[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Semi-invariant NKT cells are thymus-derived innate-like lymphocytes that modulate microbial and tumor immunity as well as autoimmune diseases. These immunoregulatory properties of NKT cells are acquired during their development. Much has been learned regarding the molecular and cellular cues that promote NKT cell development, yet how these cells are maintained in the thymus and the periphery and how they acquire functional competence are incompletely understood. We found that IL-15 induced several Bcl-2 family survival factors in thymic and splenic NKT cells in vitro. Yet, IL-15-mediated thymic and peripheral NKT cell survival critically depended on Bcl-x(L) expression. Additionally, IL-15 regulated thymic developmental stage 2 to stage 3 lineage progression and terminal NKT cell differentiation. Global gene expression analyses and validation revealed that IL-15 regulated Tbx21 (T-bet) expression in thymic NKT cells. The loss of IL-15 also resulted in poor expression of key effector molecules such as IFN-γ, granzyme A and C, as well as several NK cell receptors, which are also regulated by T-bet in NKT cells. Taken together, our findings reveal a critical role for IL-15 in NKT cell survival, which is mediated by Bcl-x(L), and effector differentiation, which is consistent with a role of T-bet in regulating terminal maturation.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2011; 187(12):6335-45. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell-derived cytokines have important functions in inflammation, host defense, and immunoregulation. Yet, when and how iNKT cells undergo effector differentiation, which endows them with the capacity to rapidly secrete cytokines upon activation, remains unknown. We discovered that granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (Csf-2)-deficient mice developed iNKT cells that failed to respond to the model antigen alpha-galactosylceramide because of an intrinsic defect in the fusion of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane. Exogenous Csf-2 corrected the functional defect only when supplied during the development of thymic, but not mature, splenic Csf-2-deficient iNKT cells. Thus, we ascribe a unique function to Csf-2, which regulates iNKT cell effector differentiation during development by a mechanism that renders them competent for cytokine secretion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invariant natural T (iNKT) cells are innate lymphocytes that recognize CD1d-restricted lipid antigens and have immunoregulatory properties. Human and mouse CD1d-restricted glycolipid antigen(s) and the iNKT cell functions they elicit are highly conserved, whereby, making the mouse an excellent animal model for understanding iNKT cell biology in vivo. This unit describes basic methods for the characterization and quantification (see Basic Protocol 1) and functional analysis of murine iNKT cells in vivo or in vitro (see Basic Protocols 2, 3, and 4). This unit also contains protocols that describe enrichment of iNKT cells (see Support Protocol 1), generation of CD1d-tetramer (see Support Protocol 2), and lipid antigen loading on cell-bound (see Support Protocol 3) or soluble (see Support Protocol 3) CD1d.
Current protocols in immunology / edited by John E. Coligan ... [et al.] 08/2006; Chapter 14:Unit 14.13.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have accelerated atherosclerosis. The underlying mechanisms are poorly understood, and investigations have been hampered by the absence of animal models that reflect the human condition of generalized atherosclerosis and lupus. We addressed this problem by transferring lupus susceptibility to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-deficient (LDLr-/-) mice, an established model of atherosclerosis, creating radiation chimeras with NZM2410-derived, lupus-susceptible, B6.Sle1.2.3 congenic or C57BL/6 control donors (LDLr.Sle and LDLr.B6, respectively). LDLr.Sle mice developed a lupus-like disease characterized by production of double-stranded DNA autoantibodies and renal disease. When fed a Western-type diet, LDLr.Sle chimeras had increased mortality and atherosclerotic lesions. The plaques of LDLr.Sle mice were highly inflammatory and contained more CD3+ T cells than controls. LDLr.Sle mice also had increased activation of CD4+ T and B cells and significantly higher antibody to oxidized LDL and cardiolipin. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that the lupus-susceptible immune system enhances atherogenesis and modulates plaque composition.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2006; 103(18):7018-23. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Va14Ja18 natural T (iNKT) cells are innate, immunoregulatory lymphocytes that recognize CD1d-restricted lipid Ags such as alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha GalCer). The immunoregulatory functions of iNKT cells are dependent upon either IFN-gamma or IL-4 production by these cells. We hypothesized that alpha GalCer presentation by different CD1d-positive cell types elicits distinct iNKT cell functions. In this study we report that dendritic cells (DC) play a critical role in alpha GalCer-mediated activation of iNKT cells and subsequent transactivation of NK cells. Remarkably, B lymphocytes suppress DC-mediated iNKT and NK cell activation. Nevertheless, alpha GalCer presentation by B cells elicits low IL-4 responses from iNKT cells. This finding is particularly interesting because we demonstrate that NOD DC are defective in eliciting iNKT cell function, but their B cells preferentially activate this T cell subset to secrete low levels of IL-4. Thus, the differential immune outcome based on the type of APC that displays glycolipid Ags in vivo has implications for the design of therapies that harness the immunoregulatory functions of iNKT cells.
