The transcription factor B Cell CLL/Lymphoma 11B (BCL11B) is indispensable for T lineage development of lymphoid progenitors. Here we show that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) expression early in ex vivo generated lymphoid progenitors suppressed BCL11B, leading to suppression of T cell-associated gene expression and acquisition of natural killer (NK) cell-like properties. Upon adoptive transfer into hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients they differentiated into CAR-induced killer cells (CARiK) that mediated potent antigen-directed antileukemic activity even across MHC barriers. A CD28 and active immune-receptor-tyrosine-based-activation-motifs were critical for a functional CARiK phenotype. These results give important insights into differentiation of murine and human lymphoid progenitors driven by synthetic CAR transgene-expression and encourage further evaluation of ex vivo generated CARiK cells for targeted immunotherapy.
Marcel Maluski, Arnab Ghosh, Jessica Herbst, Vanessa Scholl, Rolf Baumann, Jochen Huehn, Robert Geffers, Johann Meyer, Holger Maul, Britta Eiz-Vesper, Andreas Krueger, Axel Schambach, Marcel R.M. van den Brink, Martin G. Sauer
While a high frequency of Th1 cells in tumors is associated with improved cancer prognosis, this benefit has been attributed mainly to support of cytotoxic activity of CD8+ T cells. By attempting to potentiate antibody-driven immunity, we found a remarkable synergy between CD4+ T cells and tumor-binding antibodies. This surprising synergy was mediated by a small subset of tumor-infiltrating CD4+ T cells that express the high-affinity Fcγ receptor for IgG (FcγRI) in both mouse and human patients. These cells efficiently lyse tumor cells coated with antibodies through concomitant crosslinking of their T cell receptor (TCR) and FcγRI. By expressing FcγRI and its signaling chain in conventional CD4+ T cells, we successfully employed this mechanism to treat established solid cancers. Overall, this discovery sheds new light on the biology of this T cell subset, their function during tumor immunity, and the means to utilize their unique killing signals in immunotherapy.
Diana Rasoulouniriana, Nadine Santana-Magal, Amit Gutwillig, Leen Farhat-Younis, Yariv Wine, Corey Saperia, Lior Tal, Haim Gutman, Alexander Tsivian, Ronen Brenner, Eiman Abu Bandora, Nathan E. Reticker-Flynn, Peleg Rider, Yaron Carmi
Polymerase δ is essential for eukaryotic genome duplication and synthesizes DNA at both the leading and lagging strands. The polymerase δ complex is a heterotetramer comprising the catalytic subunit POLD1 and the accessory subunits POLD2, POLD3, and POLD4. Beyond DNA replication, the polymerase δ complex has emerged as a central element in genome maintenance. The essentiality of polymerase δ has constrained the generation of polymerase δ–knockout cell lines or model organisms and, therefore, the understanding of the complexity of its activity and the function of its accessory subunits. To our knowledge, no germline biallelic mutations affecting this complex have been reported in humans. In patients from 2 independent pedigrees, we have identified what we believe to be a novel syndrome with reduced functionality of the polymerase δ complex caused by germline biallelic mutations in POLD1 or POLD2 as the underlying etiology of a previously unknown autosomal-recessive syndrome that combines replicative stress, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and immunodeficiency. Patients’ cells showed impaired cell-cycle progression and replication-associated DNA lesions that were reversible upon overexpression of polymerase δ. The mutations affected the stability and interactions within the polymerase δ complex or its intrinsic polymerase activity. We believe our discovery of human polymerase δ deficiency identifies the central role of this complex in the prevention of replication-related DNA lesions, with particular relevance to adaptive immunity.
Cecilia Domínguez Conde, Özlem Yüce Petronczki, Safa Baris, Katharina L. Willmann, Enrico Girardi, Elisabeth Salzer, Stefan Weitzer, Rico Chandra Ardy, Ana Krolo, Hanna Ijspeert, Ayca Kiykim, Elif Karakoc-Aydiner, Elisabeth Förster-Waldl, Leo Kager, Winfried F. Pickl, Giulio Superti-Furga, Javier Martínez, Joanna I. Loizou, Ahmet Ozen, Mirjam van der Burg, Kaan Boztug
Asthma is a heterogeneous syndrome that has been subdivided into physiological phenotypes and molecular endotypes. The most specific phenotypic manifestation of asthma is indirect airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), and a prominent molecular endotype is the presence of type-2 inflammation. The underlying basis for type-2 inflammation and its relationship to AHR are incompletely understood. We assessed the expression of type-2 cytokines in the airways of subjects with and without asthma who were extensively characterized for AHR. Using quantitative morphometry of the airway wall, we identified a shift in mast cells from the submucosa to the airway epithelium specifically associated with both type-2 inflammation and indirect AHR. Using ex vivo modeling of primary airway epithelial cells in organotypic co-culture with mast cells, we have shown that epithelial-derived IL-33 uniquely induced type-2 cytokines in mast cells, which regulated the expression of epithelial IL33 in a feedforward loop. This feedforward loop was accentuated in epithelial cells derived from subjects with asthma. These results demonstrate that type-2 inflammation and indirect AHR in asthma are related to a shift in mast cell infiltration to the airway epithelium, and that mast cells cooperate with epithelial cells through IL-33 signaling to regulate type-2 inflammation.
