The T cell antigen receptor is functionally coupled to many kinases and adaptor proteins. Analysis of the spatiotemporal organization of the T cell antigen receptor signaling cascade suggests that adaptor-containing intracellular vesicles are essential for proper signal propagation.
Chronic inflammatory diseases represent a major challenge for both clinical research and patient care, and evidence indicates that these disorders develop as a result of complex gene-environment interactions. Better understanding of their cause-and-effect relationship is the basis for emerging proposals for therapy and prevention.
Pathogenic brucella bacteria have developed strategies to persist for prolonged periods of time in host cells, avoiding innate immune responses. Here we show that the cyclic beta-1,2-glucans (CbetaG) synthesized by brucella is important for circumventing host cell defenses. CbetaG acted in lipid rafts found on host cell membranes. CbetaG-deficient mutants failed to prevent phagosome-lysosome fusion and could not replicate. However, when treated with purified CbetaG or synthetic methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, the mutants were able to control vacuole maturation by avoiding lysosome fusion, and this allowed intracellular brucella to survive and reach the endoplasmic reticulum. Fusion between the endoplasmic reticulum and the brucella-containing vacuole depended on the brucella virulence type IV secretion system but not on CbetaG. Brucella CbetaG is thus a virulence factor that interacts with lipid rafts and contributes to pathogen survival.
Antigen receptor-mediated production of inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate (Ins(1,4,5)P3) in lymphocytes triggers the release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores; this release of Ca2+ results in the opening of store-operated Ca2+ channels in the plasma membrane. Here we report that mice lacking Ins(1,4,5)P3 3-kinase B (Itpkb), which converts Ins(1,4,5)P3 to inositol-1,3,4,5-tetrakisphosphate (Ins(1,3,4,5)P4), had impaired B lymphocyte development and defective immunoglobulin G3 antibody responses to a T lymphocyte-independent antigen. Itpkb-deficient B lymphocytes had the phenotypic and functional features of tolerant B lymphocytes and showed enhanced activity of store-operated Ca2+ channels after B lymphocyte receptor stimulation, which was reversed by the provision of exogenous Ins(1,3,4,5)P4. Our data identify Itpkb and its product Ins(1,3,4,5)P4 as inhibitors of store-operated Ca2+ channels and crucial regulators of B cell selection and activation.
Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (Ins(1,4,5)P(3)) is phosphorylated by Ins(1,4,5)P(3) 3-kinase, generating inositol 1,3,4,5-tetrakisphosphate (Ins(1,3,4,5)P(4)). The physiological function of Ins(1,3,4,5)P(4) is still unclear, but it has been reported to be a potential modulator of calcium mobilization. Disruption of the gene encoding the ubiquitously expressed Ins(1,4,5)P(3) 3-kinase isoform B (Itpkb) in mice caused a severe T cell deficiency due to major alterations in thymocyte responsiveness and selection. However, we were unable to detect substantial defects in Ins(1,4,5)P(3) amounts or calcium mobilization in Itpkb(-/-) thymocytes. These data indicate that Itpkb and Ins(1,3,4,5)P(4) define an essential signaling pathway for T cell precursor responsiveness and development.
Immune surveillance of mucosal surfaces requires the delivery of intact macromolecules and microorganisms across epithelial barriers to organized mucosal lymphoid tissues. Transport, processing and presentation of foreign antigens, as well as local induction and clonal expansion of antigen-specific effector lymphocytes, involves a close collaboration between organized lymphoid tissues and the specialized follicle-associated epithelium. M cells in the follicle-associated epithelium transport foreign macromolecules and microorganisms to antigen-presenting cells within and under the epithelial barrier. Determination of the earliest cellular interactions that occur in and under the follicle-associated epithelium could greatly facilitate the design of effective mucosal vaccines in the future.
Most tumor cells express antigens that can mediate recognition by host CD8(+) T cells. Cancers that are detected clinically must have evaded antitumor immune responses to grow progressively. Recent work has suggested two broad categories of tumor escape based on cellular and molecular characteristics of the tumor microenvironment. One major subset shows a T cell-inflamed phenotype consisting of infiltrating T cells, a broad chemokine profile and a type I interferon signature indicative of innate immune activation. These tumors appear to resist immune attack through the dominant inhibitory effects of immune system-suppressive pathways. The other major phenotype lacks this T cell-inflamed phenotype and appears to resist immune attack through immune system exclusion or ignorance. These two major phenotypes of tumor microenvironment may require distinct immunotherapeutic interventions for maximal therapeutic effect.
