bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒06‒06
fifteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jun 08. pii: e2103730118. [Epub ahead of print]118(23):
      CD8+ T cells play a central role in antitumor immune responses that kill cancer cells directly. In aged individuals, CD8+ T cell immunity is strongly suppressed, which is associated with cancer and other age-related diseases. The mechanism underlying this age-related decrease in immune function remains largely unknown. This study investigated the role of T cell function in age-related unresponsiveness to PD-1 blockade cancer therapy. We found inefficient generation of CD44lowCD62Llow CD8+ T cell subset (P4) in draining lymph nodes of tumor-bearing aged mice. In vitro stimulation of naive CD8+ T cells first generated P4 cells, followed by effector/memory T cells. The P4 cells contained a unique set of genes related to enzymes involved in one-carbon (1C) metabolism, which is critical to antigen-specific T cell activation and mitochondrial function. Consistent with this finding, 1C-metabolism-related gene expression and mitochondrial respiration were down-regulated in aged CD8+ T cells compared with young CD8+ T cells. In aged OVA-specific T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mice, ZAP-70 was not activated, even after inoculation with OVA-expressing tumor cells. The attenuation of TCR signaling appeared to be due to elevated expression of CD45RB phosphatase in aged CD8+ T cells. Surprisingly, strong stimulation by nonself cell injection into aged PD-1-deficient mice restored normal levels of CD45RB and ameliorated the emergence of P4 cells and 1C metabolic enzyme expression in CD8+ T cells, and antitumor activity. These findings indicate that impaired induction of the P4 subset may be responsible for the age-related resistance to PD-1 blockade, which can be rescued by strong TCR stimulation.
    Keywords:  PD-1; T cell subset; aging; immunotherapy; one-carbon metabolism
  2. J Immunother Cancer. 2021 Jun;pii: e002603. [Epub ahead of print]9(6):
      BACKGROUND: Multiple types of immune cells producing IL-17 are found in the tumor microenvironment. However, their roles in tumor progression and exhaustion of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) remain unclear.METHODS: To determine the role of type 17 immunity in tumor, we investigated the growth of B16F10 melanoma and the exhaustion of CD8+ TILs in Il17a -/- mice, Il17a Cre R26 DTA mice, RORγt inhibitor-treated mice, or their respective control mice. Adoptive transfer of tumor-specific IL-17-producing T cells was performed in B16F10-bearing congenic mice. Anti-CD4 or anti-Ly6G antibodies were used to deplete CD4+ T cells or CD11b+Gr-1hi myeloid cells in vivo, respectively. Correlation between type 17 immunity and T cell exhaustion in human cancer was evaluated by interrogating TCGA dataset.
    RESULTS: Depletion of CD4+ T cells promotes the exhaustion of CD8+ T cells with a concomitant increase in IL-17-producing CD8+ T (Tc17) cells in the tumor. Unlike IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T (Tc1) cells, tumor-infiltrating Tc17 cells exhibit CD103+KLRG1-IL-7Rαhi tissue resident memory-like phenotypes and are poorly cytolytic. Adoptive transfer of IL-17-producing tumor-specific T cells increases, while depletion of IL-17-producing cells decreases, the frequency of PD-1hiTim3+TOX+ terminally exhausted CD8+ T cells in the tumor. Blockade of IL-17 or RORγt pathway inhibits exhaustion of CD8+ T cells and also delays tumor growth in vivo. Consistent with these results, human TCGA analyses reveal a strong positive correlation between type 17 and CD8+ T cell exhaustion signature gene sets in multiple cancers.
