bims-imicid Biomed News
on Immunometabolism of infection, cancer and immune-mediated disease
Issue of 2021‒11‒14
eight papers selected by
Dylan Ryan
University of Cambridge

  1. Immunity. 2021 Nov 03. pii: S1074-7613(21)00448-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Antigenic stimulation promotes T cell metabolic reprogramming to meet increased biosynthetic, bioenergetic, and signaling demands. We show that the one-carbon (1C) metabolism enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase 2 (MTHFD2) regulates de novo purine synthesis and signaling in activated T cells to promote proliferation and inflammatory cytokine production. In pathogenic T helper-17 (Th17) cells, MTHFD2 prevented aberrant upregulation of the transcription factor FoxP3 along with inappropriate gain of suppressive capacity. MTHFD2 deficiency also promoted regulatory T (Treg) cell differentiation. Mechanistically, MTHFD2 inhibition led to depletion of purine pools, accumulation of purine biosynthetic intermediates, and decreased nutrient sensor mTORC1 signaling. MTHFD2 was also critical to regulate DNA and histone methylation in Th17 cells. Importantly, MTHFD2 deficiency reduced disease severity in multiple in vivo inflammatory disease models. MTHFD2 is thus a metabolic checkpoint to integrate purine metabolism with pathogenic effector cell signaling and is a potential therapeutic target within 1C metabolism pathways.
    Keywords:  CD4(+) T cells; CRISPR screen; MTHFD2; T cell differentiation; inflammation; mTORC1; metabolic checkpoint; methylation; one carbon metabolism; purine metabolism
  2. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 09. pii: S2211-1247(21)01452-2. [Epub ahead of print]37(6): 109973
      T cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation involve metabolic reprogramming resulting from the interplay of genes, proteins, and metabolites. Here, we aim to understand the metabolic pathways involved in the activation and functional differentiation of human CD4+ T cell subsets (T helper [Th]1, Th2, Th17, and induced regulatory T [iTreg] cells). Here, we combine genome-scale metabolic modeling, gene expression data, and targeted and non-targeted lipidomics experiments, together with in vitro gene knockdown experiments, and show that human CD4+ T cells undergo specific metabolic changes during activation and functional differentiation. In addition, we confirm the importance of ceramide and glycosphingolipid biosynthesis pathways in Th17 differentiation and effector functions. Through in vitro gene knockdown experiments, we substantiate the requirement of serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT), a de novo sphingolipid pathway in the expression of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin [IL]-17A and IL17F) by Th17 cells. Our findings provide a comprehensive resource for selective manipulation of CD4+ T cells under disease conditions characterized by an imbalance of Th17/natural Treg (nTreg) cells.
    Keywords:  CD4(+) T cells; ceramides; gene expression; genome-scale metabolic modeling; glycosphingolipid metabolism; lipid metabolism; lipidomics; metabolic pathways; sphingolipids; type 1 diabetes
  3. mBio. 2021 Nov 09. e0271021
      Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) regulates the immunometabolic phenotype of macrophages, including the orchestration of inflammatory and antimicrobial processes. Macrophages deficient in HIF-1α produce excessive quantities of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10) during infection with the intracellular fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum (R. A. Fecher, M. C. Horwath, D. Friedrich, J. Rupp, G. S. Deepe, J Immunol 197:565-579, 2016, Thus, the macrophage fails to become activated in response to proinflammatory cytokines and remains the intracellular niche of the pathogen. Here, we identify the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolite fumarate as the driver of IL-10 during macrophage infection with H. capsulatum in the absence of HIF-1α. Accumulation of fumarate reduced expression of a HIF-1α-dependent microRNA (miRNA), miR-27a, known to mediate decay of Il10 mRNA. Inhibition of fumarate accrual in vivo limited IL-10 and fungal growth. Our data demonstrate the critical role of HIF-1α in shaping appropriate TCA cycle activity in response to infection and highlight the consequences of a dysregulated immunometabolic response. IMPORTANCE Histoplasma capsulatum and related Histoplasma species are intracellular fungal pathogens endemic to broad regions of the globe, including the Americas, Africa, and Asia. While most infections resolve with mild or no symptoms, failure of the host to control fungal growth produces severe disease. Previously, we reported that loss of a key transcriptional regulator, hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), in macrophages led to a lethal failure to control growth of Histoplasma (R. A. Fecher, M. C. Horwath, D. Friedrich, J. Rupp, G. S. Deepe, J Immunol 197:565-579, 2016, Inhibition of phagocyte activation due to excessive interleukin 10 by HIF-1α-deficient macrophages drove this outcome. In this study, we demonstrate that HIF-1α maintains contextually appropriate TCA cycle metabolism within Histoplasma-infected macrophages. The absence of HIF-1α results in excessive fumarate production that alters miRNA-27a regulation of interleukin-10. HIF-1α thus preserves the capacity of macrophages to transition from a permissive intracellular niche to the site of pathogen killing.
