bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒10‒10
sixteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Immunometabolism. 2021 Sep 24. 3(4): e210030
      Immunotherapy has underscored a revolution in cancer treatment. Yet, many patients fail to respond due to T cell exhaustion. Here, an intervention that restores mitochondrial function reversed the exhausted T cell phenotype to promote cytotoxicity and durable anti-tumour responses in vivo.
    Keywords:  IL-10; T cell; exhaustion; immunotherapy; metabolism; mitochondria
  2. Trends Immunol. 2021 Oct 02. pii: S1471-4906(21)00178-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The cancer-immunity cycle (CIC) comprises a series of events that are required for immune-mediated control of tumor growth. Interruption of one or more steps of the CIC enables tumors to evade immunosurveillance. However, attempts to restore antitumor immunity by reactivating the CIC have had limited success thus far. Recently, numerous studies have implicated metabolic reprogramming of tumor and immune cells within the tumor microenvironment (TME) as key contributors to immune evasion. In this opinion, we propose that alterations in cellular metabolism during tumorigenesis promote both initiation and disruption of the CIC. We also provide a rationale for metabolically targeting the TME, which may assist in improving tumor responsiveness to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-transduced T cells or immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies.
    Keywords:  CAR-T cells; PD-1; glycolysis; immunotherapy; lactate; metabolism; tumor immunology
  3. Cell Metab. 2021 Oct 05. pii: S1550-4131(21)00430-7. [Epub ahead of print]33(10): 1895
  4. Nat Commun. 2021 Oct 06. 12(1): 5857
      The recently identified G-protein-coupled receptor GPR171 and its ligand BigLEN are thought to regulate food uptake and anxiety. Though GPR171 is commonly used as a T cell signature gene in transcriptomic studies, its potential role in T cell immunity has not been explored. Here we show that GPR171 is transcribed in T cells and its protein expression is induced upon antigen stimulation. The neuropeptide ligand BigLEN interacts with GPR171 to suppress T cell receptor-mediated signalling pathways and to inhibit T cell proliferation. Loss of GPR171 in T cells leads to hyperactivity to antigen stimulation and GPR171 knockout mice exhibit enhanced antitumor immunity. Blockade of GPR171 signalling by an antagonist promotes antitumor T cell immunity and improves immune checkpoint blockade therapies. Together, our study identifies the GPR171/BigLEN axis as a T cell checkpoint pathway that can be modulated for cancer immunotherapy.
  5. Nature. 2021 Oct 06.
      The availability of L-arginine in tumours is a key determinant of an efficient anti-tumour T cell response1-4. Consequently, increases of typically low L-arginine concentrations within the tumour may greatly potentiate the anti-tumour responses of immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-blocking antibodies5. However, currently no means are available to locally increase intratumoural L-arginine levels. Here we used a synthetic biology approach to develop an engineered probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 strain that colonizes tumours and continuously converts ammonia, a metabolic waste product that accumulates in tumours6, to L-arginine. Colonization of tumours with these bacteria increased intratumoural L-arginine concentrations, increased the number of tumour-infiltrating T cells and had marked synergistic effects with PD-L1 blocking antibodies in the clearance of tumours. The anti-tumour effect of these bacteria was mediated by L-arginine and was dependent on T cells. These results show that engineered microbial therapies enable metabolic modulation of the tumour microenvironment leading to enhanced efficacy of immunotherapies.
  6. Front Oncol. 2021 ;11 723888
      Memory T cells include T memory stem cells (TSCM) and central memory T cells (TCM). Compared with effector memory T cells (TEM) and effector T cells (TEFF), they have better durability and anti-tumor immunity. Recent studies have shown that although TSCM has excellent self-renewal ability and versatility, if it is often exposed to antigens and inflammatory signals, TSCM will behave as a variety of inhibitory receptors such as PD-1, TIM-3 and LAG-3 expression, and metabolic changes from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis. These changes can lead to the exhaustion of T cells. Cumulative evidence in animal experiments shows that it is the least differentiated cell in the memory T lymphocyte system and is a central participant in many physiological and pathological processes in humans. It has a good clinical application prospect, so it is more and more important to study the factors affecting the formation of TSCM. This article summarizes and prospects the phenotypic and functional characteristics of TSCM, the regulation mechanism of formation, and its application in treatment of clinical diseases.
    Keywords:  HIV; T memory stem cells; autoimmune diseases; stemness; tumor immunotherapy
  7. Nat Commun. 2021 Oct 06. 12(1): 5863
      T cell identity is established during thymic development, but how it is maintained in the periphery remains unknown. Here we show that ablating Tcf1 and Lef1 transcription factors in mature CD8+ T cells aberrantly induces genes from non-T cell lineages. Using high-throughput chromosome-conformation-capture sequencing, we demonstrate that Tcf1/Lef1 are important for maintaining three-dimensional genome organization at multiple scales in CD8+ T cells. Comprehensive network analyses coupled with genome-wide profiling of chromatin accessibility and Tcf1 occupancy show the direct impact of Tcf1/Lef1 on the T cell genome is to promote formation of extensively interconnected hubs through enforcing chromatin interaction and accessibility. The integrative mechanisms utilized by Tcf1/Lef1 underlie activation of T cell identity genes and repression of non-T lineage genes, conferring fine control of various T cell functionalities. These findings suggest that Tcf1/Lef1 control global genome organization and help form intricate chromatin-interacting hubs to facilitate promoter-enhancer/silencer contact, hence providing constant supervision of CD8+ T cell identity and function.
