bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒08‒08
thirteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 706434
      Immunosenescence is a state of dysregulated leukocyte function characterised by arrested cell cycle, telomere shortening, expression of markers of cellular stress, and secretion of pro-inflammatory mediators. Immunosenescence principally develops during aging, but it may also be induced in other pathological settings, such as chronic viral infections and autoimmune diseases. Appearance of senescent immune cells has been shown to potentially cause chronic inflammation and tissue damage, suggesting an important role for this process in organismal homeostasis. In particular, the presence of senescent T lymphocytes has been reported in neurological diseases, with some works pointing towards a direct connection between T cell senescence, inflammation and neuronal damage. In this minireview, we provide an overview on the role of T cell senescence in neurological disorders, in particular in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer disease. We also discuss recent literature investigating how metabolic remodelling controls the development of a senescence phenotype in T cells. Targeting metabolic pathways involved in the induction of senescent T cells may indeed represent a novel approach to limit their inflammatory activity and prevent neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  T cell; immunometabolism; immunosenescence; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation
  2. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 715234
      A paradigm shift in the understanding of the exhausted CD8+ T cell (Tex) lineage is underway. Originally thought to be a uniform population that progressively loses effector function in response to persistent antigen, single-cell analysis has now revealed that CD8+ Tex is composed of multiple interconnected subpopulations. The heterogeneity within the CD8+ Tex lineage is comprised of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) permissive and refractory subsets termed stem-like and terminally differentiated cells, respectively. These populations occupy distinct peripheral and intratumoral niches and are characterized by transcriptional processes that govern transitions between cell states. This review presents key findings in the field to construct an updated view of the spatial, transcriptional, and functional heterogeneity of anti-tumoral CD8+ Tex. These emerging insights broadly call for (re-)focusing cancer immunotherapies to center on the driver mechanism(s) underlying the CD8+ Tex developmental continuum aimed at stabilizing functional subsets.
    Keywords:  CXCR3; PD-1/PD-L1; T cell exhaustion; T cell trafficking; cancer immunotherapy; co-stimulatory/inhibitory receptors; stem-like CD8+ T cells; tumor immunity
  3. Nat Protoc. 2021 Aug 04.
      T cells are integral players in the adaptive immune system that readily adapt their metabolism to meet their energetic and biosynthetic needs. A major hurdle to understand physiologic T-cell metabolism has been the differences between in vitro cell culture conditions and the complex in vivo milieu. To address this, we have developed a protocol that merges traditional immunology infection models with whole-body metabolite infusion and mass-spectrometry-based metabolomic profiling to assess T-cell metabolism in vivo. In this protocol, pathogen-infected mice are infused via the tail vein with an isotopically labeled metabolite (2-6 h), followed by rapid magnetic bead isolation to purify T-cell populations (<1 h) and then stable isotope labeling analysis conducted by mass spectrometry (~1-2 d). This procedure enables researchers to evaluate metabolic substrate utilization into central carbon metabolic pathways (i.e., glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle) by specific T-cell subpopulations in the context of physiological immune responses in vivo.
  4. Cancer Immunol Res. 2021 Aug;9(8): 856-861
      The development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has led to a paradigm shift in cancer treatment. However, patients often do not benefit from CAR T-cell therapy due to poor persistence of the adoptively transferred cells. Development of strategies based on the generation and maintenance of long-lasting memory T cells may expand the therapeutic effects of CAR T cells. Mitochondrial metabolic pathways play crucial roles in regulating the fate, function, and longevity of T cells. Here, we discuss how reprogramming of mitochondrial metabolic pathways influences function, persistence, and determination of CAR T-cell fate toward a memory phenotype. Moreover, we explore how mitochondrial activity determines persistence and the clinical outcome of CAR T-cell therapy. In addition, we review some strategies for manipulating CAR T-cell mitochondria to improve the survival of CAR T cells.
  5. Cell. 2021 Aug 05. pii: S0092-8674(21)00838-2. [Epub ahead of print]184(16): 4109-4112
      Interplay between metabolic and epigenetic remodeling may be key to cell fate control. In this issue of Cell, Puleston et al. and Wagner et al. use metabolomic, computational, and genetic approaches to uncover that polyamine metabolism directs T helper cell lineage choices, epigenetic state, and pathogenic potential in inflammation.
  6. Cell Metab. 2021 Aug 03. pii: S1550-4131(21)00320-X. [Epub ahead of print]33(8): 1509-1511
      The tumor microenvironment is immunosuppressive. Here we preview two recent studies from Ma et al. (2021) in Cell Metabolism and Xu et al. (2021) in Immunity that describe a key role of T cell-expressed CD36 in enhancing lipid uptake and mediating lipid peroxidation that ultimately leads to CD8+ T cell dysfunction, ferroptosis, and reduced anti-tumor function.
