bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2020‒11‒15
thirteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research


  1. Aging Cell. 2020 Nov 09. e13272
    Covre LP, De Maeyer RPH, Gomes DCO, Akbar AN.
      The development of senescence in tissues of different organs and in the immune system are usually investigated independently of each other although during ageing, senescence in both cellular systems develop concurrently. Senescent T cells are highly inflammatory and secrete cytotoxic mediators and express natural killer cells receptors (NKR) that bypass their antigen specificity. Instead they recognize stress ligands that are induced by inflammation or infection of different cell types in tissues. In this article we discuss data on T cell senescence, how it is regulated and evidence for novel functional attributes of senescent T cells. We discuss an interactive loop between senescent T cells and senescent non-lymphoid cells and conclude that in situations of intense inflammation, senescent cells may damage healthy tissue. While the example for immunopathology induced by senescent cells that we highlight is cutaneous leishmaniasis, this situation of organ damage may apply to other infections, including COVID-19 and also rheumatoid arthritis, where ageing, inflammation and senescent cells are all part of the same equation.
    Keywords:  T cell; aging; senescence
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.13272
  2. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 06. pii: S1550-4131(20)30546-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Varanasi SK, Kumar SV, Rouse BT.
      Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of T cell activation and function. As our understanding of T cell metabolism increases, so does our appreciation of its inherent complexity. The metabolic heterogeneity of T cells that reside in different locations, such as lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, presents a challenge to developing therapies that exploit metabolic vulnerabilities. The roots of metabolic heterogeneity are only beginning to be understood. Here, we propose four factors that contribute to the adaptation of T cells to their dynamic tissue environment: (1) functional status of T cells, (2) local factors unique to the tissue niche, (3) type of inflammation, and (4) time spent in a specific tissue. We review emerging concepts about tissue-specific metabolic reprogramming in T cells with particular attention to explain how such metabolic properties are used as an adaptation mechanism. Adaptation of immune cells to the local microenvironment is critical for their persistence and function. Here, Varanasi et al. review the role and types of metabolic adaptation acquired by T cells in tissues and how these adaptations might differ between tissue type, disease state, and functionality of a T cell.
    Keywords:  CD4 T cells; CD8 T cells; T cells; autoimmunity; cancer; fatty acids; hypoxia; immunology; infection; inflammation; metabolism; mitochondria; regulatory T cells
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.10.013
  3. Cell Mol Immunol. 2020 Nov 11.
    Prasad M, Brzostek J, Gautam N, Balyan R, Rybakin V, Gascoigne NRJ.
      Themis is a T cell lineage-specific molecule that is involved in TCR signal transduction. The effects of germline Themis deletion on peripheral CD4+ T cell function have not been described before. In this study, we found that Themis-deficient CD4+ T cells had poor proliferative responses, reduced cytokine production in vitro and weaker inflammatory potential, as measured by their ability to cause colitis in vivo. Resting T cells are quiescent, whereas activated T cells have high metabolic demands. Fulfillment of these metabolic demands depends upon nutrient availability and upregulation of nutrient intake channels after efficient TCR signal transduction, which leads to metabolic reprogramming in T cells. We tested whether defects in effector functions were caused by impaired metabolic shifts in Themis-deficient CD4+ T cells due to inefficient TCR signal transduction, in turn caused by the lack of Themis. We found that upon TCR stimulation, Themis-deficient CD4+ T cells were unable to upregulate the expression of insulin receptor (IR), glucose transporter (GLUT1), the neutral amino acid transporter CD98 and the mTOR pathway, as measured by c-Myc and pS6 expression. Mitochondrial analysis of activated Themis-deficient CD4+ T cells showed more oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) than aerobic glycolysis, indicating defective metabolic reprogramming. Furthermore, we found reduced NFAT translocation in Themis-deficient CD4+ T cells upon TCR stimulation. Using previously reported ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data, we found that NFAT nuclear translocation controls IR gene expression. Together, our results describe an internal circuit between TCR signal transduction, NFAT nuclear translocation, and metabolic signaling in CD4+ T cells.
    Keywords:  Immunometabolism; Insulin receptor; Mitochondria; NFAT nuclear translocation; mTOR
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41423-020-00578-4
  4. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 564461
    Schroth J, Thiemermann C, Henson SM.
