bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2022‒05‒22
thirteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2022 May 16. pii: S0278-5846(22)00068-9. [Epub ahead of print] 110576
      Immunosenescence is a term used to describe the age-related changes in the immune system. Immunosenescence is associated with complex alterations and dysregulation of immune function and inflammatory processes. Age-related changes in innate immune responses including alterations in chemotactic, phagocytic, and natural killing functions, impaired antigen presenting capacity, and dysregulated inflammatory response have been described. The most striking and best characterized feature of immunosenescence is the decline in both number and function of T cells. With age there is decreased proliferation, decreased number of antigen-naïve T cells, and increased number of antigen-experienced memory T cells. This decline in naïve T cell population is associated with impaired immunity and reduced response to new or mutated pathogens. While the absolute number of peripheral B cells appears constant with age, changes in B cell functions including reduced antibody production and response and cell memory have been described. However, the main alteration in cell-mediated function that has been reported across all species with aging is those observed in in T cell. These T cell mediated changes have been shown to contribute to increased susceptibility to infection and cancer in older adults. In addition to functional and phenotype alterations in immune cells, studies demonstrate that circulating concentrations of inflammatory mediators in older adults are higher than those of young. This low grade, chronic inflammatory state that occurs in the context of aging has been termed "inflammaging". This review will focus on age-related changes in the immune system including immunosenescence and inflammation as well as the functional consequences of these age-related alterations for the aged.
    Keywords:  Aging; Immune function; Infection; Inflammation; Neurodegenerative diseases
  2. Blood Adv. 2022 May 17. pii: bloodadvances.2022007034. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acquired T-cell dysfunction is characteristic of CLL and is associated with reduced efficacy of T-cell based therapies. A recently described feature of dysfunctional CLL-derived CD8 T cells is reduced metabolic plasticity. To what extend CD4 T cells are affected, and if CD4 T-cell metabolism and function can be restored upon clinical depletion of CLL cells is currently unknown. Here we address these unresolved issues by a comprehensive phenotypic, metabolic, transcriptomic and functional analysis of CD4 T cells of untreated CLL patients, and by analyzing the effects of venetoclax + obinutuzumab on the CD4 population. Resting CD4 T cells derived from CLL patients expressed lower levels of GLUT-1, displayed deteriorated oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and overall reduced mitochondrial fitness. Upon T-cell stimulation, CLL T cells were unable to initiate glycolysis. Transcriptome analysis revealed that depletion of CLL cells in vitro resulted in upregulation of OXPHOS and glycolysis pathways and restored T-cell function in vitro. Analysis of CD4 T cells from CLL patients prior and after venetoclax + obinutuzumab treatment, which led to effective clearance of CLL in blood and bone marrow, revealed recovery of T-cell activation and restoration of the switch to glycolysis, as well as improved T-cell proliferation. Collectively these data demonstrate that CLL cells impose metabolic restrictions on CD4 T cells which lead to reduced CD4 T-cell functionality. This trial is registered in the Netherlands Trial Registry ID: NTR6043.
  3. Immunol Lett. 2022 May 11. pii: S0165-2478(22)00054-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Follicular helper T (TFH) cells are expanded in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), where they are required for production of high affinity autoantibodies. A better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of TFH cells is critical. Naïve T cells from lupus-prone B6.NZM2410.Sle1.Sle2.Sle3 (TC) mice showed an intrinsic higher capacity to differentiate into TFH cells. Metabolic reprogramming is a vital regulatory mechanism for T cell differentiation, but how metabolic pathways contribute to TFH cell expansion in SLE remains elusive. Here we show that glycolysis, mTOR signaling, FAO, and the activity of complex V of the electron transport chain support TFH lineage commitment. Blocking complex I uniquely decreased the expansion of TFH cells from lupus-prone mice, and inhibition of some pathways had a greater effect in lupus-prone than control TFH cells. However, blocking glutaminolysis, complex III and ADP/ATP translocase did not affect TFH cell expansion. Together, our results identified novel intrinsic metabolic requirements for TFH cell differentiation, and further defined the differential metabolic pathways that support the expansion of TFH cells in lupus-prone mice. Together, our data indicates the crucial but distinct roles for metabolic pathways in TFH cell differentiation and provide a comprehensive experimental basis for fully understanding the precise roles of distant metabolic signaling in regulating the TFH cell differentiation.
