingly, in contrast to Sca-1(-) pDCs, Sca-1(+) pDCs are defective in IFN-? production upon endosomal TLR9 stimulation, whereas lysosomal signaling via TLR9 is functional in both subsets. Gene expression analysis revealed that osteopontin is strongly upregulated in Sca-1(-) pDCs. These data provide evidence for the molecular basis of the observed functional heterogeneity, as the intracellular isoform of osteopontin couples TLR9 signaling to IFN-? expression. Taken together, our results indicate that Sca-1(-) pDCs are an early developmental stage of pDCs with distinct innate functions representing the true murine natural IFN-?-producing cells.
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an emerging RNA virus with devastating economic and social consequences. Clinically, RVFV induces a gamut of symptoms ranging from febrile illness to retinitis, hepatic necrosis, hemorrhagic fever, and death. It is known that type I interferon (IFN) responses can be protective against severe pathology; however, it is unknown which innate immune receptor pathways are crucial for mounting this response. Using both in vitro assays and in vivo mucosal mouse challenge, we demonstrate here that RNA helicases are critical for IFN production by immune cells and that signaling through the helicase adaptor molecule MAVS (mitochondrial antiviral signaling) is protective against mortality and more subtle pathology during RVFV infection. In addition, we demonstrate that Toll-like-receptor-mediated signaling is not involved in IFN production, further emphasizing the importance of the RNA cellular helicases in type I IFN responses to RVFV.
Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a family of developmentally related cells that are involved in immunity and in tissue development and remodelling. Recent research has identified several distinct members of this family. Confusingly, many different names have been used to characterize these newly identified ILC subsets. Here, we propose that ILCs should be categorized into three groups based on the cytokines that they can produce and the transcription factors that regulate their development and function.
Mucosal innate lymphoid cell (ILC) subsets promote immune responses to pathogens by producing distinct signature cytokines in response to changes in the cytokine microenvironment. We previously identified human ILC3 distinguished by interleukin-22 (IL-22) secretion. Here we characterized a human ILC1 subset that produced interferon-? (IFN-?) in response to IL-12 and IL-15 and had a unique integrin profile, intraepithelial location, hallmarks of TGF-? imprinting, and a memory-activated phenotype. Because tissue-resident memory CD8(+) T cells share this profile, intraepithelial ILC1 may be their innate counterparts. In mice, intraepithelial ILC1 were distinguished by CD160 expression and required Nfil3- and Tbx21-encoded transcription factors for development, but not IL-15 receptor-?, indicating that intraepithelial ILC1 are distinct from conventional NK cells. Intraepithelial ILC1 were amplified in Crohns disease patients and contributed to pathology in the anti-CD40-induced colitis model in mice. Thus, intraepithelial ILC1 may initiate IFN-? responses against pathogens but contribute to pathology when dysregulated.
Tubulo-interstitial damage is a common finding in the chronically diseased kidney and is characterized by ongoing inflammation and fibrosis leading to renal dysfunction and end-stage renal disease. Upon kidney injury, endogenous ligands can be released which are recognized by innate immune sensors to alarm innate immune system. A new family of innate sensors is the family of TREM (triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cell). TREM1 is an activating receptor and requires association with transmembrane adapter molecule DAP12 (DNAX-associated protein 12) for cell signaling. TREM1-DAP12 pathway has a cross-talk with intracellular signaling pathways of several Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and is able to amplify TLR signaling and thereby contributes to the magnitude of inflammation. So far, several studies have shown that TLRs play a role in obstructive nephropathy but the contribution of TREM1-DAP12 herein is unknown. Therefore, we studied TREM1 expression in human and murine progressive renal diseases and further investigated the role for TREM1-DAP12 by subjecting wild-type (WT), TREM1/3 double KO and DAP12 KO mice to murine unilateral ureter obstruction (UUO) model. In patients with hydronephrosis, TREM1 positive cells were observed in renal tissue. We showed that in kidneys from WT mice, DAP12 mRNA and TREM1 mRNA and protein levels were elevated upon UUO. Compared to WT mice, DAP12 KO mice displayed less renal MCP-1, KC and TGF-?1 levels and less influx of macrophages during progression of UUO, whereas TREM1/3 double KO mice displayed less renal MCP-1 level. Renal fibrosis was comparable in WT, TREM1/3 double KO and DAP12 KO mice. We conclude that DAP12, partly through TREM1/3, is involved in renal inflammation during progression of UUO.
Cross-linking of the collagen binding receptor leukocyte-associated Ig-like receptor-1 (LAIR-1) in vitro delivers an inhibitory signal that is able to downregulate activation-mediated signals. To study the in vivo function of LAIR-1, we generated LAIR-1(-/-) mice. They are healthy and fertile and have normal longevity; however, they show certain phenotypic characteristics distinct from wild-type mice, including increased numbers of splenic B, regulatory T, and dendritic cells. As LAIR-1(-/-) mice age, the splenic T cell population shows a higher frequency of activated and memory T cells. Because LAIR-1(+/+) and LAIR-1(-/-) T cells traffic with equal proficiency to peripheral lymphoid organs, this is not likely due to abnormal T lymphocyte trafficking. LAIR-1(-/-) mice have lower serum levels of IgG1 and, in response to T-dependent immunization with trinitrophenyl-OVA, switch less efficiently to Ag specific IgG2a and IgG2b, whereas switching to IgG1 is not affected. Several mouse disease models, including experimental autoimmune encephalitis and colitis, were used to examine the effect of LAIR-1 deficiency, and no differences in the responses of LAIR-1(-/-) and LAIR-1(+/+) mice were observed. Taken together, these observations indicate that LAIR-1 plays a role in regulating immune cells and suggest that any adverse effects of its absence may be balanced in vivo by other inhibitory receptors.
