bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒11‒21
sixteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. J Leukoc Biol. 2021 Nov 15.
      T cells play an important role in antitumor immunity. Numbers and function of T cells are controlled by regulating the uptake and utilization of nutrients, and their antitumor activity can be promoted by targeting metabolic pathways. In this review, we highlight the relationship between metabolism and cellular function of T cells. Specifically, we emphasize the metabolic state of tumor-infiltrating T cells and review key pathways that affect the antitumor function of T cells. In the field of tumor immunotherapy, targeting T cell metabolism to enhance the immune response is a new therapeutic strategy for enhancing immunotherapy combined with traditional treatments.
    Keywords:  T cell; antitumor immunity; immunotherapy; metabolic reprogramming
  2. Curr Opin Immunol. 2021 Nov 16. pii: S0952-7915(21)00141-2. [Epub ahead of print]74 76-84
      T cells engineered to express transgenes such as chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) or modified T cell receptors (TCR) represent a new pillar of cancer therapy. Use of CRISPR/Cas gene-editing tools now allows even stronger and more precise control over the fate and function of engineered T cell therapies, including multiplex genome editing to facilitate use of off-the-shelf allogeneic T cells and novel approaches which have the potential to overcome some of the limitations of canonical Cas9-mediated DNA cleavage. This review summarizes the CRISPR/Cas techniques that have been used in preclinical research and outlines those that currently being tested in clinical trials.
  3. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 Nov 18.
      Cancer progresses by evading the immune system. Elucidating diverse immune evasion strategies is a critical step in the search for next-generation immunotherapies for cancer. Here we report that cancer cells can hijack the mitochondria from immune cells via physical nanotubes. Mitochondria are essential for metabolism and activation of immune cells. By using field-emission scanning electron microscopy, fluorophore-tagged mitochondrial transfer tracing and metabolic quantification, we demonstrate that the nanotube-mediated transfer of mitochondria from immune cells to cancer cells metabolically empowers the cancer cells and depletes the immune cells. Inhibiting the nanotube assembly machinery significantly reduced mitochondrial transfer and prevented the depletion of immune cells. Combining a farnesyltransferase and geranylgeranyltransferase 1 inhibitor, namely, L-778123, which partially inhibited nanotube formation and mitochondrial transfer, with a programmed cell death protein 1 immune checkpoint inhibitor improved the antitumour outcomes in an aggressive immunocompetent breast cancer model. Nanotube-mediated mitochondrial hijacking can emerge as a novel target for developing next-generation immunotherapy agents for cancer.
  4. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 760008
      Allogeneic-hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) represents the only curative treatment option for numerous hematological malignancies. Elimination of malignant cells depends on the T-cells' Graft-versus-Tumor (GvT) effect. However, Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GvHD), often co-occurring with GvT, remains an obstacle for therapeutic efficacy. Hence, approaches, which selectively alleviate GvHD without compromising GvT activity, are needed. As already explored for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, immuno-metabolic interventions pose a promising option to address this unmet challenge. Being embedded in a complex regulatory framework, immunological and metabolic pathways are closely intertwined, which is demonstrated by metabolic reprograming of T-cells upon activation or differentiation. In this review, current knowledge on the immuno-metabolic signature of GvHD-driving T-cells is summarized and approaches to metabolically interfere are outlined. Furthermore, we address the metabolic impact of standard medications for GvHD treatment and prophylaxis, which, in conjunction with the immuno-metabolic profile of alloreactive T-cells, could allow more targeted interventions in the future.
