[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study employed mass sequencing of small RNA libraries to identify the repertoire of small noncoding RNAs expressed in normal CD4+ T-cells compared to cells transformed with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). Results revealed distinct patterns of microRNA expression in HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T-cell lines with respect to their normal counterparts. In addition, a search for viral-encoded microRNAs yielded 2 sequences that originated from the plus strand of the HTLV-1 genome. Several sequences derived from tRNAs were expressed at substantial levels in both uninfected and infected cells. One of the most abundant tRNA fragments (tRF-3019) was derived from the 3' end of tRNA-proline. tRF-3019 exhibited perfect sequence complementarity to the primer binding site of HTLV-1. Results of an in vitro reverse transcriptase assay verified that tRF-3019 was capable of priming HTLV-1 reverse transcriptase. Both tRNA-proline and tRF-3019 were detected in virus particles isolated from HTLV-1-infected cells. These findings suggest that tRF-3019 may play an important role in priming HTLV-1 reverse transcription and could thus represent a novel target to control HTLV-1 infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Under many inflammatory contexts, such as tumor progression, systemic and peripheral immune response is tailored by reactive nitrogen species (RNS)-dependent post-translational modifications, suggesting a biological function for these chemical alterations. RNS modify both soluble factors and receptors essential to induce and maintain a tumor-specific immune response, creating a "chemical barrier" that impairs effector T cell infiltration and functionality in tumor microenvironment and supports the escape phase of cancer. RNS generation during tumor growth mainly depends on nitric oxide production by both tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells that constitutively activate essential metabolic pathways of l-arginine catabolism. This review provides an overview of the potential immunological and biological role of RNS-induced modifications and addresses new approaches targeting RNS either in search of novel biomarkers or to improve anti-cancer treatment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spleen is the main filter for blood-borne pathogens and antigens, as well as a key organ for iron metabolism and erythrocyte homeostasis. Also, immune and hematopoietic functions have been recently unveiled for the mouse spleen, suggesting additional roles for this secondary lymphoid organ. Here we discuss the integration of the spleen in the regulation of immune responses locally and in the whole body and present the relevance of findings for our understanding of inflammatory and degenerative diseases and their treatments. We consider whether equivalent activities in humans are known, as well as initial therapeutic attempts to target the spleen for modulating innate and adaptive immunity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor progression is accompanied by an altered myelopoiesis causing the accumulation of immunosuppressive cells. Here, we showed that miR-142-3p downregulation promoted macrophage differentiation and determined the acquisition of their immunosuppressive function in tumor. Tumor-released cytokines signaling through gp130, the common subunit of the interleukin-6 cytokine receptor family, induced the LAP(∗) isoform of C/EBPβ transcription factor, promoting macrophage generation. miR-142-3p downregulated gp130 by canonical binding to its messenger RNA (mRNA) 3' UTR and repressed C/EBPβ LAP(∗) by noncanonical binding to its 5' mRNA coding sequence. Enforced miR expression impaired macrophage differentiation both in vitro and in vivo. Mice constitutively expressing miR-142-3p in the bone marrow showed a marked increase in survival following immunotherapy with tumor-specific T lymphocytes. By modulating a specific miR in bone marrow precursors, we thus demonstrated the feasibility of altering tumor-induced macrophage differentiation as a potent tool to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite extensive ex vivo investigation, the spatiotemporal organization of immune cells interacting with virus-infected cells in tissues remains uncertain. To address this, we used intravital multiphoton microscopy to visualize immune cell interactions with virus-infected cells following epicutaneous vaccinia virus (VV) infection of mice. VV infects keratinocytes in epidermal foci and numerous migratory dermal inflammatory monocytes that outlie the foci. We observed Ly6G(+) innate immune cells infiltrating and controlling foci, while CD8(+) T cells remained on the periphery killing infected monocytes. Most antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells in the skin did not interact with virus-infected cells. Blocking the generation of reactive nitrogen species relocated CD8(+) T cells into foci, modestly reducing viral titers. Depletion of Ly6G(+) and CD8(+) cells dramatically increased viral titers, consistent with their synergistic but spatially segregated viral clearance activities. These findings highlight previously unappreciated differences in the anatomic specialization of antiviral immune cell subsets.