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Concept: B cell

204

Background Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or follicular lymphoma that is refractory to or that relapses after immunochemotherapy and transplantation have a poor prognosis. High response rates have been reported with the use of T cells modified by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that target CD19 in B-cell cancers, although data regarding B-cell lymphomas are limited. Methods We used autologous T cells that express a CD19-directed CAR (CTL019) to treat patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or follicular lymphoma that had relapsed or was refractory to previous treatments. Patients were monitored for response to treatment, toxic effects, the expansion and persistence of CTL019 cells in vivo, and immune recovery. Results A total of 28 adult patients with lymphoma received CTL019 cells, and 18 of 28 had a response (64%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 44 to 81). Complete remission occurred in 6 of 14 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (43%; 95% CI, 18 to 71) and 10 of 14 patients with follicular lymphoma (71%; 95% CI, 42 to 92). CTL019 cells proliferated in vivo and were detectable in the blood and bone marrow of patients who had a response and patients who did not have a response. Sustained remissions were achieved, and at a median follow-up of 28.6 months, 86% of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who had a response (95% CI, 33 to 98) and 89% of patients with follicular lymphoma who had a response (95% CI, 43 to 98) had maintained the response. Severe cytokine-release syndrome occurred in 5 patients (18%). Serious encephalopathy occurred in 3 patients (11%); 2 cases were self-limiting and 1 case was fatal. All patients in complete remission by 6 months remained in remission at 7.7 to 37.9 months (median, 29.3 months) after induction, with a sustained reappearance of B cells in 8 of 16 patients and with improvement in levels of IgG in 4 of 10 patients and of IgM in 6 of 10 patients at 6 months or later and in levels of IgA in 3 of 10 patients at 18 months or later. Conclusions CTL019 cells can be effective in the treatment of relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. High rates of durable remission were observed, with recovery of B cells and immunoglobulins in some patients. Transient encephalopathy developed in approximately one in three patients and severe cytokine-release syndrome developed in one in five patients. (Funded by Novartis and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02030834 .).

Concepts: Follicular lymphoma, Major histocompatibility complex, Types of cancer, B-cell lymphoma, Protein, B cell, Immune system, Lymphoma

193

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against the N332 supersite of the HIV envelope (Env) trimer are the most common bnAbs induced during infection, making them promising leads for vaccine design. Wild-type Env glycoproteins lack detectable affinity for supersite-bnAb germline precursors and are therefore unsuitable immunogens to prime supersite-bnAb responses. We employed mammalian cell surface display to design stabilized Env trimers with affinity for germline-reverted precursors of PGT121-class supersite bnAbs. The trimers maintained native-like antigenicity and structure, activated PGT121 inferred-germline B cells ex vivo when multimerized on liposomes, and primed PGT121-like responses in PGT121 inferred-germline knockin mice. Design intermediates have levels of epitope modification between wild-type and germline-targeting trimers; their mutation gradient suggests sequential immunization to induce bnAbs, in which the germline-targeting prime is followed by progressively less-mutated design intermediates and, lastly, with native trimers. The vaccine design strategies described could be utilized to target other epitopes on HIV or other pathogens.

Concepts: Bacteria, Vaccination, B cell, Gene, Epitope, Antigen, Antibody, Immune system

171

The processes of somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class switch recombination introduced by activation-induced cytosine deaminase (AICDA) at the Immunoglobulin (Ig) loci are key steps for creating a pool of diversified antibodies in germinal center B cells (GCBs). Unfortunately, AICDA can also accidentally introduce mutations at bystander loci, particularly within the 5' regulatory regions of proto-oncogenes relevant to diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Since current methods for genomewide sequencing such as Exon Capture and RNAseq only target mutations in coding regions, to date non-Ig promoter SHMs have been studied only in a handful genes. We designed a novel approach integrating bioinformatics tools with next generation sequencing technology to identify regulatory loci targeted by SHM genome-wide. We observed increased numbers of SHM associated sequence variant hotspots in lymphoma cells as compared to primary normal germinal center B cells. Many of these SHM hotspots map to genes that have not been reported before as mutated, including BACH2, BTG2, CXCR4, CIITA, EBF1, PIM2, and TCL1A, etc., all of which have potential roles in B cell survival, differentiation, and malignant transformation. In addition, using BCL6 and BACH2 as examples, we demonstrated that SHM sites identified in these 5' regulatory regions greatly altered their transcription activities in a reporter assay. Our approach provides a first cost-efficient, genome-wide method to identify regulatory mutations and non-Ig SHM hotspots.