    Keywords:  GvHD; GvT; T-cells; allo-HSCT; immunometabolism
  5. Nature. 2021 Nov 18.
      Nutrients are emerging regulators of adaptive immunity1. Selective nutrients interplay with immunological signals to activate mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a key driver of cell metabolism2-4, but how these environmental signals are integrated for immune regulation remains unclear. Here we use genome-wide CRISPR screening combined with protein-protein interaction networks to identify regulatory modules that mediate immune receptor- and nutrient-dependent signalling to mTORC1 in mouse regulatory T (Treg) cells. SEC31A is identified to promote mTORC1 activation by interacting with the GATOR2 component SEC13 to protect it from SKP1-dependent proteasomal degradation. Accordingly, loss of SEC31A impairs T cell priming and Treg suppressive function in mice. In addition, the SWI/SNF complex restricts expression of the amino acid sensor CASTOR1, thereby enhancing mTORC1 activation. Moreover, we reveal that the CCDC101-associated SAGA complex is a potent inhibitor of mTORC1, which limits the expression of glucose and amino acid transporters and maintains T cell quiescence in vivo. Specific deletion of Ccdc101 in mouse Treg cells results in uncontrolled inflammation but improved antitumour immunity. Collectively, our results establish epigenetic and post-translational mechanisms that underpin how nutrient transporters, sensors and transducers interplay with immune signals for three-tiered regulation of mTORC1 activity and identify their pivotal roles in licensing T cell immunity and immune tolerance.
  6. Curr Opin Immunol. 2021 Nov 15. pii: S0952-7915(21)00138-2. [Epub ahead of print]74 68-75
      Tissue resident memory T cells (TRM) are enriched in non-lymphoid tissues and represent a formidable barrier against invading pathogens and tumors. TRM are armed with deployment ready effector molecules which combined with their frontline location allows them to be early organizing centers of our immune defense. Despite their autonomous nature, TRM rely on careful collaboration with other immune and non-immune cells located within the barrier organ to exert their superior protective role. Here, we highlight recent studies focusing on cellular interactions that regulate TRM establishment and function. A deeper understanding of these processes is instrumental in designing new means to target TRM for desirable outcomes in infectious diseases, cancers and autoimmunity.
  7. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 1341604
      Mitochondria are the main powerhouse of the cell, generating ATP through the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), which drives myriad cellular processes. In addition to their role in maintaining bioenergetic homeostasis, changes in mitochondrial metabolism, permeability, and morphology are critical in cell fate decisions and determination. Notably, mitochondrial respiration coupled with the passage of electrons through the electron transport chain (ETC) set up a potential source of reactive oxygen species (ROS). While low to moderate increase in intracellular ROS serves as secondary messenger, an overwhelming increase as a result of either increased production and/or deficient antioxidant defenses is detrimental to biomolecules, cells, and tissues. Since ROS and mitochondria both regulate cell fate, attention has been drawn to their involvement in the various processes of carcinogenesis. To that end, the link between a prooxidant milieu and cell survival and proliferation as well as a switch to mitochondrial OXPHOS associated with recalcitrant cancers provide testimony for the remarkable metabolic plasticity as an important hallmark of cancers. In this review, the regulation of cell redox status by mitochondrial metabolism and its implications for cancer cell fate will be discussed followed by the significance of mitochondria-targeted therapies for cancer.
  8. J Cell Physiol. 2021 Nov 17.
      Aging is a physiological process that leads to a higher risk for the most devastating diseases. There are a number of theories of human aging proposed, and many of them are directly or indirectly linked to mitochondria. Here, we used mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from young and older donors to study age-related changes in mitochondrial metabolism. We have found that aging in MSCs is associated with a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential and lower NADH levels in mitochondria. Mitochondrial DNA content is higher in aged MSCs, but the overall mitochondrial mass is decreased due to increased rates of mitophagy. Despite the higher level of ATP in aged cells, a higher rate of ATP consumption renders them more vulnerable to energy deprivation compared to younger cells. Changes in mitochondrial metabolism in aged MSCs activate the overproduction of reactive oxygen species in mitochondria which is compensated by a higher level of the endogenous antioxidant glutathione. Thus, energy metabolism and redox state are the drivers for the aging of MSCs/mesenchymal stromal cells.