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumors frequently induce immature myeloid cells (iMC), which suppress specific and unrelated cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses and are termed myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC). Mainly analyzed by in vitro assays in tumor transplantation models, little is known about their function in autochthonous tumor models in vivo. We analyzed iMC in three SV40 large T (Tag)-driven conditional autochthonous cancer models with drastically different immune status: 1. Early Tag-specific CTL competence and rare stochastic Tag activation leading to sporadic cancer, which induces an aberrant immune response and CTL tolerance. 2. Cre/LoxP recombinase-mediated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in neonatal Tag-tolerant mice. 3. Tag-activation through Cre recombinase-encoding viruses in the liver and HCC development with systemic anti-Tag CTL immunity. In the first but not the two latter models, tumors induced CTL hypo-responsiveness to tumor unrelated antigens. Regardless of the model, tumors produced IL-6 and VEGF but not GM-CSF and induced iMC (CD11b(+)Gr-1(int)) that suppressed CTL responses in vitro. None of the iMC from the different tumor models suppressed CTL responses in adoptive cell transfer experiments, unless GM-CSF was provided in vivo. Together, iMC expand independent of the type of anti-tumor response and are not immune-suppressive in a cell-autonomous fashion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a genetically heterogeneous clonal disorder characterized by two molecularly distinct self-renewing leukemic stem cell (LSC) populations most closely related to normal progenitors and organized as a hierarchy. A requirement for WNT/β-catenin signaling in the pathogenesis of AML has recently been suggested by a mouse model. However, its relationship to a specific molecular function promoting retention of self-renewing leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) in human remains elusive. To identify transcriptional programs involved in the maintenance of a self-renewing state in LICs, we performed the expression profiling in normal (n = 10) and leukemic (n = 33) human long-term reconstituting AC133(+) cells, which represent an expanded cell population in most AML patients. This study reveals the ligand-dependent WNT pathway activation in AC133(bright) AML cells and shows a diffuse expression and release of WNT10B, a hematopoietic stem cell regenerative-associated molecule. The establishment of a primary AC133(+) AML cell culture (A46) demonstrated that leukemia cells synthesize and secrete WNT ligands, increasing the levels of dephosphorylated β-catenin in vivo. We tested the LSC functional activity in AC133(+) cells and found significant levels of engraftment upon transplantation of A46 cells into irradiated Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice. Owing to the link between hematopoietic regeneration and developmental signaling, we transplanted A46 cells into developing zebrafish. This system revealed the formation of ectopic structures by activating dorsal organizer markers that act downstream of the WNT pathway. In conclusion, our findings suggest that AC133(bright) LSCs are promoted by misappropriating homeostatic WNT programs that control hematopoietic regeneration.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 12/2012; 14(12):1236-2124. · 5.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral tolerance to tumor antigens (Ags) is a major hurdle for antitumor immunity. Draining lymph nodes are considered the privileged sites for Ag presentation to T cells and for the onset of peripheral tolerance. Here, we show that the spleen is fundamentally important for tumor-induced tolerance. Splenectomy restores lymphocyte function and induces tumor regression when coupled with immunotherapy. Splenic CD11b(+)Gr-1(int)Ly6C(hi) cells, mostly comprising proliferating CCR2(+)-inflammatory monocytes with features of myeloid progenitors, expand in the marginal zone of the spleen. Here, they alter the normal tissue cytoarchitecture and closely associate with memory CD8(+) T cells, cross-presenting tumor Ags and causing their tolerization. Because of its high proliferative potential, this myeloid cell subset is also susceptible to low-dose chemotherapy, which can be exploited as an adjuvant to passive immunotherapy. CCL2 serum levels in cancer patients are directly related to the accumulation of immature myeloid cells and are predictive for overall survival in patients who develop a multipeptide response to cancer vaccines.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Suppression of tumour-specific T-cell functions by myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) is a dominant mechanism of tumour escape. MDSCs express two enzymes, i.e. inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and arginase (ARG1), which metabolize the semi-essential amino acid l-arginine (l-Arg) whose bioavailability is crucial for T-cell proliferation and functions. Recently, we showed that glutaminolysis supports MDSC maturation process by ensuring the supply of intermediates and energy. In this work, we used an immortalized cell line derived from mouse MDSCs (MSC-1 cell line) to further investigate the role of l-glutamine (l-Gln) in the maintenance of MDSC immunosuppressive activity. Culturing MSC-1 cells in l-Gln-limited medium inhibited iNOS activity, while ARG1 was not affected. MSC-1 cells inhibited Jukat cell growth without any noticeable effect on their viability. The characterization of MSC-1 cell metabolic profile revealed that l-Gln is an important precursor of lactate production via the NADP(+)-dependent malic enzyme, which co-produces NADPH. Moreover, the TCA cycle activity was down-regulated in the absence of l-Gln and the cell bioenergetic status was deteriorated accordingly. This strongly suggests that iNOS activity, but not that of ARG1, is related to an enhanced central carbon metabolism and a high bioenergetic status. Taken altogether, our results suggest that the control of glutaminolysis fluxes may represent a valuable target for immunotherapy.