    CONCLUSION: IL-17-producing cells promote terminal exhaustion of CD8+ T cells and tumor progression in vivo, which can be reversed by blockade of IL-17 or RORγt pathway. These findings unveil a novel role for IL-17-producing cells as tumor-promoting cells facilitating CD8+ T cell exhaustion, and propose type 17 immunity as a promising target for cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  CD8-positive T-lymphocytes; cytokines; cytotoxicity; immunologic; lymphocytes; tumor microenvironment; tumor-infiltrating
  3. J Immunol. 2021 Jun 04. pii: ji2001348. [Epub ahead of print]
      Persistent Ag induces a dysfunctional CD8 T cell state known as "exhaustion" characterized by PD-1 expression. Nevertheless, exhausted CD8 T cells retain functionality through continued differentiation of progenitor into effector cells. However, it remains ill-defined how CD8 T cell effector responses are sustained in situ. In this study, we show using the mouse chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection model that CX3CR1+ CD8 T cells contain a T-bet-dependent TIM3-PD-1lo subpopulation that is distinct from the TIM3+CX3CR1+PD-1+ proliferative effector subset. The TIM3-CX3CR1+ cells are quiescent and express a low but significant level of the transcription factor TCF-1, demonstrating similarity to TCF-1hi progenitor CD8 T cells. Furthermore, following the resolution of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus viremia, a substantial proportion of TCF-1+ memory-like CD8 T cells show evidence of CX3CR1 expression during the chronic phase of the infection. Our results suggest a subset of the CX3CR1+ exhausted population demonstrates progenitor-like features that support the generation of the CX3CR1+ effector pool from the TCF-1hi progenitors and contribute to the memory-like pool following the resolution of viremia.
  4. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2021 May 29.
      INTRODUCTION: : T cell functions are altered during chronic viral infections and tumor development. This is mainly manifested by significant changes in T cells' epigenetic and metabolic landscapes, pushing them into an "exhausted" state. Reversing this T cell exhaustion has been emerging as a "game-changing" therapeutic approach against cancer and chronic viral infection.AREAS COVERED: : This review discusses the cellular pathways related to T cells exhaustion, and the clinical development and possible cellular targets that can be exploited therapeutically to reverse this exhaustion. We searched various databases (e.g. Google scholar, PubMed, Elsevier and other scientific database sites) using the keywords T cell exhaustion, T cell activation, co-inhibitory receptors and reversing T cell exhaustion.
    EXPERT OPINION: : The discovery of the immune checkpoints pathways represents a significant milestone towards understanding and reversing T cells exhaustion. Antibodies that target these pathways have already demonstrated promising activities in reversing T cell exhaustion. Nevertheless, there are still many associated limitations. In this context, next generation alternatives are on the horizon. This includes the use of small molecules to block the immune checkpoints' receptors, combining them with other treatments, and identifying novel, safer and more effective immunotherapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  Immunotherapy; Inhibitory receptors; Reinvigoration; T-cell activation; T-cell exhaustion
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2021 May 11. pii: 2288. [Epub ahead of print]13(10):
      Immune checkpoint inhibitors have altered the treatment landscape significantly in several cancers, yet not enough for many cancer patients. T cell costimulatory receptors have been pursued as targets for the next generation of cancer immunotherapies, however, sufficient clinical efficacy has not yet been achieved. CD137 (TNFRSF9, 4-1BB) provides co-stimulatory signals and activates cytotoxic effects of CD8+ T cells and helps to form memory T cells. In addition, CD137 signalling can activate NK cells and dendritic cells which further supports cytotoxic T cell activation. An agonistic monoclonal antibody to CD137, urelumab, provided promising clinical efficacy signals but the responses were achieved above the maximum tolerated dose. Utomilumab is another CD137 monoclonal antibody to CD137 but is not as potent as urelumab. Recent advances in antibody engineering technologies have enabled mitigation of the hepato-toxicity that hampered clinical application of urelumab and have enabled to maintain similar potency to urelumab. Next generation CD137 targeting molecules currently in clinical trials support T cell and NK cell expansion in patient samples. CD137 targeting molecules in combination with checkpoint inhibitors or ADCC-enhancing monoclonal antibodies have been sought to improve both clinical safety and efficacy. Further investigation on patient samples will be required to provide insights to understand compensating pathways for future combination strategies involving CD137 targeting agents to optimize and maintain the T cell activation status in tumors.
