bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2020‒09‒20
nineteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Nat Immunol. 2020 Oct;21(10): 1232-1243
      The CD2-CD58 recognition system promotes adhesion and signaling and counters exhaustion in human T cells. We found that CD2 localized to the outer edge of the mature immunological synapse, with cellular or artificial APC, in a pattern we refer to as a 'CD2 corolla'. The corolla captured engaged CD28, ICOS, CD226 and SLAM-F1 co-stimulators. The corolla amplified active phosphorylated Src-family kinases (pSFK), LAT and PLC-γ over T cell receptor (TCR) alone. CD2-CD58 interactions in the corolla boosted signaling by 77% as compared with central CD2-CD58 interactions. Engaged PD-1 invaded the CD2 corolla and buffered CD2-mediated amplification of TCR signaling. CD2 numbers and motifs in its cytoplasmic tail controlled corolla formation. CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes displayed low expression of CD2 in the majority of people with colorectal, endometrial or ovarian cancer. CD2 downregulation may attenuate antitumor T cell responses, with implications for checkpoint immunotherapies.
  2. Blood Adv. 2020 Sep 22. 4(18): 4483-4493
      Cancer immunotherapy is advancing rapidly and gene-modified T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) show particular promise. A challenge of CAR-T cell therapy is that the ex vivo-generated CAR-T cells become exhausted during expansion in culture, and do not persist when transferred back to patients. It has become clear that naive and memory CD8 T cells perform better than the total CD8 T-cell populations in CAR-T immunotherapy because of better expansion, antitumor activity, and persistence, which are necessary features for therapeutic success and prevention of disease relapse. However, memory CAR-T cells are rarely used in the clinic due to generation challenges. We previously reported that mouse CD8 T cells cultured with the S enantiomer of the immunometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate (S-2HG) exhibit enhanced antitumor activity. Here, we show that clinical-grade human donor CAR-T cells can be generated from naive precursors after culture with S-2HG. S-2HG-treated CAR-T cells establish long-term memory cells in vivo and show superior antitumor responses when compared with CAR-T cells generated with standard clinical protocols. This study provides the basis for a phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the activity of S-2HG-treated CD19-CAR-T cells in patients with B-cell malignancies.
  3. Blood. 2020 Sep 14. pii: blood.2020005399. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) fate is tightly regulated by their bone marrow (BM) microenvironment (ME). BM transplantation (BMT) frequently requires irradiation pre-conditioning to ablate endogenous hematopoietic cells. Whether the stromal ME is damaged and how it recovers following irradiation is unknown. We report that BM mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) undergo massive damage to their mitochondrial function following irradiation. Donor healthy HSPC transfer functional mitochondria to the stromal ME, thus improving mitochondria activity in recipient MSC. Mitochondrial transfer to MSC is cell-contact dependent and mediated by HSPC connexin-43 (Cx43). Hematopoietic Cx43 deficient chimeric mice show reduced mitochondria transfer, which was rescued upon re-expression of Cx43 in HSPC or culture with isolated mitochondria from Cx43 deficient HSPCs. Increased intracellular ATP levels activate the purinergic receptor P2RX7 and lead to AMPK reduced activity in HSPC, dramatically increasing mitochondria transfer to BM MSC. Host stromal ME recovery and donor HSPC engraftment were augmented following mitochondria transfer. Deficiency of Cx43 delayed mesenchymal and osteogenic regeneration while in vivo AMPK inhibition increased stromal recovery. As a consequence, the hematopoietic compartment reconstitution was improved due to the recovery of the supportive stromal ME. Our findings demonstrate that healthy donor HSPC not only reconstitute the hematopoietic system following transplantation but also support and induce the metabolic recovery of their irradiated-damaged ME via mitochondria transfer. Understanding the mechanisms regulating stromal recovery following myeloablative stress are of high clinical interest to optimize BMT procedures and underscore the importance of accessory, non-HSC to accelerate hematopoietic engraftment.
  4. Exp Mol Med. 2020 Sep 17.
      As knowledge of cell metabolism has advanced, glutamine has been considered an important amino acid that supplies carbon and nitrogen to fuel biosynthesis. A recent study provided a new perspective on mitochondrial glutamine metabolism, offering mechanistic insights into metabolic adaptation during tumor hypoxia, the emergence of drug resistance, and glutaminolysis-induced metabolic reprogramming and presenting metabolic strategies to target glutamine metabolism in cancer cells. In this review, we introduce the various biosynthetic and bioenergetic roles of glutamine based on the compartmentalization of glutamine metabolism to explain why cells exhibit metabolic reliance on glutamine. Additionally, we examined whether glutamine derivatives contribute to epigenetic regulation associated with tumorigenesis. In addition, in discussing glutamine transporters, we propose a metabolic target for therapeutic intervention in cancer.