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2012; 425(4):724-9. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMA901 is the first therapeutic vaccine for renal cell cancer (RCC) consisting of multiple tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) confirmed to be naturally presented in human cancer tissue. We treated a total of 96 human leukocyte antigen A (HLA-A)*02(+) subjects with advanced RCC with IMA901 in two consecutive studies. In the phase 1 study, the T cell responses of the patients to multiple TUMAPs were associated with better disease control and lower numbers of prevaccine forkhead box P3 (FOXP3)(+) regulatory T (T(reg)) cells. The randomized phase 2 trial showed that a single dose of cyclophosphamide reduced the number of T(reg) cells and confirmed that immune responses to multiple TUMAPs were associated with longer overall survival. Furthermore, among six predefined populations of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, two were prognostic for overall survival, and among over 300 serum biomarkers, we identified apolipoprotein A-I (APOA1) and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 17 (CCL17) as being predictive for both immune response to IMA901 and overall survival. A randomized phase 3 study to determine the clinical benefit of treatment with IMA901 is ongoing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumor microenvironment contains a vast array of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines that alter myelopoiesis and lead to the maturation of immunosuppressive cells known as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Incubating bone marrow (BM) precursors with a combination of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) generated a tumor-infiltrating MDSC-like population that impaired anti-tumor specific T-cell functions. This in vitro experimental approach was used to simulate MDSC maturation, and the cellular metabolic response was then monitored. A complementary experimental model that inhibited L-arginine (L-Arg) metabolizing enzymes in MSC-1 cells, an immortalized cell line derived from primary MDSCs, was used to study the metabolic events related to immunosuppression.
Exposure of BM cells to GM-CSF and IL-6 activated, within 24 h, L-Arg metabolizing enzymes which are responsible for the MDSCs immunosuppressive potential. This was accompanied by an increased uptake of L-glutamine (L-Gln) and glucose, the latter being metabolized by anaerobic glycolysis. The up-regulation of nutrient uptake lead to the accumulation of TCA cycle intermediates and lactate as well as the endogenous synthesis of L-Arg and the production of energy-rich nucleotides. Moreover, inhibition of L-Arg metabolism in MSC-1 cells down-regulated central carbon metabolism activity, including glycolysis, glutaminolysis and TCA cycle activity, and led to a deterioration of cell bioenergetic status. The simultaneous increase of cell specific concentrations of ATP and a decrease in ATP-to-ADP ratio in BM-derived MDSCs suggested cells were metabolically active during maturation. Moreover, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was activated during MDSC maturation in GM-CSF and IL-6-treated cultures, as revealed by the continuous increase of AMP-to-ATP ratios and the phosphorylation of AMPK. Likewise, AMPK activity was decreased in MSC-1 cells when L-Arg metabolizing enzymes were inhibited. Finally, inhibition of AMPK activity by the specific inhibitor Compound C (Comp-C) resulted in the inhibition of L-Arg metabolizing enzyme activity and abolished MDSCs immunosuppressive activity.
We anticipate that the inhibition of AMPK and the control of metabolic fluxes may be considered as a novel therapeutic target for the recovery of the immunosurveillance process in cancer-bearing hosts.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Innate and adaptive immune cells can intervene during tumor progression at different stages including initiation, angiogenesis, local spreading and distant metastasis formation. The net effect can be favorable or detrimental to tumor development, depending on the composition and activation status of the immune infiltrate. Chemokines can determine the distribution of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment and also affect stroma composition. Here we consider how a complex network of chemokines plays a key role in dictating the fate of a tumor. Although the field is in its infancy, we also highlight how targeting chemokines offers a tool to modulate the tumor environment with the aim of enhancing immune-mediated rejection of cancer.