Infection of dendritic and glial cells with Theilers murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) induces various cytokines via Toll-like receptor- and melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA5)-dependent pathways. However, the involvement and role of MDA5 in cytokine gene activation and the pathogenesis of TMEV-induced demyelinating disease are largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that MDA5 plays a critical role in the production of TMEV-induced alpha interferon (IFN-?) during early viral infection and in protection against the development of virus-induced demyelinating disease. Our results indicate that MDA5-deficient 129SvJ mice display significantly higher viral loads and apparent demyelinating lesions in the central nerve system (CNS) accompanied by clinical symptoms compared with wild-type 129SvJ mice. During acute viral infection, MDA5-deficient mice produced elevated levels of chemokines, consistent with increased cellular infiltration, but reduced levels of IFN-?, known to control T cell responses and cellular infiltration. Additional studies with isolated CNS glial cells from these mice suggest that cells from MDA5-deficient mice are severely compromised in the production of IFN-? upon viral infection, which results in increased cellular infiltration and viral loads in the CNS. Despite inadequate stimulation, the overall T cell responses to the viral determinants were significantly elevated in MDA5-deficient mice, reflecting the increased cellular infiltration. Therefore, the lack of MDA5-mediated IFN-? production may facilitate a massive viral load and elevated cellular infiltration in the CNS during early viral infection, leading to the pathogenesis of demyelinating disease.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) specialize in the secretion of type I interferons (IFN-I) and thus are considered critical mediators of antiviral responses. We recently reported that pDCs have a very early but limited and transient capacity to curtail viral infections. Additionally, pDC numbers are not sustained in human infections caused by Hepatitis B or C viruses (HBV and HCV) and HIV. Thus, the numbers and/or function of pDCs appear to be regulated during the course of viral infection. In this study, we show that splenic pDCs are reduced in vivo during several systemic viral infections and after administration of synthetic toll-like receptor ligands. We demonstrate that IFN-I, regardless of the source, contributes to this decline and mediates pDC death via the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. These findings demonstrate a feedback control mechanism by which IFN-I modulates pDC numbers, thus fine-tuning systemic IFN-I response to viruses. IFN-I-mediated control of pDCs may explain the loss of pDCs during human infections caused by HBV, HCV, or HIV and has important therapeutic implications for settings in which IFN-I is used to treat infections and autoimmune diseases.
Type I interferons (IFN-I) were first described over 50 years ago as factors produced by cells that interfere with virus replication and promote an antiviral state. Innate and adaptive immune responses to viruses are also greatly influenced by IFN-I. In this article we discuss the diversity of cellular sources of IFN-I and the pathways leading to IFN-I production during viral infections. Finally, we discuss the effects of IFN-I on cells of the immune system with emphasis on dendritic cells.
The innate immune system detects viruses through molecular sensors that trigger the production of type I interferons (IFN-I) and inflammatory cytokines. As viruses vary tremendously in size, structure, genomic composition, and tissue tropism, multiple sensors are required to detect their presence in various cell types and tissues. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of the diversity, specificity, and signaling pathways downstream of viral sensors and ask whether two distinct sensors that recognize the same viral component are complementary, compensatory, or simply redundant. We also discuss why viral sensors are differentially distributed in distinct cell types and whether a particular cell type dominates the IFN-I response during viral infection. Finally, we review evidence suggesting that inappropriate signaling through viral sensors may induce autoimmunity. The picture emerging from these studies is that disparate viral sensors in different cell types form a dynamic and integrated molecular network that can be exploited for improving vaccination and therapeutic strategies for infectious and autoimmune diseases.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells are specialized in the production of type I interferon (type I IFN), which promotes antiviral and antitumor responses, as well as autoimmune disorders. Activation of type I IFN secretion depends on the pattern recognition receptors TLR7 and TLR9, which sense microbial RNA and DNA, respectively. Type I IFN production is modulated by several receptors, including the type II C-type lectin domain family 4, member C (CLEC4C). The natural ligand of CLEC4C is unknown. To identify it, here we probed a glycan array with a soluble form of the CLEC4C ectodomain. We found that CLEC4C recognizes complex type sugars with terminal galactose. Importantly, soluble CLEC4C bound peripheral blood leukocytes and tumor cells that express glycans with galactose residues at the non-reducing ends. The positive and negative modulation of galactose residues on cell membranes was paralleled by the regulation of type I IFN secretion by plasmacytoid dendritic cells in co-culture experiments in vitro. These results suggest that the modulation in the expression of non-sialylated oligosaccharides by invading pathogens or transformed cells may affect type I IFN response and immune surveillance.
Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) of the ILC22 type protect the intestinal mucosa from infection by secreting interleukin 22 (IL-22). ILC22 cells include NKp46(+) and lymphoid tissue-inducer (LTi)-like subsets that express the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Here we found that Ahr(-/-) mice had a considerable deficit in ILC22 cells that resulted in less secretion of IL-22 and inadequate protection against intestinal bacterial infection. Ahr(-/-) mice also lacked postnatally imprinted cryptopatches and isolated lymphoid follicles (ILFs), but not embryonically imprinted Peyers patches. AHR induced the transcription factor Notch, which was required for NKp46(+) ILCs, whereas LTi-like ILCs, cryptopatches and ILFs were partially dependent on Notch signaling. Thus, AHR was essential for ILC22 cells and postnatal intestinal lymphoid tissues. Moreover, ILC22 subsets were heterogeneous in their requirement for Notch and their effect on the generation of intestinal lymphoid tissues.
IFN-I are pleiotropic cytokines that impact innate and adaptive immune responses. In this article, we discuss TLR7/9 versus TLR3/MDA5 signaling in antiviral responses and diabetes. pDCs are thought to have a critical role in antiviral defense because of their ability to rapidly secrete large amounts of IFN-I through TLR7/9 signaling. A recent study demonstrates that although pDCs are a source of IFN-I in vivo, their overall contribution to viral containment is limited and time-dependent, such that additional cellular sources of IFN-I are required to fully control viral infections. dsRNA sensors, such as TLR3 and MDA5, provide another important trigger for antiviral IFN-I responses, which can be exploited to enhance immune responses to vaccines. In the absence of infection, IFN-I production by pDCs or from signaling through dsRNA sensors has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes. However, recent data demonstrate that IFN-I production via TLR3 and MDA5 is critical to counter diabetes caused by a virus with preferential tropism for pancreatic ?-cells. This highlights the complexity of the host antiviral response and how multiple cellular and molecular components balance protective versus pathological responses.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) were first described as interferon-producing cells and, for many years, their overlapping characteristics with both lymphocytes and classical dendritic cells (cDCs) created confusion over their exact ontogeny. In this Viewpoint article, Nature Reviews Immunology asks five leaders in the field to discuss their thoughts on the development and functions of pDCs--do these cells serve mainly as a major source of type I interferons or do they also make other important contributions to immune responses?
Osteoclasts are terminally differentiated leukocytes that erode the mineralized bone matrix. Osteoclastogenesis requires costimulatory receptor signaling through adaptors containing immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs), such as Fc receptor common ? (FcR?) and DNAX-activating protein of 12 kDa. Identification of these ITAM-containing receptors and their ligands remains a high research priority, since the stimuli for osteoclastogenesis are only partly defined. Osteoclast-associated receptor (OSCAR) was proposed to be a potent FcR?-associated costimulatory receptor expressed by preosteoclasts in vitro, but OSCAR lacks a cognate ligand and its role in vivo has been unclear. Using samples from mice and patients deficient in various ITAM signaling pathways, we show here that OSCAR costimulates one of the major FcR?-associated pathways required for osteoclastogenesis in vivo. Furthermore, we found that OSCAR binds to specific motifs within fibrillar collagens in the ECM that become revealed on nonquiescent bone surfaces in which osteoclasts undergo maturation and terminal differentiation in vivo. OSCAR promoted osteoclastogenesis in vivo, and OSCAR binding to its collagen motif led to signaling that increased numbers of osteoclasts in culture. Thus, our results suggest that ITAM-containing receptors can respond to exposed ligands in collagen, leading to the functional differentiation of leukocytes, which provides what we believe to be a new concept for ITAM regulation of cytokine receptors in different tissue microenvironments.
Natural killer (NK) cells are a group of innate immune cells that carry out continuous surveillance for the presence of virally infected or cancerous cells. The natural cytotoxicity receptor (NCR) NKp30 is critical for the elimination of a large group of tumor cell types. Although several ligands have been proposed for NKp30, the lack of a conserved structural feature among these ligands and their uncertain physiological relevance has contributed to confusion in the field and hampered a full understanding of the receptor. To gain insights into NKp30 ligand recognition, we have determined the crystal structure of the extracellular domain of human NKp30. The structure displays an I-type Ig-like fold structurally distinct from the other natural cytotoxicity receptors NKp44 and NKp46. Using cytolytic killing assays against a range of tumor cell lines and subsequent peptide epitope mapping of a NKp30 blocking antibody, we have identified a critical ligand binding region on NKp30 involving its F strand. Using different solution binding studies, we show that the N-terminal domain of B7-H6 is sufficient for NKp30 recognition. Mutations on NKp30 further confirm that residues in the vicinity of the F strand, including part of the C strand and the CD loop, affect binding to B7-H6. The structural comparison of NKp30 with CD28 family receptor and ligand complexes also supports the identified ligand binding site. This study provides insights into NKp30 ligand recognition and a framework for a potential family of unidentified ligands.
More than 450 immunologists recently met in Cavtat, Croatia to discuss advances in natural killer (NK) cell biology. The meeting highlighted emerging themes in NK cell responses to viruses, NK cell tolerance and potential use of NK cells in the therapy of malignancies.
