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Journal: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)


Extracellular ATP is released from live cells in controlled conditions, as well as dying cells in inflammatory conditions, and, thereby, regulates T cell responses, including Th17 cell induction. The level of extracellular ATP is closely regulated by ATP hydrolyzing enzymes, such as ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases (ENTPDases). ENTPDase1/CD39, which is expressed in immune cells, was shown to regulate immune responses by downregulating the ATP level. In this study, we analyzed the immunomodulatory function of ENTPDase7, which is preferentially expressed in epithelial cells in the small intestine. The targeted deletion of Entpd7 encoding ENTPDase7 in mice resulted in increased ATP levels in the small intestinal lumen. The number of Th17 cells was selectively increased in the small intestinal lamina propria in Entpd7(-/-) mice. Th17 cells were decreased by oral administration of antibiotics or the ATP antagonist in Entpd7(-/-) mice, indicating that commensal microbiota-dependent ATP release mediates the enhanced Th17 cell development in the small intestinal lamina propria of Entpd7(-/-) mice. In accordance with the increased number of small intestinal Th17 cells, Entpd7(-/-) mice were resistant to oral infection with Citrobacter rodentium. Entpd7(-/-) mice suffered from severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, which was associated with increased numbers of CD4(+) T cells producing both IL-17 and IFN-γ. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that ENTPDase7 controls the luminal ATP level and, thereby, regulates Th17 cell development in the small intestine.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Adenosine triphosphate, T cell, Large intestine, Intestine, Small intestine, Lacteal


Fetal interventions to diagnose and treat congenital anomalies are growing in popularity but often lead to preterm labor. The possible contribution of the maternal adaptive immune system to postsurgical pregnancy complications has not been explored. We recently showed that fetal intervention in mice increases maternal T cell trafficking into the fetus and hypothesized that this process also may lead to increased maternal T cell recognition of the foreign conceptus and subsequent breakdown in maternal-fetal tolerance. In this study, we show that fetal intervention in mice results in accumulation of maternal T cells in the uterus and that these activated cells can produce effector cytokines. In adoptive transfer experiments, maternal T cells specific for a fetal alloantigen proliferate after fetal intervention, escape apoptosis, and become enriched compared with endogenous T cells in the uterus and uterine-draining lymph nodes. Finally, we demonstrate that such activation and accumulation can have a functional consequence: in utero transplantation of hematopoietic cells carrying the fetal alloantigen leads to enhanced demise of semiallogeneic fetuses within a litter. We further show that maternal T cells are necessary for this phenomenon. These results suggest that fetal intervention enhances maternal T cell recognition of the fetus and that T cell activation may be a culprit in postsurgical pregnancy complications. Our results have clinical implications for understanding and preventing complications associated with fetal surgery such as preterm labor.

Concepts: Immune system, Pregnancy, Infant, Embryo, Fetus, Uterus, T cell, Thymus


The unexpected outcome of the clinical trial of the superagonistic CD28 mAb TGN1412 (IgG4κ) continues to stimulate interest. We show that TGN1412 binds similarly to human and cynomolgus macaque FcγR, eliminating the possibility that differences in Fc-mediated interactions with FcγR contributed to the failure of preclinical testing in macaques to predict toxicity in humans. The influence of the Fc domain and C region structure on the in vitro functional activity of TGN1412 was investigated using F(ab')(2) and Fab fragments derived from TGN1412 recovered from the trial and recombinant TGN1412 subclass variants and mutants. Superagonistic activity, as measured by cytokine release and proliferation, was assessed by exposing PBMCs to immobilized mAbs/fragments or to aqueous mAbs/fragments in the presence of HUVEC monolayers. Removing the Fc generally curtailed or abolished PBMC activation. However, eliminating detectable FcγR-binding of the IgG4 by mutation (L235E) did not abrogate activity. Stabilizing the “wild-type” IgG4 hinge (S228P) enhanced activity without increasing FcγR binding, which could only partially be explained by inhibition of Fab arm-exchange. Subclass switching the IgG4 mAb to IgG1 decreased activity, whereas switching to IgG2 markedly increased activity. We conclude that the C region strongly influences in vitro CD28-mediated superagonistic signaling. Superagonism requires an intact Fc, as shown by the absence of activity of TGN1412 Fab and F(ab')(2) fragments, but, notably, appears to be relatively independent of FcγR-binding properties. We propose that the Fc, potentially through restricting flexibility, maintains a favorable V region conformation to allow superagonistic activity. These findings have important implications for Ab design strategies.