Trends in Immunology 06/2012; 33(10):496-504. · 9.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major advances in dissecting mechanisms of NO-induced down-regulation of the anti-tumour specific T-cell function have been accomplished during the last decade. In this work, we studied the effects of a NO donor (AT38) on leukaemic Jurkat cell bioenergetics. Culturing Jurkat cells in the presence of AT38 triggered irreversible inhibition of cell respiration, led to the depletion of 50% of the intracellular ATP content and induced the arrest of cell proliferation and the loss of cell viability. Although a deterioration of the overall metabolic activity has been observed, glycolysis was stimulated, as revealed by the increase of glucose uptake and lactate accumulation rates as well as by the up-regulation of GLUT-1 and PFK-1 mRNA levels. In the presence of NO, cell ATP was rapidly consumed by energy-requiring apoptosis mechanisms; under a glucose concentration of about 12.7mM, cell death was switched from apoptosis into necrosis. Exposure of Jurkat cells to DMSO (1%, v/v), SA and AT55, the non-NO releasing moiety of AT38, failed to modulate neither cell proliferation nor bioenergetics. Thus, as for all NSAIDs, beneficial effects of AT38 on tumour regression are accompanied by the suppression of the immune system. We then showed that pre-treating Jurkat cells with low concentration of cyclosporine A, a blocker of the mitochondrial transition pore, attenuates AT38-induced inhibition of cell proliferation and suppresses cell death. Finally, we have studied and compared the effects of nitrite and nitrate on Jurkat cells to those of NO and we are providing evidence that nitrate, which is considered as a biologically inert anion, has a concentration and time-dependent immunosuppressive potential.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We described a novel tumor-associated immunosuppressive mechanism based on post-translational modifications of chemokines by reactive nitrogen species (RNS). To overcome tumor immunosuppressive hindrances, we designed and developed a new drug, AT38, that inhibits RNS generation at the tumor site. Combinatorial approaches with AT38 boost the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy protocols.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) represent a heterogenous collection of immature myeloid cells endowed with suppressive function on the immune response. Their presence has been extensively investigated in preclinical models, especially in the context of cancer. One of the major obstacles in their accurate identification has been the definition of an unambiguous phenotype, shared between mice and humans, and clearly correlating with their suppressive function. In this paper, we review the literature concerning the phenotype in mouse and in humans, showing that at least 2 subsets of MDSCs are present under different situations. We also address the role of MDSCs in tumor progression, evaluate the prognostic significance of MDSC in cancer patients, and their possible role as marker of clinical outcome and response to therapy. Finally, we examine the strategies designed to modulate MDSCs in cancer patients, which might represent an innovative approach to enhance the effectiveness of immune-based therapies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myeloid cells are the most abundant nucleated haematopoietic cells in the human body and are a collection of distinct cell populations with many diverse functions. The three groups of terminally differentiated myeloid cells - macrophages, dendritic cells and granulocytes - are essential for the normal function of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Mounting evidence indicates that the tumour microenvironment alters myeloid cells and can convert them into potent immunosuppressive cells. Here, we consider myeloid cells as an intricately connected, complex, single system and we focus on how tumours manipulate the myeloid system to evade the host immune response.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor-promoted constraints negatively affect cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) trafficking to the tumor core and, as a result, inhibit tumor killing. The production of reactive nitrogen species (RNS) within the tumor microenvironment has been reported in mouse and human cancers. We describe a novel RNS-dependent posttranslational modification of chemokines that has a profound impact on leukocyte recruitment to mouse and human tumors. Intratumoral RNS production induces CCL2 chemokine nitration and hinders T cell infiltration, resulting in the trapping of tumor-specific T cells in the stroma that surrounds cancer cells. Preconditioning of the tumor microenvironment with novel drugs that inhibit CCL2 modification facilitates CTL invasion of the tumor, suggesting that these drugs may be effective in cancer immunotherapy. Our results unveil an unexpected mechanism of tumor evasion and introduce new avenues for cancer immunotherapy.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 09/2011; 208(10):1949-62. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently demonstrated that human BM cells can be treated in vitro with defined growth factors to induce the rapid generation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), hereafter defined as BM-MDSCs. Indeed, combination of G-CSF + GM-CSF led to the development of a heterogeneous mixture of immature myeloid cells ranging from myeloblasts to band cells that were able to suppress alloantigen- and mitogen-stimulated T lymphocytes. Here, we further investigate the mechanism of suppression and define the cell subset that is fully responsible for BM-MDSC-mediated immune suppression. This population, which displays the structure and markers of promyelocytes, is however distinct from physiologic promyelocytes that, instead, are devoid of immuosuppressive function. In addition, we demonstrate that promyelocyte-like cells proliferate in the presence of activated lymphocytes and that, when these cells exert suppressive activity, they do not differentiate but rather maintain their immature phenotype. Finally, we show that promyelocyte-like BM-MDSCs are equivalent to MDSCs present in the blood of patients with breast cancer and patients with colorectal cancer and that increased circulating levels of these immunosuppressive myeloid cells correlate with worse prognosis and radiographic progression.