The Journal of Immunology 05/2005; 174(8):4696-705. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T lineage commitment occurs in a discrete, stage-specific manner during thymic ontogeny. Intrathymic precursor transfer experiments and the identification of CD4(+)8+ double-positive (DP), V alpha 14J alpha 18 natural T (iNKT) cells suggest that commitment to this lineage might occur at the DP stage. Nevertheless, this matter remains contentious because others failed to detect V alpha 14J alpha 18-positive iNKT cells that are CD4(+)8+. In resolution to this issue, we demonstrate that retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma (ROR gamma)0/0 thymi, which accumulate immature single-positive (ISP) thymocytes that precede the DP stage, do not rearrange V alpha 14-to-J alpha 18 gene segments, suggesting that this event occurs at a post-ISP stage. Mixed radiation bone marrow chimeras revealed that RORgamma functions in an iNKT cell lineage-specific manner. Further, introgression of a Bcl-x(L) transgene into ROR gamma(0/0) mice, which promotes survival and permits secondary rearrangements of distal V alpha and J alpha gene segments at the DP stage, rescues V alpha 14-to-J alpha 18 recombination. Similarly, introgression of a rearranged V alpha 14J alpha 18 transgene into ROR gamma(0/0) mice results in functional iNKT cells. Thus, our data support the "T cell receptor-instructive (mainstream precursor) model" of iNKT cell lineage specification where V alpha 14-to-J alpha 18 rearrangement, positive selection, and iNKT cell lineage commitment occur at or after the DP stage of ontogeny.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2005; 102(14):5114-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is a disease marked by lipid accumulation and inflammation. Recently, atherosclerosis has gained recognition as an autoimmune-type syndrome characterized by increased activation of the innate and acquired immune systems. Natural killer T (NKT) cells have characteristics of both conventional T cells and NK cells and recognize glycolipid antigens presented in association with CD1d molecules on antigen-presenting cells. The capacity of NKT cells to respond to lipid antigens and modulate innate and acquired immunity suggests that they may play a role in atherogenesis.
We examined the role of NKT cells in atherogenesis and how the atherosclerotic environment affects the NKT cell population itself. The data show that CD1d-deficiency in male apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(0)) mice results in reduction in atherosclerosis, and treatment of apoE(0) mice with alpha-galactosylceramide, a potent and specific NKT cell activator, results in a 2-fold increase in atherosclerosis. Interestingly, we demonstrate that alpha-galactosylceramide-induced interferon-gamma responses and numbers of NKT cells in apoE(0) mice show age-dependent qualitative and quantitative differences as compared with age-matched wild-type mice.
Collectively, these findings reveal that hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis have significant effects on NKT cell responses and that these cells are proatherogenic.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rapid and robust immunoregulatory cytokine response of Va14Ja18 natural T (iNKT) cells to glycolipid Ags determines their diverse functions. Unlike conventional T cells, iNKT lymphocyte ontogeny absolutely requires NF-kappa B signaling. However, the precise role of NF-kappa B in iNKT cell function and the identity of upstream signals that activate NF-kappa B in this T cell subset remain unknown. Using mice in which iNKT cell ontogeny has been rescued despite inhibition of NF-kappa B signaling, we demonstrate that iNKT cell function requires NF-kappa B in a lymphocyte-intrinsic manner. Furthermore, the ontogeny of functional iNKT cells requires signaling through protein kinase C theta, which is dispensable for conventional T lymphocyte development. The unique requirement of protein kinase C theta implies that signals emanating from the TCR activate NF-kappa B during iNKT cell development and function. Thus, we conclude that NF-kappa B signaling plays a crucial role at distinct levels of iNKT cell biology.