Viral infections have been linked to the onset of type I diabetes (T1D), with viruses postulated to induce disease directly by causing ? cell injury and subsequent release of autoantigens and indirectly via the host type I interferon (IFN-I) response triggered by the virus. Consistent with this, resistance to T1D is associated with polymorphisms that impair the function of melanoma differentiation associated gene-5 (MDA5), a sensor of viral RNA that elicits IFN-I responses. In animal models, triggering of another viral sensor, TLR3, has been implicated in diabetes. Here, we found that MDA5 and TLR3 are both required to prevent diabetes in mice infected with encephalomyocarditis virus strain D (EMCV-D), which has tropism for the insulin-producing ? cells of the pancreas. Infection of Tlr3-/- mice caused diabetes due to impaired IFN-I responses and virus-induced ? cell damage rather than T cell-mediated autoimmunity. Mice lacking just 1 copy of Mda5 developed transient hyperglycemia when infected with EMCV-D, whereas homozygous Mda5-/- mice developed severe cardiac pathology. TLR3 and MDA5 controlled EMCV-D infection and diabetes by acting in hematopoietic and stromal cells, respectively, inducing IFN-I responses at kinetically distinct time points. We therefore conclude that optimal functioning of viral sensors and prompt IFN-I responses are required to prevent diabetes when caused by a virus that infects and damages the ? cells of the pancreas.
Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) is a poxvirus that causes tumor-like skin lesions. New evidence indicates that plasmacytoid dendritic cells, type I interferon production, and interferon-induced dendritic cells have prominent roles in anti-MCV responses, and these features characterize the inflammatory response in lesions that will likely undergo spontaneous regression.
BST-2/tetherin is a host antiviral molecule that functions to potently inhibit the release of enveloped viruses from infected cells. In return, viruses have evolved antagonists to this activity. BST-2 traps budding virions by using two separate membrane-anchoring regions that simultaneously incorporate into the host and viral membranes. Here, we detailed the structural and biophysical properties of the full-length BST-2 ectodomain, which spans the two membrane anchors. The 1.6-? crystal structure of the complete mouse BST-2 ectodomain reveals an ?145-? parallel dimer in an extended ?-helix conformation that predominantly forms a coiled coil bridged by three intermolecular disulfides that are required for stability. Sequence analysis in the context of the structure revealed an evolutionarily conserved design that destabilizes the coiled coil, resulting in a labile superstructure, as evidenced by solution x-ray scattering displaying bent conformations spanning 150 and 180 ? for the mouse and human BST-2 ectodomains, respectively. Additionally, crystal packing analysis revealed possible curvature-sensing tetrameric structures that may aid in proper placement of BST-2 during the genesis of viral progeny. Overall, this extended coiled-coil structure with inherent plasticity is undoubtedly necessary to accommodate the dynamics of viral budding while ensuring separation of the anchors.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) causes significant morbidity and mortality in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT), preventing its broader application to non-life-threatening diseases. We show that a single administration of a nondepleting monoclonal antibody specific for the coinhibitory immunoglobulin receptor, B and T lymphocyte associated (BTLA), permanently prevented GVHD when administered at the time of aHSCT. Once GVHD was established, anti-BTLA treatment was unable to reverse disease, suggesting that its mechanism occurs early after aHSCT. Anti-BTLA treatment prevented GVHD independently of its ligand, the costimulatory tumor necrosis factor receptor herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM), and required BTLA expression by donor-derived T cells. Furthermore, anti-BTLA treatment led to the relative inhibition of CD4(+) forkhead box P3(-) (Foxp3(-)) effector T cell (T eff cell) expansion compared with precommitted naturally occurring donor-derived CD4(+) Foxp3(+) regulatory T cell (T reg cell) and allowed for graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects as well as robust responses to pathogens. These results suggest that BTLA agonism rebalances T cell expansion in lymphopenic hosts after aHSCT, thereby preventing GVHD without global immunosuppression. Thus, targeting BTLA with a monoclonal antibody at the initiation of aHSCT therapy might reduce limitations imposed by histocompatibility and allow broader application to treatment of non-life-threatening diseases.
Plasmacytoid DC (pDC) secrete type I IFN in response to viruses and RNA/DNA/immunocomplexes. Type I IFN confer resistance to viral infections and promote innate and adaptive immune responses. pDC also produce cytokines and chemokines that influence recruitment and function of T cells and differentiation of B cells. Thus, pDC have been implicated both in protective immune responses and in induction of tolerance. In this Viewpoint, we discuss how the recruitment and accumulation of pDC may impact pathogenesis of several diseases and how pDC can be targeted for therapeutic interventions.
The activating C-type lectin-like receptor NKG2D, which is expressed by mouse NK cells and activated CD8 T cells, was previously demonstrated to be involved in tumor rejection and as a defense mechanism against viral and bacterial infections. Because CD8 T cells are important for protective immune responses during chronic Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection and represent a promising target for new vaccine strategies to prevent human pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), we studied the immune response in mice deficient for the NKG2D adapter molecule DAP10 during experimental TB. After aerosol infection, DAP10-defcient mice displayed an unimpaired recruitment, activation and development of antigen-specific CD8 T cells. Whereas the frequency of interferon-gamma-producing CD8 T cells from Mtb-infected DAP10-defcient mice was not affected, CD8 T cell-mediated cytotoxicity was significantly reduced in the absence of DAP10. The loss of cytotoxic activity in DAP10-deficient CD8 T cells was associated with an impaired release of cytotoxic granules. Together, our results suggest that during Mtb infection DAP10 is required for maximal cytolytic activity of CD8 T cells.