  5. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 ;2020 9503562
      The intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) with increasing aging mainly manifests as low back pain (LBP) accompanied with a loss of physical ability. These pathological processes can be preliminarily interpreted as a series of changes at cellular level. In addition to cell death, disc cells enter into the stagnation with dysfunction and deteriorate tissue microenvironment in degenerative discs, which is recognized as cell senescence. During aging, many intrinsic and extrinsic factors have been proved to have strong connections with these cellular senescence phenomena. Growing evidences of these connections require us to gather up critical cues from potential risk factors to pathogenesis and relative interventions for retarding cell senescence and attenuating degenerative changes. In this paper, we try to clarify another important cell state apart from cell death in IDD and discuss senescence-associated changes in cells and extracellular microenvironment. Then, we emphasize the role of oxidative stress and epigenomic perturbations in linking risk factors to cell senescence in the onset of IDD. Further, we summarize the current interventions targeting senescent cells that may exert the benefits of antidegeneration in IDD.
  6. EMBO J. 2020 Sep 15. e105220
      When dormant naïve T cells first become activated by antigen-presenting cells, they express the autocrine growth factor IL-2 which transforms them into rapidly dividing effector T cells. During this process, hundreds of genes undergo epigenetic reprogramming for efficient activation, and also for potential reactivation after they return to quiescence as memory T cells. However, the relative contributions of IL-2 and T cell receptor signaling to this process are unknown. Here, we show that IL-2 signaling is required to maintain open chromatin at hundreds of gene regulatory elements, many of which control subsequent stimulus-dependent alternative pathways of T cell differentiation. We demonstrate that IL-2 activates binding of AP-1 and STAT5 at sites that can subsequently bind lineage-determining transcription factors, depending upon what other external factors exist in the local T cell environment. Once established, priming can also be maintained by the stroma-derived homeostatic cytokine IL-7, and priming diminishes if Il7r is subsequently deleted in vivo. Hence, IL-2 is not just a growth factor; it lays the foundation for T cell differentiation and immunological memory.
    Keywords:  IL-2; differentiation; memory T cell; priming; transcription factor
  7. Sci Immunol. 2020 Sep 18. pii: eabb5590. [Epub ahead of print]5(51):
      Development of tissue-resident memory (TRM) CD8 T cells depends on CD4 T cells. In polyomavirus central nervous system infection, brain CXCR5hi PD-1hi CD4 T cells produce interleukin-21 (IL-21), and CD8 T cells lacking IL-21 receptors (IL21R-/-) fail to become bTRM IL-21+ CD4 T cells exhibit elevated T cell receptor (TCR) affinity and higher TCR density. IL21R-/- brain CD8 T cells do not express CD103, depend on vascular CD8 T cells for maintenance, are antigen recall defective, and lack TRM core signature genes. CD4 T cell-deficient and IL21R-/- brain CD8 T cells show similar deficiencies in expression of genes for oxidative metabolism, and intrathecal delivery of IL-21 to CD4 T cell-depleted mice restores expression of electron transport genes in CD8 T cells to wild-type levels. Thus, high-affinity CXCR5hi PD-1hi CD4 T cells in the brain produce IL-21, which drives CD8 bTRM differentiation in response to a persistent viral infection.
  8. J Immunol. 2020 Sep 16. pii: ji2000327. [Epub ahead of print]
      The number and activity of T cell subsets in the atherosclerotic plaques are critical for the prognosis of patients with acute coronary syndrome. β2 Integrin activation is pivotal for T cell recruitment and correlates with future cardiac events. Despite this knowledge, differential regulation of adhesiveness in T cell subsets has not been explored yet. In this study, we show that in human T cells, SDF-1α-mediated β2 integrin activation is driven by a, so far, not-described reactive oxidative species (ROS)-regulated calcium influx. Furthermore, we show that CD4+CD28null T cells represent a highly reactive subset showing 25-fold stronger β2 integrin activation upon SDF-1α stimulation compared with CD28+ T cells. Interestingly, ROS-dependent Ca release was much more prevalent in the pathogenetically pivotal CD28null subset compared with the CD28+ T cells, whereas the established mediators of the classical pathways for β2 integrin activation (PKC, PI3K, and PLC) were similarly activated in both T cell subsets. Thus, interference with the calcium flux attenuates spontaneous adhesion of CD28null T cells from acute coronary syndrome patients, and calcium ionophores abolished the observed differences in the adhesion properties between CD28+ and CD28null T cells. Likewise, the adhesion of these T cell subsets was indistinguishable in the presence of exogenous ROS/H2O2 Together, these data provide a molecular explanation of the role of ROS in pathogenesis of plaque destabilization.
