bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2023‒02‒26
fourteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 16. pii: 2023.02.16.528833. [Epub ahead of print]
      T cell exhaustion (T EX ) impairs the ability of T cells to clear chronic infection or cancer. While exhausted T cells are hypofunctional, some exhausted T cells retain effector gene signatures, a feature that is associated with expression of KLRs (killer lectin-like receptors). Although KLR + T cells may improve control of chronic antigen, the signaling molecules regulating this population are poorly understood. Using scRNA-seq, flow cytometry, RNA velocity, and scTCR-seq, we demonstrate that deleting the pseudokinase Trib1 shifts T EX towards CX3CR1 + intermediates (T INT ) with robust enrichment of KLR + CD8 + T cells (T KLR ) via clonal T cell expansion. These changes are associated with globally increased KLR gene expression throughout the exhaustion program. Further, Trib1 loss augments anti-PD-L1 blockade to improve viral clearance by expanding the T KLR population. Together, these data identify Trib1 as an important regulator of T cell exhaustion whose targeting enhances the KLR + effector state and improves the response to checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
  2. Biology (Basel). 2023 Feb 13. pii: 297. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) receptor signalling regulates T cell development, differentiation and effector function. Expression of the immune-associated isoform of this cytokine, TGFβ1, is absolutely required for the maintenance of immunological tolerance in both mice and humans, whilst context-dependent TGFβ1 signalling regulates the differentiation of both anti- and pro-inflammatory T cell effector populations. Thus, distinct TGFβ-dependent T cell responses are implicated in the suppression or initiation of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In cancer settings, TGFβ signals contribute to the blockade of anti-tumour immune responses and disease progression. Given the key functions of TGFβ in the regulation of immune responses and the potential for therapeutic targeting of TGFβ-dependent pathways, the mechanisms underpinning these pleiotropic effects have been the subject of much investigation. This review focuses on accumulating evidence suggesting that modulation of T cell metabolism represents a major mechanism by which TGFβ influences T cell immunity.
    Keywords:  T cell activation; TGFβ; cytokines; immunometabolism; signaling
  3. Cell Rep Med. 2023 Feb 21. pii: S2666-3791(23)00033-2. [Epub ahead of print]4(2): 100941
      By restoring tryptophan, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) inhibitors aim to reactivate anti-tumor T cells. However, a phase III trial assessing their clinical benefit failed, prompting us to revisit the role of IDO1 in tumor cells under T cell attack. We show here that IDO1 inhibition leads to an adverse protection of melanoma cells to T cell-derived interferon-gamma (IFNγ). RNA sequencing and ribosome profiling shows that IFNγ shuts down general protein translation, which is reversed by IDO1 inhibition. Impaired translation is accompanied by an amino acid deprivation-dependent stress response driving activating transcription factor-4 (ATF4)high/microphtalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF)low transcriptomic signatures, also in patient melanomas. Single-cell sequencing analysis reveals that MITF downregulation upon immune checkpoint blockade treatment predicts improved patient outcome. Conversely, MITF restoration in cultured melanoma cells causes T cell resistance. These results highlight the critical role of tryptophan and MITF in the melanoma response to T cell-derived IFNγ and uncover an unexpected negative consequence of IDO1 inhibition.
    Keywords:  IDO1; IDO1 inhibition; IFNgamma; MITF; T cells; clinical trial; immunotherapy; melanoma; translation
  4. EMBO J. 2023 Feb 20. e112067
      A role for hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) in hypoxia-dependent regulation of tumor cell metabolism has been thoroughly investigated and covered in reviews. However, there is limited information available regarding HIF-dependent regulation of nutrient fates in tumor and stromal cells. Tumor and stromal cells may generate nutrients necessary for function (metabolic symbiosis) or deplete nutrients resulting in possible competition between tumor cells and immune cells, a result of altered nutrient fates. HIF and nutrients in the tumor microenvironment (TME) affect stromal and immune cell metabolism in addition to intrinsic tumor cell metabolism. HIF-dependent metabolic regulation will inevitably result in the accumulation or depletion of essential metabolites in the TME. In response, various cell types in the TME will respond to these hypoxia-dependent alterations by activating HIF-dependent transcription to alter nutrient import, export, and utilization. In recent years, the concept of metabolic competition has been proposed for critical substrates, including glucose, lactate, glutamine, arginine, and tryptophan. In this review, we discuss how HIF-mediated mechanisms control nutrient sensing and availability in the TME, the competition for nutrients, and the metabolic cross-talk between tumor and stromal cells.