  8. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 712402
      Metabolic and nutrient-sensing pathways play an important role in controlling the efficacy of effector T cells. Oxygen is a critical regulator of cellular metabolism. However, during immune responses T cells must function in oxygen-deficient, or hypoxic, environments. Here, we used high resolution mass spectrometry to investigate how the proteome of primary murine CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is reconfigured in response to hypoxia in vitro. We identified and quantified over 7,600 proteins and discovered that hypoxia increased the abundance of a selected number of proteins in CTLs. This included glucose transporters, metabolic enzymes, transcription factors, cytolytic effector molecules, checkpoint receptors and adhesion molecules. While some of these proteins may augment the effector functions of CTLs, others may limit their cytotoxicity. Moreover, we determined that hypoxia could inhibit IL-2-induced proliferation cues and antigen-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production in CTLs. These data provide a comprehensive resource for understanding the magnitude of the CTL response to hypoxia and emphasise the importance of oxygen-sensing pathways for controlling CD8+ T cells. Additionally, this study provides new understanding about how hypoxia may promote the effector function of CTLs, while contributing to their dysfunction in some contexts.
    Keywords:  CD8 T cells; CTLs; cytotoxic lymphocytes; hypoxia; oxygen sensing; quantitative proteomics
  9. J Extracell Vesicles. 2021 Oct;10(12): e12154
      Cellular senescence is a persistently hypoproliferative state with diverse stressors in a specific aging microenvironment. Senescent cells have a double-edged sword effect: they can be physiologically beneficial for tissue repair, organ growth, and body homeostasis, and they can be pathologically harmful in age-related diseases. Among the hallmarks of senescence, the SASP, especially SASP-related extracellular vesicle (EV) signalling, plays the leading role in aging transmission via paracrine and endocrine mechanisms. EVs are successful in intercellular and interorgan communication in the aging microenvironment and age-related diseases. They have detrimental effects on downstream targets at the levels of immunity, inflammation, gene expression, and metabolism. Furthermore, EVs obtained from different donors are also promising materials and tools for antiaging treatments and are used for regeneration and rejuvenation in cell-free systems. Here, we describe the characteristics of cellular senescence and the aging microenvironment, concentrating on the production and function of EVs in age-related diseases, and provide new ideas for antiaging therapy with EVs.
    Keywords:  age-related diseases; aging microenvironment; antiaging therapy; cellular senescence; extracellular vesicles
  10. Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 05. 11(1): 19794
      Adoptive T-cell transfer (ACT) offers a curative therapeutic option for subsets of melanoma and hematological cancer patients. To increase response rates and broaden the applicability of ACT, it is necessary to improve the post-infusion performance of the transferred T cells. The design of improved treatment strategies includes transfer of cells with a less differentiated phenotype. Such T cell subsets have high proliferative potential but require stimulatory signals in vivo to differentiate into tumor-reactive effector T cells. Thus, combination strategies are needed to support the therapeutic implementation of less differentiated T cells. Here we show that systemic delivery of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) facilitates in vivo priming and expansion of previously non-activated T cells and enhance the cytotoxicity of activated T cells. To achieve this in vivo priming, we use flexible delivery vehicles of TAAs and a TLR7/8 agonist. Contrasting subcutaneous delivery systems, these vehicles accumulate TAAs in the spleen, thereby achieving close proximity to both cross-presenting dendritic cells and transferred T cells, resulting in robust T-cell expansion and anti-tumor reactivity. This TAA delivery platform offers a strategy to safely potentiate the post-infusion performance of T cells using low doses of antigen and TLR7/8 agonist, and thereby enhance the effect of ACT.
  11. Cell Metab. 2021 Sep 30. pii: S1550-4131(21)00423-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glucose and fructose are closely related simple sugars, but fructose has been associated more closely with metabolic disease. Until the 1960s, the major dietary source of fructose was fruit, but subsequently, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) became a dominant component of the Western diet. The exponential increase in HFCS consumption correlates with the increased incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the mechanistic link between these metabolic diseases and fructose remains tenuous. Although dietary fructose was thought to be metabolized exclusively in the liver, evidence has emerged that it is also metabolized in the small intestine and leads to intestinal epithelial barrier deterioration. Along with the clinical manifestations of hereditary fructose intolerance, these findings suggest that, along with the direct effect of fructose on liver metabolism, the gut-liver axis plays a key role in fructose metabolism and pathology. Here, we summarize recent studies on fructose biology and pathology and discuss new opportunities for prevention and treatment of diseases associated with high-fructose consumption.
    Keywords:  NASH; cancer; fructos; gut inflammation; metabolic disease
  12. J Mol Biol. 2021 Sep 29. pii: S0022-2836(21)00512-X. [Epub ahead of print] 167275
      The concept of non-self recognition through germ-line encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) has been well-established for professional innate immune cells. However, there is growing evidence that also T cells employ PRRs and associated effector functions in response to certain non-self or damage signals. Inflammasomes constitute a special subgroup of PRRs that is hardwired to a signaling cascade that culminates in the activation of caspase-1. Active caspase-1 processes pro-inflammatory cytokines of the IL-1 family and also triggers a lytic programmed cell death pathway known as pyroptosis. An increasing body of literature suggests that inflammasomes are also functional in T cells. On the one hand, conventional inflammasome signaling cascades have been described that operate similarly to pathways characterized in innate immune cells. On the other hand, unconventional functions have been suggested, in which certain inflammasome components play a role in unrelated processes, such as cell fate decisions and functions of T helper cells. In this review, we discuss our current knowledge on inflammasome functions in T cells and the biological implications of these findings for health and disease.
    Keywords:  AIM2; CARD8; Caspase-1; Inflammasome; NLRP1; NLRP3; Pyroptosis; T cells; T helper cells
  13. Sci Signal. 2021 Oct 05. 14(703): eabm6438
      An IL-2 partial agonist that avoids the terminal differentiation of T cells enhances their antitumor activity.
  14. Nature. 2021 Oct 06.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Immunology; Medical research