  9. Immunol Cell Biol. 2020 Sep 17.
      Cholesterol is a major component of the lipid bilayers of cellular membranes. The synthesis of cholesterol is acutely elevated during T cell activation to support T cell growth and proliferation. There is a limited understanding of cholesterol metabolism reprogramming during T cell activation. Retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs) are ligand-activated nuclear receptors that regulate the transcription of target genes. In this study, we demonstrated that the activation of RORs by a synthetic agonist (SR1078) impairs the proliferation and survival of post-activated CD8+ T cells. The inhibitory effects of SR1078 on CD8+ T cell proliferation and survival were attributed to cholesterol depletion and downregulated expression of cholesterol metabolism-related genes. The overexpression of RORα or RORγt promoted the apoptosis in the post-activated CD8+ T cells in vitro. The expression of RORα (but not that of RORγt) was markedly upregulated in the CD8+ T cells upon stimulation with an antigen in vivo. The functional deficiency of RORα enhanced CD8+ T cell expansion during the response to bacterial infection. These results suggest that RORs are involved in the regulation of CD8+ T cell-mediated immune response through the regulation of cholesterol metabolism, which can be modulated by a synthetic ROR agonist. The findings of this study can aid in the development of immunotherapeutic methods that target nuclear receptors.
    Keywords:  CD8+ T cells; ROR; agonist; cholesterol; nuclear receptor
  10. Sci Signal. 2020 Sep 15. pii: eaau4518. [Epub ahead of print]13(649):
      The killing of tumor cells by CD8+ T cells is suppressed by the tumor microenvironment, and increased expression of inhibitory receptors, including programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), is associated with tumor-mediated suppression of T cells. To find cellular defects triggered by tumor exposure and associated PD-1 signaling, we established an ex vivo imaging approach to investigate the response of antigen-specific, activated effector CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) after interaction with target tumor cells. Although TIL-tumor cell couples readily formed, couple stability deteriorated within minutes. This was associated with impaired F-actin clearing from the center of the cellular interface, reduced Ca2+ signaling, increased TIL locomotion, and impaired tumor cell killing. The interaction of CD8+ T lymphocytes with tumor cell spheroids in vitro induced a similar phenotype, supporting a critical role of direct T cell-tumor cell contact. Diminished engagement of PD-1 within the tumor, but not acute ex vivo blockade, partially restored cell couple maintenance and killing. PD-1 thus contributes to the suppression of TIL function by inducing a state of impaired subcellular organization.
  11. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2020 Sep 14.
      Dysregulation of the epigenome drives aberrant transcriptional programmes that promote cancer onset and progression. Although defective gene regulation often affects oncogenic and tumour-suppressor networks, tumour immunogenicity and immune cells involved in antitumour responses may also be affected by epigenomic alterations. This could have important implications for the development and application of both epigenetic therapies and cancer immunotherapies, and combinations thereof. Here, we review the role of key aberrant epigenetic processes - DNA methylation and post-translational modification of histones - in tumour immunogenicity, as well as the effects of epigenetic modulation on antitumour immune cell function. We emphasize opportunities for small-molecule inhibitors of epigenetic regulators to enhance antitumour immune responses, and discuss the challenges of exploiting the complex interplay between cancer epigenetics and cancer immunology to develop treatment regimens combining epigenetic therapies with immunotherapies.