    Keywords:  HIF; tumor metabolism; tumor microenvironment
  5. Cell Metab. 2023 Feb 16. pii: S1550-4131(23)00010-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      The efficacy of immunotherapy is limited by the paucity of T cells delivered and infiltrated into the tumors through aberrant tumor vasculature. Here, we report that phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH)-mediated endothelial cell (EC) metabolism fuels the formation of a hypoxic and immune-hostile vascular microenvironment, driving glioblastoma (GBM) resistance to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell immunotherapy. Our metabolome and transcriptome analyses of human and mouse GBM tumors identify that PHGDH expression and serine metabolism are preferentially altered in tumor ECs. Tumor microenvironmental cues induce ATF4-mediated PHGDH expression in ECs, triggering a redox-dependent mechanism that regulates endothelial glycolysis and leads to EC overgrowth. Genetic PHGDH ablation in ECs prunes over-sprouting vasculature, abrogates intratumoral hypoxia, and improves T cell infiltration into the tumors. PHGDH inhibition activates anti-tumor T cell immunity and sensitizes GBM to CAR T therapy. Thus, reprogramming endothelial metabolism by targeting PHGDH may offer a unique opportunity to improve T cell-based immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  ATF4; CAR T immunotherapy; PHGDH; endothelial metabolism; glycolysis; vascular pruning
  6. Cancer Cell. 2023 Feb 09. pii: S1535-6108(23)00009-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Increased glucose metabolism and uptake are characteristic of many tumors and used clinically to diagnose and monitor cancer progression. In addition to cancer cells, the tumor microenvironment (TME) encompasses a wide range of stromal, innate, and adaptive immune cells. Cooperation and competition between these cell populations supports tumor proliferation, progression, metastasis, and immune evasion. Cellular heterogeneity leads to metabolic heterogeneity because metabolic programs within the tumor are dependent not only on the TME cellular composition but also on cell states, location, and nutrient availability. In addition to driving metabolic plasticity of cancer cells, altered nutrients and signals in the TME can lead to metabolic immune suppression of effector cells and promote regulatory immune cells. Here we discuss how metabolic programming of cells within the TME promotes tumor proliferation, progression, and metastasis. We also discuss how targeting metabolic heterogeneity may offer therapeutic opportunities to overcome immune suppression and augment immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  immune; metabolism; metastasis; plasticity; tumor microenvironment
  7. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2023 Feb 25.
      The metabolic stress present in the tumor microenvironment of many cancers can attenuate T cell antitumor activity, which is intrinsically controlled by the mitochondrial plasticity, dynamics, metabolism, and biogenesis within these T cells. Previous studies have reported that the complement C1q binding protein (C1QBP), a mitochondrial protein, is responsible for maintenance of mitochondrial fitness in tumor cells; however, its role in T cell mitochondrial function, particularly in the context of an antitumor response, remains unclear. Here, we show that C1QBP is indispensable for T cell antitumor immunity by maintaining mitochondrial integrity and homeostasis. This effect holds even when only one allele of C1qbp is functional. Further analysis of C1QBP in the context of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy against the murine B16 melanoma model confirmed the cell-intrinsic role of C1QBP in regulating the antitumor functions of CAR T cells. Mechanistically, we found that C1qbp knocking down impacted mitochondrial biogenesis via the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha signaling pathway, as well as mitochondrial morphology via the phosphorylation of mitochondrial dynamics protein dynamin-related protein 1. In summary, our study provides a novel mitochondrial target to potentiate the plasticity and metabolic fitness of mitochondria within T cells, thus improving the immunotherapeutic potential of these T cells against tumors.
    Keywords:  Antitumor immunity; C1QBP; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial metabolism; Mitochondrial plasticity
  8. Mucosal Immunol. 2023 Feb 22. pii: S1933-0219(23)00011-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Immune dysregulation has long been proposed to be associated with adenomyosis, but the underlying mediators and mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Here, we used flow cytometry to investigate the alterations in immune cell subsets in adenomyotic uteri and analyze the phenotype and function of abnormal immune cells. We found that an increase in CD8+ T-cell number was the predominant alteration in ectopic lesions in patients with adenomyosis and was significantly associated with the severity of adenomyosis. Importantly, we identified an exhausted natural killer group protein 2A (NKG2A)+CD8+ T-cell subset that was associated with the severity of adenomyosis and found that the number of these cells was significantly increased in the eutopic endometrium and ectopic lesions. In addition, increases in NKG2A ligand histocompatibility leucocyte antigen E (HLA-E) and interleukin (IL)-15 expression in glandular epithelial cells in the adenomyotic microenvironment might contribute to CD8+ T-cell exhaustion by promoting NKG2A expression on CD8+ T cells or inhibiting the effector function of these cells. In conclusion, our data revealed a previously unrecognized role for NKG2A+CD8+ T-cell exhaustion in the pathogenesis of adenomyosis, indicating that therapeutic interventions designed to target and reinvigorate exhausted CD8+ T cells may be beneficial for patients with adenomyosis.