    Keywords:  MSC; aging; bioenergetics; bone marrow; cellular senescence; mitochondria
  9. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2021 Dec 03. 26 1115-1129
      T cells exhibit heterogeneous functional states, which correlate with responsiveness to immune checkpoint blockade and prognosis of tumor patients. However, the molecular regulatory mechanisms underlying the dynamic process of T cell state transition remain largely unknown. Based on single-cell transcriptome data of T cells in non-small cell lung cancer, we combined cell states and pseudo-times to propose a pipeline to construct dynamic regulatory networks for dissecting the process of T cell dysfunction. Candidate regulators at different stages were revealed in the process of tumor-infiltrating T cell dysfunction. Through comparing dynamic networks across the T cell state transition, we revealed frequent regulatory interaction rewiring and further refined critical regulators mediating each state transition. Several known regulators were identified, including TCF7, EOMES, ID2, and TOX. Notably, one of the critical regulators, TSC22D3, was frequently identified in the state transitions from the intermediate state to the pre-dysfunction and dysfunction state, exerting diverse roles in each state transition by regulatory interaction rewiring. Moreover, higher expression of TSC22D3 was associated with the clinical outcome of tumor patients. Our study embedded transcription factors (TFs) within the temporal dynamic networks, providing a comprehensive view of dynamic regulatory mechanisms controlling the process of T cell state transition.
    Keywords:  T cell dysfunction; critical regulators; dynamic regulatory network; pseudo-times; state transition trajectory
  10. Autophagy. 2021 Nov 15. 1-3
      Mitochondria are critical organelles that maintain cellular metabolism and overall function. The catabolic pathway of autophagy plays a central role in recycling damaged mitochondria. Although the autophagy pathway is indispensable for some cancer cell survival, our latest study shows that rare autophagy-dependent cancer cells can adapt to loss of this core pathway. In the process, the autophagy-deficient cells acquire unique dependencies on alternate forms of mitochondrial homeostasis. These rare autophagy-deficient clones circumvent the lack of canonical autophagy by increasing mitochondrial dynamics and by recycling damaged mitochondria via mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs). These studies are the first to implicate MDVs in cancer cell metabolism although many unanswered questions remain about this non-canonical pathway.
    Keywords:  Cancer; mitochondrial fusion; mitochondrial-derived vesicles; mitophagy; non-canonical autophagy
  11. Trends Immunol. 2021 Nov 10. pii: S1471-4906(21)00235-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      In two elegant studies, Tyler Jacks' group and colleagues unveil crucial interactions between dendritic cells and TCF1+CD8+ progenitor T cells, shaping their heterogeneity and offering potential to design new putative cancer immunotherapies and vaccines.
  12. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Nov 11. pii: S0165-6147(21)00199-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Resolution of inflammation requires proresolving molecular pathways triggered as part of the host response during the inflammatory phase. Adenosine and its receptors, which are collectively called the adenosine system, shape inflammatory cell activity during the active phase of inflammation, leading these immune cells toward a functional repolarization, thus contributing to the onset of resolution. Strategies based on the resolution of inflammation have shaped a new area of pharmacology referred to as 'resolution pharmacology' and in this regard, the adenosine system represents an interesting target to design novel pharmacological tools to 'resolve' the inflammatory process. In this review, we outline the role of the adenosine system in driving the events required for an effective transition from the proinflammatory phase to the onset and establishment of resolution.
    Keywords:  adenosine; adenosine receptors; immune cells; inflammation; proresolving mediators
  13. Elife. 2021 Nov 17. pii: e69015. [Epub ahead of print]10
      We performed a systematic analysis of the translation rate of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the microenvironment inputs affecting it, both in humans and in mice. Measurement of puromycin incorporation, a proxy of protein synthesis, revealed an increase of translating CD4+ and CD8+ cells in tumors, compared to normal tissues. High translation levels are associated with phospho-S6 labeling downstream of mTORC1 activation, whereas low levels correlate with hypoxic areas, in agreement with data showing that T cell receptor stimulation and hypoxia act as translation stimulators and inhibitors, respectively. Additional analyses revealed the specific phenotype of translating TILs. CD8+ translating cells have enriched expression of IFN-γ and CD-39, and reduced SLAMF6, pointing to a cytotoxic phenotype. CD4+ translating cells are mostly regulatory T cells (Tregs) with enriched levels of CTLA-4 and Ki67, suggesting an expanding immunosuppressive phenotype. In conclusion, the majority of translationally active TILs is represented by cytotoxic CD8+ and suppressive CD4+ Tregs, implying that other subsets may be largely composed by inactive bystanders.
    Keywords:  CD4+; CD8+; Treg; cell biology; human; immunology; inflammation; mouse; translation