Recent evidence suggests early environmental factors are important for gut immune tolerance. Although the role of regulatory T (Treg) cells for gut immune homeostasis is well established, the development and tissue homing characteristics of Treg cells in children have not been studied in detail. In this article, we studied the development and homing characteristics of human peripheral blood Treg cell subsets and potential mechanisms inducing homing molecule expression in healthy children. We found contrasting patterns of circulating Treg cell gut and skin tropism, with abundant β7 integrin+ Treg cells at birth and increasing cutaneous lymphocyte Ag (CLA+) Treg cells later in life. β7 integrin+ Treg cells were predominantly naive, suggesting acquisition of Treg cell gut tropism early in development. In vitro, IL-7 enhanced gut homing but reduced skin homing molecule expression in conventional T cells, whereas IL-2 induced a similar effect only in Treg cells. This effect was more pronounced in cord compared with adult blood. Our results suggest that early in life, naive Treg cells may be driven for gut tropism by their increased sensitivity to IL-2–induced β7 integrin upregulation, implicating a potential role of IL-2 in gut immune tolerance during this critical period of development.
There are currently limited insights into the progression of human primary humoral immunity despite numerous studies in experimental models. In this study, we analyzed a primary and related secondary parenteral keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) immunization in five human adults. The primary challenge elicited discordant KLH-specific serum and blood effector B cell responses (i.e., dominant serum KLH-specific IgG and IgM levels versus dominant KLH-specific IgA plasmablast frequencies). Single-cell IgH sequencing revealed early appearance of highly (>15 mutations) mutated circulating KLH-specific plasmablasts 2 wk after primary KLH immunization, with simultaneous KLH-specific plasmablasts carrying non- and low-mutated IgH sequences. The data suggest that the highly mutated cells might originate from cross-reactive memory B cells (mBCs) rather than from the naive B cell repertoire, consistent with previous reported mutation rates and the presence of KLH-reactive mBCs in naive vaccinees prior to immunization. Whereas upon secondary immunization, serum Ab response kinetics and plasmablast mutation loads suggested the exclusive reactivation of KLH-specific mBCs, we, however, detected only little clonal overlap between the peripheral KLH-specific secondary plasmablast IgH repertoire and the primary plasmablast and mBC repertoire, respectively. Our data provide novel mechanistic insights into human humoral immune responses and suggest that primary KLH immunization recruits both naive B cells and cross-reactive mBCs, whereas secondary challenge exclusively recruits from a memory repertoire, with little clonal overlap with the primary response.
Human memory T cells that cross-react with epitopes from unrelated viruses can potentially modulate immune responses to subsequent infections by a phenomenon termed heterologous immunity. However, it is unclear whether similarities in structure rather than sequence underpin heterologous T cell cross-reactivity. In this study, we aimed to explore the mechanism of heterologous immunity involving immunodominant epitopes derived from common viruses restricted to high-frequency HLA allotypes (HLA-A*02:01, -B*07:02, and -B*08:01). We examined EBV-specific memory T cells for their ability to cross-react with CMV or influenza A virus–derived epitopes. Following T cell immunoassays to determine phenotype and function, complemented with biophysical and structural investigations of peptide/HLA complexes, we did not detect cross-reactivity of EBV-specific memory T cells toward either CMV or influenza A virus epitopes presented by any of the selected HLA allomorphs. Thus, despite the ubiquitous nature of these human viruses and the dominant immune response directed toward the selected epitopes, heterologous virus-specific T cell cross-reactivity was not detected. This suggests that either heterologous immunity is not as common as previously reported, or that it requires a very specific biological context to develop and be clinically relevant.
