[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While the human gut microbiota are suspected to produce diffusible small molecules that modulate host signaling pathways, few of these molecules have been identified. Species of Bacteroides and their relatives, which often comprise >50% of the gut community, are unusual among bacteria in that their membrane is rich in sphingolipids, a class of signaling molecules that play a key role in inducing apoptosis and modulating the host immune response. Although known for more than three decades, the full repertoire of Bacteroides sphingolipids has not been defined. Here, we use a combination of genetics and chemistry to identify the sphingolipids produced by Bacteroides fragilis NCTC 9343. We constructed a deletion mutant of BF2461, a putative serine palmitoyltransferase whose yeast homolog catalyzes the committed step in sphingolipid biosynthesis. We show that the Δ2461 mutant is sphingolipid deficient, enabling us to purify and solve the structures of three alkaline-stable lipids present in the wild-type strain but absent from the mutant. The first compound was the known sphingolipid ceramide phosphorylethanolamine, and the second was its corresponding dihydroceramide base. Unexpectedly, the third compound was the glycosphingolipid α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCerBf), which is structurally related to a sponge-derived sphingolipid (α-GalCer, KRN7000) that is the prototypical agonist of CD1d-restricted natural killer T (iNKT) cells. We demonstrate that α-GalCerBf has similar immunological properties to KRN7000: it binds to CD1d and activates both mouse and human iNKT cells both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, our study reveals BF2461 as the first known member of the Bacteroides sphingolipid pathway, and it indicates that the committed steps of the Bacteroides and eukaryotic sphingolipid pathways are identical. Moreover, our data suggest that some Bacteroides sphingolipids might influence host immune homeostasis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To protect the organism against autoimmunity, self-reactive effector/memory T cells (T(E/M)) are controlled by cell-intrinsic and -extrinsic regulatory mechanisms. However, how some T(E/M) cells escape regulation and cause autoimmune disease is currently not understood. Here we show that blocking IL-7 receptor-α (IL-7Rα) with monoclonal antibodies in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice prevented autoimmune diabetes and, importantly, reversed disease in new-onset diabetic mice. Surprisingly, IL-7-deprived diabetogenic T(E/M) cells remained present in the treated animals but showed increased expression of the inhibitory receptor Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) and reduced IFN-γ production. Conversely, IL-7 suppressed PD-1 expression on activated T cells in vitro. Adoptive transfer experiments revealed that T(E/M) cells from anti-IL-7Rα-treated mice had lost their pathogenic potential, indicating that absence of IL-7 signals induces cell-intrinsic tolerance. In addition to this mechanism, IL-7Rα blockade altered the balance of regulatory T cells and T(E/M) cells, hence promoting cell-extrinsic regulation and further increasing the threshold for diabetogenic T-cell activation. Our data demonstrate that IL-7 contributes to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes by enabling T(E/M) cells to remain in a functionally competent state and suggest IL-7Rα blockade as a therapy for established T-cell-dependent autoimmune diseases.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2012; 109(31):12668-73. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monoclonal anti-CD3 Abs have been used clinically for two decades to reverse steroid-resistant acute graft rejection. In autoimmune diabetes, short course treatment with FcR-nonbinding (FNB) anti-CD3 mAb in mice with recent onset of diabetes induces long-term disease remission. Induction of tolerogenic regulatory T cells (Tregs) has been implicated to be one of the mechanisms of action by FNB anti-CD3 mAb in these settings. In this study, we examined the effect of FNB anti-CD3 mAb treatment on the homeostasis of naive, effector, and regulatory T cells in vivo. Anti-CD3 treatment induced a transient systemic rise in the percentage but not absolute number of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs due to selective depletion of CD4(+)Foxp3(-) conventional T cells. T cell depletion induced by FNB anti-CD3 mAb was independent of the proapoptotic proteins Fas, caspase-3, and Bim and was not inhibited by overexpression of the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2. Tregs were not preferentially expanded and we found no evidence of conversion of conventional T cells into Tregs, suggesting that the pre-existing Tregs are resistant to anti-CD3-induced cell death. Interestingly, expression of the transcription factor Helios, which is expressed by thymus-derived natural Tregs, was increased in Tregs after FNB anti-CD3 mAb treatment, suggesting that the anti-CD3 treatment can alter, and potentially stabilize, Treg function. Taken together, the results suggest that FNB anti-CD3 therapy promotes tolerance by restoring the balance between pathogenic and regulatory T cells.