    Keywords:  CD8(+) T; HLA-E; NKG2A; T-cell exhaustion; adenomyosis
  9. bioRxiv. 2023 Feb 13. pii: 2023.02.13.528371. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lymphocyte activation gene 3 (Lag3) has emerged as the next-generation immune checkpoint molecule due to its ability to inhibit effector T cell activity. Foxp3 + regulatory T (Treg) cells, a master regulator of immunity and tolerance, also highly express Lag3. While Lag3 is thought to be necessary for Treg cell-mediated regulation of immunity, the precise roles and underlying mechanisms remain largely elusive. In this study, we report that Lag3 is indispensable for Treg cells to control autoimmune inflammation. Utilizing a newly generated Treg cell specific Lag3 mutant mouse model, we found that these animals are highly susceptible to autoimmune diseases, suggesting defective Treg cell function. Genome wide transcriptome analysis further uncovered that Lag3 mutant Treg cells upregulated genes involved in metabolic processes. Mechanistically, we found that Lag3 limits Treg cell expression of Myc, a key regulator of aerobic glycolysis. We further found that Lag3-dependent Myc expression determines Treg cells’ metabolic programming as well as the in vivo function to suppress autoimmune inflammation. Taken together, our results uncovered a novel function of Lag3 in supporting Treg cell suppressive function by regulating Myc-dependent metabolic programming.
  10. Diabetes Metab J. 2023 Feb 24.
      Mitochondria are complex metabolic organelles with manifold pathophysiological implications in diabetes. Currently published mitochondrial-encoded peptides, which are expressed from the mitochondrial open reading frame of the 12S ribosomal RNA type-c (MOTS-c), 16S rRNA (humanin and short humanin like peptide 1-6 [SHLP1-6]), or small human mitochondrial open reading frame over serine tRNA (SHMOOSE) are associated with regulation of cellular metabolism and insulin action in age-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. This review focuses mainly on recent advances in MOTS-c research with regards to diabetes, including both type 1 and type 2. The emerging understanding of MOTS-c in diabetes may provide insight into the development of new therapies for diabetes and other age or senescence-related diseases.
    Keywords:  Aging; Diabetes mellitus, type 2; Intracellular signaling peptides and proteins; Mitochondria
  11. ACS Nano. 2023 Feb 21.
      Obesity usually induces systemic metabolic disturbances, including in the tumor microenvironment (TME). This is because adaptive metabolism related to obesity in the TME with a low level of prolyl hydroxylase-3 (PHD3) depletes the major fatty acid fuels of CD8+ T cells and leads to the poor infiltration and unsatisfactory function of CD8+ T cells. Herein, we discovered that obesity could aggravate the immunosuppressive TME and weaken CD8+ T cell-mediated tumor cell killing. We have thus developed gene therapy to relieve the obesity-related TME to promote cancer immunotherapy. An efficient gene carrier was prepared by modifying polyethylenimine with p-methylbenzenesulfonyl (abbreviated as PEI-Tos) together with hyaluronic acid (HA) shielding, achieving excellent gene transfection in tumors after intravenous administration. HA/PEI-Tos/pDNA (HPD) containing the plasmid encoding PHD3 (pPHD3) can effectively upregulate the expression of PHD3 in tumor tissues, revising the immunosuppressive TME and significantly increasing the infiltration of CD8+ T cells, thereby improving the responsiveness of immune checkpoint antibody-mediated immunotherapy. Efficient therapeutic efficacy was achieved using HPD together with αPD-1 in colorectal tumor and melanoma-bearing obese mice. This work provides an effective strategy to improve immunotherapy of tumors in obese mice, which may provide a useful reference for the immunotherapy of obesity-related cancer in the clinic.
    Keywords:  cancer immunotherapy; gene carrier; gene therapy; obesity; tumor microenvironment
  12. iScience. 2023 Feb 17. 26(2): 106068
      T cells become activated following one or multiple contacts with antigen-presenting cells. Calcium influx is a key signaling event elicited during these cellular interactions; however, it is unclear whether T cells recall and integrate calcium signals elicited during temporally separated contacts. To study the integration of calcium signals, we designed a programmable, multiplex illumination strategy for temporally patterned optogenetics (TEMPO). We found that a single round of calcium elevation was insufficient to promote nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) activity and cytokine production in a T cell line. However, robust responses were detected after a second identical stimulation even when signals were separated by several hours. Our results suggest the existence of a biochemical memory of calcium signals in T cells that favors signal integration during temporally separated contacts and promote cytokine production. As illustrated here, TEMPO is a versatile approach for dissecting temporal integration in defined signaling pathways.
    Keywords:  Biochemistry; Biological sciences; Immunological methods; Immunology