Concepts: B cell, Immune system, Lymphoma, Protein, Antibody, Cancer, Somatic hypermutation, DNA

170

Class I HLA’s polymorphism has hampered CTL epitope mapping with laborious experiments. Objectives are 1) to evaluate the novel in silico model in predicting previously reported epitopes in comparison with existing program, and 2) to apply the model to predict optimal epitopes with HLA using experimental results.

Concepts: MHC class I, Hypothesis, B cell

167

Upon infection, B-lymphocytes expressing antibodies specific for the intruding pathogen develop clonal responses triggered by pathogen recognition via the B-cell receptor. The constant region of antibodies produced by such responding clones dictates their functional properties. In teleost fish, the clonal structure of B-cell responses and the respective contribution of the three isotypes IgM, IgD and IgT remain unknown. The expression of IgM and IgT are mutually exclusive, leading to the existence of two B-cell subsets expressing either both IgM and IgD or only IgT. Here, we undertook a comprehensive analysis of the variable heavy chain (VH) domain repertoires of the IgM, IgD and IgT in spleen of homozygous isogenic rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) before, and after challenge with a rhabdovirus, the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSV), using CDR3-length spectratyping and pyrosequencing of immunoglobulin (Ig) transcripts. In healthy fish, we observed distinct repertoires for IgM, IgD and IgT, respectively, with a few amplified μ and τ junctions, suggesting the presence of IgM- and IgT-secreting cells in the spleen. In infected animals, we detected complex and highly diverse IgM responses involving all VH subgroups, and dominated by a few large public and private clones. A lower number of robust clonal responses involving only a few VH were detected for the mucosal IgT, indicating that both IgM(+) and IgT(+) spleen B cells responded to systemic infection but at different degrees. In contrast, the IgD response to the infection was faint. Although fish IgD and IgT present different structural features and evolutionary origin compared to mammalian IgD and IgA, respectively, their implication in the B-cell response evokes these mouse and human counterparts. Thus, it appears that the general properties of antibody responses were already in place in common ancestors of fish and mammals, and were globally conserved during evolution with possible functional convergences.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, B cell, Protein, Infection, Bacteria, Antibody, Immune system

166

Pleural tuberculosis (TB), together with lymphatic TB, constitutes more than half of all extrapulmonary cases. Pleural effusions (PEs) in TB are representative of lymphocytic PEs which are dominated by T cells. However, the mechanism underlying T lymphocytes homing and accumulation in PEs is still incompletely understood. Here we performed a comparative analysis of cytokine abundance in PEs from TB patients and non-TB patients by protein array analysis and observed that MCP-2/CCL8 is highly expressed in the TB-PEs as compared to peripheral blood. Meanwhile, we observed that CCR5, the primary receptor used by MCP-2/CCL8, is mostly expressed on pleural CD4(+) T lymphocytes. Furthermore, we found that infection with either Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) or Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv induced production of MCP-2/CCL8 at both transcriptional and protein level in Raw264.7 and THP-1 macrophage cells, mouse peritoneal macrophages as well as human PBMC monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). The induction of MCP-2/CCL8 by mycobacteria is dependent on the activation of TLR2/PI3K/Akt and p38 signaling pathway. We conclude that accumulation of MCP-2/CCL8 in TB-PEs may function as a biomarker for TB diagnosis.

Concepts: Cell biology, Mycobacterium bovis, B cell, Mycobacterium, Immune system, White blood cell, Protein, Tuberculosis

157

Viral infection during pregnancy has been correlated with increased frequency of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring. This observation has been modeled in rodents subjected to maternal immune activation (MIA). The immune cell populations critical in the MIA model have not been identified. Using both genetic mutants and blocking antibodies in mice, we show that retinoic acid receptor-related orphan nuclear receptor γt (RORγt)-dependent effector T lymphocytes [e.g., T helper 17 (TH17) cells] and the effector cytokine interleukin-17a (IL-17a) are required in mothers for MIA-induced behavioral abnormalities in offspring. We find that MIA induces an abnormal cortical phenotype, which is also dependent on maternal IL-17a, in the fetal brain. Our data suggest that therapeutic targeting of TH17 cells in susceptible pregnant mothers may reduce the likelihood of bearing children with inflammation-induced ASD-like phenotypes.