FcR-like (FcRL) proteins comprise a family of lymphocyte receptors with homology to FcgammaRI. Among these receptors, FcRLA is uniquely interesting due to its intracellular localization, unusual structural features, and high expression within human germinal center and marginal zone B cells. Our analysis of human cell lines has confirmed that this receptor is not secreted but is maintained as an intracellular protein in B cells where it interacts with Igs, consistent with a possible role in Ab assembly. By generating FcRLA-specific antisera as well as knockout mice, we were able to unequivocally demonstrate that FcRLA protein is expressed exclusively in all mouse B cells. We also found that FcRLA is not required for the generation of Ag-specific humoral immune responses to T-dependent or T-independent Ags. However, given its highly conserved structure and universal expression within B cells, it is probable that FcRLA functions similarly in humans and mice. Cumulatively, our data suggest that FcRLA plays a role in Ig assembly that can be compensated for by other proteins.
Humoral immunity to viruses and encapsulated bacteria is comprised of T cell-independent type 2 (TI-2) antibody responses that are characterized by rapid antibody production by marginal zone and B1 B cells. We demonstrate that toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands influence the TI-2 antibody response not only by enhancing the overall magnitude but also by skewing this response to one that is dominated by IgG isotypes. Importantly, TLR ligands facilitate this response by inducing type I interferon (IFN), which in turn elicits rapid and significant amounts of antigen-specific IgG2c predominantly from FO (follicular) B cells. Furthermore, we show that although the IgG2c antibody response requires B cell-autonomous IFN-alpha receptor signaling, it is independent of B cell-intrinsic TLR signaling. Thus, innate signals have the capacity to enhance TI-2 antibody responses by promoting participation of FO B cells, which then elaborate effective IgG anti-pathogen antibodies.
Natural killer-22 (NK-22) cells are a human NK cell subset situated in mucosal-associated lymphoid tissues that specialize in IL-22 secretion in response to IL-23. Here we investigated the cytokine requirements for NK-22 cell expansion. IL-7 maintained the survival of NK-22 cells and IL-22 production in response to IL-23 but was insufficient to induce robust expansion. Proliferation of NK-22 cells was increased markedly by adding either IL-1beta or IL-2 to IL-7 and was even stronger in the presence of IL-1beta plus IL-2. In contrast to IL-7, continuous culture in IL-1beta and IL-2 modified NK-22 cytokine profiles. IL-1beta promoted constitutive IL-22 secretion rather than acute IL-22 production in response to IL-23 and induced IL-17 in some cells. IL-2 reduced secretion of IL-22 and IL-17, increasing production of IFN-gamma and leukemia inhibitory factor. Functional deviation toward IFN-gamma production also was induced by continuous culture in IL-23. These results demonstrate the functional plasticity of NK-22 cells, which may allow flexible responses to different pathogens. Finally, we found that NK-22 cells released the B-cell survival factor, B-cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family (BAFF), suggesting a potential role of NK-22 cells in promoting B-cell-mediated mucosal immunity.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) mediate type I interferon (IFN-I) responses to viruses that are recognized through the Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) or TLR9 signaling pathway. However, it is unclear how pDCs regulate the antiviral responses via innate and adaptive immune cells. We generated diphtheria toxin receptor transgenic mice to selectively deplete pDCs by administration of diphtheria toxin. pDC-depleted mice were challenged with viruses known to activate pDCs. In murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection, pDC depletion reduced early IFN-I production and augmented viral burden facilitating the expansion of natural killer (NK) cells expressing the MCMV-specific receptor Ly49H. During vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection, pDC depletion enhanced early viral replication and impaired the survival and accumulation of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. We conclude that pDCs mediate early antiviral IFN-I responses and influence the accrual of virus-specific NK or CD8(+) T cells in a virus-dependent manner.
The hallmark of chronic viral infections is a progressive exhaustion of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells that leads to persisting viral replication. It is generally believed that exhaustion is a consequence of the accumulation of multiple inhibitory receptors on CD8(+) T cells that makes them dysfunctional. Here, we show that during human chronic HIV-1 infection, a CD8(+) T-cell positive costimulatory pathway mediated by DNAX-activating molecule-1 is also disrupted. Thus, DNAX-activating molecule-1 downregulation on CD8(+) T cells aggravates the impairment of CTL effector function in chronic HIV-1 infection.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are bone marrow-derived cells that secrete large amounts of type I interferon (IFN) in response to viruses. Type I IFNs are pleiotropic cytokines with antiviral activity that also enhance innate and adaptive immune responses. Viruses trigger activation of pDCs and type I IFN responses mainly through the Toll-like receptor pathway. However, a variety of activating and inhibitory pDC receptors fine tune the amplitude of type I IFN responses. Chronic activation and secretion of type I IFN in the absence of infection can promote autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, while activated pDCs promote immunity and autoimmunity, resting or alternatively activated pDCs may be tolerogenic. The various roles of pDCs have been extensively studied in vitro and in vivo with depleting antibodies. However, depleting antibodies cross-react with other cell types that are critical for eliciting protective immunity, potentially yielding ambiguous phenotypes. Here we discuss new approaches to assess pDC functions in vivo and provide preliminary data on their potential roles during viral infections. Such approaches would also prove useful in the more specific evaluation of how pDCs mediate tolerance and autoimmunity. Finally, we discuss the emergent role of pDCs and one of their receptors, tetherin, in human immunodeficiency virus pathogenesis.
Polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a synthetic analog of double-stranded viral RNA, serves as a potent adjuvant for vaccination against soluble proteins, pathogens, and tumors. Poly I:C is sensed by both TLR3 in the endosomes and melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5 (MDA5) in the cytoplasm. Although it is known that TLR3 is required for cross-priming of CD8 T cells specific for viral Ags, the role of MDA5 in inducing CD8 T cell responses is still unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that in mice lacking MDA5, the majority of CD8 T cells do not survive after primary immunization with poly I:C and Ag, impairing memory response to subsequent Ag challenge. Furthermore, bone marrow chimera experiments revealed that MDA5 expression in radiation-resistant stromal cells, but not in radiation-sensitive hematopoietic cells, is essential for establishing CD8 T cell memory. We conclude that MDA5 and TLR3 mediate substantially distinct yet complementary functions during poly I:C-mediated activation of Ag-specific CD8 T cell responses.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the causative agent of an outbreak that began in La Réunion in 2005 and remains a major public health concern in India, Southeast Asia, and southern Europe. CHIKV is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and the associated disease is characterized by fever, myalgia, arthralgia, and rash. As viral load in infected patients declines before the appearance of neutralizing antibodies, we studied the role of type I interferon (IFN) in CHIKV pathogenesis. Based on human studies and mouse experimentation, we show that CHIKV does not directly stimulate type I IFN production in immune cells. Instead, infected nonhematopoietic cells sense viral RNA in a Cardif-dependent manner and participate in the control of infection through their production of type I IFNs. Although the Cardif signaling pathway contributes to the immune response, we also find evidence for a MyD88-dependent sensor that is critical for preventing viral dissemination. Moreover, we demonstrate that IFN-alpha/beta receptor (IFNAR) expression is required in the periphery but not on immune cells, as IFNAR(-/-)-->WT bone marrow chimeras are capable of clearing the infection, whereas WT-->IFNAR(-/-) chimeras succumb. This study defines an essential role for type I IFN, produced via cooperation between multiple host sensors and acting directly on nonhematopoietic cells, in the control of CHIKV.
The early host response to pathogens is mediated by several distinct pattern recognition receptors. Cytoplasmic RNA helicases including RIG-I and MDA5 have been shown to respond to viral RNA by inducing interferon (IFN) production. Previous in vitro studies have demonstrated a direct role for MDA5 in the response to members of the Picornaviridae, Flaviviridae and Caliciviridae virus families ((+) ssRNA viruses) but not to Paramyxoviridae or Orthomyxoviridae ((-) ssRNA viruses). Contrary to these findings, we now show that MDA5 responds critically to infections caused by Paramyxoviridae in vivo. Using an established model of natural Sendai virus (SeV) infection, we demonstrate that MDA5(-/-) mice exhibit increased morbidity and mortality as well as severe histopathological changes in the lower airways in response to SeV. Moreover, analysis of viral propagation in the lungs of MDA5(-/-) mice reveals enhanced replication and a distinct distribution involving the interstitium. Though the levels of antiviral cytokines were comparable early during SeV infection, type I, II, and III IFN mRNA expression profiles were significantly decreased in MDA5(-/-) mice by day 5 post infection. Taken together, these findings indicate that MDA5 is indispensable for sustained expression of IFN in response to paramyxovirus infection and provide the first evidence of MDA5-dependent containment of in vivo infections caused by (-) sense RNA viruses.
Glucocorticoids potently attenuate the production of inflammatory mediators by macrophages, a primary effector of innate immunity. Activation of different macrophage Toll-like receptors (TLRs) by their respective ligands presents a powerful system by which to evaluate stimulus-dependent glucocorticoid effects in the same cell type. Here, we test the hypothesis that glucocorticoids, acting through the glucocorticoid receptor, modulate macrophage activation preferentially depending upon the TLR-selective ligand and TLR adapters. We established that 2 adapters, Trif, MyD88, or both, determine the ability of glucocorticoids to suppress inhibitor of kappaB (IkappaB) degradation or Janus kinase (JNK) activation. Moreover, the sensitivity of transforming growth factor beta-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) activation to glucocorticoids determines these effects. These findings identify TAK1 as a novel target for glucocorticoids that integrates their anti-inflammatory action in innate immunity signaling pathways.
Coxsackievirus infections are associated with severe diseases such as myocarditis, meningitis and pancreatitis. To study the contribution of the intracellular viral sensor melanoma differentiation-associated protein-5 (MDA-5) in the host immune response to Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) we infected C57BL/6 and 129/SvJ mice lacking mda-5. Mice deficient in MDA-5 showed a dramatically increased susceptibility to CVB3 infection. The loss of MDA-5 allowed the virus to replicate faster, resulting in increased liver and pancreas damage and heightened mortality. MDA-5 was not absolutely required for the induction of type 1 interferons (IFNs), but essential for the production of maximal levels of systemic IFN-alpha early after infection. Taken together, our findings indicate that MDA-5 plays an important role in the host immune response to CVB3 by preventing early virus replication and limiting tissue pathology.
