bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒09‒05
six papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Semin Immunol. 2021 Aug 27. pii: S1044-5323(21)00016-6. [Epub ahead of print] 101485
      Recent advances in immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) and chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) for the treatment of cancer have generated excitement over their ability to yield durable, and potentially curative, responses in a multitude of cancers. These findings have established that the immune system is capable of eliminating tumors and led us to a better, albeit still incomplete, understanding of the mechanisms by which tumors interact with and evade destruction by the immune system. Given the central role of T cells in immunotherapy, elucidating the cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors that govern T cell function in tumors will facilitate the development of immunotherapies that establish durable responses in a greater number of patients. One such factor is metabolism, a set of fundamental cellular processes that not only sustains cell survival and proliferation, but also serves as a means for cells to interpret their local environment. Nutrient sensing is critical for T cells that must infiltrate into a metabolically challenging tumor microenvironment and expand under these harsh conditions to eliminate cancerous cells. Here we introduce T cell exhaustion with respect to cellular metabolism, followed by a discussion of nutrient availability at the tumor and organismal level in relation to T cell metabolism and function to provide rationale for the study and targeting of metabolism in anti-tumor immune responses.
    Keywords:  Cancer metabolism; Immuno-oncology; Immunometabolism; Immunotherapy; T cells; Tumor microenvironment
  2. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 01. 12(1): 5209
      TGF-β is secreted in the tumour microenvironment in a latent, inactive form bound to latency associated protein and activated by the integrin αV subunit. The activation of latent TGF-β by cancer-cell-expressed αV re-shapes the tumour microenvironment, and this could affect patient responses to PD-1-targeting therapy. Here we show, using multiplex immunofluorescence staining in cohorts of anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1-treated lung cancer patients, that decreased expression of cancer cell αV is associated with improved immunotherapy-related, progression-free survival, as well as with an increased density of CD8+CD103+ tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes. Mechanistically, tumour αV regulates CD8 T cell recruitment, induces CD103 expression on activated CD8+ T cells and promotes their differentiation to granzyme B-producing CD103+CD69+ resident memory T cells via autocrine TGF-β signalling. Thus, our work provides the underlying principle of targeting cancer cell αV for more efficient PD-1 checkpoint blockade therapy.
  3. Inflamm Res. 2021 Sep 02.
      BACKGROUND: The insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway has a major role in the regulation of longevity both in Caenorhabditis elegans and mammalian species, i.e., reduced activity of this pathway extends lifespan, whereas increased activity accelerates the aging process. The insulin/IGF-1 pathway controls protein and energy metabolism as well as the proliferation and differentiation of insulin/IGF-1-responsive cells. Insulin/IGF-1 signaling also regulates the functions of the innate and adaptive immune systems. The purpose of this review was to elucidate whether insulin/IGF-1 signaling is linked to immunosuppressive STAT3 signaling which is known to promote the aging process.METHODS: Original and review articles encompassing the connections between insulin/IGF-1 and STAT3 signaling were examined from major databases including Pubmed, Scopus, and Google Scholar.
    RESULTS: The activation of insulin/IGF-1 receptors stimulates STAT3 signaling through the JAK and AKT-driven signaling pathways. STAT3 signaling is a major activator of immunosuppressive cells which are able to counteract the chronic low-grade inflammation associated with the aging process. However, the activation of STAT3 signaling stimulates a negative feedback response through the induction of SOCS factors which not only inhibit the activity of insulin/IGF-1 receptors but also that of many cytokine receptors. The inhibition of insulin/IGF-1 signaling evokes insulin resistance, a condition known to be increased with aging. STAT3 signaling also triggers the senescence of both non-immune and immune cells, especially through the activation of p53 signaling.
    CONCLUSIONS: Given that cellular senescence, inflammaging, and counteracting immune suppression increase with aging, this might explain why excessive insulin/IGF-1 signaling promotes the aging process.
    Keywords:  Ageing; Alzheimer’s; FoxO; Immunosenescence; Tolerance; mTOR
  4. Nat Rev Immunol. 2021 Sep 03.
      CD8+ tissue resident memory T cells (TRM cells) are essential for immune defence against pathogens and malignancies, and the molecular processes that lead to TRM cell formation are therefore of substantial biomedical interest. Prior work has demonstrated that signals present in the inflamed tissue micro-environment can promote the differentiation of memory precursor cells into mature TRM cells, and it was therefore long assumed that TRM cell formation adheres to a 'local divergence' model, in which TRM cell lineage decisions are exclusively made within the tissue. However, a growing body of work provides evidence for a 'systemic divergence' model, in which circulating T cells already become preconditioned to preferentially give rise to the TRM cell lineage, resulting in the generation of a pool of TRM cell-poised T cells within the lymphoid compartment. Here, we review the emerging evidence that supports the existence of such a population of circulating TRM cell progenitors, discuss current insights into their formation and highlight open questions in the field.
  5. Bioelectricity. 2019 Sep 01. 1(3): 169-179
      Background: Dying tumor cells release intracellular potassium (K+), raising extracellular K+ ([K+]e) in the tumor microenvironment (TME) to 40-50 mM (high-[K+]e). Here, we investigated the effect of high-[K+]e on T cell functions. Materials and Methods: Functional impacts of high-[K+]e on human T cells were determined by cellular, molecular, and imaging assays. Results: Exposure to high-[K+]e suppressed the proliferation of central memory and effector memory T cells, while T memory stem cells were unaffected. High-[K+]e inhibited T cell cytokine production and dampened antitumor cytotoxicity, by modulating the Akt signaling pathway. High-[K+]e caused significant upregulation of the immune checkpoint protein PD-1 in activated T cells. Although the number of KCa3.1 calcium-activated potassium channels expressed in T cells remained unaffected under high-[K+]e, a novel KCa3.1 activator, SKA-346, rescued T cells from high-[K+]e-mediated suppression. Conclusion: High-[K+]e represents a so far overlooked secondary checkpoint in cancer. KCa3.1 activators could overcome such "ionic-checkpoint"-mediated immunosuppression in the TME, and be administered together with known PD-1 inhibitors and other cancer therapeutics to improve outcomes.
    Keywords:  KCa3.1; T lymphocytes; antitumor immunity; extracellular K+; potassium channels
  6. Elife. 2021 09 01. pii: e63453. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Mitochondrial activity determines aging rate and the onset of chronic diseases. The mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) is a pathological pore in the inner mitochondrial membrane thought to be composed of the F-ATP synthase (complex V). OSCP, a subunit of F-ATP synthase, helps protect against mPTP formation. How the destabilization of OSCP may contribute to aging, however, is unclear. We have found that loss OSCP in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans initiates the mPTP and shortens lifespan specifically during adulthood, in part via initiation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt). Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of the mPTP inhibits the UPRmt and restores normal lifespan. Loss of the putative pore-forming component of F-ATP synthase extends adult lifespan, suggesting that the mPTP normally promotes aging. Our findings reveal how an mPTP/UPRmt nexus may contribute to aging and age-related diseases and how inhibition of the UPRmt may be protective under certain conditions.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; F-ATP synthase; aging; c-subunit; cell biology; mitochondrial permeability transition pore; mitochondrial unfolded protein response; oscp/atp-3