Matthew C. Altman, Ying Lai, James D. Nolin, Sydney Long, Chien-Chang Chen, Adrian M. Piliponsky, William A. Altemeier, Megan Larmore, Charles W. Frevert, Michael S. Mulligan, Steven F. Ziegler, Jason S. Debley, Michael C. Peters, Teal S. Hallstrand
Sialyl Lewis A (sLeA, also known as CA19-9), a tetrasaccharide selectively and highly expressed on advanced adenocarcinomas including colon, stomach, and pancreatic cancers, has long been considered as an attractive target for active and passive vaccination. While progress in antibodies targeting tumor-associated protein antigens resulted in an impressive array of therapeutics for cancer treatment, similar progress in exploiting tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens, such as sLeA, has been hampered by the lack of a detailed understanding of the singular characteristics of these antigens. We have addressed this issue by analyzing antibodies derived from patients immunized with an sLeA/KLH vaccine. These antibodies were engineered to mediate tumor clearance in vivo in preclinical models through Fc-FcγR interactions. However, in contrast to protein antigens in which hFcγRIIIA engagement was both necessary and sufficient to mediate tumor clearance in both preclinical and clinical settings, a similar selective dependence was not seen for anti-sLeA antibodies. Thus, re-engineering the Fc portion of sLeA-targeting antibodies to broadly enhance their affinity for activating FcγRs led to an enhanced therapeutic effect. These findings will facilitate the development of more efficient anticancer therapies and further advance this promising class of therapeutic antibodies into clinical use.
Polina Weitzenfeld, Stylianos Bournazos, Jeffrey V. Ravetch
BACKGROUND. Impaired T-cell immunity in transplant recipients is associated with infection-related morbidity and mortality. We recently reported the successful use of adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT) against drug-resistant/recurrent cytomegalovirus in solid-organ transplant recipients. METHODS. In the present study, we employed high-throughput T-cell receptor Vβ sequencing and T-cell functional profiling to delineate the impact of ACT on T-cell repertoire remodelling in the context of pre-therapy immunity and ACT products. RESULTS. These analyses indicated that a clinical response was coincident with significant changes in the T-cell receptor Vβ landscape post-therapy. This restructuring was associated with the emergence of effector memory (EM) T cells in responding patients, while non-responders displayed dramatic pre-therapy T-cell expansions with minimal change following ACT. Furthermore, immune reconstitution included both adoptively transferred clonotypes and endogenous clonotypes not detected in the ACT products. CONCLUSION. These observations demonstrate that immune control following ACT requires significant repertoire remodelling, which may be impaired in non-responders due to the pre-existing immune environment. Immunological interventions that can modulate this environment may improve clinical outcomes.
Corey Smith, Dillon Corvino, Leone Beagley, Sweera Rehan, Michelle A. Neller, Pauline Crooks, Katherine K. Matthews, Matthew Solomon, Laetitia Le Texier, Scott Campbell, Ross S. Francis, Daniel Chambers, Rajiv Khanna
Background: Idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) is a hematologic illness involving cytokine-induced lymphoproliferation, systemic inflammation, cytopenias, and life-threatening multi-organ dysfunction. The molecular underpinnings of interleukin-6(IL-6)-blockade refractory patients remain unknown; no targeted therapies exist. In this study, we searched for therapeutic targets in IL-6-blockade refractory iMCD patients with the thrombocytopenia, anasarca, fever/elevated C-reactive protein, reticulin myelofibrosis, renal dysfunction, organomegaly (TAFRO) clinical subtype. Methods: We analyzed tissues and blood samples from three IL-6-blockade refractory iMCD-TAFRO patients. Cytokine panels, quantitative serum proteomics, flow cytometry of PBMCs, and pathway analyses were employed to identify novel therapeutic targets. To confirm elevated mTOR signaling, a candidate therapeutic target from the above assays, immunohistochemistry was performed for phosphorylated S6, a read-out of mTOR activation, in three iMCD lymph node tissue samples and controls. Proteomic, immunophenotypic, and clinical response assessments were performed to quantify the effects of administration of the mTOR inhibitor, sirolimus. Results: Studies of three IL-6-blockade refractory iMCD cases revealed increased CD8+ T cell activation, VEGF-A, and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway activity. Administration of sirolimus significantly attenuated CD8+ T cell activation and decreased VEGF-A levels. Sirolimus induced clinical benefit responses in all three patients with durable and ongoing remissions of 66, 19, and 19 months. Conclusion: This precision medicine approach identifies PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling as the first pharmacologically-targetable pathogenic process in IL-6-blockade refractory iMCD. Prospective evaluation of sirolimus in treatment-refractory iMCD is planned (NCT03933904). Funding: Castleman’s Awareness & Research Effort/Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, Penn Center for Precision Medicine, University Research Foundation, Intramural NIH funding, and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
