bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2023‒03‒05
eleven papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. J Clin Invest. 2023 Feb 28. pii: e165673. [Epub ahead of print]
      CD8+ exhausted T-cells (Tex) are heterogeneous. PD-1 inhibitors reinvigorate progenitor Tex, which subsequently differentiate into irresponsive terminal Tex. Maintaining durable proliferative capacity of progenitor Tex is important but remains unclear. Here, we showed that low-dose DNA demethylating agent decitabine-pretreated CD8+ progenitor Tex had enhanced proliferation and effector function against tumors after anti-PD-1 treatment in vitro. Decitabine-plus-anti-PD-1 treatment promoted the activation and expansion of tumor-infiltrated CD8+ progenitor Tex and efficiently suppressed tumor growth in multiple tumor models. Transcriptional and epigenetic profiling of tumor-infiltrated T cells demonstrated that decitabine-plus-anti-PD-1 combination markedly elevated the clonally expansion and cytolytic activity of progenitor Tex compared with anti-PD-1 monotherapy and restrained CD8+ T-cell terminal differentiation. Strikingly, decitabine-plus-anti-PD-1 sustained the expression and activity of AP-1 transcription factor JunD, which was reduced following PD-1 blockade therapy. Downregulation of JunD repressed T cell proliferation and activating JNK/AP-1 signaling in CD8+ T-cells enhanced the antitumor capacity of PD-1 inhibitors. Together, epigenetic agent remodels CD8+ progenitor Tex and improves responsiveness to anti-PD-1 therapy.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Immunology; Oncology; T cells
  2. Cell Rep. 2023 Mar 03. pii: S2211-1247(23)00197-3. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 112186
      Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) provide nutrient signals for cell survival and growth. How BCAAs affect CD8+ T cell functions remains unexplored. Herein, we report that accumulation of BCAAs in CD8+ T cells due to the impairment of BCAA degradation in 2C-type serine/threonine protein phosphatase (PP2Cm)-deficient mice leads to hyper-activity of CD8+ T cells and enhanced anti-tumor immunity. CD8+ T cells from PP2Cm-/- mice upregulate glucose transporter Glut1 expression in a FoxO1-dependent manner with more glucose uptake, as well as increased glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. Moreover, BCAA supplementation recapitulates CD8+ T cell hyper-functions and synergizes with anti-PD-1, in line with a better prognosis in NSCLC patients containing high BCAAs when receiving anti-PD-1 therapy. Our finding thus reveals that accumulation of BCAAs promotes effector function and anti-tumor immunity of CD8+ T cells through reprogramming glucose metabolism, making BCAAs alternative supplementary components to increase the clinical efficacy of anti-PD-1 immunotherapy against tumors.
    Keywords:  CD8(+) T cells; CP: Immunology; anti-tumor immunity; branched-chain amino acid accumulation; effector function; glucose metabolism; synergy with anti-PD-1 treatment
  3. Cardiovasc Res. 2023 Feb 27. pii: cvad035. [Epub ahead of print]
      Nutrition affects all physiological processes occurring in our body, including those related to the function of the immune system; indeed, metabolism has been closely associated with the differentiation and activity of both innate and adaptive immune cells. While excessive energy intake and adiposity have been demonstrated to cause systemic inflammation, several clinical and experimental evidence show that calorie restriction (CR), not leading to malnutrition, is able to delay aging and exert potent anti-inflammatory effects in different pathological conditions. This review provides an overview of the ability of different CR-related nutritional strategies to control autoimmune, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, as tested by preclinical studies and human clinical trials, with a specific focus on the immunological aspects of these interventions. In particular, we recapitulate the state of the art on the cellular and molecular mechanisms pertaining to immune cell metabolic rewiring, regulatory T cell expansion and gut microbiota composition, which possibly underline the beneficial effects of CR. Although studies are still needed to fully evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of the nutritional intervention in clinical practice, the experimental observations discussed here suggest a relevant role of CR in lowering the inflammatory state in a plethora of different pathologies, thus representing a promising therapeutic strategy for the control of human health.
    Keywords:  autoimmunity; caloric restriction; immunometabolism; regulatory T cells
  4. Cell Rep. 2023 Feb 28. pii: S2211-1247(23)00216-4. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 112205
      Aerobic glycolysis, a metabolic pathway essential for effector T cell survival and proliferation, regulates differentiation of autoimmune T helper (Th) 17 cells, but the mechanism underlying this regulation is largely unknown. Here, we identify a glycolytic intermediate metabolite, phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), as a negative regulator of Th17 differentiation. PEP supplementation or inhibition of downstream glycolytic enzymes in differentiating Th17 cells increases intracellular PEP levels and inhibits interleukin (IL)-17A expression. PEP supplementation inhibits expression of signature molecules for Th17 and Th2 cells but does not significantly affect glycolysis, cell proliferation, or survival of T helper cells. Mechanistically, PEP binds to JunB and inhibits DNA binding of the JunB/basic leucine zipper transcription factor ATF-like (BATF)/interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) complex, thereby modulating the Th17 transcriptional program. Furthermore, daily administration of PEP to mice inhibits generation of Th17 cells and ameliorates Th17-dependent autoimmune encephalomyelitis. These data demonstrate that PEP links aerobic glycolysis to the Th17 transcriptional program, suggesting the therapeutic potential of PEP for autoimmune diseases.