The Journal of Immunology 08/2011; 187(4):2015-22. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Positive and negative costimulation by members of the CD28 family is critical for the development of productive immune responses against foreign pathogens and their proper termination to prevent inflammation-induced tissue damage. In addition, costimulatory signals are critical for the establishment and maintenance of peripheral tolerance. This paradigm has been established in many animal models and has led to the development of immunotherapies targeting costimulation pathways for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune disease, and allograft rejection. During the last decade, the complexity of the biology of costimulatory pathways has greatly increased due to the realization that costimulation does not affect only effector T cells but also influences regulatory T cells and antigen-presenting cells. Thus, costimulation controls T-cell tolerance through both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. In this review, we discuss the influence of costimulation on intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of peripheral tolerance, with emphasis on members of the CD28 family, CD28, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), and programmed death-1 (PD-1), as well as the downstream cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-2).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse is a well-established mouse model of spontaneous type 1 diabetes, which is characterized by an autoimmune destruction of the insulin-secreting pancreatic beta-cells. In this study, we address the role of tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs) that form in the pancreas of NOD mice during disease progression.
We developed a model designed to "lock" lymphocytes in the pancreatic lymph node (PLN) and pancreas by the use of FTY720, which blocks the exit of lymphocytes from lymph nodes. A combination of flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, and analysis of clinical scores was used to study the effects of long-term FTY720 treatment on TLO development and development of diabetes.
Continuous treatment of NOD mice with FTY720 prevented diabetes development even at a time of significant insulitis. Treatment withdrawal led to accelerated disease independent of the PLN. Interestingly, naive T-cells trafficked to and proliferated in the TLOs. In addition, morphological changes were observed that occurred during the development of the disease. Remarkably, although the infiltrates are not organized into T/B-cell compartments in 8-week-old mice, by 20 weeks of age, and in age-matched mice undergoing FTY720 treatment, the infiltrates showed a high degree of organization. However, in naturally and FTY720-induced diabetic mice, T/B-cell compartmentalization was lost.
Our data show that TLOs are established during diabetes development and suggest that islet destruction is due to a loss of TLO integrity, which may be prevented by FTY720 treatment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been widely hypothesized that pancreatic islet infiltrates include both islet-antigen-specific and nonspecific T cells. In this issue of Immunity, Lennon et al. (2009) demonstrate that islet-antigen specificity is required for accumulation in the islets.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) are central to the maintenance of immune homeostasis. However, little is known about the stability of T(reg) cells in vivo. In this study, we demonstrate that a substantial percentage of cells had transient or unstable expression of the transcription factor Foxp3. These 'exFoxp3' T cells had an activated-memory T cell phenotype and produced inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, exFoxp3 cell numbers were higher in inflamed tissues in autoimmune conditions. Adoptive transfer of autoreactive exFoxp3 cells led to the rapid onset of diabetes. Finally, analysis of the T cell receptor repertoire suggested that exFoxp3 cells developed from both natural and adaptive T(reg) cells. Thus, the generation of potentially autoreactive effector T cells as a consequence of Foxp3 instability has important implications for understanding autoimmune disease pathogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dynamics of CD4(+) effector T cells (Teff cells) and CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg cells) during diabetes progression in nonobese diabetic mice was investigated to determine whether an imbalance of Treg cells and Teff cells contributes to the development of type 1 diabetes. Our results demonstrated a progressive decrease in the Treg cell:Teff cell ratio in inflamed islets but not in pancreatic lymph nodes. Intra-islet Treg cells expressed reduced amounts of CD25 and Bcl-2, suggesting that their decline was due to increased apoptosis. Additionally, administration of low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) promoted Treg cell survival and protected mice from developing diabetes. Together, these results suggest intra-islet Treg cell dysfunction secondary to defective IL-2 production is a root cause of the progressive breakdown of self-tolerance and the development of diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice.