Efficacy of dendritic cell (DC) cancer vaccines is classically thought to depend on their antigen-presenting cell (APC) activity. Studies show, however, that DC vaccine priming of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) requires the activity of endogenous DCs, suggesting that exogenous DCs stimulate antitumor immunity by transferring antigens (Ags) to endogenous DCs. Such Ag transfer functions are most commonly ascribed to monocytes, implying that undifferentiated monocytes would function equally well as a vaccine modality and need not be differentiated to DCs to be effective. Here, we used several murine cancer models to test the antitumor efficacy of undifferentiated monocytes loaded with protein or peptide Ag. Intravenously injected monocytes displayed antitumor activity superior to DC vaccines in several cancer models, including aggressive intracranial glioblastoma. Ag-loaded monocytes induced robust CTL responses via Ag transfer to splenic CD8+ DCs in a manner independent of monocyte APC activity. Ag transfer required cell-cell contact and the formation of connexin 43–containing gap junctions between monocytes and DCs. These findings demonstrate the existence of an efficient gap junction–mediated Ag transfer pathway between monocytes and CD8+ DCs and suggest that administration of tumor Ag–loaded undifferentiated monocytes may serve as a simple and efficacious immunotherapy for the treatment of human cancers.
Min-Nung Huang, Lowell T. Nicholson, Kristen A. Batich, Adam M. Swartz, David Kopin, Sebastian Wellford, Vijay K. Prabhakar, Karolina Woroniecka, Smita K. Nair, Peter E. Fecci, John H. Sampson, Michael D. Gunn
Multipass membrane proteins have a myriad of functions, including transduction of cell-cell signals, ion transport, and photoreception. Insertion of these proteins into the membrane depends on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein complex (EMC). Recently, birth defects have been observed in patients with variants in the gene encoding a member of this complex, EMC1. Patient phenotypes include congenital heart disease, craniofacial malformations, and neurodevelopmental disease. However, a molecular connection between EMC1 and these birth defects is lacking. Using Xenopus, we identified defects in neural crest cells (NCCs) upon emc1 depletion. We then used unbiased proteomics and discovered a critical role for emc1 in WNT signaling. Consistent with this, readouts of WNT signaling and Frizzled (Fzd) levels were reduced in emc1-depleted embryos, while NCC defects could be rescued with β-catenin. Interestingly, other transmembrane proteins were mislocalized upon emc1 depletion, providing insight into additional patient phenotypes. To translate our findings back to humans, we found that EMC1 was necessary for human NCC development in vitro. Finally, we tested patient variants in our Xenopus model and found the majority to be loss-of-function alleles. Our findings define molecular mechanisms whereby EMC1 dysfunction causes disease phenotypes through dysfunctional multipass membrane protein topogenesis.
Jonathan Marquez, June Criscione, Rebekah M. Charney, Maneeshi S. Prasad, Woong Y. Hwang, Emily K. Mis, Martín I. García-Castro, Mustafa K. Khokha
Liver disease as a result of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a global problem. While some HCV infections resolve spontaneously, viral persistence associates with compromised T cell immunity. In this issue of the JCI, Chen et al. and Coss et al. explored virus-specific CD4+ T cell response during HCV infection. Both studies evaluated the HCV-specific T cells of patients with different courses of infection. Chen et al. revealed that initial CD4+ T cell responses are similar during early infection and that T cell failure resulted from loss of the virus-specific T cells themselves. Coss et al. showed that HCV-specific CD4+ T cells temporarily recovered in some women following childbirth. These studies contribute to our understanding of CD4+ T cell functionality during different natural courses of infection, with the notable implication that restoring CD4+ T cell immunity might contribute to controlling HCV infection.