David C. Fajgenbaum, Ruth-Anne Langan, Alberto Sada Japp, Helen L. Partridge, Sheila K. Pierson, Amrit Singh, Daniel J. Arenas, Jason R. Ruth, Christopher S. Nabel, Katie Stone, Mariko Okumura, Anthony Schwarer, Fábio Freire Jose, Nelson Hamerschlak, Gerald B. Wertheim, Michael B. Jordan, Adam D. Cohen, Vera Krymskaya, Arthur Rubenstein, Michael R. Betts, Taku Kambayashi, Frits van Rhee, Thomas S. Uldrick
Checkpoint blockade antibodies have been approved as immunotherapy for multiple types of cancer, but the response rate and efficacy are still limited. There are few immunogenic cell death (ICD)-inducing drugs available that can kill cancer cells, enhance tumor immunogenicity, increase the in vivo immune infiltration, and thereby boosting a tumor response to immunotherapy. So far, the ICD markers have been identified as the few immuno-stimulating characteristics of dead cells, but whether the presence of such ICD markers on tumor cells translates into enhanced antitumor immunity in vivo is still investigational. To identify anticancer drugs that could induce tumor cell death and boost T cell response, we performed drug screenings based on both an ICD reporter assay and T cell activation assay. We identified that teniposide, a DNA topoisomerase II inhibitor, could induce high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release and type I interferon signaling in tumor cells, and teniposide-treated tumor cells could activate antitumor T cell response both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, teniposide induced tumor cell DNA damage and innate immune signaling including NF-κB activation and STING-dependent type I interferon signaling, both of which contribute to the activation of dendritic cells and subsequent T cells. Furthermore, teniposide potentiated the antitumor efficacy of anti-PD1 on multiple types of mouse tumor models. Our findings showed that teniposide could trigger tumor immunogenicity, and enabled a potential chemo-immunotherapeutic approach to potentiate the therapeutic efficacy of anti-PD1 immunotherapy.
Zining Wang, Jiemin Chen, Jie Hu, Hongxia Zhang, Feifei Xu, Wenzhuo He, Xiaojuan Wang, Mengyun Li, Wenhua Lu, Gucheng Zeng, Penghui Zhou, Peng Huang, Siyu Chen, Wende Li, Liang-ping Xia, Xiaojun Xia
T cell autoreactivity is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases but can also benefit self-maintenance and foster tissue repair. Herein, we investigated whether heart-specific T cells exert salutary or detrimental effects in the context of myocardial infarction (MI), the leading cause of death worldwide. After screening more than 150 class-II-restricted epitopes, we found that myosin heavy chain alpha (MYHCA) was a dominant cardiac antigen triggering post-MI CD4+ T cell activation in mice. Transferred MYHCA614-629-specific CD4+ T (TCR-M) cells selectively accumulated in the myocardium and mediastinal lymph nodes (med-LN) of infarcted mice, acquired a Treg phenotype with a distinct pro-healing gene expression profile, and mediated cardioprotection. Myocardial Treg cells were also detected in autopsies from patients who suffered a MI. Noninvasive PET/CT imaging using a CXCR4 radioligand revealed enlarged med-LNs with increased cellularity in MI-patients. Notably, the med-LN alterations observed in MI patients correlated with the infarct size and cardiac function. Taken together, the results obtained in our study provide evidence showing that MI-context induces pro-healing T cell autoimmunity in mice and confirms the existence of an analogous heart/med-LN/T cell axis in MI patients.
Max Rieckmann, Murilo Delgobo, Chiara Gaal, Lotte Büchner, Philipp Steinau, Dan Reshef, Cristina Gil-Cruz, Ellis N. ter Horst, Malte Kircher, Theresa Reiter, Katrin G. Heinze, Hans W.M. Niessen, Paul A.J. Krijnen, Anja M. van der Laan, Jan J. Piek, Charlotte Koch, Hans-Jürgen Wester, Constantin Lapa, Wolfgang R. Bauer, Burkhard Ludewig, Nir Friedman, Stefan Frantz, Ulrich Hofmann, Gustavo Campos Ramos
A vaccine for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is urgently needed. Development of broadly-neutralizing plasma antibodies during acute infection is associated with HCV clearance, but the viral epitopes of these plasma antibodies are unknown. Identification of these epitopes could define the specificity and function of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) that should be induced by a vaccine. Here, we present development and application of a high-throughput method that deconvolutes polyclonal anti-HCV NAbs in plasma, delineating the epitope specificities of anti-HCV NAbs in acute infection plasma of forty-four humans with subsequent clearance or persistence of HCV. Remarkably, we identified multiple broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) combinations that were associated with greater plasma neutralizing breadth and with HCV clearance. These studies have potential to inform new strategies for vaccine development by identifying bNAb combinations in plasma associated with natural clearance of HCV, while also providing a high-throughput assay that could identify these responses after vaccination trials.
Valerie J. Kinchen, Guido Massaccesi, Andrew I. Flyak, Madeleine C. Mankowski, Michelle D. Colbert, William O. Osburn, Stuart C. Ray, Andrea L. Cox, James E. Crowe Jr., Justin R. Bailey