  12. Sci Signal. 2020 Sep 15. pii: eabc0653. [Epub ahead of print]13(649):
      Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a dimeric cytokine with both immunosuppressive and immunostimulatory activities; however, IL-10-based therapies have shown only marginal clinical benefits. Here, we explored whether the stability of the IL-10 receptor complex contributes to the immunomodulatory potency of IL-10. We generated an IL-10 mutant with enhanced affinity for its IL-10Rβ receptor using yeast surface display. Compared to the wild-type cytokine, the affinity-enhanced IL-10 variants recruited IL-10Rβ more efficiently into active cell surface signaling complexes and triggered greater STAT1 and STAT3 activation in human monocytes and CD8+ T cells. These effects, in turn, led to more robust induction of IL-10-mediated gene expression programs at low ligand concentrations in both human cell subsets. IL-10-regulated genes are involved in monocyte energy homeostasis, migration, and trafficking and in CD8+ T cell exhaustion. At nonsaturating doses, IL-10 did not induce key components of its gene expression program, which may explain its lack of efficacy in clinical settings. Our engineered IL-10 variant showed a more robust bioactivity profile than that of wild-type IL-10 at low doses in monocytes and CD8+ T cells. Moreover, CAR-modified T cells expanded with the engineered IL-10 variant displayed superior cytolytic activity than those expanded with wild-type IL-10. Our study provides insights into how IL-10 receptor complex stability fine-tunes IL-10 biology and opens new opportunities to revitalize failed IL-10 therapies.
  13. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Sep 13. 12
      Inflammation plays a crucial role in initiating renal fibrosis after injury. The infiltration of inflammatory cells, such as CD4+ T cells and macrophages, contributes to renal fibrosis following ureteric obstruction. However, the function of CD8+ T cells in obstructed kidneys remains unclear. Although CD8+ T cell depletion intensifies renal fibrosis by decreasing IFN-γ and increasing IL-4 in the kidneys, the change and role of CD8 T cell populations following environmental changes during renal fibrosis are largely unknown. Here, we identified two CD8 T cell subsets in mouse obstructed kidneys with unilateral ureteric obstruction and revealed their different functions in building an inflammatory or profibrotic environment. Following renal fibrosis, the phenotypes of infiltrated CD8 T cells were mainly Tc1 (CD44+CD25-CD62L-) at the early inflammation stage and then changed to Tc2 (CD44+CD25highCD62Llow). Tc1 and Tc2 secreted IFN-γ, contributing to the decrease in the Th2-induced over-polarization of M2 macrophages and fibrosis. Moreover, Tc2 secreted pro- and anti-inflammation factors and decreased the inflammatory responses of other cells to control inflammation and fibrosis. This work and our previous study showed that CD8 T cells could balance out inflammation by controlling its level in renal fibrosis.
    Keywords:  CD8 T cells; fibrosis; inflammation; kidney; macrophages
  14. Mol Cell Oncol. 2020 ;7(5): 1791671
      In search of anti-aging interventions with differential effects on normal and cancer cells, we show that cycles of a fasting-mimicking diet plus pharmacological doses of vitamin C can be effective in targeting KRAS-mutant cancers. This approach represents a promising strategy able to protect the organism while killing cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Fasting-mimicking diet; KRAS-mutant cancers; iron metabolism; vitamin C
  15. Nat Methods. 2020 Sep 14.
      The immune system's ability to recognize peptides on major histocompatibility molecules contributes to the eradication of cancers and pathogens. Tracking these responses in vivo could help evaluate the efficacy of immune interventions and improve mechanistic understanding of immune responses. For this purpose, we employ synTacs, which are dimeric major histocompatibility molecule scaffolds of defined composition. SynTacs, when labeled with positron-emitting isotopes, can noninvasively image antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in vivo. Using radiolabeled synTacs loaded with the appropriate peptides, we imaged human papillomavirus-specific CD8+ T cells by positron emission tomography in mice bearing human papillomavirus-positive tumors, as well as influenza A virus-specific CD8+ T cells in the lungs of influenza A virus-infected mice. It is thus possible to visualize antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell populations in vivo, which may serve prognostic and diagnostic roles.
  16. BMC Cancer. 2020 Sep 14. 20(1): 882
      BACKGROUND: Cytotoxic chemotherapy can cure advanced germ cell tumors. Nevertheless, cancer treatment may induce cellular senescence and accelerate molecular aging. The aging process implies an increase of cells expressing p16INK4a and changes in lymphocyte subpopulations. Our aim was to study the potential induction of premature immunosenescence in testicular cancer survivors (TCS) exposed to chemotherapy.METHODS: Case-control exploratory study of TCS treated with chemotherapy (≥3 BEP cycles, disease-free ≥3 months) compared with age matched healthy controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated, and lymphocyte subpopulations were analyzed by flow cytometry. CDKN2A/p16INK4a expression in T cells was measured using qPCR. The percentage of lymphocyte subpopulations and the CDKN2A/p16INK4a expression in TCS were compared with the control group using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
    RESULTS: We included 16 cases and 16 controls. The median age was 27 years (minimum 24, maximum 54) and the median time on surveillance was 26.5 months (minimum 3, maximum192). TCS had a lower percentage of total T cells and CD4+ T cells in total lymphocytes. Among the CD4+ T lymphocytes, TCS had less naïve CD4+ and increased memory CD4+ cells. Within the CD8+ T lymphocytes, TCS exhibited a decrease in the percentage of naïve cells and an increase in CD8 + CD45RA + CD57+ cells. TCS also exhibited decreased memory CD19+ B cells compared to the controls. The relative expression of CDKN2A/p16INK4a in T cells was increased in TCS (mean 1.54; 95% CI of the mean: 1.074-2.005; p = 0.048).