Concepts: B cell, Protein, Allergy, Bacteria, Gene, Antibody, White blood cell, Immune system

153

Infectious bursal disease (IBD) is characterized by immunosuppression due to the depletion of lymphocytes in the atrophied bursa of Fabricius (BF). We have sometimes encountered contradictory findings: chickens infected with the vaccine IBD virus (IBDV) strain have sometimes exhibited a highly atrophied BF but not immunosuppression. In this study, chickens administered vaccine or wild-type strains of IBDV were later vaccinated with the B1 strain of the Newcastle disease virus (NDV). Bursal changes were examined histologically with a focus on the bursal follicle. The immunoreactivity to NDV was also evaluated with the hemagglutination inhibition test. In gross examination, we observed a few chickens with a severely atrophied BF in vaccine strain-administered groups (vaccine groups), and the level of severity was the same as that in the wild-type strain-administered group (wild-type group). However, these chickens retained humoral antibody responses to NDV and were revealed to possess a higher number of bursal follicles than those of the wild-type group. These results indicated that macroscopic evaluation dose not accurately reflect the immunoreactivity and degree of bursal damage in IBDV-administered chickens. We also found non-immunosuppressed chickens in the wild-type group. These non-immunosuppressed chickens retained a significantly higher number of normal follicles and total follicles according to our statistical analysis. Furthermore, a high correlation coefficient between the NDV-HI titer and the number of normal follicles was found in the wild-type group. These results implied that the retained number of normal follicles is important for the immunoreactivity of chickens infected with IBDV.

Concepts: Humoral immunity, Vaccine, Newcastle disease, Hieronymus Fabricius, Infection, Antibody, B cell, Immune system

140

The mechanosensing ability of lymphocytes regulates their activation in response to antigen stimulation, but the underlying mechanism remains unexplored. Here, we report that B cell mechanosensing-governed activation requires BCR signaling molecules. PMA-induced activation of PKCβ can bypass the Btk and PLC-γ2 signaling molecules that are usually required for B cells to discriminate substrate stiffness. Instead, PKCβ-dependent activation of FAK is required, leading to FAK-mediated potentiation of B cell spreading and adhesion responses. FAK inactivation or deficiency impaired B cell discrimination of substrate stiffness. Conversely, adhesion molecules greatly enhanced this capability of B cells. Lastly, B cells derived from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients exhibited an altered BCR response to substrate stiffness in comparison with healthy controls. These results provide a molecular explanation of how initiation of B cell activation discriminates substrate stiffness through a PKCβ-mediated FAK activation dependent manner.

Concepts: T cell, Lymphocyte, B cell, Discrimination, Focal adhesion, Enzyme, Rheumatoid arthritis, Protein

134

Background In a phase 1 trial, axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel), an autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, showed efficacy in patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma after the failure of conventional therapy. Methods In this multicenter, phase 2 trial, we enrolled 111 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, or transformed follicular lymphoma who had refractory disease despite undergoing recommended prior therapy. Patients received a target dose of 2×106 anti-CD19 CAR T cells per kilogram of body weight after receiving a conditioning regimen of low-dose cyclophosphamide and fludarabine. The primary end point was the rate of objective response (calculated as the combined rates of complete response and partial response). Secondary end points included overall survival, safety, and biomarker assessments. Results Among the 111 patients who were enrolled, axi-cel was successfully manufactured for 110 (99%) and administered to 101 (91%). The objective response rate was 82%, and the complete response rate was 54%.With a median follow-up of 15.4 months, 42% of the patients continued to have a response, with 40% continuing to have a complete response. The overall rate of survival at 18 months was 52%. The most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher during treatment were neutropenia (in 78% of the patients), anemia (in 43%), and thrombocytopenia (in 38%). Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events occurred in 13% and 28% of the patients, respectively. Three of the patients died during treatment. Higher CAR T-cell levels in blood were associated with response. Conclusions In this multicenter study, patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma who received CAR T-cell therapy with axi-cel had high levels of durable response, with a safety profile that included myelosuppression, the cytokine release syndrome, and neurologic events. (Funded by Kite Pharma and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program; ZUMA-1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02348216 .).

Concepts: Thymus, Follicular lymphoma, Medicine, Response rate, B cell, Cancer, Types of cancer, Lymphoma