      Chronic kidney disease (CKD) presents an ever-growing disease burden for the world's aging population. It is characterized by numerous changes to the kidney, including a decrease in renal mass, renal fibrosis, and a diminished glomerular filtration rate. The premature aging phenotype observed in CKD is associated with cellular senescence, particularly of renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs), which contributes to chronic inflammation through the production of a proinflammatory senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP). When coupled with changes in immune system composition and progressive immune dysfunction, the accumulation of senescent kidney cells acts as a driver for the progression of CKD. The targeting of senescent cells may well present an attractive therapeutic avenue for the treatment of CKD. We propose that the targeting of senescent cells either by direct inhibition of pro-survival pathways (senolytics) or through the inhibition of their proinflammatory secretory profile (senomorphics) together with immunomodulation to enhance immune system surveillance of senescent cells could be of benefit to patients with CKD.
    Keywords:  T cell; aging; immune system; kidney; senescence
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.564461
  5. Epigenomics. 2020 11 10.
    Sasidharan Nair V, Saleh R, Toor SM, Taha RZ, Ahmed AA, Kurer MA, Murshed K, Abu Nada , Elkord E.
      Aim: To elucidate the epigenetic alterations behind the upregulation of immune checkpoints and T cell exhaustion markers in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Materials & methods: mRNA expressions of different immune checkpoint/exhaustion markers were analyzed by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR and epigenetic investigations were performed using bisulfite sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation quantitative PCR. Results: mRNA expressions of PD-1, TIM-3, CTLA-4, PD-L1 and TOX2 were significantly upregulated in CD4+ and CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and bulk CRC tumor tissues. Histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation was downregulated and histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation was upregulated in PD-L1 and TOX2 promoters in tumor tissues, suggesting that PD-L1 and TOX2 upregulation in CRC tumors could be mediated by activating histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation. Conclusion: Epigenetic modifications in promoters of immune checkpoint and T cell exhaustion genes could induce their upregulation, and potentially implicate the use of epigenetic modifiers to enhance antitumor immunity in CRC patients.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; colorectal cancer; epigenetics; histone modifications; immune checkpoints
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.2217/epi-2020-0267
  6. Oncogene. 2020 Nov 09.
    Poorebrahim M, Melief J, Pico de Coaña Y, L Wickström S, Cid-Arregui A, Kiessling R.
      In spite of high rates of complete remission following chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, the efficacy of this approach is limited by generation of dysfunctional CAR T cells in vivo, conceivably induced by immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) and excessive antigen exposure. Exhaustion and senescence are two critical dysfunctional states that impose a pivotal hurdle for successful CAR T cell therapies. Recently, modified CAR T cells with an "exhaustion-resistant" phenotype have shown superior antitumor functions and prolonged lifespan. In addition, several studies have indicated the feasibility of senescence delay in CAR T cells. Here, we review the latest reports regarding blockade of CAR T cell exhaustion and senescence with a particular focus on the exhaustion-inducing pathways. Subsequently, we describe what potential these latest insights offer for boosting the potency of adoptive cell transfer (ACT) therapies involving CAR T cells. Furthermore, we discuss how induction of costimulation, cytokine exposure, and TME modulation can impact on CAR T cell efficacy and persistence, while potential safety issues associated with reinvigorated CAR T cells will also be addressed.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-020-01501-x
  7. Elife. 2020 11 10. pii: e62420. [Epub ahead of print]9
    Drijvers JM, Sharpe AH, Haigis MC.
      Average age and obesity prevalence are increasing globally. Both aging and obesity are characterized by profound systemic metabolic and immunologic changes and are cancer risk factors. The mechanisms linking age and body weight to cancer are incompletely understood, but recent studies have provided evidence that the anti-tumor immune response is reduced in both conditions, while responsiveness to immune checkpoint blockade, a form of cancer immunotherapy, is paradoxically intact. Dietary restriction, which promotes health and lifespan, may enhance cancer immunity. These findings illustrate that the systemic context can impact anti-tumor immunity and immunotherapy responsiveness. Here, we review the current knowledge of how age and systemic metabolic state affect the anti-tumor immune response, with an emphasis on CD8+ T cells, which are key players in anti-tumor immunity. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms may lead to novel therapies enhancing anti-tumor immunity in the context of aging or metabolic dysfunction.
    Keywords:  aging; cancer biology; cancer metabolism; immunity; immunology; inflammation; metabolism; obesity
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.62420
  8. Cell Rep Med. 2020 Jul 21. pii: 100054. [Epub ahead of print]1(4):
    Martos SN, Campbell MR, Lozoya OA, Wang X, Bennett BD, Thompson IJB, Wan M, Pittman GS, Bell DA.