Platelet-activating factor (PAF) stimulates numerous cell types via activation of the G protein–coupled PAF receptor (PAFR). PAFR activation not only induces acute proinflammatory responses, but it also induces delayed systemic immunosuppressive effects by modulating host immunity. Although enzymatic synthesis and degradation of PAF are tightly regulated, oxidative stressors, such as UVB, chemotherapy, and cigarette smoke, can generate PAF and PAF-like molecules in an unregulated fashion via the oxidation of membrane phospholipids. Recent studies have demonstrated the relevance of the mast cell (MC) PAFR in PAFR-induced systemic immunosuppression. The current study was designed to determine the exact mechanisms and mediators involved in MC PAFR-mediated systemic immunosuppression. By using a contact hypersensitivity model, the MC PAFR was not only found to be necessary, but also sufficient to mediate the immunosuppressive effects of systemic PAF. Furthermore, activation of the MC PAFR induces MC-derived histamine and PGE2 release. Importantly, PAFR-mediated systemic immunosuppression was defective in mice that lacked MCs, or in MC-deficient mice transplanted with histidine decarboxylase– or cyclooxygenase-2–deficient MCs. Lastly, it was found that PGs could modulate MC migration to draining lymph nodes. These results support the hypothesis that MC PAFR activation promotes the immunosuppressive effects of PAF in part through histamine- and PGE2-dependent mechanisms.
Maintenance of the regulatory T (Treg) cell pool is essential for peripheral tolerance and prevention of autoimmunity. Integrins, heterodimeric transmembrane proteins consisting of α and β subunits that mediate cell-to-cell and cell-to-extracellular matrix interactions, play an important role in facilitating Treg cell contact–mediated suppression. In this article, we show that integrin activation plays an essential, previously unappreciated role in maintaining murine Treg cell function. Treg cell–specific loss of talin, a β integrin–binding protein, or expression of talin(L325R), a mutant that selectively abrogates integrin activation, resulted in lethal systemic autoimmunity. This dysfunction could be attributed, in part, to a global dysregulation of the Treg cell transcriptome. Activation of integrin α4β1 led to increased suppressive capacity of the Treg cell pool, suggesting that modulating integrin activation on Treg cells may be a useful therapeutic strategy for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Taken together, these results reveal a critical role for integrin-mediated signals in controlling peripheral tolerance by virtue of maintaining Treg cell function.
Type I IFN production of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) triggered by TLR-signaling is an essential part of antiviral responses and autoimmune reactions. Although it was well-documented that members of the cytokine signaling (SOCS) family regulate TLR-signaling, the mechanism of how SOCS proteins regulate TLR7-mediated type I IFN production has not been elucidated yet. In this article, we show that TLR7 activation in human pDCs induced the expression of SOCS1 and SOCS3. SOCS1 and SOCS3 strongly suppressed TLR7-mediated type I IFN production. Furthermore, we demonstrated that SOCS1- and SOCS3-bound IFN regulatory factor 7, a pivotal transcription factor of the TLR7 pathway, through the SH2 domain to promote its proteasomal degradation by lysine 48-linked polyubiquitination. Together, our results demonstrate that SOCS1/3-mediated degradation of IFN regulatory factor 7 directly regulates TLR7 signaling and type I IFN production in pDCs. This mechanism might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to either enhance type I IFN production in antiviral treatment or decrease type I IFN production in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
IL-33 and its receptor ST2 play important roles in airway inflammation and contribute to asthma onset and exacerbation. The IL-33/ST2 signaling pathway recruits adapter protein myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MyD88) to transduce intracellular signaling. MyD88 forms a complex with IL-R–associated kinases (IRAKs), IRAK4 and IRAK2, called the Myddosome (MyD88–IRAK4–IRAK2). The myddosome subsequently activates downstream NF-B and MAPKs p38 and JNK. We established an asthma-like mouse model by intratracheal administration of IL-33. The IL-33 model has a very similar phenotype compared with the OVA-induced mouse asthma model. The importance of MyD88 in the IL-33/ST2 signaling transduction was demonstrated by the MyD88 knockout mice, which were protected from the IL-33–induced asthma. We synthesized small molecule mimetics of the α-helical domain of IRAK2 with drug-like characteristics based on the recent advances in the designing of α-helix compounds. The mimetics can competitively interfere in the protein–protein interaction between IRAK2 and IRAK4, leading to disruption of Myddosome formation. A series of small molecules were screened using an NF-B promoter assay in vitro. The lead compound, 7004, was further studied in the IL-33–induced and OVA-induced asthma mouse models in vivo. Compound 7004 can inhibit the IL-33–induced NF-B activity, disrupt Myddosome formation, and attenuate the proinflammatory effects in asthma-like models. Our data indicate that the Myddosome may represent a novel intracellular therapeutic target for diseases in which IL-33/ST2 plays important roles, such as asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