    Keywords:  Follicular helper T cells; Metabolic pathways; SLE
  4. Elife. 2022 May 19. pii: e74549. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Chronic autoimmune diseases are associated with mutations in PTPN22, a modifier of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling. As with all protein tyrosine phosphatases, the activity of PTPN22 is redox regulated, but if or how such regulation can modulate inflammatory pathways in vivo is not known. To determine this, we created a mouse with a cysteine-to-serine mutation at position 129 in PTPN22 (C129S), a residue proposed to alter the redox regulatory properties of PTPN22 by forming a disulfide with the catalytic C227 residue. The C129S mutant mouse showed a stronger T-cell-dependent inflammatory response and development of T-cell-dependent autoimmune arthritis due to enhanced TCR signaling and activation of T cells, an effect neutralized by a mutation in Ncf1, a component of the NOX2 complex. Activity assays with purified proteins suggest that the functional results can be explained by an increased sensitivity to oxidation of the C129S mutated PTPN22 protein. We also observed that the disulfide of native PTPN22 can be directly reduced by the thioredoxin system, while the C129S mutant lacking this disulfide was less amenable to reductive reactivation. In conclusion, we show that PTPN22 functionally interacts with Ncf1 and is regulated by oxidation via the noncatalytic C129 residue and oxidation-prone PTPN22 leads to increased severity in the development of T-cell-dependent autoimmunity.
    Keywords:  PTPN22; T cells; autoimmunity; immunology; inflammation; ptpn22; redox regulation
  5. Front Genet. 2022 ;13 880421
      Accelerated biological aging, which involves the gradual decline of organ or tissue functions and the distortion of physiological processes, underlies several human diseases. Away from the earlier free radical concept, telomere attrition, cellular senescence, proteostasis loss, mitochondrial dysfunction, stem cell exhaustion, and epigenetic and genomic alterations have emerged as biological hallmarks of aging. Moreover, nutrient-sensing metabolic pathways are critical to an organism's ability to sense and respond to nutrient levels. Pharmaceutical, genetic, and nutritional interventions reverting physiological declines by targeting nutrient-sensing metabolic pathways can promote healthy aging and increase lifespan. On this basis, biological aging hallmarks and nutrient-sensing dependent and independent pathways represent evolving drug targets for many age-linked diseases. Here, we discuss and update the scientific community on contemporary advances in how dietary supplements and natural products beneficially revert accelerated biological aging processes to retrograde human aging and age-dependent human diseases, both from the clinical and preclinical studies point-of-view. Overall, our review suggests that dietary/natural products increase healthspan-rather than lifespan-effectively minimizing the period of frailty at the end of life. However, real-world setting clinical trials and basic studies on dietary supplements and natural products are further required to decisively demonstrate whether dietary/natural products could promote human lifespan.
    Keywords:  age-related diseases; aging; dietary supplements; mitochondrial dysfunction; natural products; nutrient-sensing pathway