      Tobacco smoke exposure contributes to the global burden of communicable and chronic diseases. To identify immune cells affected by smoking, we use single-cell RNA sequencing on peripheral blood from smokers and nonsmokers. Transcriptomes reveal a subpopulation of FCGR3A (CD16)-expressing Natural Killer (NK)-like CD8 T lymphocytes that increase in smokers. Mass cytometry confirms elevated CD16+ CD8 T cells in smokers. Inferred as highly differentiated by pseudotime analysis, NK-like CD8 T cells express markers characteristic of effector memory re-expressing CD45RA T (TEMRA) cells. Indicative of immune aging, smokers' CD8 T cells are biased toward differentiated cells and smokers have fewer naïve cells than nonsmokers. DNA methylation-based models show that smoking dose is associated with accelerated aging and decreased telomere length, a biomarker of T cell senescence. Immune aging accompanies T cell senescence, which can ultimately lead to impaired immune function. This suggests a role for smoking-induced, senescence-associated immune dysregulation in smoking-mediated pathologies.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2020.100054
  9. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 05. pii: E8305. [Epub ahead of print]21(21):
    Hosseinkhani N, Derakhshani A, Kooshkaki O, Abdoli Shadbad M, Hajiasgharzadeh K, Baghbanzadeh A, Safarpour H, Mokhtarzadeh A, Brunetti O, Yue SC, Silvestris N, Baradaran B.
      Although the ever-increasing number of cancer patients pose substantial challenges worldwide, finding a treatment with the highest response rate and the lowest number of side effects is still undergoing research. Compared to chemotherapy, the relatively low side effects of cancer immunotherapy have provided ample opportunity for immunotherapy to become a promising approach for patients with malignancy. However, the clinical translation of immune-based therapies requires robust anti-tumoral immune responses. Immune checkpoints have substantial roles in the induction of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and tolerance against tumor antigens. Identifying and targeting these inhibitory axes, which can be established between tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, can facilitate the development of anti-tumoral immune responses. Bispecific T-cell engagers, which can attract lymphocytes to the tumor microenvironment, have also paved the road for immunological-based tumor elimination. The development of CAR-T cells and their gene editing have brought ample opportunity to recognize tumor antigens, independent from immune checkpoints and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Indeed, there have been remarkable advances in developing various CAR-T cells to target tumoral cells. Knockout of immune checkpoints via gene editing in CAR-T cells might be designated for a breakthrough for patients with malignancy. In the midst of this fast progress in cancer immunotherapies, there is a need to provide up-to-date information regarding immune checkpoints, bispecific T-cell engagers, and CAR-T cells. Therefore, this review aims to provide recent findings of immune checkpoints, bispecific T-cell engagers, and CAR-T cells in cancer immunotherapy and discuss the pertained clinical trials.
    Keywords:  CAR-T cells; cancer therapy; immune checkpoints; immunotherapy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218305
  10. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2020 Nov 13. 68(6): 36
    Yan Y, Zhang L, Zuo Y, Qian H, Liu C.
      Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand PD-L1 are critical for the regulation of T cell exhaustion and activity suppression. Tumor cells expressing immune checkpoints including PD-L1 escape monitoring of T cells from the host immune system. Checkpoint inhibitors are highly promising therapies that function as tumor-suppressing factors via modulation of tumor cell-immune cell interactions as well as boosting T cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity. Notably, PD-1 or PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) has demonstrated promising therapeutic effects in clinical studies of many types of cancer. These mAbs have caused significant tumor regression with impressive anti-tumor response rates as well as a favorable safety profile in cancer patients. Furthermore, the combination of PD-1/PD-L1 mAbs with other types of anti-tumor agents has also developed to boost the anti-tumor responses and enhance therapeutic effects in cancer patients. This review clarifies the mechanisms of PD-1/PD-L1-mediated anti-cancer immune responses and some clinical studies of mAbs targeting PD-1/PD-L1. The challenges and future of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade therapy are also discussed.
    Keywords:  Immune checkpoints; Immunotherapy; Monoclonal antibody; PD-1; PD-L1
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00005-020-00601-6
  11. Mol Cell. 2020 Oct 27. pii: S1097-2765(20)30722-X. [Epub ahead of print]
    Byun JK, Park M, Lee S, Yun JW, Lee J, Kim JS, Cho SJ, Jeon HJ, Lee IK, Choi YK, Park KG.