    Keywords:  CD137; T cells; bispecific; clinical trial
  6. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2325 79-95
      Immunosenescence is the general term used to describe the aging-associated decline of immunological function that explains the higher susceptibility to infectious diseases and cancer, increased autoimmunity, or the reduced effectiveness of vaccinations. Senescence of CD8+ T-cells has been described in all these conditions.The most important classical markers of T senescent cells are the cell cycle inhibitors p16ink4a, p21, and p53, together with positivity for SA-βgal expression and the acquirement of a peculiar IFNγ -based secretory phenotype commonly defined SASP (Senescence Associated Secretory Phenotype). Other surface markers are the CD28 and CD27 loss together with gain of expression of CD45RA, CD57, TIGIT, and/or KLRG1. However, this characterization could not be sufficient to distinguish from truly senescent cells and exhausted T-cells. Furthermore, more complexity is added by the wide heterogeneity of T-cells subset in aged individuals or in the tumor microenvironment. A combined analysis by multicolor flow cytometry for surface and intracellular markers integrated with gene-expression arrays and single-cell RNA sequencing is required to develop effective interventions for therapeutic modulation of specific T-cell subsets. The RNASeq offers the great possibility to reveal at single-cell resolution the exact molecular hallmarks of senescent CD8+ T-cells without the limitations of bulk analysis. Furthermore, the comprehensive integration of multidimensional approaches (genomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics) will increase our global understanding of how immunosenescence of T-cells is interlinked to human aging.
    Keywords:  CD28 negative cells; CD45RA; Immunosenescence; KLRG-1; Multicolor flow cytometry; Senescence Associated Secretory Phenotype; Single-cell RNA sequencing; T-cell exhaustion; p16inka
  7. Cell Metab. 2021 Jun 01. pii: S1550-4131(21)00225-4. [Epub ahead of print]33(6): 1088-1097
      B cells are well known as critical mediators of humoral immune responses via the production of antibodies. However, numerous studies have also identified populations of B cells that are characterized by their anti-inflammatory properties. These "regulatory B cells" restrain excessive inflammatory responses in a wide range of health conditions. A significant knowledge gap remains concerning the nature of the signals that determine whether a B cell exerts a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory function. In this perspective, we explore the concept that in addition to the cytokine microenvironment, intracellular and extracellular metabolic signals play a pivotal role in controlling the balance between regulatory and antibody-producing B cell subsets. Determining the metabolites and tissue-specific signals that influence B cell fate could establish novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of diseases where abnormal B cell responses contribute to pathogenesis.
  8. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 657293
      Constitutive activity of the immune surveillance system detects and kills cancerous cells, although many cancers have developed strategies to avoid detection and to resist their destruction. Cancer immunotherapy entails the manipulation of components of the endogenous immune system as targeted approaches to control and destroy cancer cells. Since one of the major limitations for the antitumor activity of immune cells is the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), boosting the immune system to overcome the inhibition provided by the TME is a critical component of oncotherapeutics. In this article, we discuss the main effects of the TME on the metabolism and function of immune cells, and review emerging strategies to potentiate immune cell metabolism to promote antitumor effects either as monotherapeutics or in combination with conventional chemotherapy to optimize cancer management.
    Keywords:  NK cells; T cells; cancer; immune cells; immunometabolism; immunosuppression; macrophages; metabolites
  9. Cell Metab. 2021 Jun 01. pii: S1550-4131(21)00227-8. [Epub ahead of print]33(6): 1071-1072
      Tumor cells utilize glucose to engage in aerobic glycolysis, fulfilling their metabolic demands for extensive proliferation. A recent study in Nature discovers that tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells exhibit a superior glucose uptake capacity over tumor cells, which present enhanced glutamine metabolism, suggesting that nutrient partitioning in the TME might be more complex than previously thought.