Concepts: Immune system, TGN1412


Campylobacter jejuni is the most common bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis and often precedes development of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a life-threatening paralytic disease. The incorporation of the carbohydrate sialic acid into C. jejuni lipooligosaccharides (LOS) is associated with increased severity of gastroenteritis and with induction of GBS; however, the underlying mechanisms remain completely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that sialic acids in C. jejuni endotoxin enhance the rapid production of IFN-β and TNF-α by human dendritic cells (DCs). Using neutralizing Abs and receptors it was shown that these DC-derived cytokines promote the proliferation of human mucosal B cells in a T cell-independent manner. The production of both IFN-β and TNF-α by DCs in response to LOS requires CD14, and the amplified response of DCs to sialylated C. jejuni LOS is CD14 dependent. Together, these results indicate that sialylation of C. jejuni LOS increases DC activation and promotes subsequent B cell responses through CD14-driven production of IFN-β and TNF-α. This enhanced DC/B cell response may explain the increased pathogenicity of sialylated C. jejuni and may be key to the initiation of B cell-mediated autoimmunity in GBS.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Sialic acid, Toll-like receptor, Humoral immunity, Gastroenteritis, Campylobacter, Campylobacter jejuni


A detailed understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie epitope preferences in T cell priming is important for vaccines designed to elicit a broad T cell response. Protein vaccinations generally elicit CD4 T cell responses that are skewed toward a small fraction of epitopes, a phenomenon known as immunodominance. This characteristic of T cell responses, which limits the diversity of CD4 T cell recognition, is generally attributed to intracellular Ag processing. However, we recently discovered that immunodominance hierarchies persist even after vaccination with synthetic peptides. In this study, we probed the regulatory mechanisms that cause diminished CD4 T cell responses to subdominant peptides after such multipeptide immunization in mice. We have found that the delivery of subdominant and dominant epitopes on separate dendritic cells rescues expansion of less favored CD4 T cells. Furthermore, through the use of genetic models and inhibitors, we have found that selective losses in CD4 T cell responses are mediated by an IFN-γ-induced pathway, involving IDO, and that regulatory T cell activities may also regulate preferences in CD4 T cell specificity. We propose that after multipeptide immunization, the expansion and differentiation of dominant T cells initiate complex regulatory events that determine the final peptide specificity of the elicited CD4 T cell response.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Vaccination, B cell, T helper cell, Peptide, T cells


The activation, differentiation, and subsequent effector functions of CD4 T cells depend on interactions with a multitude of MHC class II (MHCII)-expressing APCs. To evaluate the individual contribution of various APCs to CD4 T cell function, we have designed a new murine tool for selective in vivo expression of MHCII in subsets of APCs. Conditional expression of MHCII in B cells was achieved using a cre-loxP approach. After i.v. or s.c. priming, partial proliferation and activation of CD4 T cells was observed in mice expressing MHCII only by B cells. Restricting MHCII expression to B cells constrained secondary CD4 T cell responses in vivo, as demonstrated in a CD4 T cell-dependent model of autoimmunity, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. These results highlight the limitations of B cell Ag presentation during initiation and propagation of CD4 T cell function in vivo using a novel system to study individual APCs by the conditional expression of MHCII.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, B cell, T helper cell, Adaptive immune system, Major histocompatibility complex, T cell receptor, MHC class I


Ag activation of the BCR may play a role in the pathogenesis of human follicular lymphoma (FL) and other B cell malignancies. However, the nature of the Ag(s) recognized by tumor BCRs has not been well studied. In this study, we used unbiased approaches to demonstrate that 42 (19.35%) of 217 tested FL Igs recognized vimentin as a shared autoantigen. The epitope was localized to the N-terminal region of vimentin for all vimentin-reactive tumor Igs. We confirmed specific binding to vimentin by using recombinant vimentin and by performing competitive inhibition studies. Furthermore, using indirect immunofluorescence staining, we showed that the vimentin-reactive tumor Igs colocalized with an anti-vimentin mAb in HEp-2 cells. The reactivity to N-terminal vimentin of IgG FL Igs was significantly higher than that of IgM FL Igs (30.4 versus 10%; p = 0.0022). However, vimentin-reactive FL Igs did not share CDR3 motifs and were not homologous. Vimentin was expressed in the T cell-rich regions of FL, suggesting that vimentin is available for binding with tumor BCRs within the tumor microenvironment. Vimentin was also frequently recognized by mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma Igs. Our results demonstrate that vimentin is a shared autoantigen recognized by nonstereotyped FL BCRs and by the Igs of mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma and suggest that vimentin may play a role in the pathogenesis of multiple B cell malignancies. These findings may lead to a better understanding of the biology and natural history of FL and other B cell malignancies.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Cancer, Immunology, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma


An alternative adaptive-immune system is present in the most basal vertebrates-lampreys and hagfish-the only surviving jawless vertebrates. These eel-like fish use leucine-rich repeat-based receptors for Ag recognition instead of the Ig-based receptors used in jawed vertebrates. We report that in Japanese lamprey (Lampetra japonica), variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR)B interacts with C1q and C3 proteins to mediate complement-dependent cytotoxicity for bacteria and tumor cells. The immune-based lysis involves deposition of VLRB and C1q-like protein complex on the surface of target cells, activation of C3, and ultimate disruption of cell wall integrity. The demonstration of functional interaction between VLRB and complement components in lamprey provides evidence for the emergence of cooperative innate and adaptive-immune responses at a pivotal point in vertebrate evolution, before or in parallel with the evolution of Ig-based Abs and the classical complement-activation pathway.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Cell, Cell biology, Chordate, Gnathostomata, Hagfish, Agnatha


Dengue is the most prevalent human arbovirus disease in the world. Dengue infection has a large spectrum of clinical manifestations, from self-limited febrile illness to severe syndromes accompanied by bleeding and shock. Thrombocytopenia and vascular leak with altered cytokine profiles in plasma are features of severe dengue. Although monocytes have been recognized as important sources of cytokines in dengue, the contributions of platelet-monocyte interactions to inflammatory responses in dengue have not been addressed. Patients with dengue were investigated for platelet-monocyte aggregate formation. Platelet-induced cytokine responses by monocytes and underlying mechanisms were also investigated in vitro. We observed increased levels of platelet-monocyte aggregates in blood samples from patients with dengue, especially patients with thrombocytopenia and increased vascular permeability. Moreover, the exposure of monocytes from healthy volunteers to platelets from patients with dengue induced the secretion of the cytokines IL-1β, IL-8, IL-10 and MCP-1, whereas exposure to platelets from healthy volunteers only induced the secretion of MCP-1. In addition to the well-established modulation of monocyte cytokine responses by activated platelets through P-selectin binding, we found that interaction of monocytes with apoptotic platelets mediate IL-10 secretion through phosphatidylserine recognition in platelet-monocyte aggregates. Moreover, IL-10 secretion required platelet-monocyte contact but not phagocytosis. Together, our results demonstrate that activated and apoptotic platelets aggregate with monocytes during dengue infection and signal specific cytokine responses that may contribute to the pathogenesis of dengue.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Blood, Apoptosis, Platelet, Spleen, Thrombocytopenia, TGF beta 1


IL-15 bound to the IL-15Rα-chain (IL-15Rα) is presented in trans to cells bearing the IL-2Rβ-chain and common γ-chain. As IL-15 transpresentation occurs in the context of cell-to-cell contacts, it has the potential for regulation by and of other receptor-ligand interactions. In this study, human NK cells were tested for the sensitivity of IL-15 transpresentation to inhibitory receptors. Human cells expressing HLA class I ligands for inhibitory receptors KIR2DL1, KIR2DL2/3, or CD94-NKG2A were transfected with IL-15Rα. Proliferation of primary NK cells in response to transpresented IL-15 was reduced by engagement of either KIR2DL1 or KIR2DL2/3 by cognate HLA-C ligands. Inhibitory KIR-HLA-C interactions did not reduce the proliferation induced by soluble IL-15. Therefore, transpresentation of IL-15 is subject to downregulation by MHC class I-specific inhibitory receptors. Similarly, proliferation of the NKG2A(+) cell line NKL induced by IL-15 transpresentation was inhibited by HLA-E. Coengagement of inhibitory receptors, either KIR2DL1 or CD94-NKG2A, did not inhibit phosphorylation of Stat5 but inhibited selectively phosphorylation of Akt and S6 ribosomal protein. IL-15Rα was not excluded from, but was evenly distributed across, inhibitory synapses. These findings demonstrate a novel mechanism to attenuate IL-15-dependent NK cell proliferation and suggest that inhibitory NK cell receptors contribute to NK cell homeostasis.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Cell biology, Natural killer cell, Cytotoxicity, MHC class I