A role for NK cells in therapeutic intervention for hematologic malignancies, such as acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma, and nonhematologic malignancies, such as melanoma, is becoming more apparent. DNAM-1 is an NK cell receptor whose importance in facilitating activation signals received by NK cells in natural and cytokine-driven responses to tumor metastases in vivo is poorly explored. In this study, we used matched tumor lines expressing a variety of relevant ligands, neutralizing monoclonal Abs, and DNAM-1 gene-targeted mice to determine the relative importance of DNAM-1-ligand interactions in controlling tumor metastases. Our results demonstrate that NK cells require DNAM-1 for natural or cytokine (IL-2, IL-12, or IL-21) suppression of tumor metastases or their variants expressing CD70 or CD80. In contrast, DNAM-1 was dispensable when tumor cells were targets of Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity or presented ligands for NKG2D. CD155 appeared to be a key ligand recognized by DNAM-1 in NK cell-mediated suppression of metastases, and DNAM-1-mediated suppression coincided with perforin activity. Overall, these data implied a general role for DNAM-1-CD155 interactions in NK cell-mediated killing of tumors, even in the presence of tumor CD70 or CD80 expression, and further defined the optimal efficacy requirements of cytokines that directly activate NK cells.
The double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) analogue poly(I:C) is a promising adjuvant for cancer vaccines because it activates both dendritic cells (DCs) and natural killer (NK) cells, concurrently promoting adaptive and innate anticancer responses. Poly(I:C) acts through two dsRNA sensors, Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and melanoma differentiation-associated protein-5 (MDA5). Here, we investigated the relative contributions of MDA5 and TLR3 to poly(I:C)-mediated NK cell activation using MDA5(-/-), TLR3(-/-), and MDA5(-/-)TLR3(-/-) mice. MDA5 was crucial for NK cell activation, whereas TLR3 had a minor impact most evident in the absence of MDA5. MDA5 and TLR3 activated NK cells indirectly through accessory cells and induced the distinct stimulatory cytokines interferon-alpha and interleukin-12, respectively. To identify the relevant accessory cells in vivo, we generated bone marrow chimeras between either wild-type (WT) and MDA5(-/-) or WT and TLR3(-/-) mice. Interestingly, multiple accessory cells were implicated, with MDA5 acting primarily in stromal cells and TLR3 predominantly in hematopoietic cells. Furthermore, poly(I:C)-mediated NK cell activation was not notably impaired in mice lacking CD8alpha DCs, providing further evidence that poly(I:C) acts through diverse accessory cells rather than solely through DCs. These results demonstrate distinct yet complementary roles for MDA5 and TLR3 in poly(I:C)-mediated NK cell activation.
The innate immune system responds to unique molecular signatures that are widely conserved among microbes but that are not normally present in host cells. Compounds that stimulate innate immune pathways may be valuable in the design of novel adjuvants, vaccines, and other immunotherapeutics. The cyclic dinucleotide cyclic-di-guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a recently appreciated second messenger that plays critical regulatory roles in many species of bacteria but is not produced by eukaryotic cells. In vivo and in vitro studies have previously suggested that c-di-GMP is a potent immunostimulatory compound recognized by mouse and human cells. We provide evidence that c-di-GMP is sensed in the cytosol of mammalian cells via a novel immunosurveillance pathway. The potency of cytosolic signaling induced by c-di-GMP is comparable to that induced by cytosolic delivery of DNA, and both nucleic acids induce a similar transcriptional profile, including triggering of type I interferons and coregulated genes via induction of TBK1, IRF3, nuclear factor kappaB, and MAP kinases. However, the cytosolic pathway that senses c-di-GMP appears to be distinct from all known nucleic acid-sensing pathways. Our results suggest a novel mechanism by which host cells can induce an inflammatory response to a widely produced bacterial ligand.
Blood, lymphoid tissues, and placenta contain diverse subpopulations of natural killer (NK) cells that possess distinct immune functions. Recent studies have shown that human and mouse gut-associated lymphoid tissues harbor a unique NK cell subset that specializes in production of interleukin (IL)-22. This cytokine plays a role in host defense of mucosal barriers, although dysregulated secretion may cause autoimmune disease. In parallel, human fetal lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells and mouse adult LTi-like cells in secondary lymphoid tissues were found to release IL-22, as well as IL-17, a proinflammatory cytokine that mediates host defense against extracellular pathogens. Here, we compare these recently identified immune cells, reviewing what is known about their anatomical location, differentiation requirements, function, and potential involvement in host defense and autoimmunity. Finally, we discuss the challenges faced in furthering our understanding of the developmental relationships and role of NK and LTi-like cells in mucosal immune responses.