  6. Immunology. 2022 May 16.
      Essentially all cells are covered with a dense coat of different glycan structures/sugar chains, giving rise to the so-called glycocalyx. Changes in cellular glycosylation are a hallmark of cancer, affecting most of the pathophysiological processes associated with malignant transformation, including tumor immune responses. Glycans are chief macromolecules that define T cell development, differentiation, fate, activation and signaling. Thus, the diversity of glycans expressed at the surface of T cells constitutes a fundamental molecular interface with the microenvironment by regulating the bilateral interactions between T cells and cancer cells, fine-tuning the anti-tumor immune response. In this review, we will introduce the power of glycans as orchestrators of T cell-mediated immune response in physiological conditions and in cancer. We discuss how glycans modulate the glyco-metabolic landscape in the tumor microenvironment, and whether glycans can synergize with immunotherapy as a way of rewiring T cell effector functions against cancer cells.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunology; Cancer immunotherapy; Glycosylation; T cells; Tumor microenvironment
  7. Biologics. 2022 ;16 35-45
      Cancer immunotherapy is an effective treatment option against cancer. One of the approaches of cancer immunotherapy is the modification of T cell-based anti-tumor immune responses. T-cells, a type of adaptive immune response cells responsible for cell-mediated immunity, have long been recognized as key regulators of immune-mediated anti-tumor immunity. T-cell activities have been reported to be suppressed or enhanced by changes in cell metabolism. Moreover, metabolic reprogramming during activation of T cells is required for the development of distinct differentiation profiles of these cells, which may allow the development of long-term cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity. However, T cells have been shown to undergo metabolic exhaustion in tumor microenvironment (TME) as it poses several obstacles to their function. Applications of several mechanistic solutions to improve the efficacy of T cell-based therapies including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy are yet to be determined. Modifying the metabolic properties of these cells and employing them in cancer immunotherapy is a potential strategy for improving their anti-tumor activity and therapeutic efficacy. To give an insight, in this review paper, we endeavoured to cover metabolic reprogramming in cancer and T cells, signalling mechanisms involved in immuno-metabolic regulation, the effects of the TME on T cell metabolic fitness, and targeting metabolic reprogramming of T cells for an enhanced anti-tumor response.
    Keywords:  T-cell; cancer; immunotherapy; metabolic reprogramming
  8. Nat Commun. 2022 May 19. 13(1): 2801
      T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is commonly driven by activating mutations in NOTCH1 that facilitate glutamine oxidation. Here we identify oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) as a critical pathway for leukemia cell survival and demonstrate a direct relationship between NOTCH1, elevated OxPhos gene expression, and acquired chemoresistance in pre-leukemic and leukemic models. Disrupting OxPhos with IACS-010759, an inhibitor of mitochondrial complex I, causes potent growth inhibition through induction of metabolic shut-down and redox imbalance in NOTCH1-mutated and less so in NOTCH1-wt T-ALL cells. Mechanistically, inhibition of OxPhos induces a metabolic reprogramming into glutaminolysis. We show that pharmacological blockade of OxPhos combined with inducible knock-down of glutaminase, the key glutamine enzyme, confers synthetic lethality in mice harboring NOTCH1-mutated T-ALL. We leverage on this synthetic lethal interaction to demonstrate that IACS-010759 in combination with chemotherapy containing L-asparaginase, an enzyme that uncovers the glutamine dependency of leukemic cells, causes reduced glutaminolysis and profound tumor reduction in pre-clinical models of human T-ALL. In summary, this metabolic dependency of T-ALL on OxPhos provides a rational therapeutic target.
  9. Nature. 2022 May 18.
      Cancer metastasis requires the transient activation of cellular programs enabling dissemination and seeding in distant organs1. Genetic, transcriptional and translational heterogeneity contributes to this dynamic process2,3. Metabolic heterogeneity has also been observed4, yet its role in cancer progression is less explored. Here we find that the loss of phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) potentiates metastatic dissemination. Specifically, we find that heterogeneous or low PHGDH expression in primary tumours of patients with breast cancer is associated with decreased metastasis-free survival time. In mice, circulating tumour cells and early metastatic lesions are enriched with Phgdhlow cancer cells, and silencing Phgdh in primary tumours increases metastasis formation. Mechanistically, Phgdh interacts with the glycolytic enzyme phosphofructokinase, and the loss of this interaction activates the hexosamine-sialic acid pathway, which provides precursors for protein glycosylation. As a consequence, aberrant protein glycosylation occurs, including increased sialylation of integrin αvβ3, which potentiates cell migration and invasion. Inhibition of sialylation counteracts the metastatic ability of Phgdhlow cancer cells. In conclusion, although the catalytic activity of PHGDH supports cancer cell proliferation, low PHGDH protein expression non-catalytically potentiates cancer dissemination and metastasis formation. Thus, the presence of PHDGH heterogeneity in primary tumours could be considered a sign of tumour aggressiveness.