The Journal of Immunology 05/2004; 172(8):4667-71. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rapid and robust immunoregulatory cytokine response of Va14Ja18 natural T (iNKT) cells to glycolipid Ags determines their diverse functions. Unlike conventional T cells, iNKT lymphocyte ontogeny absolutely requires NF-κB signaling. However, the precise role of NF-κB in iNKT cell function and the identity of upstream signals that activate NF-κB in this T cell subset remain unknown. Using mice in which iNKT cell ontogeny has been rescued despite inhibition of NF-κB signaling, we demonstrate that iNKT cell function requires NF-κB in a lymphocyte-intrinsic manner. Furthermore, the ontogeny of functional iNKT cells requires signaling through protein kinase Cθ, which is dispensable for conventional T lymphocyte development. The unique requirement of protein kinase Cθ implies that signals emanating from the TCR activate NF-κB during iNKT cell development and function. Thus, we conclude that NF-κB signaling plays a crucial role at distinct levels of iNKT cell biology.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2004; 172(8):4667-4671. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ontogenetic, homeostatic, and functional deficiencies within immunoregulatory natural T (iNKT) lymphocytes underlie various inflammatory immune disorders including autoimmunity. Signaling events that control cell fate specification and molecular differentiation of iNKT cells are only partly understood. Here we demonstrate that these processes within iNKT cells require classical NF-kappaB signaling. Inhibition of NF-kappaB signaling blocks iNKT cell ontogeny at an immature stage and reveals an apparent, novel precursor in which negative selection occurs. Most importantly, this block occurs due to a lack of survival signals, as Bcl-x(L) overexpression rescues iNKT cell ontogeny. Maturation of immature iNKT cell precursors induces Bcl-2 expression, which is defective in the absence of NF-kappaB signaling. Bcl-x(L) overexpression also rescues this maturation-induced Bcl-2 expression. Thus, antiapoptotic signals relayed by NF-kappaB critically control cell fate specification and molecular differentiation of iNKT cells and, hence, reveal a novel role for such signals within the immune system.
The Journal of Immunology 03/2004; 172(4):2265-73. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The CD1 family consists of lipid antigen-presenting molecules, which include group I CD1a, CD1b, and CD1c and group II CD1d proteins. Topologically, they resemble the classical peptide antigen-presenting MHC molecules except that the large, exclusively nonpolar and hydrophobic, antigen-binding groove of CD1 has evolved to present cellular and pathogen-derived lipid antigens to specific T lymphocytes. As an approach to understanding the biochemical basis of lipid antigen presentation by CD1 molecules, we have characterized the natural ligands associated with mouse CD1d1 as well as human CD1b and CD1d molecules. We found that both group I and II CD1 molecules assemble with cellular phosphatidylinositol (PI), which contains heterogeneous fatty acyl chains. Further, this assembly occurs within the endoplasmic reticulum. Because the structures of the antigen-binding grooves of CD1a and CD1c closely resemble those of CD1b and CD1d, we conclude that the assembly of CD1 molecules with PI in the endoplasmic reticulum is evolutionarily conserved. These findings suggest that PI plays a chaperone-like role in CD1 assembly, possibly to preserve the integrity of the antigen-binding groove until CD1 binds antigenic lipids in the endocytic pathway.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2004; 101(4):1022-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Va14Ja18 natural T (iNKT) cells rapidly elicit a robust effector response to different glycolipid Ags, with distinct functional outcomes. Biochemical parameters controlling iNKT cell function are partly defined. However, the impact of iNKT cell receptor beta-chain repertoire and how alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) analogues induce distinct functional responses have remained elusive. Using altered glycolipid ligands, we discovered that the Vb repertoire of iNKT cells impacts recognition and Ag avidity, and that stimulation with suboptimal avidity Ag results in preferential expansion of high-affinity iNKT cells. iNKT cell proliferation and cytokine secretion, which correlate with iNKT cell receptor down-regulation, are induced within narrow biochemical thresholds. Multimers of CD1d1-alphaGalCer- and alphaGalCer analogue-loaded complexes demonstrate cooperative engagement of the Va14Ja18 iNKT cell receptor whose structure and/or organization appear distinct from conventional alphabeta TCR. Our findings demonstrate that iNKT cell functions are controlled by affinity thresholds for glycolipid Ags and reveal a novel property of their Ag receptor apparatus that may have an important role in iNKT cell activation.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2003; 171(9):4539-51. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD1d-restricted natural killer T (NKT) cells are a subset of regulatory T cells that react with glycolipid antigens. Although preclinical studies have effectively targeted NKT cells for immunotherapy, little is known regarding the early in vivo response of these cells to antigenic stimulation. We have analyzed the early response of NKT cells to glycolipid antigens and bacterial infection by using specific reagents for tracking these cells. Our results demonstrate dramatic in vivo expansion and surface phenotype alterations after NKT cell activation with alpha-galactosylceramide. In addition, we show significant NK1.1 down-modulation on NKT cells in the setting of oral Salmonella infection. Our results indicate that in vivo activation of NKT cells leads to a dynamic response characterized by surface receptor down-modulation and expansion. These findings alter current understanding of NKT cell biology and should aid in the rational design of NKT cell-based immunotherapies.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2003; 100(19):10913-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inducible protection from apoptosis in vivo controls the size of cell populations. An important question in this respect is how differentiation affects mechanisms of apoptosis regulation. Among mature T lymphocytes, the NF-kappaB/Rel transcription factors are coupled to receptors that control cell population sizes by concurrently regulating survival and multiplication. In the present study, we used a transgenic inhibitor of NF-kappaB/Rel signaling to investigate the role of this pathway in proliferation and death of mature T cells in vivo. The results indicate that NF-kappaB integrates two critical yet distinct molecular pathways preventing apoptosis affected by the death receptor Fas, coordinately regulating levels of FLIP and Bcl-x(L) in primary T cells. Surprisingly, NF-kappaB blockade preferentially impacted naive as compared to memory T cells. The Fas/FasL pathway was linked to these findings by evidence that the abnormalities imposed by NF-kappaB inhibition were ameliorated by Fas deficiency, particularly for the CD4(+) lineage. Moreover, levels of an inhibitor of Fas-mediated apoptosis, c-FLIP, were diminished in cells expressing the transgenic inhibitor. NF-kappaB was also linked to T cell survival in vivo by mediating induction of Bcl-x(L): restoration of Bcl-x(L) levels reversed the preferential deficit of naive T cells, differentially impacting the CD4 and CD8 subsets. These results show that promoting survival and effective multiplication are central roles for NF-kappaB in T lymphoid homeostasis in vivo, but this effect and its underlying mechanisms are influenced by the developmental state of the lymphocyte.
Cell Death and Differentiation 10/2003; 10(9):1032-44. · 8.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease that is accompanied by the emergence of autoreactive T cells and a reduction in regulatory T cells. Humans and mice with SLE have reduced numbers of CD1d-restricted NK T cells, suggesting a role for these cells in the regulation of SLE. In this study, we show that CD1d deficiency exacerbates lupus nephritis induced by the hydrocarbon oil pristane. This exacerbation in disease is associated with: 1) reduced TNF-alpha and IL-4 production by T cells, especially during the disease induction phase; and 2) expansion of marginal zone B cells. Strikingly, inoculation of pristane in wild-type mice resulted in reduced numbers and/or functions of NK T cells and CD1d-expressing dendritic cells. These findings suggest that CD1d may play an immunoregulatory role in the development of lupus in the pristane-induced model.
The Journal of Immunology 09/2003; 171(4):2142-53. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer T (NKT) cells express a highly conserved T-cell receptor (TCR) and recognize glycolipids in the context of CD1d molecules. We recently demonstrated that CD4+ NKT cells are highly susceptible to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and are selectively depleted in HIV-infected individuals. Here, we identified macaque NKT cells using CD1d tetramers and human Valpha24 antibodies. Similar to human NKT cells, alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer)-pulsed dendritic cells activate and expand macaque NKT cells. Upon restimulation with alpha-GalCer-pulsed CD1d(+) cells, macaque NKT cells secreted high levels of cytokines, a characteristic of these T cells. Remarkably, the majority of resting and activated macaque NKT cells expressed CD8, and a smaller portion expressed CD4. Macaque NKT cells also expressed the HIV-1/simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) coreceptor CCR5, and the CD4+ subset was susceptible to SIV infection. Identification of macaque NKT cells has major implications for delineating the role of these cells in nonhuman primate disease models of HIV as well as other pathological conditions, such as allograft rejection and autoimmunity.
