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Journal: Immunity


Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting many medically important viruses such as those that cause Zika and dengue. The inoculation of viruses into mosquito bite sites is an important and common stage of all mosquito-borne virus infections. We show, using Semliki Forest virus and Bunyamwera virus, that these viruses use this inflammatory niche to aid their replication and dissemination in vivo. Mosquito bites were characterized by an edema that retained virus at the inoculation site and an inflammatory influx of neutrophils that coordinated a localized innate immune program that inadvertently facilitated virus infection by encouraging the entry and infection of virus-permissive myeloid cells. Neutrophil depletion and therapeutic blockade of inflammasome activity suppressed inflammation and abrogated the ability of the bite to promote infection. This study identifies facets of mosquito bite inflammation that are important determinants of the subsequent systemic course and clinical outcome of virus infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Infection, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever


Signals controlling the generation of regulatory B (Breg) cells remain ill-defined. Here we report an “auto”-regulatory feedback mechanism between plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and Breg cells. In healthy individuals, pDCs drive the differentiation of CD19(+)CD24(hi)CD38(hi) (immature) B cells into IL-10-producing CD24(+)CD38(hi) Breg cells and plasmablasts, via the release of IFN-α and CD40 engagement. CD24(+)CD38(hi) Breg cells conversely restrained IFN-α production by pDCs via IL-10 release. In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this cross-talk was compromised; pDCs promoted plasmablast differentiation but failed to induce Breg cells. This defect was recapitulated in healthy B cells upon exposure to a high concentration of IFN-α. Defective pDC-mediated expansion of CD24(+)CD38(hi) Breg cell numbers in SLE was associated with altered STAT1 and STAT3 activation. Both altered pDC-CD24(+)CD38(hi) Breg cell interactions and STAT1-STAT3 activation were normalized in SLE patients responding to rituximab. We propose that alteration in pDC-CD24(+)CD38(hi) Breg cell interaction contributes to the pathogenesis of SLE.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus


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


Tumor-infiltrating regulatory T lymphocytes (Treg) can suppress effector T cells specific for tumor antigens. Deeper molecular definitions of tumor-infiltrating-lymphocytes could thus offer therapeutic opportunities. Transcriptomes of T helper 1 (Th1), Th17, and Treg cells infiltrating colorectal or non-small-cell lung cancers were compared to transcriptomes of the same subsets from normal tissues and validated at the single-cell level. We found that tumor-infiltrating Treg cells were highly suppressive, upregulated several immune-checkpoints, and expressed on the cell surfaces specific signature molecules such as interleukin-1 receptor 2 (IL1R2), programmed death (PD)-1 Ligand1, PD-1 Ligand2, and CCR8 chemokine, which were not previously described on Treg cells. Remarkably, high expression in whole-tumor samples of Treg cell signature genes, such as LAYN, MAGEH1, or CCR8, correlated with poor prognosis. Our findings provide insights into the molecular identity and functions of human tumor-infiltrating Treg cells and define potential targets for tumor immunotherapy.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Gene, Gene expression, Lung cancer, Secretion, Tissue


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.

Concepts: White blood cell, Cell, Signal transduction, Cell membrane, Cell biology, Natural killer cell, Cytotoxic T cell, Thymus


Although vaccines confer protection against influenza A viruses, antiviral treatment becomes the first line of defense during pandemics because there is insufficient time to produce vaccines. Current antiviral drugs are susceptible to drug resistance, and developing new antivirals is essential. We studied host defense peptides from the skin of the South Indian frog and demonstrated that one of these, which we named “urumin,” is virucidal for H1 hemagglutinin-bearing human influenza A viruses. This peptide specifically targeted the conserved stalk region of H1 hemagglutinin and was effective against drug-resistant H1 influenza viruses. Using electron microscopy, we showed that this peptide physically destroyed influenza virions. It also protected naive mice from lethal influenza infection. Urumin represents a unique class of anti-influenza virucide that specifically targets the hemagglutinin stalk region, similar to targeting of antibodies induced by universal influenza vaccines. Urumin therefore has the potential to contribute to first-line anti-viral treatments during influenza outbreaks.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Virus, Antiviral drug, Influenza, Avian influenza, Influenza pandemic, Antibiotic