  10. J Exp Med. 2022 Jun 06. pii: e20211756. [Epub ahead of print]219(6):
      During an immune response to microbial infection, CD8+ T cells give rise to short-lived effector cells and memory cells that provide sustained protection. Although the transcriptional programs regulating CD8+ T cell differentiation have been extensively characterized, the role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in this process remains poorly understood. Using a functional genetic knockdown screen, we identified the lncRNA Malat1 as a regulator of terminal effector cells and the terminal effector memory (t-TEM) circulating memory subset. Evaluation of chromatin-enriched lncRNAs revealed that Malat1 grouped with trans lncRNAs that exhibit increased RNA interactions at gene promoters and gene bodies. Moreover, we observed that Malat1 was associated with increased H3K27me3 deposition at a number of memory cell-associated genes through a direct interaction with Ezh2, thereby promoting terminal effector and t-TEM cell differentiation. Our findings suggest an important functional role of Malat1 in regulating CD8+ T cell differentiation and broaden the knowledge base of lncRNAs in CD8+ T cell biology.
  11. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 May;pii: e004337. [Epub ahead of print]10(5):
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondria are involved in cancer energy metabolism, although the mechanisms underlying the involvement of mitoribosomal dysfunction in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated the effects of mitoribosomal impairment-mediated alterations on the immunometabolic characteristics of liver cancer.METHODS: We used a mouse model of HCC, liver tissues from patients with HCC, and datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to elucidate the relationship between mitoribosomal proteins (MRPs) and HCC. In a mouse model, we selectively disrupted expression of the mitochondrial ribosomal protein CR6-interacting factor 1 (CRIF1) in hepatocytes to determine the impact of hepatocyte-specific impairment of mitoribosomal function on liver cancer progression. The metabolism and immunophenotype of liver cancer was assessed by glucose flux assays and flow cytometry, respectively.
    RESULTS: Single-cell RNA-seq analysis of tumor tissue and TCGA HCC transcriptome analysis identified mitochondrial defects associated with high-MRP expression and poor survival outcomes. In the mouse model, hepatocyte-specific disruption of the mitochondrial ribosomal protein CRIF1 revealed the impact of mitoribosomal dysfunction on liver cancer progression. Crif1 deficiency promoted programmed cell death protein 1 expression by immune cells in the hepatic tumor microenvironment. A [U-13C6]-glucose tracer demonstrated enhanced glucose entry into the tricarboxylic acid cycle and lactate production in mice with mitoribosomal defects during cancer progression. Mice with hepatic mitoribosomal defects also exhibited enhanced progression of liver cancer accompanied by highly exhausted tumor-infiltrating T cells. Crif1 deficiency induced an environment unfavorable to T cells, leading to exhaustion of T cells via elevation of reactive oxygen species and lactate production.
    CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic mitoribosomal defects promote glucose partitioning toward glycolytic flux and lactate synthesis, leading to T cell exhaustion and cancer progression. Overall, the results suggest a distinct role for mitoribosomes in regulating the immunometabolic microenvironment during HCC progression.
    Keywords:  gene expression profiling; inflammation; liver neoplasms; lymphocytes, tumor-infiltrating
  12. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 867341
      The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a large continuous membranous organelle that plays a central role as the hub of protein and lipid synthesis while the mitochondria is the principal location for energy production. T cells are an immune subset exhibiting robust dependence on ER and mitochondrial function based on the need for protein synthesis and secretion and metabolic dexterity associated with foreign antigen recognition and cytotoxic effector response. Intimate connections exist at mitochondrial-ER contact sites (MERCs) that serve as the structural and biochemical platforms for cellular metabolic homeostasis through regulation of fission and fusion as well as glucose, Ca2+, and lipid exchange. Work in the tumor immunotherapy field indicates that the complex interplay of nutrient deprivation and tumor antigen stimulation in the tumor microenvironment places stress on the ER and mitochondria, causing dysfunction in organellar structure and loss of metabolic homeostasis. Here, we assess prior literature that establishes how the structural interface of these two organelles is impacted by the stress of solid tumors along with recent advances in the manipulation of organelle homeostasis at MERCs in T cells. These findings provide strong evidence for increased tumor immunity using unique therapeutic avenues that recharge cellular metabolic homeostasis in T cells.
    Keywords:  ER stress; MERCs; T cell; cancer immunotherapy; endoplasmic recticulum (ER); metabolism; tumor microenvironment