Benedikt Binder, Robert Thimme
Rexford S. Ahima
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging hemorrhagic fever caused by a tick-borne banyangvirus and is associated with high fatality. Despite increasing incidence of SFTS and serious public health concerns in East Asia, the pathogenesis of lethal SFTS virus (SFTSV) infection in humans is not fully understood. Numbers of postmortem examinations to determine target cells of the viral infection have so far been limited. Here we showed that B cells differentiating into plasmablasts and macrophages in secondary lymphoid organs were targets for SFTSV at the end stage of lethal infection, and the majority of SFTSV-infected cells were B cell–lineage lymphocytes. In affected individuals, B cell–lineage lymphocytes with SFTSV infection were widely distributed in both lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs, and infiltration of these cells into the capillaries of the organs could be observed occasionally. Moreover, a human plasmablastic lymphoma cell line, PBL-1, was susceptible to SFTSV propagation, and had a similar immunophenotype to that of target cells of SFTSV in fatal SFTS. PBL-1 can therefore provide a potential in vitro model for human SFTSV infection. These results extend our understanding of the pathogenesis of human lethal SFTSV infection, and can facilitate the development of SFTSV countermeasures.
Tadaki Suzuki, Yuko Sato, Kaori Sano, Takeshi Arashiro, Harutaka Katano, Noriko Nakajima, Masayuki Shimojima, Michiyo Kataoka, Kenta Takahashi, Yuji Wada, Shigeru Morikawa, Shuetsu Fukushi, Tomoki Yoshikawa, Masayuki Saijo, Hideki Hasegawa
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging disease in China, South Korea, and Japan caused by the tick-borne SFTS virus (SFTSV). Severe and fatal SFTS presents as a hemorrhagic fever characterized by high viral load, uncontrolled inflammatory response, dysregulated adaptive immunity, coagulation abnormalities, hemorrhage, and multiorgan failure with up to 33% case fatality rates (CFRs). Despite its public health significance in Asia, vaccines and specific therapeutics against SFTS are still unavailable. A better understanding of the pathogenesis of SFTS is crucial to improving medical countermeasures against this devastating disease. In this issue of the JCI, Suzuki and colleagues analyzed histopathological samples from 22 individuals who succumbed to SFTS, and identified antibody-producing B cell–lineage plasmablasts and macrophages as principal target cells for SFTSV infection in fatal SFTS. Their results suggest that SFTSV-infected post–germinal center B cells, plasmablasts, and macrophages affect systemic immunopathology and dysregulation, which likely leads to fatal outcomes.
Satoko Yamaoka, Carla Weisend, Hideki Ebihara
William H. Dietz
Although the impact of Th17 cells on autoimmunity is undisputable, their pathogenic effector mechanism is still enigmatic. We discovered soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment receptor (SNARE) complex proteins in Th17 cells that enable a vesicular glutamate release pathway that induces local intracytoplasmic calcium release and subsequent damage in neurons. This pathway is glutamine dependent and triggered by binding of β1-integrin to vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) on neurons in the inflammatory context. Glutamate secretion could be blocked by inhibiting either glutaminase or KV1.3 channels, which are known to be linked to integrin expression and highly expressed on stimulated T cells. Although KV1.3 is not expressed in CNS tissue, intrathecal administration of a KV1.3 channel blocker or a glutaminase inhibitor ameliorated disability in experimental neuroinflammation. In humans, T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis secreted higher levels of glutamate, and cerebrospinal fluid glutamine levels were increased. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that β1-integrin– and KV1.3 channel–dependent signaling stimulates glutamate release from Th17 cells upon direct cell-cell contact between Th17 cells and neurons.
Katharina Birkner, Beatrice Wasser, Tobias Ruck, Carine Thalman, Dirk Luchtman, Katrin Pape, Samantha Schmaul, Lynn Bitar, Eva-Maria Krämer-Albers, Albrecht Stroh, Sven G. Meuth, Frauke Zipp, Stefan Bittner
CD4+ T cell failure is a hallmark of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, the mechanisms underlying the impairment and loss of virus-specific CD4+ T cells in persisting HCV infection remain unclear. Here we examined HCV-specific CD4+ T cells longitudinally during acute infection with different infection outcomes. We found that HCV-specific CD4+ T cells are characterized by expression of a narrower range of T cell inhibitory receptors compared with CD8+ T cells, with initially high expression levels of PD-1 and CTLA-4 that were associated with negative regulation of proliferation in all patients, irrespective of outcome. In addition, HCV-specific CD4+ T cells were phenotypically similar during early resolving and persistent infection and secreted similar levels of cytokines. However, upon viral control, CD4+ T cells quickly downregulated inhibitory receptors and differentiated into long-lived memory cells. In contrast, persisting viremia continued to drive T cell activation and PD-1 and CTLA-4 expression, and blocked T cell differentiation, until the cells quickly disappeared from the circulation. Our data support an important and physiological role for inhibitory receptor–mediated regulation of CD4+ T cells in early HCV infection, irrespective of outcome, with persistent HCV viremia leading to sustained upregulation of PD-1 and CTLA-4.