    Keywords:  Histoplasma; hypoxia inducible factor 1; innate immunity; lung; mitochondrial metabolism
  4. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 753092
      Increasing evidence support that cellular amino acid metabolism shapes the fate of immune cells; however, whether aspartate metabolism dictates macrophage function is still enigmatic. Here, we found that the metabolites in aspartate metabolism are depleted in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus interferon gamma (IFN-γ)-stimulated macrophages. Aspartate promotes interleukin-1β (IL-1β) secretion in M1 macrophages. Mechanistically, aspartate boosts the activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and inflammasome and increases the levels of metabolites in aspartate metabolism, such as asparagine. Interestingly, asparagine also accelerates the activation of cellular signaling pathways and promotes the production of inflammatory cytokines from macrophages. Moreover, aspartate supplementation augments the macrophage-mediated inflammatory responses in mice and piglets. These results uncover a previously uncharacterized role for aspartate metabolism in directing M1 macrophage polarization.
    Keywords:  HIF-1α; asparagine; aspartate; inflammasome; macrophage
  5. Immunometabolism. 2021 ;3(4): e210034
      Research led by Katrin Andreasson suggests that fixing age-induced metabolic defects in myeloid cells would suffice to reverse cognitive impairment and to restore synaptic plasticity to the level of young subjects, at least in mice. This opens up the possibility to develop rejuvenating strategies by targeting immune dysfunction.
    Keywords:  ageing; metabolism; myeloid cells; prostaglandin E2; rejuvenation
  6. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 09. pii: S2211-1247(21)01394-2. [Epub ahead of print]37(6): 109921
      Regulatory T (Treg) cells are critical for immunological tolerance and immune homeostasis. Treg cells strongly rely on mitochondrial metabolism and show a lower level of glycolysis. However, little is known about the role of lipid metabolism in the regulation of Treg cell homeostasis. Some members of the ACSL family of acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) synthases are expressed in T cells, but their function remains unclear. A combination of RNA-sequencing and proteome analyses shows that Acsbg1, a member of ACSL, is selectively expressed in Treg cells. We show that the genetic deletion of Acsbg1 not only causes mitochondrial dysfunction, but it also dampens other metabolic pathways. The extrinsic supplementation of Acsbg1-deficient Treg cells with oleoyl-CoA restores the phenotype of the Treg metabolic signature. Furthermore, this pathway in ST2+ effector Treg cells enhances immunosuppressive capacity in airway inflammation. Thus, Acsbg1 serves as a metabolic checkpoint governing Treg cell homeostasis and the resolution of lung inflammation.
    Keywords:  Acsbg1; IL-33; IL-5; Treg cells; airway inflammation; fatty acid metabolism; mitochondrial fitness; pathogenic Th2 cells
  7. Cell Rep Med. 2021 Oct 19. 2(10): 100424
      The circulating metabolome provides unique insights into multiple sclerosis (MS) pathophysiology, but existing studies are relatively small or characterized limited metabolites. We test for differences in the metabolome between people with MS (PwMS; n = 637 samples) and healthy controls (HC; n = 317 samples) and assess the association between metabolomic profiles and disability in PwMS. We then assess whether metabolic differences correlate with changes in cellular gene expression using publicly available scRNA-seq data and whether identified metabolites affect human immune cell function. In PwMS, we identify striking abnormalities in aromatic amino acid (AAA) metabolites (p = 2.77E-18) that are also strongly associated with disability (p = 1.01E-4). Analysis of scRNA-seq data demonstrates altered AAA metabolism in CSF and blood-derived monocyte cell populations in PwMS. Treatment with AAA-derived metabolites in vitro alters monocytic endocytosis and pro-inflammatory cytokine production. We identify shifts in AAA metabolism resulting in the reduced production of immunomodulatory metabolites and increased production of metabotoxins in PwMS.
    Keywords:  aromatic amino acid; gut microbiome; metabolism; metabolomics; metabotoxin; multiple sclerosis
  8. iScience. 2021 Nov 19. 24(11): 103300
      Pathogenic viruses induce metabolic changes in host cells to secure the availability of biomolecules and energy to propagate. Influenza A virus (IAV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) both infect the human airway epithelium and are important human pathogens. The metabolic changes induced by these viruses in a physiologically relevant human model and how this affects innate immune responses to limit viral propagation are not well known. Using an ex vivo model of pseudostratified primary human airway epithelium, we here demonstrate that infection with both IAV and SARS-CoV-2 resulted in distinct metabolic changes including increases in lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) expression and LDHA-mediated lactate formation. Interestingly, LDHA regulated both basal and induced mitochondrial anti-viral signaling protein (MAVS)-dependent type I interferon (IFN) responses to promote IAV, but not SARS-CoV-2, replication. Our data demonstrate that LDHA and lactate promote IAV but not SARS-CoV-2 replication by inhibiting MAVS-dependent induction of type I IFN in primary human airway epithelium.
    Keywords:  Immune response; Metabolomics; Virology