bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒03‒21
ten papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 11. pii: S1471-4892(21)00009-6. [Epub ahead of print]57 117-124
      Intracellular metabolic adaptations help define the function and homeostasis of memory CD8+ T cells. These cells, which promote protection against infections or cancer, undergo consecutive metabolic shifts, ultimately relying on mitochondrial-related pathways. Past CD8+ T cell metabolism studies focused on circulating memory cells, which are exclusive to secondary lymphoid organs or recirculate between lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs. Yet, now there is unequivocal evidence that memory CD8+ T cells reside in many non-lymphoid organs and mediate protective immunity in barrier tissues. The metabolic adaptations occurring in forming and established tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells are currently subject of intense research. In this review, we discuss the latest breakthroughs on the transcriptional and protein control of tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cell metabolism.
    Keywords:  Bhlhe40; Memory CD8(+) T cells; Memory precursor; Mitochondria; P2RX7; T(RM) cells
  2. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021 ;1316 149-167
      T cells recognize "foreign" antigens and induce durable humoral and cellular immune responses, which are indispensable for defending pathogens, as well as maintaining the integrity and homeostasis of tissues and organs. T cells are the major immune cell population in the tumor microenvironment which play a critical role in the antitumor immune response and cancer immune surveillance. Defective immune response of tumor-infiltrating T cells is the main cause of cancer immune evasion. The antitumor response of T cells is affected by multiple factors in the tumor microenvironment, including immunosuppressive cells, immune inhibitory cytokines, tumor-derived suppressive signals like PD-L1, immnuogenicity of tumor cells, as well as metabolic factors like hypoxia and nutrient deprivation. Abundant studies in past decades have proved the metabolic regulations of the immune response of T cells and the tumor-infiltrating T cells. In this chapter, we will discuss the regulations of the antitumor response of tumor-infiltrating T cells by lipid metabolism, which is one of the main components of metabolic regulation.
    Keywords:  Fatty acid; Lipid; Metabolism; Tumor microenvironment; Tumor-infiltrating T cell
  3. Aging Cell. 2021 Mar 18. e13329
      Senescence phenotypes and mitochondrial dysfunction are implicated in aging and in premature aging diseases, including ataxia telangiectasia (A-T). Loss of mitochondrial function can drive age-related decline in the brain, but little is known about whether improving mitochondrial homeostasis alleviates senescence phenotypes. We demonstrate here that mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular senescence with a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) occur in A-T patient fibroblasts, and in ATM-deficient cells and mice. Senescence is mediated by stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and involves ectopic cytoplasmic DNA. We further show that boosting intracellular NAD+ levels with nicotinamide riboside (NR) prevents senescence and SASP by promoting mitophagy in a PINK1-dependent manner. NR treatment also prevents neurodegeneration, suppresses senescence and neuroinflammation, and improves motor function in Atm-/- mice. Our findings suggest a central role for mitochondrial dysfunction-induced senescence in A-T pathogenesis, and that enhancing mitophagy as a potential therapeutic intervention.
    Keywords:  Ataxia Telangiectasia; Nicotinamide riboside; SASP; mitophagy; senescence
  4. Nat Metab. 2021 Mar 15.
      Intermittent fasting blunts inflammation in asthma1 and rheumatoid arthritis2, suggesting that fasting may be exploited as an immune-modulatory intervention. However, the mechanisms underpinning the anti-inflammatory effects of fasting are poorly characterized3-5. Here, we show that fasting in humans is sufficient to blunt CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness. RNA sequencing and flow cytometry immunophenotyping of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from volunteers subjected to overnight or 24-h fasting and 3 h of refeeding suggest that fasting blunts CD4+ T helper cell activation and differentiation. Transcriptomic analysis reveals that longer fasting has a more robust effect on CD4+ T-cell biology. Through bioinformatics analyses, we identify the transcription factor FOXO4 and its canonical target FK506-binding protein 5 (FKBP5) as a potential fasting-responsive regulatory axis. Genetic gain- or loss-of-function of FOXO4 and FKBP5 is sufficient to modulate TH1 and TH17 cytokine production. Moreover, we find that fasting-induced or genetic overexpression of FOXO4 and FKBP5 is sufficient to downregulate mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 signalling and suppress signal transducer and activator of transcription 1/3 activation. Our results identify FOXO4-FKBP5 as a new fasting-induced, signal transducer and activator of transcription-mediated regulatory pathway to blunt human CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness.