Sterile alpha and HEAT/Armadillo motif (SARM) is a highly conserved Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR)-containing adaptor protein that is believed to negatively regulate signaling of the pathogen recognition receptors Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and TLR4. To test its physiological function in the context of a microbial infection, we generated SARM(-/-) mice and evaluated the impact of this deficiency on the pathogenesis of West Nile virus (WNV), a neurotropic flavivirus that requires TLR signaling to restrict infection. Although SARM was preferentially expressed in cells of the central nervous system (CNS), studies with primary macrophages, neurons, or astrocytes showed no difference in viral growth kinetics. In contrast, viral replication was increased specifically in the brainstem of SARM(-/-) mice, and this was associated with enhanced mortality after inoculation with a virulent WNV strain. A deficiency of SARM was also linked to reduced levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), decreased microglia activation, and increased neuronal death in the brainstem after WNV infection. Thus, SARM appears to be unique among the TIR adaptor molecules, since it functions to restrict viral infection and neuronal injury in a brain region-specific manner, possibly by modulating the activation of resident CNS inflammatory cells.
Relative to several other toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, we found polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly IC) to be the most effective adjuvant for Th1 CD4(+) T cell responses to a dendritic cell (DC)-targeted HIV gag protein vaccine in mice. To identify mechanisms for adjuvant action in the intact animal and the polyclonal T cell repertoire, we found poly IC to be the most effective inducer of type I interferon (IFN), which was produced by DEC-205(+) DCs, monocytes, and stromal cells. Antibody blocking or deletion of type I IFN receptor showed that IFN was essential for DC maturation and development of CD4(+) immunity. The IFN-AR receptor was directly required for DCs to respond to poly IC. STAT 1 was also essential, in keeping with the type I IFN requirement, but not type II IFN or IL-12 p40. Induction of type I IFN was mda5 dependent, but DCs additionally used TLR3. In bone marrow chimeras, radioresistant and, likely, nonhematopoietic cells were the main source of IFN, but mda5 was required in both marrow-derived and radioresistant host cells for adaptive responses. Therefore, the adjuvant action of poly IC requires a widespread innate type I IFN response that directly links antigen presentation by DCs to adaptive immunity.
Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune lymphocytes capable of killing target cells and producing immunoregulatory cytokines. Herein, we discuss recent studies that indicate that NK cells span the conventional boundaries between innate and adaptive immunity. For example, it was recently discovered that NK cells have the capacity for memory-like responses, a property that was previously thought to be limited to adaptive immunity. NK cells have also been identified in multiple tissues, and a subset of cells that specialize in the production of the T(H)17 cytokine IL-22, NK-22s, was recently described in mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue. Finally, we review work that shows that NK cells develop at sites that were traditionally thought to be occupied only by adaptive immune cells, including the thymus and lymph nodes.
DC recognize microbial components through an array of receptors known as PRR. PRR initiate intracellular signals, which engender DC with the capacity to stimulate T-cell responses. Dectin-1 is a PRR that recognizes beta-glucan, a major constituent of many fungis outer cell wall. Here we show that Dectin-1 activates DC through phospholipase (PLC)gamma2 signaling. PLCgamma2-deficient DC were unable to expand antigen-specific T cells and induce T(H)1 and T(H)17 differentiation in response to beta-glucan. Mechanistically, PLCgamma2-deficiency impaired the capacity of DC to secrete polarizing cytokines following exposure to beta-glucan. Dectin-1 required PLCgamma2 to activate MAPK, AP-1 and NF-kappaB, which induce cytokine gene expression. Moreover, PLCgamma2 controlled Dectin-1-mediated NFAT activation and induction of NFAT-dependent genes such as IL-2, cyclooxigenase-2 and Egr transcription factors. We conclude that PLCgamma2 is a crucial signaling mediator that modifies DC gene expression program to activate DC responses to beta-glucan-containing pathogens.
Macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) influences the proliferation and survival of mononuclear phagocytes through the receptor CSF-1R. The adaptor protein DAP12 is critical for the function of mononuclear phagocytes. DAP12-mutant mice and humans have defects in osteoclasts and microglia, as well as brain and bone abnormalities. Here we show DAP12 deficiency impaired the M-CSF-induced proliferation and survival of macrophages in vitro. DAP12-deficient mice had fewer microglia in defined central nervous system areas, and DAP12-deficient progenitors regenerated myeloid cells inefficiently after bone marrow transplantation. Signaling by M-CSF through CSF-1R induced the stabilization and nuclear translocation of beta-catenin, which activated genes involved in the cell cycle. DAP12 was essential for phosphorylation and nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin. Our results provide a mechanistic explanation for the many defects of DAP12-deficient mononuclear phagocytes.
B7-H4 is an immunoglobulin superfamily molecule and shown to be inhibitory for T-cell responses. To explore physiologic roles of B7-H4, we created B7-H4-deficient (KO) mice by genetic targeting. B7-H4KO mice are healthy and their T- and B-cell responses to polyclonal antigens are in normal range. However, B7-H4KO mice are more resistant to infection by Listeria monocytogenes than their littermates. Within 3 days after infection, bacterial colonies in livers and spleens are significantly lower than the controls, suggesting a role of B7-H4 in enhancing innate immunity. Further studies demonstrate that neutrophils increase in peripheral organs of B7-H4KO mice more so than their littermates but their bactericidal functions remain unchanged. Augmented innate resistance is completely dependent on neutrophils, even in the absence of adaptive immunity. In vitro B7-H4 inhibits the growth of bone marrow-derived neutrophil progenitors, suggesting an inhibitory function of B7-H4 in neutrophil expansion. Our results identify B7-H4 as a negative regulator of the neutrophil response to infection and provide a new target for manipulation of innate immunity.
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