      Despite its outstanding clinical success, immune checkpoint blockade remains ineffective in many patients. Accordingly, combination therapy capable of achieving greater antitumor immunity is urgently required. Here, we report that limiting glutamine metabolism in cancer cells bolsters the effectiveness of anti-programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) antibody. Inhibition of glutamine utilization increased PD-L1 levels in cancer cells, thereby inactivating co-cultured T cells. Under glutamine-limited conditions, reduced cellular GSH levels caused an upregulation of PD-L1 expression by impairing SERCA activity, which activates the calcium/NF-κB signaling cascade. Consequently, in tumors grown in immunocompetent mice, inhibition of glutamine metabolism decreased the antitumor activity of T cells. In combination with anti-PD-L1, however, glutamine depletion strongly promoted the antitumor efficacy of T cells in vitro and in vivo due to simultaneous increases in Fas/CD95 levels. Our results demonstrate the relevance of cancer glutamine metabolism to antitumor immunity and suggest that co-targeting of glutamine metabolism and PD-L1 represents a promising therapeutic approach.
    Keywords:  PD-L1; SERCA; antitumor immunity; glutamine
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2020.10.015
  12. Blood Adv. 2020 Nov 10. 4(21): 5512-5526
    Govindarajah V, Lee JM, Solomon M, Goddard B, Nayak R, Nattamai K, Geiger H, Salomonis N, Cancelas JA, Reynaud D.
      Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) activity is tightly controlled to ensure the integrity of the hematopoietic system during the organism's lifetime. How the HSC compartment maintains its long-term fitness in conditions of chronic stresses associated with systemic metabolic disorders is poorly understood. In this study, we show that obesity functionally affects the long-term function of the most immature engrafting HSC subpopulation. We link this altered regenerative activity to the oxidative stress and the aberrant constitutive activation of the AKT signaling pathway that characterized the obese environment. In contrast, we found minor disruptions of the HSC function in obese mice at steady state, suggesting that active mechanisms could protect the HSC compartment from its disturbed environment. Consistent with this idea, we found that FOXO proteins in HSCs isolated from obese mice become insensitive to their normal upstream regulators such as AKT, even during intense oxidative stress. We established that hyperglycemia, a key condition associated with obesity, is directly responsible for the alteration of the AKT-FOXO axis in HSCs and their abnormal oxidative stress response. As a consequence, we observed that HSCs isolated from a hyperglycemic environment display enhanced resistance to oxidative stress and DNA damage. Altogether, these results indicate that chronic metabolic stresses associated with obesity and/or hyperglycemia affect the wiring of the HSCs and modify their oxidative stress response. These data suggest that the uncoupling of FOXO from its environmental regulators could be a key adaptive strategy that promotes the survival of the HSC compartment in obesity.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001826
  13. Cell Metab. 2020 Nov 03. pii: S1550-4131(20)30554-4. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lv H, Lv G, Chen C, Zong Q, Jiang G, Ye D, Cui X, He Y, Xiang W, Han Q, Tang L, Yang W, Wang H.
      NAD+ metabolism is implicated in aging and cancer. However, its role in immune checkpoint regulation and immune evasion remains unclear. Here, we find nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), the rate-limiting enzyme of the NAD+ biogenesis, drives interferon γ (IFNγ)-induced PD-L1 expression in multiple types of tumors and governs tumor immune evasion in a CD8+ T cell-dependent manner. Mechanistically, NAD+ metabolism maintains activity and expression of methylcytosine dioxygenase Tet1 via α-ketoglutarate (α-KG). IFNγ-activated Stat1 facilitates Tet1 binding to Irf1 to regulate Irf1 demethylation, leading to downstream PD-L1 expression on tumors. Importantly, high NAMPT-expressing tumors are more sensitive to anti-PD-L1 treatment and NAD+ augmentation enhances the efficacy of anti-PD-L1 antibody in immunotherapy-resistant tumors. Collectively, these data delineate an NAD+ metabolism-dependent epigenetic mechanism contributing to tumor immune evasion, and NAD+ replenishment combined with PD-(L)1 antibody provides a promising therapeutic strategy for immunotherapy-resistant tumors.
    Keywords:  NAD(+) metabolism; NAMPT; PD-L1; Tet1; cancer immune evasion; cancer immunotherapy; epigenetics; immune checkpoint blockade; interferon γ
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.10.021