  5. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 607044
      Suppressive mechanisms operating within T cells are linked to immune dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment. We have previously reported using adoptive T cell immunotherapy models that tumor-bearing mice treated with a regimen of proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib - a dipeptidyl boronate, show increased antitumor lymphocyte effector function and survival. Here, we identify a mechanism for the improved antitumor CD8+ T cell function following bortezomib treatment. Intravenous administration of bortezomib at a low dose (1 mg/kg body weight) in wild-type or tumor-bearing mice altered the expression of a number of miRNAs in CD8+ T cells. Specifically, the effect of bortezomib was prominent on miR-155 - a key cellular miRNA involved in T cell function. Importantly, bortezomib-induced upregulation of miR-155 was associated with the downregulation of its targets, the suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) and inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase (SHIP1). Genetic and biochemical analysis confirmed a functional link between miR-155 and these targets. Moreover, activated CD8+ T cells treated with bortezomib exhibited a significant reduction in programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) expressing SHIP1+ phenotype. These data underscore a mechanism of action by which bortezomib induces miR-155-dependent downregulation of SOCS1 and SHIP1 negative regulatory proteins, leading to a suppressed PD-1-mediated T cell exhaustion. Collectively, data provide novel molecular insights into bortezomib-mediated lymphocyte-stimulatory effects that could overcome immunosuppressive actions of tumor on antitumor T cell functions. The findings support the approach that bortezomib combined with other immunotherapies would lead to improved therapeutic outcomes by overcoming T cell exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  T cell exhaustion; antitumor immunity; cancer immunotherapy; immunomodulators; immunosuppression; lymphocyte function; microRNA; tumor microenvironment
  6. FASEB J. 2021 Apr;35(4): e21217
      The importance of cellular metabolic adaptation in inducing robust T cell responses is well established. However, the mechanism by which T cells link information regarding nutrient supply to clonal expansion and effector function is still enigmatic. Herein, we report that the metabolic sensor adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a critical link between cellular energy demand and translational activity and, thus, orchestrates optimal expansion of T cells in vivo. AMPK deficiency did not affect T cell fate decision, activation, or T effector cell generation; however, the magnitude of T cell responses in murine in vivo models of T cell activation was markedly reduced. This impairment was global, as all T helper cell subsets were similarly sensitive to loss of AMPK which resulted in reduced T cell accumulation in peripheral organs and reduced disease severity in pathophysiologically as diverse models as T cell transfer colitis and allergic airway inflammation. T cell receptor repertoire analysis confirmed similar clonotype frequencies in different lymphoid organs, thereby supporting the concept of a quantitative impairment in clonal expansion rather than a skewed qualitative immune response. In line with these findings, in-depth metabolic analysis revealed a decrease in T cell oxidative metabolism, and gene set enrichment analysis indicated a major reduction in ribosomal biogenesis and mRNA translation in AMPK-deficient T cells. We, thus, provide evidence that through its interference with these delicate processes, AMPK orchestrates the quantitative, but not the qualitative, manifestation of primary T cell responses in vivo.
    Keywords:  AMPK; T cell; cellular metabolism; translation
  7. JCI Insight. 2021 Mar 16. pii: 139793. [Epub ahead of print]
      Despite studies implicating adipose tissue T cells (ATT) in the initiation and persistence of adipose tissue inflammation, fundamental gaps in knowledge regarding ATT function impedes progress towards understanding how obesity influences adaptive immunity. We hypothesized ATT activation and function would have tissue-resident specific properties and that obesity would potentiate their inflammatory properties. We assessed ATT activation and inflammatory potential within mouse and human stromal vascular fraction (SVF). Surprisingly, murine and human ATTs from obese visceral white adipose tissue exhibited impaired inflammatory characteristics. Both environmental and cell-intrinsic factors are implicated in ATT dysfunction. Soluble factors from obese SVF inhibit ATTs activation. Additionally, chronic signaling through the T cell receptor is necessary for ATT impairment in obese adipose tissue but is independent of increased PD1 expression. To assess intracellular signaling mechanisms responsible for ATT inflammation impairments, single-cell RNA sequencing of ATTs was performed. ATTs in obese adipose tissue exhibit gene expression resembling T cell exhaustion and increased expression of co-inhibitory receptor Btla. In sum, this work suggests that obesity-induced ATT cells have functional characteristics and gene expression resembling T cell exhaustion, which is dependent upon localized soluble factors and cell-to-cell interactions in adipose tissue.