Immuno-surveillance networks operating at barrier sites are tuned by local tissue cues to ensure effective immunity. Site-specific commensal bacteria provide key signals ensuring host defense in the skin and gut. However, how the oral microbiome and tissue-specific signals balance immunity and regulation at the gingiva, a key oral barrier, remains minimally explored. In contrast to the skin and gut, we demonstrate that gingiva-resident T helper 17 (Th17) cells developed via a commensal colonization-independent mechanism. Accumulation of Th17 cells at the gingiva was driven in response to the physiological barrier damage that occurs during mastication. Physiological mechanical damage, via induction of interleukin 6 (IL-6) from epithelial cells, tailored effector T cell function, promoting increases in gingival Th17 cell numbers. These data highlight that diverse tissue-specific mechanisms govern education of Th17 cell responses and demonstrate that mechanical damage helps define the immune tone of this important oral barrier.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Bacteria, Organism, Immunology, Epithelium, Interleukin 17, Skin


Intestinal helminths are potent regulators of their host’s immune system and can ameliorate inflammatory diseases such as allergic asthma. In the present study we have assessed whether this anti-inflammatory activity was purely intrinsic to helminths, or whether it also involved crosstalk with the local microbiota. We report that chronic infection with the murine helminth Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri (Hpb) altered the intestinal habitat, allowing increased short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Transfer of the Hpb-modified microbiota alone was sufficient to mediate protection against allergic asthma. The helminth-induced anti-inflammatory cytokine secretion and regulatory T cell suppressor activity that mediated the protection required the G protein-coupled receptor (GPR)-41. A similar alteration in the metabolic potential of intestinal bacterial communities was observed with diverse parasitic and host species, suggesting that this represents an evolutionary conserved mechanism of host-microbe-helminth interactions.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Asthma, Infection, Immunology, Allergy


Lymphocytes circulate through lymph nodes (LN) in search for antigen in what is believed to be a continuous process. Here, we show that lymphocyte migration through lymph nodes and lymph occurred in a non-continuous, circadian manner. Lymphocyte homing to lymph nodes peaked at night onset, with cells leaving the tissue during the day. This resulted in strong oscillations in lymphocyte cellularity in lymph nodes and efferent lymphatic fluid. Using lineage-specific genetic ablation of circadian clock function, we demonstrated this to be dependent on rhythmic expression of promigratory factors on lymphocytes. Dendritic cell numbers peaked in phase with lymphocytes, with diurnal oscillations being present in disease severity after immunization to induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). These rhythms were abolished by genetic disruption of T cell clocks, demonstrating a circadian regulation of lymphocyte migration through lymph nodes with time-of-day of immunization being critical for adaptive immune responses weeks later.

Concepts: Immune system, Lymph node, Adaptive immune system, Lymphatic system, Dendritic cell, Circadian rhythm, Lymph, Lymph vessel


Humans that are heterozygous for the common S180L polymorphism in the Toll-like receptor (TLR) adaptor Mal (encoded by TIRAP) are protected from a number of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), whereas those homozygous for the allele are at increased risk. The reason for this difference in susceptibility is not clear. We report that Mal has a TLR-independent role in interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) receptor signaling. Mal-dependent IFN-γ receptor (IFNGR) signaling led to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 phosphorylation and autophagy. IFN-γ signaling via Mal was required for phagosome maturation and killing of intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). The S180L polymorphism, and its murine equivalent S200L, reduced the affinity of Mal for the IFNGR, thereby compromising IFNGR signaling in macrophages and impairing responses to TB. Our findings highlight a role for Mal outside the TLR system and imply that genetic variation in TIRAP may be linked to other IFN-γ-related diseases including autoimmunity and cancer.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Infectious disease, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Cell biology, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis