Dimitra Zotos

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (5)72.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Loss of function of the tumor suppressor gene PRDM1 (also known as BLIMP1) or deregulated expression of the oncogene BCL6 occurs in a large proportion of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cases. However, targeted mutation of either gene in mice leads to only slow and infrequent development of malignant lymphoma, and despite frequent mutation of BCL6 in activated B cells of healthy individuals, lymphoma development is rare. Here we show that T cells prevent the development of overt lymphoma in mice caused by Blimp1 deficiency or overexpression of Bcl6 in the B cell lineage. Impairment of T cell control results in rapid development of DLBCL-like disease, which can be eradicated by polyclonal CD8(+) T cells in a T cell receptor-, CD28- and Fas ligand-dependent manner. Thus, malignant transformation of mature B cells requires mutations that impair intrinsic differentiation processes and permit escape from T cell-mediated tumor surveillance.
    Nature medicine 02/2014; · 27.14 Impact Factor
  • Dimitra Zotos, David M Tarlinton
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    ABSTRACT: The humoral immune system generates immunological memory comprising affinity matured, long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells (PCs), which are generated primarily in germinal centres (GCs). Although many factors are essential in this process, those that specifically govern B cell fate are not fully understood. The provision of T cell help to B cells is key in GC B cell fate determination, and it has become clear recently that this help involves more than direct cell-cell interactions. Recently, the cytokine interleukin (IL)-21 has been identified as a key factor that can modulate the processes within GCs and directly influence B cell fate. In this review, we examine the roles of GC cytokines in the context of cell differentiation.
    Trends in Immunology 05/2012; 33(6):281-8. · 9.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: T follicular helper cells (Tfh cells) localize to follicles where they provide growth and selection signals to mutated germinal center (GC) B cells, thus promoting their differentiation into high affinity long-lived plasma cells and memory B cells. T-dependent B cell differentiation also occurs extrafollicularly, giving rise to unmutated plasma cells that are important for early protection against microbial infections. Bcl-6 expression in T cells has been shown to be essential for the formation of Tfh cells and GC B cells, but little is known about its requirement in physiological extrafollicular antibody responses. We use several mouse models in which extrafollicular plasma cells can be unequivocally distinguished from those of GC origin, combined with antigen-specific T and B cells, to show that the absence of T cell-expressed Bcl-6 significantly reduces T-dependent extrafollicular antibody responses. Bcl-6(+) T cells appear at the T-B border soon after T cell priming and before GC formation, and these cells express low amounts of PD-1. Their appearance precedes that of Bcl-6(+) PD-1(hi) T cells, which are found within the GC. IL-21 acts early to promote both follicular and extrafollicular antibody responses. In conclusion, Bcl-6(+) T cells are necessary at B cell priming to form extrafollicular antibody responses, and these pre-GC Tfh cells can be distinguished phenotypically from GC Tfh cells.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 06/2011; 208(7):1377-88. · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow produce memory antibodies that provide immune protection persisting for decades after infection or vaccination but can also contribute to autoimmune and allergic diseases. However, the composition of the microenvironmental niches that are important for the generation and maintenance of these cells is only poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that, within the bone marrow, plasma cells interact with the platelet precursors (megakaryocytes), which produce the prominent plasma cell survival factors APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand) and IL-6 (interleukin-6). Accordingly, reduced numbers of immature and mature plasma cells are found in the bone marrow of mice deficient for the thrombopoietin receptor (c-mpl) that show impaired megakaryopoiesis. After immunization, accumulation of antigen-specific plasma cells in the bone marrow is disturbed in these mice. Vice versa, injection of thrombopoietin allows the accumulation and persistence of a larger number of plasma cells generated in the course of a specific immune response in wild-type mice. These results demonstrate that megakaryocytes constitute an important component of the niche for long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow.
    Blood 09/2010; 116(11):1867-75. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Germinal centers (GCs) are sites of B cell proliferation, somatic hypermutation, and selection of variants with improved affinity for antigen. Long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells are also generated in GCs, although how B cell differentiation in GCs is regulated is unclear. IL-21, secreted by T follicular helper cells, is important for adaptive immune responses, although there are conflicting reports on its target cells and mode of action in vivo. We show that the absence of IL-21 signaling profoundly affects the B cell response to protein antigen, reducing splenic and bone marrow plasma cell formation and GC persistence and function, influencing their proliferation, transition into memory B cells, and affinity maturation. Using bone marrow chimeras, we show that these activities are primarily a result of CD3-expressing cells producing IL-21 that acts directly on B cells. Molecularly, IL-21 maintains expression of Bcl-6 in GC B cells. The absence of IL-21 or IL-21 receptor does not abrogate the appearance of T cells in GCs or the appearance of CD4 T cells with a follicular helper phenotype. IL-21 thus controls fate choices of GC B cells directly.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 02/2010; 207(2):365-78. · 13.21 Impact Factor