Concept: Cytotoxic T cell
Subunit vaccines have been investigated in over 1000 clinical trials of cancer immunotherapy, but have shown limited efficacy. Nanovaccines may improve efficacy but have rarely been clinically translated. By conjugating molecular vaccines with Evans blue (EB) into albumin-binding vaccines (AlbiVax), here we develop clinically promising albumin/AlbiVax nanocomplexes that self-assemble in vivo from AlbiVax and endogenous albumin for efficient vaccine delivery and potent cancer immunotherapy. PET pharmacoimaging, super-resolution microscopies, and flow cytometry reveal almost 100-fold more efficient co-delivery of CpG and antigens (Ags) to lymph nodes (LNs) by albumin/AlbiVax than benchmark incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA). Albumin/AlbiVax elicits ~10 times more frequent peripheral antigen-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes with immune memory than IFA-emulsifying vaccines. Albumin/AlbiVax specifically inhibits progression of established primary or metastatic EG7.OVA, B16F10, and MC38 tumors; combination with anti-PD-1 and/or Abraxane further potentiates immunotherapy and eradicates most MC38 tumors. Albumin/AlbiVax nanocomplexes are thus a robust platform for combination cancer immunotherapy.
CD169+ macrophages are sufficient for priming of CTLs with specificities left out by cross-priming dendritic cells
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 5 years ago
Dendritic cells (DCs) are considered the most potent antigen-presenting cells (APCs), which directly prime or cross-prime MHC I-restricted cytotoxic T cells (CTLs). However, recent evidence suggests the existence of other, as-yet unidentified APCs also able to prime T cells. To identify those APCs, we used adenoviral (rAd) vectors, which do not infect DCs but selectively accumulate in CD169(+) macrophages (MPs). In mice that lack DCs, infection of CD169(+) MPs was sufficient to prime CTLs specific for all epitopes tested. In contrast, CTL responses relying exclusively on cross-presenting DCs were biased to selected strong MHC I-binding peptides only. When both DCs and MPs were absent, no CTL responses could be elicited. Therefore, CD169(+) MPs can be considered APCs that significantly contribute to CTL responses.
It is generally accepted that the success of immunotherapy depends on the presence of tumor-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T cells and the modulation of the tumor environment. In this study, we validated mRNA encoding soluble factors as a tool to modulate the tumor microenvironment to potentiate infiltration of tumor-specific T cells. Intratumoral delivery of mRNA encoding a fusion protein consisting of interferon-β and the ectodomain of the transforming growth factor-β receptor II, referred to as Fβ2, showed therapeutic potential. The treatment efficacy was dependent on CD8+ T cells and could be improved through blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions. In vitro studies revealed that administration of Fβ2 to tumor cells resulted in a reduced proliferation and increased expression of MHC I but also PD-L1. Importantly, Fβ2 enhanced the antigen presenting capacity of dendritic cells, whilst reducing the suppressive activity of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. In conclusion, these data suggest that intratumoral delivery of mRNA encoding soluble proteins, such as Fβ2, can modulate the tumor microenvironment, leading to effective antitumor T cell responses, which can be further potentiated through combination therapy.
The respiratory tract is in constant contact with inhaled antigens from the external environment. In order to shape its line of defense, it is populated by various types of immune cells. Taking into account the scientific breakthroughs of nanomedicine and nanoparticle drug delivery, we can think of the respiratory tract as an ideal target organ to study and develop nanocarrier-based vaccines to treat respiratory tract disorders. Nanoparticles have been proven capable of specific cell targeting and, when suitably engineered, are able to induce an immunomodulatory effect. The aim of this review is to highlight in vitro approaches to the study of nanoparticle-lung immune cell interactions and recent advances in the targeting of immune cells using nanoparticle-based systems.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) use polarized secretion to rapidly destroy virally infected and tumor cells. To understand the temporal relationships between key events leading to secretion, we used high-resolution 4D imaging. CTLs approached targets with actin-rich projections at the leading edge, creating an initially actin-enriched contact with rearward-flowing actin. Within 1 min, cortical actin reduced across the synapse, T cell receptors (TCRs) clustered centrally to form the central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC), and centrosome polarization began. Granules clustered around the moving centrosome within 2.5 min and reached the synapse after 6 min. TCR-bearing intracellular vesicles were delivered to the cSMAC as the centrosome docked. We found that the centrosome and granules were delivered to an area of membrane with reduced cortical actin density and phospholipid PIP2. These data resolve the temporal order of events during synapse maturation in 4D and reveal a critical role for actin depletion in regulating secretion.