    Keywords:  Adipose tissue; Inflammation; Metabolism; Obesity; T cells
  8. Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 13. pii: S1550-4131(21)00102-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Exercise training positively affects metabolic health through increased mitochondrial oxidative capacity and improved glucose regulation and is the first line of treatment in several metabolic diseases. However, the upper limit of the amount of exercise associated with beneficial therapeutic effects has not been clearly identified. Here, we used a training model with a progressively increasing exercise load during an intervention over 4 weeks. We closely followed changes in glucose tolerance, mitochondrial function and dynamics, physical exercise capacity, and whole-body metabolism. Following the week with the highest exercise load, we found a striking reduction in intrinsic mitochondrial function that coincided with a disturbance in glucose tolerance and insulin secretion. We also assessed continuous blood glucose profiles in world-class endurance athletes and found that they had impaired glucose control compared with a matched control group.
    Keywords:  athletes; continuous glucose monitoring; exercise; exercise adaptations; glucose tolerance; high-intensity interval training; insulin resistance; metabolic dysfunction; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial dysfunction
  9. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Mar 16. pii: S1084-9521(21)00030-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria were described as early as 1890 as ubiquitous intracellular structures by Ernster and Schatz (1981) [1]. Since then, the accretion of knowledge in the past century has revealed much of the molecular details of mitochondria, ranging from mitochondrial origin, structure, metabolism, genetics, and signaling, and their implications in health and disease. We now know that mitochondria are remarkably multifunctional and deeply intertwined with many vital cellular processes. They are quasi-self organelles that still possess remnants of its bacterial ancestry, including an independent genome. The mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA), which postulated that aging is a product of oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA, provided a conceptual framework that put mitochondria on the map of aging research. However, several studies have more recently challenged the general validity of the theory, favoring novel ideas based on emerging evidence to understand how mitochondria contribute to aging and age-related diseases. One prominent topic of investigation lies on the fact that mitochondria are not only production sites for bioenergetics and macromolecules, but also regulatory hubs that communicate and coordinate many vital physiological processes at the cellular and organismal level. The bi-directional communication and coordination between the co-evolved mitochondrial and nuclear genomes is especially interesting in terms of cellular regulation. Mitochondria are dynamic and adaptive, rendering their function sensitive to cellular context. Tissues with high energy demands, such as the brain, seem to be uniquely affected by age-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction, providing a foundation for the development of novel mitochondrial-based therapeutics and diagnostics.
    Keywords:  Aging; Communication; Genomic instability; Immunity; Inflammation; Longevity; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial-derived peptides; Mitonuclear; Oxidative stress
  10. Nutr Cancer. 2021 Mar 15. 1-10
      Obesity is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation, and metabolic dysregulation. Evidence shows that chronic inflammation inhibits protective immunity mediated by CD4+ T cells. Additionally, obesity-induced inflammation affects prostate cancer progression. However, the effect of obesity on CD4+ T-cell- response to prostate cancer is not well understood. To investigate whether obesity induces changes in CD4+ T cell cytokine profile, cytokine expression was measured in splenic CD4+ T-cells from 10-week-old male C57Bl/6 mice exposed to conditioned media (CM) from macrophages grown in sera from obese subjects. Additionally, expression levels of key regulators of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) were measure in prostate cancer epithelial cells exposed to conditioned media from obesity-modified T-cells. Cell migration and invasion was measured in prostate cancer epithelial cells exposed to CM from obesity-modified CD4+ T-cells. Obesity suppressed the expression of IFNγ and IL-2 in CD4+ T-cells but up-regulated the expression of IL-6. Prostate epithelial cancer cells exposed to conditioned media from obesity-modified T cell increased the expression of EMT markers and showed a higher invasive and migratory capacity.