The T helper type 2 (T(H)2) locus control region is important in the regulation of the genes encoding the cytokines interleukins 4, 5 and 13. Using the chromosome conformation capture technique, we found that in T cells, natural killer cells, B cells and fibroblasts, the promoters for the genes encoding T(H)2 cytokines are located in close spatial proximity, forming an initial chromatin core configuration. In CD4(+) T cells and natural killer cells, but not B cells and fibroblasts, the T(H)2 locus control region participates in this configuration. The transcription factors GATA3 and STAT6 are essential for the establishment and/or maintenance of these interactions. Intrachromosomal interactions in the T(H)2 cytokine locus may form the basis for the coordinated transcriptional regulation of cytokine-encoding genes by the T(H)2 locus control region.
The potent tumoricidal activity of interleukin 12 (IL-12) is thought to be mediated by the activation and polarization of natural killer (NK) cells and T helper type 1 (T(H)1) cells, respectively. By systematic analysis of the IL-12-induced immune response to subcutaneous melanoma (B16), we found that tumor suppression was mediated independently of T lymphocytes or NK cells. IL-12 initiated local antitumor immunity by stimulating a subset of NKp46(+) lymphoid tissue-inducer (LTi) cells dependent on the transcription factor RORγt. The presence of these NKp46(+) LTi cells induced upregulation of adhesion molecules in the tumor vasculature and resulted in more leukocyte invasion. Thus, this innate cell type is responsive to IL-12 and is a powerful mediator of tumor suppression.
Differential splicing generates thousands of isoforms of the arthropod cell surface receptor Dscam. A new study explains the ability of these receptors to simultaneously generate homophilic and heterophilic interaction surfaces.
Expression of peripheral antigens in the thymus has been implicated in T cell tolerance and autoimmunity. Here we identified medullary thymic epithelial cells as being a unique cell type that expresses a diverse range of tissue-specific antigens. We found that this promiscuous gene expression was a cell-autonomous property of medullary epithelial cells and was maintained during the entire period of thymic T cell output. It may facilitate tolerance induction to self-antigens that would otherwise be temporally or spatially secluded from the immune system. However, the array of promiscuously expressed self-antigens appeared random rather than selected and was not confined to secluded self-antigens.
More than 20 years after the first successful engraftment of human leukocytes and hematopoietic organs in mice, scientists met for the 2nd International Workshop on Humanized Mice to discuss progress and to highlight expectations in this dynamic field.
Heterogeneous intracellular pathways and biochemical mechanisms are responsible for generating the glycoprotein complexes of peptide and major histocompatibility complex that are displayed on the surfaces of antigen-presenting cells for recognition by T lymphocytes. These pathways have a profound influence on the specificity of adaptive immunity and tolerance, as well as the context and consequences of antigen recognition by T cells in the thymus and periphery. The field of antigen processing and presentation has continued to advance since the publication of a focus issue on the topic in Nature Immunology in July 2004. Progress has been made on many fronts, including advances in understanding how proteases, accessory molecules and intracellular pathways influence peptide loading and antigen presentation in various cell types.
Lymphocyte antigen receptors are responsible for inducing the opposite responses of immunity or tolerance. How the correct polarity of antigen receptor signaling is encoded has been an enduring enigma. Here we summarize recent advances defining key scaffolding molecules, CARMA1 (also known as CARD11) and the Cbl family of ubiquitin ligases, required for either immunogenic or tolerogenic signaling by antigen receptors. These scaffolding proteins may determine the polarity of response to antigen by promoting assembly around antigen receptors of competing multiprotein signal complexes: immunosomes versus tolerosomes. Each of the factors that influence immunogenicity or tolerogenicity--stage of lymphocyte differentiation, concurrent engagement of inhibitory or costimulatory receptors, extent of receptor crosslinking, and prior antigen experience--may be integrated in lymphocytes through their capacity to influence the probability of assembling immunosomes versus tolerosomes.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV), measles and HIV are the main human pathogens known to induce immunosuppression. Unlike measles and HIV, and despite the availability of a well studied animal model, little is known about the mechanisms that control CMV-induced immunosuppression. We hypothesized that dendritic cells (DCs), which are crucial in generating and maintaining immune responses, represent a target for CMV and that the transient, but profound, immunosuppression that accompanies CMV infection results from viral interference with DC functions. Here we show that DCs were permissive to murine CMV infection. In addition, DC infection prevented delivery of the signals required for T cell activation. Thus, CMV-mediated impairment of DC function may be crucial for virally induced immunosuppression and interleukin 2 is implicated as a key factor.
Helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins are transcriptional regulators that control a wide variety of developmental pathways in both invertebrate and vertebrate organisms. Results obtained in the past decade have shown that HLH proteins also contribute to the development of lymphoid lineages. A subset of HLH proteins, the 'E proteins', seems to be particularly important for proper lymphoid development. Members of the E protein family include E12, E47, E2-2 and HEB. The E proteins contribute to B lineage- and T lineage-specific gene expression programs, regulate lymphocyte survival and cellular proliferation, activate the rearrangement of antigen receptor genes and control progression through critical developmental checkpoints. This review discusses HLH proteins in lymphocyte development and homeostasis.
Distinct CD4(+) T cell subsets are critical for host defense and immunoregulation. Although these subsets can act as terminally differentiated lineages, they have been increasingly noted to demonstrated plasticity. MicroRNAs are factors that control T cell stability and plasticity. Here we report that naturally occurring regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) had high expression of the microRNA miR-10a and that miR-10a was induced by retinoic acid and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in inducible T(reg) cells. By simultaneously targeting the transcriptional repressor Bcl-6 and the corepressor Ncor2, miR-10a attenuated the phenotypic conversion of inducible T(reg) cells into follicular helper T cells. We also found that miR-10a limited differentiation into the T(H)17 subset of helper T cells and therefore represents a factor that can fine-tune the plasticity and fate of helper T cells.
Acetylcholine and related neurotransmitters appeared with unicellular life forms, millions of years before innate immunity. Tools and insights are now available for understanding how the evolving nervous system influenced the development of immunity.
Defining where and in what form lymphocytes encounter antigen is fundamental to understanding how immune responses occur. Although knowledge of the recognition of antigen by CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells has advanced greatly, understanding of the dynamics of B cell-antigen encounters has lagged. With the application of advanced imaging approaches, encounters of this third kind are now being brought into focus. Multiple processes facilitate these encounters, from the filtering functions of lymphoid tissues and migration paths of B cells to the antigen-presenting properties of macrophages and follicular dendritic cells. This Review will discuss how these factors work together in the lymph node to ensure efficient and persistent exposure of B cells to diverse forms of antigen and thus effective triggering of the humoral response.
Human hematopoietic stem cells are of vital scientific and clinical importance. Using high resolution clonal analysis, Dick and colleagues shed important new light on the developmental behavior of these cells in the context of an in vivo model system.
Pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) elicit antiviral immune responses to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Here we show that HIV-1 required signaling by the PRRs Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) and DC-SIGN for replication in dendritic cells (DCs). HIV-1 activated the transcription factor NF-kappaB through TLR8 to initiate the transcription of integrated provirus by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). However, DC-SIGN signaling was required for the generation of full-length viral transcripts. Binding of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 to DC-SIGN induced kinase Raf-1-dependent phosphorylation of the NF-kappaB subunit p65 at Ser276, which recruited the transcription-elongation factor pTEF-b to nascent transcripts. Transcription elongation and generation of full-length viral transcripts was dependent on pTEF-b-mediated phosphorylation of RNAPII at Ser2. Inhibition of either pathway abrogated replication and prevented HIV-1 transmission. Thus, HIV-1 subverts crucial components of the immune system for replication that might be targeted to prevent infection and dissemination.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin 7 (IL-7)-like cytokine originally characterized by its ability to promote the activation of B cells and dendritic cells (DCs). Subsequent studies have shown that TSLP promotes T helper type 2 (TH2) cell responses associated with immunity to some helminth parasites and the pathogenesis of many inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis and asthma. This review will focus on recent findings indicating that in addition to influencing B cell and DC function, TSLP can promote TH2 cytokine-associated inflammation by directly promoting the effector functions of CD4+ TH2 cells, basophils and other granulocyte populations while simultaneously limiting the expression of DC-derived proinflammatory cytokines and promoting regulatory T cell responses in peripheral tissues.
The classical model of hematopoiesis posits the segregation of lymphoid and myeloid lineages as the earliest fate decision. The validity of this model in the mouse has been questioned; however, little is known about the lineage potential of human progenitors. Here we provide a comprehensive analysis of the human hematopoietic hierarchy by clonally mapping the developmental potential of seven progenitor classes from neonatal cord blood and adult bone marrow. Human multilymphoid progenitors, identified as a distinct population of Thy-1(neg-lo)CD45RA(+) cells in the CD34(+)CD38(-) stem cell compartment, gave rise to all lymphoid cell types, as well as monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells, which indicated that these myeloid lineages arise in early lymphoid lineage specification. Thus, as in the mouse, human hematopoiesis does not follow a rigid model of myeloid-lymphoid segregation.