  10. Cancers (Basel). 2021 May 11. pii: 2295. [Epub ahead of print]13(10):
      Associations between modifiable factors and the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies remain uncertain. We found previously that diet-induced obesity (DIO) reduces the efficacy of an immunotherapy consisting of adenovirus-encoded TRAIL plus CpG oligonucleotide (AdT/CpG) in mice with renal tumors. To eliminate confounding effects of diet and determine whether outcomes could be improved in DIO mice, we evaluated AdT/CpG combined with anti-CTLA-4 in diet-matched, obese-resistant (OB-RES) versus DIO tumor-bearing mice. Therapy-treated OB-RES mice displayed effective renal tumor control and sustained CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. In contrast, therapy-treated DIO mice exhibited progressive tumor outgrowth and blunted T cell responses, characterized by reduced intratumoral frequencies of IFNγ+ CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Weak effector T cell responses in therapy-treated DIO mice were accompanied by low intratumoral concentrations of the T cell chemoattractant CCL5, heightened concentrations of pro-tumorigenic GM-CSF, and impaired proliferative capacity of CD44+CD8+ T cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes. Our findings demonstrate that in lean mice with renal tumors, combining in situ T cell priming upstream of anti-CTLA-4 enhances outcomes versus anti-CTLA-4 alone. However, host obesity is associated with heightened immunotherapy resistance, characterized by multi-factorial deficiencies in effector CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses that extend beyond the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  T cells; cancer therapy; diet-induced obesity; immunotherapy
  11. Science. 2021 Jun 04. pii: eabe9124. [Epub ahead of print]372(6546):
      T cell receptor (TCR) recognition of peptide-major histocompatibility complexes (pMHCs) is characterized by a highly conserved docking polarity. Whether this polarity is driven by recognition or signaling constraints remains unclear. Using "reversed-docking" TCRβ-variable (TRBV) 17+ TCRs from the naïve mouse CD8+ T cell repertoire that recognizes the H-2Db-NP366 epitope, we demonstrate that their inability to support T cell activation and in vivo recruitment is a direct consequence of reversed docking polarity and not TCR-pMHCI binding or clustering characteristics. Canonical TCR-pMHCI docking optimally localizes CD8/Lck to the CD3 complex, which is prevented by reversed TCR-pMHCI polarity. The requirement for canonical docking was circumvented by dissociating Lck from CD8. Thus, the consensus TCR-pMHC docking topology is mandated by T cell signaling constraints.
  12. Cell Metab. 2021 Jun 01. pii: S1550-4131(21)00228-X. [Epub ahead of print]33(6): 1069-1071
      The repair and removal of damaged mitochondria is essential for sustaining cellular and tissue homeostasis. Now in Cell, Jiao et al. (2021) describe a novel mechanism of such quality control in which damaged mitochondria move to the plasma membrane where they are "packaged" and left behind the trailing edge of migrating cells.
  13. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 633586
      Myeloid cell interactions with cells of the adaptive immune system are an essential aspect of immunity. A key aspect of that interrelationship is its modulation by the microenvironment. Oxygen is known to influence myelosuppression of T cell activation in part via the Hypoxia inducible (HIF) transcription factors. A number of drugs that act on the HIF pathway are currently in clinical use and it is important to evaluate how they act on immune cell function as part of a better understanding of how they will influence patient outcomes. We show here that increased activation of the HIF pathway, either through deletion of the negative regulator of HIF, the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene, in myeloid cells, or through pharmacological inhibitors of VHL-mediated degradation of HIF, potently suppresses T cell proliferation in myeloid cell/T cell culture. These data demonstrate that both pharmacological and genetic activation of HIF in myeloid cells can suppress adaptive cell immune response.
    Keywords:  HIF; Nitric oxide; Prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors; hypoxia; immunosuppression; myeloid cells; von Hippel-Lindau.
  14. Nat Cancer. 2021 Feb;2(2): 189-200
      Alterations in components of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex occur in ~20% of all human cancers. For example, ARID1A is mutated in up to 62% of clear cell ovarian carcinoma (OCCC), a disease currently lacking effective therapies. Here we show that ARID1A mutation creates a dependence on glutamine metabolism. SWI/SNF represses glutaminase (GLS1) and ARID1A inactivation upregulates GLS1. ARID1A inactivation increases glutamine utilization and metabolism through the tricarboxylic acid cycle to support aspartate synthesis. Indeed, glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 suppresses the growth of ARID1A mutant, but not wildtype, OCCCs in both orthotopic and patient-derived xenografts. In addition, glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 synergizes with immune checkpoint blockade anti-PDL1 antibody in a genetic OCCC mouse model driven by conditional Arid1a inactivation. Our data indicate that pharmacological inhibition of glutaminase alone or in combination with immune checkpoint blockade represents an effective therapeutic strategy for cancers involving alterations in the SWI/SNF complex such as ARID1A mutations.