Diana Y. Chen, David Wolski, Jasneet Aneja, Lyndon Matsubara, Brandon Robilotti, Garrett Hauck, Paulo Sergio Fonseca de Sousa, Sonu Subudhi, Carlos Augusto Fernandes, Ruben C. Hoogeveen, Arthur Y. Kim, Lia Lewis-Ximenez, Georg M. Lauer
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major infectious disease worldwide. TB treatment displays a biphasic bacterial clearance, in which the majority of bacteria clear within the first month of treatment, but residual bacteria remain nonresponsive to treatment and eventually may become resistant. Here, we have shown that Mycobacterium tuberculosis was taken up by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), where it established dormancy and became highly nonresponsive to isoniazid, a major constituent of directly observed treatment short course (DOTS). Dormant M. tuberculosis induced quiescence in MSCs and promoted their long-term survival. Unlike macrophages, where M. tuberculosis resides in early-phagosomal compartments, in MSCs the majority of bacilli were found in the cytosol, where they promoted rapid lipid synthesis, hiding within lipid droplets. Inhibition of lipid synthesis prevented dormancy and sensitized the organisms to isoniazid. Thus, we have established that M. tuberculosis gains dormancy in MSCs, which thus serve as a long-term natural reservoir of dormant M. tuberculosis. Interestingly, in the murine model of TB, induction of autophagy eliminated M. tuberculosis from MSCs and consequently, the addition of rapamycin to an isoniazid treatment regimen successfully attained sterile clearance and prevented disease reactivation.
Samreen Fatima, Shashank Shivaji Kamble, Ved Prakash Dwivedi, Debapriya Bhattacharya, Santosh Kumar, Anand Ranganathan, Luc Van Kaer, Sujata Mohanty, Gobardhan Das
HSP27 is highly expressed in, and supports oncogene addiction of, many cancers. HSP27 phosphorylation is a limiting step for activation of this protein and a target for inhibition, but its highly disordered structure challenges rational structure-guided drug discovery. We performed multistep biochemical, structural, and computational experiments to define a spherical 24-monomer complex composed of 12 HSP27 dimers with a phosphorylation pocket flanked by serine residues between their N-terminal domains. Ivermectin directly binds this pocket to inhibit MAPKAP2-mediated HSP27 phosphorylation and depolymerization, thereby blocking HSP27-regulated survival signaling and client-oncoprotein interactions. Ivermectin potentiated activity of anti–androgen receptor and anti-EGFR drugs in prostate and EGFR/HER2-driven tumor models, respectively, identifying a repurposing approach for cotargeting stress-adaptive responses to overcome resistance to inhibitors of oncogenic pathway signaling.
Lucia Nappi, Adeleke H. Aguda, Nader Al Nakouzi, Barbara Lelj-Garolla, Eliana Beraldi, Nada Lallous, Marisa Thi, Susan Moore, Ladan Fazli, Dulguun Battsogt, Sophie Stief, Fuqiang Ban, Nham T. Nguyen, Neetu Saxena, Evgenia Dueva, Fan Zhang, Takeshi Yamazaki, Amina Zoubeidi, Artem Cherkasov, Gary D. Brayer, Martin Gleave
Although iron deficiency continues to pose a problem for pregnant women and fetal development, an incomplete understanding of placental adaptation to limited iron availability has hindered efforts to identify optimal supplementation strategies. In this issue of the JCI, Sangkhae et al. used mouse models and human placentas to explore maternal, placental, and fetal responses to alterations in iron status during pregnancy. The authors identified molecular mechanisms that limit placental ability to upregulate iron transport in the setting of severe iron deficiency and explored a potential marker of placental maladaptation.