    CONCLUSION: In this exploratory study, TCS showed increased expression of CDKN2A/p16INK4a and a lymphocyte phenotype that has been associated with immunosenescence. Further studies are warranted to define the clinical implications of these alterations in TCS.
    Keywords:  Germ cell tumors; Immunosenescence; Molecular aging; Premature aging; Testicular cancer; Testicular cancer survivors; p16INK4a
  17. Br J Cancer. 2020 Sep 15.
      The functions of, and interactions between, the innate and adaptive immune systems are vital for anticancer immunity. Cytotoxic T cells expressing cell-surface CD8 are the most powerful effectors in the anticancer immune response and form the backbone of current successful cancer immunotherapies. Immune-checkpoint inhibitors are designed to target immune-inhibitory receptors that function to regulate the immune response, whereas adoptive cell-transfer therapies use CD8+ T cells with genetically modified receptors-chimaeric antigen receptors-to specify and enhance CD8+ T-cell functionality. New generations of cytotoxic T cells with genetically modified or synthetic receptors are being developed and evaluated in clinical trials. Furthermore, combinatory regimens might optimise treatment effects and reduce adverse events. This review summarises advances in research on the most prominent immune effectors in cancer and cancer immunotherapy, cytotoxic T cells, and discusses possible implications for future cancer treatment.
  18. IUBMB Life. 2020 Sep 15.
      Liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1, NR5A2) is an orphan nuclear receptor with widespread activities in the regulation of development, stemness, metabolism, steroidogenesis, and proliferation. Many of the LRH-1-regulated processes target the mitochondria and associated activities. While under physiological conditions, a balanced LRH-1 expression and regulation contribute to the maintenance of a physiological equilibrium, deregulation of LRH-1 has been associated with inflammation and cancer. In this review, we discuss the role and mechanism(s) of how LRH-1 regulates metabolic processes, cell survival, and cancer in a nuclear-mitochondrial crosstalk, and evaluate its potential as a pharmacological target.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; cancer; metabolism; mitochondria; nuclear receptors
  19. Oncoimmunology. 2020 May 12. 9(1): 1758606
      Antitumor immunity is mediated by Th1 CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, which induce tumor-specific cytolysis, whereas Th17 CD4+ T cells have been described to promote tumor growth. Here, we explored the influence of IL-17 on the ability of therapeutic vaccines to induce the rejection of tumors in mice using several adjuvants known to elicit either Th1 or Th17-type immunity. Immunization of mice with Th1-adjuvanted vaccine induced high levels of IFN-γ-producing T cells, whereas injection with Th17-promoting adjuvants triggered the stimulation of both IL-17 and IFN-γ-producing T cells. However, despite their capacity to induce strong Th1 responses, these Th17-promoting adjuvants failed to induce the eradication of tumors. In addition, the systemic administration of IL-17A strongly decreases the therapeutic effect of Th1-adjuvanted vaccines in two different tumor models. This suppressive effect correlated with the capacity of systemically delivered IL-17A to inhibit the induction of CD8+ T-cell responses. The suppressive effect of IL-17A on the induction of CD8+ T-cell responses was abolished in mice depleted of neutrophils, clearly demonstrating the role played by these cells in the inhibitory effect of IL-17A in the induction of antitumor responses. These results demonstrate that even though strong Th1-type responses favor tumor control, the simultaneous activation of Th17 cells may redirect or curtail tumor-specific immunity through a mechanism involving neutrophils. This study establishes that IL-17 plays a detrimental role in the development of an effective antitumor T cell response and thus could strongly affect the efficiency of immunotherapy through the inhibition of CTL responses.
    Keywords:  IL-17; Th17 cells; Tumor immunity; cytotoxic T cells; neutrophils