Journal of Virology 08/2003; 77(14):8153-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, a model for type I diabetes (TID), have reduced numbers of invariant V alpha 14J alpha 18 TCR alpha-chain-positive natural T (iNKT) cells that do not release IL-4 in response to in vivo activation through their Ag receptor. The deficit in iNKT cell number and function is implicated in immune dysregulation and the etiology of TID. Therefore, we reasoned that the genetic determinant(s) that controls iNKT cell number and function might lie within Idd (insulin-dependent diabetes susceptibility locus) regions, which are known to contain TID resistance or susceptibility genes. A systematic analysis of iNKT cell number and function in Idd congenic mice revealed that neither iNKT cell number nor their inability to rapidly secrete IL-4 in response to acute in vivo activation by Ag underlies the mechanism of protection from diabetes in Idd congenic mice. Moreover, the regulation of iNKT cell number and function appears to be under the control of several genes. The most notable of these map to the Idd4, Idd5, Idd9.1, and Idd13 regions of the mouse genome. Together these findings provide a clue to the genetic mechanism(s) underlying iNKT cell deficiency in NOD mice.
The Journal of Immunology 07/2003; 170(11):5429-37. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review attempts to illuminate the glycolipid antigen presentation properties of CD1d, how CD1d controls the function of natural T (iNKT) cells and how CD1d and iNKT cells interact to jump-start the immune system. It is postulated that the CD1d-iNKT cell system functions as a sensor, sensing alterations in cellular lipid content by virtue of its affinity for such ligands. The presentation of a neo-self glycolipid, presumably by infectious assault of antigen-presenting cells, activates iNKT cells, which promptly release pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines and jump-start the immune system.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Minor histocompatibility (H) Ag disparities result in graft-vs-host disease and chronic solid allograft rejection in MHC-identical donor-recipient combinations. Minor H Ags are self protein-derived peptides presented by MHC class I molecules. Most arise as a consequence of allelic variation in the bound peptide (p) that results in TCR recognizing the p/MHC as foreign. We used a combinational peptide screening approach to identify the immune dominant H2K(b)-restricted epitope defining the mouse H4(b) minor H Ag. H4(b) is a consequence of a P3 threonine to isoleucine change in the MHC-bound peptide derived from epithelial membrane protein-3. This allelic variation also leads to phosphorylation of the H4(b) but not the H4(a) epitope. Further, ex vivo CD8(+) T lymphocytes bind phosphorylated Ag tetramers with high efficiency. Although we document the above process in the minor H Ag system, posttranslational modifications made possible by subtle amino acid changes could also contribute to immunogenicity and immune dominance in tumor immunotherapeutic settings.
The Journal of Immunology 06/2003; 170(10):5133-42. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a unique immunoregulatory T cell population that is positively selected by CD1d-expressing thymocytes. Previous studies have shown that NKT cells exhibit autoreactivity, which raises the question of whether they are subject to negative selection. Here, we report that the addition of agonist glycolipid alpha-galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer) to a fetal thymic organ culture (FTOC) induces a dose-dependent disappearance of NKT cells, suggesting that NKT cells are susceptible to negative selection. Overexpression of CD1d in transgenic (Tg) mice results in reduced numbers of NKT cells, and the residual NKT cells in CD1d-Tg mice exhibit both an altered Vbeta usage and a reduced sensitivity to antigen. Furthermore, bone marrow (BM) chimeras between Tg and WT mice reveal that CD1d-expressing BM-derived dendritic cells, but not thymic epithelial cells, mediate the efficient negative selection of NKT cells. Thus, our data suggest that NKT cells developmentally undergo negative selection when engaged by high-avidity antigen or abundant self-antigen.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 05/2003; 197(7):907-18. · 13.21 Impact Factor