Nermi L. Parrow, Robert E. Fleming
Pituitary develops from oral ectoderm in contact with adjacent ventral hypothalamus. Impairment in this process results in congenital pituitary hypoplasia (CPH); however, there have been no human disease models for CPH thus far, prohibiting the elucidation of the underlying mechanisms. In this study, we established a disease model of CPH using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and 3D organoid technique, in which oral ectoderm and hypothalamus develop simultaneously. Interestingly, patient iPSCs with a heterozygous mutation in the orthodenticle homeobox 2 (OTX2) gene showed increased apoptosis in the pituitary progenitor cells, and the differentiation into pituitary hormone–producing cells was severely impaired. As an underlying mechanism, OTX2 in hypothalamus, not in oral ectoderm, was essential for progenitor cell maintenance by regulating LHX3 expression in oral ectoderm via FGF10 expression in the hypothalamus. Convincingly, the phenotype was reversed by the correction of the mutation, and the haploinsufficiency of OTX2 in control iPSCs revealed a similar phenotype, demonstrating that this mutation was responsible. Thus, we established an iPSC-based congenital pituitary disease model, which recapitulated interaction between hypothalamus and oral ectoderm and demonstrated the essential role of hypothalamic OTX2.
Ryusaku Matsumoto, Hidetaka Suga, Takashi Aoi, Hironori Bando, Hidenori Fukuoka, Genzo Iguchi, Satoshi Narumi, Tomonobu Hasegawa, Keiko Muguruma, Wataru Ogawa, Yutaka Takahashi
Iron deficiency is common worldwide and is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. The increasing prevalence of indiscriminate iron supplementation during pregnancy also raises concerns about the potential adverse effects of iron excess. We examined how maternal iron status affects the delivery of iron to the placenta and fetus. Using mouse models, we documented maternal homeostatic mechanisms that protect the placenta and fetus from maternal iron excess. We determined that under physiological conditions or in iron deficiency, fetal and placental hepcidin did not regulate fetal iron endowment. With maternal iron deficiency, critical transporters mediating placental iron uptake (transferrin receptor 1 [TFR1]) and export (ferroportin [FPN]) were strongly regulated. In mice, not only was TFR1 increased, but FPN was surprisingly decreased to preserve placental iron in the face of fetal iron deficiency. In human placentas from pregnancies with mild iron deficiency, TFR1 was increased, but there was no change in FPN. However, induction of more severe iron deficiency in human trophoblast in vitro resulted in the regulation of both TFR1 and FPN, similar to what was observed in the mouse model. This placental adaptation that prioritizes placental iron is mediated by iron regulatory protein 1 (IRP1) and is important for the maintenance of mitochondrial respiration, thus ultimately protecting the fetus from the potentially dire consequences of generalized placental dysfunction.
Veena Sangkhae, Allison L. Fisher, Shirley Wong, Mary Dawn Koenig, Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, Alison Chu, Melisa Lelić, Tomas Ganz, Elizabeta Nemeth
Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vEDS) is an autosomal-dominant connective tissue disorder caused by heterozygous mutations in the COL3A1 gene, which encodes the pro-α 1 chain of collagen III. Loss of structural integrity of the extracellular matrix is believed to drive the signs and symptoms of this condition, including spontaneous arterial dissection and/or rupture, the major cause of mortality. We created 2 mouse models of vEDS that carry heterozygous mutations in Col3a1 that encode glycine substitutions analogous to those found in patients, and showed that signaling abnormalities in the PLC/IP3/PKC/ERK pathway (phospholipase C/inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate/protein kinase C/extracellular signal-regulated kinase) are major mediators of vascular pathology. Treatment with pharmacologic inhibitors of ERK1/2 or PKCβ prevented death due to spontaneous aortic rupture. Additionally, we found that pregnancy- and puberty-associated accentuation of vascular risk, also seen in vEDS patients, was rescued by attenuation of oxytocin and androgen signaling, respectively. Taken together, our results provide evidence that targetable signaling abnormalities contribute to the pathogenesis of vEDS, highlighting unanticipated therapeutic opportunities.