  7. Mech Ageing Dev. 2021 Aug 02. pii: S0047-6374(21)00122-6. [Epub ahead of print] 111550
      Cellular senescence, a highly coordinated and programmed cellular state, has a functional role in both lung physiology and pathology. While the contribution of senescent cells is recognized in the context of ageing and age-related pulmonary diseases, relatively less is known how cellular senescence of functionally distinct cell types leads to the progression of these pathologies. Recent advances in tools to track and isolate senescent cells from tissues, shed a light on the identity, behavior and function of senescent cells in vivo. The transient presence of senescent cells has an indispensable role in limiting lung damage and contributes to organ regenerative capacity upon acute stress insults. In contrast persistent accumulation of senescent cells is a driver of age-related decline in organ function. Here we discuss lung physiology and pathology as an example of seemingly contradictory role of senescence in structural and functional integrity of the tissue upon damage, and in age-related pulmonary diseases.
    Keywords:  aging; lung; regeneration; senescence
  8. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 704862
      The salivary gland is an important tissue for persistence and transmission of multiple viruses. Previous work showed that salivary gland tissue-resident CD8+ T cells elicited by viruses were poorly functional ex vivo. Using a model of persistent murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection, we now show that CD8+ T cells in the salivary gland and other non-lymphoid tissues of mice express multiple molecules associated with T cell exhaustion including PD-1, CD73 and CD39. Strikingly however, these molecules were expressed independently of virus or antigen. Rather, PD-1-expressing T cells remained PD-1+ after migration into tissues regardless of infection, while CD73 was activated on CD8+ T cells by TGF-β signaling. Blockade of PD-L1, but not CD73, improved cytokine production by salivary gland T cells ex vivo and increased the expression of granzyme B after stimulation within the salivary gland. Nevertheless, salivary-gland localized CD8+ T cells could kill PD-L1-expressing targets in vivo, albeit with modest efficiency, and this was not improved by PD-L1 blockade. Moreover, the impact of PD-L1 blockade on granzyme B expression waned with time. In contrast, the function of kidney-localized T cells was improved by CD73 blockade, but was unaffected by PD-L1 blockade. These data show that tissue localization per se is associated with expression of inhibitory molecules that can impact T cell function, but that the functional impact of this expression is context- and tissue-dependent.
    Keywords:  CD73; CD8 T cells; PD-1; cytomegalovirus (CMV); tissue-resident CD8+ T cell
  9. Nat Immunol. 2021 Aug 05.
      During microbial infection, pre-existing memory CD8+ T cells that are not specific for the infecting pathogens can be activated by cytokines without cognate antigens, termed bystander activation. Studies in mouse models and human patients demonstrate bystander activation of memory CD8+ T cells, which exerts either protective or detrimental effects on the host, depending on the infection model or disease. Research has elucidated mechanisms underlying the bystander activation of CD8+ T cells in terms of the responsible cytokines and the effector mechanisms of bystander-activated CD8+ T cells. In this Review, we describe the history of research on bystander CD8+ T cell activation as well as evidence of bystander activation. We also discuss the mechanisms and immunopathological roles of bystander activation in various microbial infections.
  10. Cell. 2021 Jul 27. pii: S0092-8674(21)00856-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses against tumors are maintained by stem-like memory cells that self-renew but also give rise to effector-like cells. The latter gradually lose their anti-tumor activity and acquire an epigenetically fixed, hypofunctional state, leading to tumor tolerance. Here, we show that the conversion of stem-like into effector-like CTLs involves a major chemotactic reprogramming that includes the upregulation of chemokine receptor CXCR6. This receptor positions effector-like CTLs in a discrete perivascular niche of the tumor stroma that is densely occupied by CCR7+ dendritic cells (DCs) expressing the CXCR6 ligand CXCL16. CCR7+ DCs also express and trans-present the survival cytokine interleukin-15 (IL-15). CXCR6 expression and IL-15 trans-presentation are critical for the survival and local expansion of effector-like CTLs in the tumor microenvironment to maximize their anti-tumor activity before progressing to irreversible dysfunction. These observations reveal a cellular and molecular checkpoint that determines the magnitude and outcome of anti-tumor immune responses.
    Keywords:  CCR7(+) dendritic cells; CTL; CXCL16; CXCR6; IL-15; TCF-1; TCGA; multiphoton intravital microscopy; scRNA-seq; tumor microenvironment
  11. Cell Rep Med. 2021 Jul 20. 2(7): 100328
      The intestinal microbiota is a new promising avenue in cancer immunotherapy, but mechanisms remain elusive. He et al. demonstrate that butyrate, a bacterial metabolite, enhances the CD8+ T cell response and improve chemotherapy efficacy through ID2-dependent IL-12 signaling.
  12. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 28. pii: 8068. [Epub ahead of print]22(15):
      CD39 is an enzyme which is responsible, together with CD73, for a cascade converting adenosine triphosphate into adenosine diphosphate and cyclic adenosine monophosphate, ultimately leading to the release of an immunosuppressive form of adenosine in the tumor microenvironment. Here, we first review the environmental and genetic factors shaping CD39 expression. Second, we report CD39 functions in the T cell compartment, highlighting its role in regulatory T cells, conventional CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells. Finally, we compile a list of studies, from preclinical models to clinical trials, which have made essential contributions to the discovery of novel combinatorial approaches in the treatment of cancer.
    Keywords:  CD39; CD73; CD8+ T cells; adenosine; conventional CD4+ T cells; regulatory T cells; single nucleotide polymorphism; targeting therapy