bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒08‒15
seven papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 714742
      It is well known that aging is associated with dysregulated metabolism. This is seen both in terms of systemic metabolism, as well as at the cellular level with clear mitochondrial dysfunction. More recently, the importance of cellular metabolism in immune cells, or immunometabolism, has been highlighted as a major modifier of immune cell function. Indeed, T cell activation, differentiation, and effector function partly depend on alterations in metabolic pathways with different cell types and functionality favoring either glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation. While immune system dysfunction with aging is well described, what remains less elucidated is how the integral networks that control immune cell metabolism are specifically affected by age. In recent years, this significant gap has been identified and work has begun to investigate the various ways immunometabolism could be impacted by both chronological age and age-associated symptoms, such as the systemic accumulation of senescent cells. Here, in this mini-review, we will examine immunometabolism with a focus on T cells, aging, and interventions, such as mTOR modulators and senolytics. This review also covers a timely perspective on how immunometabolism may be an ideal target for immunomodulation with aging.
    Keywords:  T cell; aging; geroscience; immunometabolism; senescence
  2. Cancer Discov. 2020 Jul;10(7): OF10
      T-cell exhaustion was a four-stage process; the transition to terminal exhaustion was irreversible.
  3. Cell Rep. 2021 Aug 10. pii: S2211-1247(21)00946-3. [Epub ahead of print]36(6): 109516
      Although tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) maintain their ability to proliferate, persist, and eradicate tumors, they are frequently dysfunctional in situ. By performing both whole-genome CRISPR and metabolic inhibitor screens, we identify that nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is required for T cell activation. NAMPT is low in TILs, and its expression is controlled by the transcriptional factor Tubby (TUB), whose activity depends on the T cell receptor-phospholipase C gamma (TCR-PLCγ) signaling axis. The intracellular level of NAD+, whose synthesis is dependent on the NAMPT-mediated salvage pathway, is also decreased in TILs. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and isotopic labeling studies confirm that NAD+ depletion led to suppressed glycolysis, disrupted mitochondrial function, and dampened ATP synthesis. Excitingly, both adoptive CAR-T and anti-PD1 immune checkpoint blockade mouse models demonstrate that NAD+ supplementation enhanced the tumor-killing efficacy of T cells. Collectively, this study reveals that an impaired TCR-TUB-NAMPT-NAD+ axis leads to T cell dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment, and an over-the-counter nutrient supplement of NAD+ could boost T-cell-based immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  CAR-T; NAD(+) supplement; NAMPT; PD-1; T cell activation; TUB; cancer immunotherapy
  4. J Immunol. 2021 Aug 11. pii: ji2100303. [Epub ahead of print]
      T cells are essential mediators of immune responses against infectious diseases and provide long-lived protection from reinfection. The differentiation of naive to effector T cells and the subsequent differentiation and persistence of memory T cell populations in response to infection is a highly regulated process. E protein transcription factors and their inhibitors, Id proteins, are important regulators of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses; however, their regulation at the protein level has not been explored. Recently, the deubiquitinase USP1 was shown to stabilize Id2 and modulate cellular differentiation in osteosarcomas. In this study, we investigated a role for Usp1 in posttranslational control of Id2 and Id3 in murine T cells. We show that Usp1 was upregulated in T cells following activation in vitro or following infection in vivo, and the extent of Usp1 expression correlated with the degree of T cell expansion. Usp1 directly interacted with Id2 and Id3 following T cell activation. However, Usp1 deficiency did not impact Id protein abundance in effector T cells or alter effector T cell expansion or differentiation following a primary infection. Usp1 deficiency resulted in a gradual loss of memory CD8+ T cells over time and reduced Id2 protein levels and proliferation of effector CD8+ T cell following reinfection. Together, these results identify Usp1 as a player in modulating recall responses at the protein level and highlight differences in regulation of T cell responses between primary and subsequent infection encounters. Finally, our observations reveal differential regulation of Id2/3 proteins between immune versus nonimmune cell types.
  5. Nat Immunol. 2021 Aug 12.
      The transcription factor TCF-1 is essential for the development and function of regulatory T (Treg) cells; however, its function is poorly understood. Here, we show that TCF-1 primarily suppresses transcription of genes that are co-bound by Foxp3. Single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis identified effector memory T cells and central memory Treg cells with differential expression of Klf2 and memory and activation markers. TCF-1 deficiency did not change the core Treg cell transcriptional signature, but promoted alternative signaling pathways whereby Treg cells became activated and gained gut-homing properties and characteristics of the TH17 subset of helper T cells. TCF-1-deficient Treg cells strongly suppressed T cell proliferation and cytotoxicity, but were compromised in controlling CD4+ T cell polarization and inflammation. In mice with polyposis, Treg cell-specific TCF-1 deficiency promoted tumor growth. Consistently, tumor-infiltrating Treg cells of patients with colorectal cancer showed lower TCF-1 expression and increased TH17 expression signatures compared to adjacent normal tissue and circulating T cells. Thus, Treg cell-specific TCF-1 expression differentially regulates TH17-mediated inflammation and T cell cytotoxicity, and can determine colorectal cancer outcome.
  6. Immunobiology. 2021 Jul 30. pii: S0171-2985(21)00074-7. [Epub ahead of print]226(5): 152126
      An important function of the gut microbiome is the fermentation of non-digestible dietary fibers into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The three primary SCFAs: acetate, propionate, and butyrate, are key mediators of metabolism and immune cell function in the gut mucosa. We previously demonstrated that butyrate at high concentrations decreased human gut lamina propria (LP) CD4 T cell activation in response to enteric bacteria exposure in vitro. However, to date, the mechanism by which butyrate alters human gut LP CD4 T cell activation remains unknown. In this current study, we sought to better understand how exposure to SCFAs across a concentration range impacted human gut LP CD4 T cell function and activation. LP CD4 T cells were directly activated with T cell receptor (TCR) beads in vitro in the presence of a physiologic concentration range of each of the primary SCFAs. Exposure to butyrate potently inhibited CD4 T cell activation, proliferation, and cytokine (IFNγ, IL-17) production in a concentration dependent manner. Butyrate decreased the proliferation and cytokine production of T helper (Th) 1, Th17 and Th22 cells, with differences noted in the sensitivity of LP versus peripheral blood Th cells to butyrate's effects. Higher concentrations of propionate and acetate relative to butyrate were required to inhibit CD4 T cell activation and proliferation. Butyrate directly increased the acetylation of both unstimulated and TCR-stimulated CD4 T cells, and apicidin, a Class I histone deacetylase inhibitor, phenocopied butyrate's effects on CD4 T cell proliferation and activation. GPR43 agonism phenocopied butyrate's effect on CD4 T cell proliferation whereas a GPR109a agonist did not. Our findings indicate that butyrate decreases in vitro human gut LP CD4 T cell activation, proliferation, and inflammatory cytokine production more potently than other SCFAs, likely through butyrate's ability to increase histone acetylation, and potentially via signaling through GPR43. These findings have relevance in furthering our understanding of how perturbations of the gut microbiome alter local immune responses in the gut mucosa.
    Keywords:  Butyrate; CD4; Human gut T cell; SCFA; T cell activation; T helper cell