Survival of the allogeneic pregnancy depends on the maintenance of immune tolerance to paternal alloantigens at the fetomaternal interface. Multiple localized mechanisms contribute to the fetal evasion from the mother’s immune rejection as the fetus is exposed to a wide range of stimulatory substances such as maternal alloantigens, microbes and amniotic fluids. In this article, we demonstrate that CD71+ erythroid cells are expanded at the fetomaternal interface and in the periphery during pregnancy in both humans and mice. These cells exhibit immunosuppressive properties, and their abundance is associated with a Th2 skewed immune response, as their depletion results in a proinflammatory immune response at the fetomaternal interface. In addition to their function in suppressing proinflammatory responses in vitro, maternal CD71+ erythroid cells inhibit an aggressive allogeneic response directed against the fetus such as reduction in TNF-α and IFN- production through arginase-2 activity and PD-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PDL-1) interactions. Their depletion leads to the failure of gestation due to the immunological rejection of the fetus. Similarly, fetal liver CD71+ erythroid cells exhibit immunosuppressive activity. Therefore, immunosuppression mediated by CD71+ erythroid cells on both sides (mother/fetus) is crucial for fetomaternal tolerance. Thus, our results reveal a previously unappreciated role for CD71+ erythroid cells in pregnancy and indicate that these cells mediate homeostatic immunosuppressive/immunoregulatory responses during pregnancy.
Neutrophils, basophils, and monocytes are continuously produced in bone marrow via myelopoiesis, circulate in blood, and are eventually removed from circulation to maintain homeostasis. To quantitate the kinetics of myeloid cell movement during homeostasis, we applied 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine pulse labeling in healthy rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) followed by hematology and flow cytometry analyses. Results were applied to a mathematical model, and the blood circulating half-life and daily production, respectively, of each cell type from macaques aged 5–10 y old were calculated for neutrophils (1.63 ± 0.16 d, 1.42 x 109 cells/l/d), basophils (1.78 ± 0.30 d, 5.89 x 106 cells/l/d), and CD14+CD16– classical monocytes (1.01 ± 0.15 d, 3.09 x 108 cells/l/d). Classical monocytes were released into the blood circulation as early as 1 d after dividing, whereas neutrophils remained in bone marrow 4–5 d before being released. Among granulocytes, neutrophils and basophils exhibited distinct kinetics in bone marrow maturation time and blood circulation. With increasing chronological age, there was a significant decrease in daily production of neutrophils and basophils, but the half-life of these granulocytes remained unchanged between 3 and 19 y of age. In contrast, daily production of classical monocytes remained stable through 19 y of age but exhibited a significant decline in half-life. These results demonstrated relatively short half-lives and continuous replenishment of neutrophils, basophils, and classical monocytes during homeostasis in adult rhesus macaques with compensations observed during increasing chronological age.
Influenza is a major health threat, and a broadly protective influenza vaccine would be a significant advance. Signal Minus FLU (S-FLU) is a candidate broadly protective influenza vaccine that is limited to a single cycle of replication, which induces a strong cross-reactive T cell response but a minimal Ab response to hemagglutinin after intranasal or aerosol administration. We tested whether an H3N2 S-FLU can protect pigs and ferrets from heterosubtypic H1N1 influenza challenge. Aerosol administration of S-FLU to pigs induced lung tissue-resident memory T cells and reduced lung pathology but not the viral load. In contrast, in ferrets, S-FLU reduced viral replication and aerosol transmission. Our data show that S-FLU has different protective efficacy in pigs and ferrets, and that in the absence of Ab, lung T cell immunity can reduce disease severity without reducing challenge viral replication.