Lymphoid organs, in which antigen presenting cells (APCs) are in close proximity to T cells, are the ideal microenvironment for efficient priming and amplification of T-cell responses. However, the systemic delivery of vaccine antigens into dendritic cells (DCs) is hampered by various technical challenges. Here we show that DCs can be targeted precisely and effectively in vivo using intravenously administered RNA-lipoplexes (RNA-LPX) based on well-known lipid carriers by optimally adjusting net charge, without the need for functionalization of particles with molecular ligands. The LPX protects RNA from extracellular ribonucleases and mediates its efficient uptake and expression of the encoded antigen by DC populations and macrophages in various lymphoid compartments. RNA-LPX triggers interferon-α (IFNα) release by plasmacytoid DCs and macrophages. Consequently, DC maturation in situ and inflammatory immune mechanisms reminiscent of those in the early systemic phase of viral infection are activated. We show that RNA-LPX encoding viral or mutant neo-antigens or endogenous self-antigens induce strong effector and memory T-cell responses, and mediate potent IFNα-dependent rejection of progressive tumours. A phase I dose-escalation trial testing RNA-LPX that encode shared tumour antigens is ongoing. In the first three melanoma patients treated at a low-dose level, IFNα and strong antigen-specific T-cell responses were induced, supporting the identified mode of action and potency. As any polypeptide-based antigen can be encoded as RNA, RNA-LPX represent a universally applicable vaccine class for systemic DC targeting and synchronized induction of both highly potent adaptive as well as type-I-IFN-mediated innate immune mechanisms for cancer immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy using short immunogenic peptides of disease-related autoantigens restores immune tolerance in preclinical disease models. We studied safety and mechanistic effects of injecting human leukocyte antigen-DR4(DRB1*0401)-restricted immunodominant proinsulin peptide intradermally every 2 or 4 weeks for 6 months in newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes patients. Treatment was well tolerated with no systemic or local hypersensitivity. Placebo subjects showed a significant decline in stimulated C-peptide (measuring insulin reserve) at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months versus baseline, whereas no significant change was seen in the 4-weekly peptide group at these time points or the 2-weekly group at 3, 6, and 9 months. The placebo group’s daily insulin use increased by 50% over 12 months but remained unchanged in the intervention groups. C-peptide retention in treated subjects was associated with proinsulin-stimulated interleukin-10 production, increased FoxP3 expression by regulatory T cells, low baseline levels of activated β cell-specific CD8 T cells, and favorable β cell stress markers (proinsulin/C-peptide ratio). Thus, proinsulin peptide immunotherapy is safe, does not accelerate decline in β cell function, and is associated with antigen-specific and nonspecific immune modulation.
Understanding the host immune response to vaginal exposure to RNA viruses is required to combat sexual transmission of this class of pathogens. In this study, using lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) in wild-type mice, we show that these viruses replicate in the vaginal mucosa with minimal induction of antiviral interferon and inflammatory response, causing dampened innate-mediated control of viral replication and a failure to mature local antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Enhancement of innate-mediated inflammation in the vaginal mucosa rescues this phenotype and completely inhibits ZIKV replication. To gain a better understanding of how this dampened innate immune activation in the lower female reproductive tract may also affect adaptive immunity, we modeled CD8 T cell responses using vaginal LCMV infection. We show that the lack of APC maturation in the vaginal mucosa leads to a delay in CD8 T cell activation in the draining lymph node and hinders the timely appearance of effector CD8 T cells in vaginal mucosa, thus further delaying viral control in this tissue. Our study demonstrates that vaginal tissue is exceptionally vulnerable to infection by RNA viruses and provides a conceptual framework for the male to female sexual transmission observed during ZIKV infection.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 5 years ago
Four Ebola patients received care at Emory University Hospital, presenting a unique opportunity to examine the cellular immune responses during acute Ebola virus infection. We found striking activation of both B and T cells in all four patients. Plasmablast frequencies were 10-50% of B cells, compared with less than 1% in healthy individuals. Many of these proliferating plasmablasts were IgG-positive, and this finding coincided with the presence of Ebola virus-specific IgG in the serum. Activated CD4 T cells ranged from 5 to 30%, compared with 1-2% in healthy controls. The most pronounced responses were seen in CD8 T cells, with over 50% of the CD8 T cells expressing markers of activation and proliferation. Taken together, these results suggest that all four patients developed robust immune responses during the acute phase of Ebola virus infection, a finding that would not have been predicted based on our current assumptions about the highly immunosuppressive nature of Ebola virus. Also, quite surprisingly, we found sustained immune activation after the virus was cleared from the plasma, observed most strikingly in the persistence of activated CD8 T cells, even 1 mo after the patients' discharge from the hospital. These results suggest continued antigen stimulation after resolution of the disease. From these convalescent time points, we identified CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses to several Ebola virus proteins, most notably the viral nucleoprotein. Knowledge of the viral proteins targeted by T cells during natural infection should be useful in designing vaccines against Ebola virus.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) used in immunotherapy are typically cultured under atmospheric O2 pressure but encounter hypoxic conditions inside tumors. Activating CTLs under hypoxic conditions has been shown to improve their cytotoxicity in vitro, but the mechanism employed and the implications for immunotherapy remain unknown. We activated and cultured OT-I CD8 T cells at either 1% or 20% O2. Hypoxic CTLs survived, as well as normoxic ones, in vitro but killed OVA-expressing B16 melanoma cells more efficiently. Hypoxic CTLs contained similar numbers of cytolytic granules and released them as efficiently but packaged more granzyme-B in each granule without producing more perforin. We imaged CTL distribution and motility inside B16-OVA tumors using confocal and intravital 2-photon microscopy and observed no obvious differences. However, mice treated with hypoxic CTLs exhibited better tumor regression and survived longer. Thus, hypoxic CTLs may perform better in tumor immunotherapy because of higher intrinsic cytotoxicity rather than improved migration inside tumors.