Caitlin J. Bowen, Juan Francisco Calderón Giadrosic, Zachary Burger, Graham Rykiel, Elaine C. Davis, Mark R. Helmers, Kelly Benke, Elena Gallo MacFarlane, Harry C. Dietz
Chimeric antigen receptor–engineered T cells targeting CD19 (CART19) provide an effective treatment for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia but are less effective for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), focusing attention on improving efficacy. CART19 harbor an engineered receptor, which is delivered through lentiviral vector integration, thereby marking cell lineages and modifying the cellular genome by insertional mutagenesis. We recently reported that vector integration within the host TET2 gene was associated with CLL remission. Here, we investigated clonal population structure and therapeutic outcomes in another 39 patients by high-throughput sequencing of vector-integration sites. Genes at integration sites enriched in responders were commonly found in cell-signaling and chromatin modification pathways, suggesting that insertional mutagenesis in these genes promoted therapeutic T cell proliferation. We also developed a multivariate model based on integration-site distributions and found that data from preinfusion products forecasted response in CLL successfully in discovery and validation cohorts and, in day 28 samples, reported responders to CLL therapy with high accuracy. These data clarify how insertional mutagenesis can modulate cell proliferation in CART19 therapy and how data on integration-site distributions can be linked to treatment outcomes.
Christopher L. Nobles, Scott Sherrill-Mix, John K. Everett, Shantan Reddy, Joseph A. Fraietta, David L. Porter, Noelle Frey, Saar I. Gill, Stephan A. Grupp, Shannon L. Maude, Donald L. Siegel, Bruce L. Levine, Carl H. June, Simon F. Lacey, J. Joseph Melenhorst, Frederic D. Bushman
EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma patients treated with gefitinib and osimertinib show a therapeutic benefit limited by the appearance of secondary mutations, such as EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S. It is generally assumed that these secondary mutations render EGFR completely unresponsive to the inhibitors, but contrary to this, we uncovered here that gefitinib and osimertinib increased STAT3 phosphorylation (p-STAT3) in EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S tumoral cells. Interestingly, we also found that concomitant Notch inhibition with gefitinib or osimertinib treatment induced a p-STAT3–dependent strong reduction in the levels of the transcriptional repressor HES1. Importantly, we showed that tyrosine kinase inhibitor–resistant tumors, with EGFRT790M and EGFRC797S mutations, were highly responsive to the combined treatment of Notch inhibitors with gefitinib or osimertinib, respectively. Finally, in patients with EGFR mutations treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, HES1 protein levels increased during relapse and correlated with shorter progression-free survival. Therefore, our results offer a proof of concept for an alternative treatment to chemotherapy in lung adenocarcinoma osimertinib-treated patients after disease progression.
Emilie Bousquet Mur, Sara Bernardo, Laura Papon, Maicol Mancini, Eric Fabbrizio, Marion Goussard, Irene Ferrer, Anais Giry, Xavier Quantin, Jean-Louis Pujol, Olivier Calvayrac, Herwig P. Moll, Yaël Glasson, Nelly Pirot, Andrei Turtoi, Marta Cañamero, Kwok-Kin Wong, Yosef Yarden, Emilio Casanova, Jean-Charles Soria, Jacques Colinge, Christian W. Siebel, Julien Mazieres, Gilles Favre, Luis Paz-Ares, Antonio Maraver
Seasonal and pandemic influenza infection remains a major public health concern worldwide. Driving robust humoral immunity has been a challenge given preexisting, often cross-reactive, immunity and in particular, poorly immunogenic avian antigens. To overcome immune barriers, the adjuvant MF59 has been used in seasonal influenza vaccines to increase antibody titers and improve neutralizing activity, translating to a moderate increase in protection in vulnerable populations. However, its effects on stimulating antibody effector functions, including NK cell activation, monocyte phagocytosis, and complement activity, all of which have been implicated in protection against influenza, have yet to be defined. Using systems serology, we assessed changes in antibody functional profiles in individuals who received H5N1 avian influenza vaccine administered with MF59, with alum, or delivered unadjuvanted. MF59 elicited antibody responses that stimulated robust neutrophil phagocytosis and complement activity. Conversely, vaccination with MF59 recruited NK cells poorly and drove moderate monocyte phagocytic activity, both likely compromised because of the induction of antibodies that did not bind FCGR3A. Collectively, defining the humoral antibody functions induced by distinct adjuvants may provide a path to designing next-generation vaccines that can selectively leverage the humoral immune functions, beyond binding and neutralization, resulting in better protection from infection.
Carolyn M. Boudreau, Wen-Han Yu, Todd J. Suscovich, H. Keipp Talbot, Kathryn M. Edwards, Galit Alter