    Keywords:  AP-1; CP: Immunology; Th17; autoimmune disease; cellular metabolism; glycolysis; phosphoenolpyruvate; transcriptional program
  5. Cell Rep. 2023 Feb 26. pii: S2211-1247(23)00164-X. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 112153
      Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is the central enzyme connecting glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. The importance of PDH function in T helper 17 (Th17) cells still remains to be studied. Here, we show that PDH is essential for the generation of a glucose-derived citrate pool needed for Th17 cell proliferation, survival, and effector function. In vivo, mice harboring a T cell-specific deletion of PDH are less susceptible to developing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Mechanistically, the absence of PDH in Th17 cells increases glutaminolysis, glycolysis, and lipid uptake in a mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent manner. However, cellular citrate remains critically low in mutant Th17 cells, which interferes with oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), lipid synthesis, and histone acetylation, crucial for transcription of Th17 signature genes. Increasing cellular citrate in PDH-deficient Th17 cells restores their metabolism and function, identifying a metabolic feedback loop within the central carbon metabolism that may offer possibilities for therapeutically targeting Th17 cell-driven autoimmunity.
    Keywords:  CP: Immunology; CP: Metabolism; IL-17; T cells; Th17 cells; acetyl-CoA; citrate; epigenetics; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; glucose metabolism; histone acetylation; pyruvate dehydrogenase
  6. Cell. 2023 Feb 22. pii: S0092-8674(23)00097-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      The uptake and metabolism of nutrients support fundamental cellular process from bioenergetics to biomass production and cell fate regulation. While many studies of cell metabolism focus on cancer cells, the principles of metabolism elucidated in cancer cells apply to a wide range of mammalian cells. The goal of this review is to discuss how the field of cancer metabolism provides a framework for revealing principles of cell metabolism and for dissecting the metabolic networks that allow cells to meet their specific demands. Understanding context-specific metabolic preferences and liabilities will unlock new approaches to target cancer cells to improve patient care.
  7. Cell Rep. 2023 Feb 27. pii: S2211-1247(23)00166-3. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 112155
      The most abundant cellular divalent cations, Mg2+ (mM) and Ca2+ (nM-μM), antagonistically regulate divergent metabolic pathways with several orders of magnitude affinity preference, but the physiological significance of this competition remains elusive. In mice consuming a Western diet, genetic ablation of the mitochondrial Mg2+ channel Mrs2 prevents weight gain, enhances mitochondrial activity, decreases fat accumulation in the liver, and causes prominent browning of white adipose. Mrs2 deficiency restrains citrate efflux from the mitochondria, making it unavailable to support de novo lipogenesis. As citrate is an endogenous Mg2+ chelator, this may represent an adaptive response to a perceived deficit of the cation. Transcriptional profiling of liver and white adipose reveals higher expression of genes involved in glycolysis, β-oxidation, thermogenesis, and HIF-1α-targets, in Mrs2-/- mice that are further enhanced under Western-diet-associated metabolic stress. Thus, lowering mMg2+ promotes metabolism and dampens diet-induced obesity and metabolic syndrome.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; HCC; HIF1; MCU; Mrs2; NAFLD; Western diet; adipose expansion; adipose tissue; calcium channel; cardiometabolic disease; diabetes; energy imbalance; hepatocytes; liver; magnesium channel; metabolic disease; metabolic syndrome; mitochondrial dysfunction; obesity; whole-body metabolism
  8. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 1032113
      Introduction: Activation of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling is critical for clonal expansion of CD8+ T cells. However, the effects of augmenting TCR signaling during chronic antigen exposure is less understood. Here, we investigated the role of diacylglycerol (DAG)-mediated signaling downstream of the TCR during chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus clone 13 (LCMV CL13) infection by blocking DAG kinase zeta (DGKζ), a negative regulator of DAG.Methods: We examined the activation, survival, expansion, and phenotype of virus-specific T cell in the acute and chronic phases of LCMV CL13-infected in mice after DGKζ blockade or selective activation of ERK.
    Results: Upon LCMV CL13 infection, DGKζ deficiency promoted early short-lived effector cell (SLEC) differentiation of LCMV-specific CD8+ T cells, but this was followed by abrupt cell death. Short-term inhibition of DGKζ with ASP1570, a DGKζ-selective pharmacological inhibitor, augmented CD8+ T cell activation without causing cell death, which reduced virus titers both in the acute and chronic phases of LCMV CL13 infection. Unexpectedly, the selective enhancement of ERK, one key signaling pathway downstream of DAG, lowered viral titers and promoted expansion, survival, and a memory phenotype of LCMV-specific CD8+ T cells in the acute phase with fewer exhausted T cells in the chronic phase. The difference seen between DGKζ deficiency and selective ERK enhancement could be potentially explained by the activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway by DGKζ deficiency, since the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin rescued the abrupt cell death seen in virus-specific DGKζ KO CD8+ T cells.
    Discussion: Thus, while ERK is downstream of DAG signaling, the two pathways lead to distinct outcomes in the context of chronic CD8+ T cell activation, whereby DAG promotes SLEC differentiation and ERK promotes a memory phenotype.
    Keywords:  ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase); T cell exhaustion; TCR T cell receptor; chronic viral infection; diacylglycerol kinase (DGK)
  9. Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 27. 14(1): 984
      Dysregulation of Th17 and Treg cells contributes to the pathophysiology of many autoimmune diseases. Herein, we show that itaconate, an immunomodulatory metabolite, inhibits Th17 cell differentiation and promotes Treg cell differentiation by orchestrating metabolic and epigenetic reprogramming. Mechanistically, itaconate suppresses glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation in Th17- and Treg-polarizing T cells. Following treatment with itaconate, the S-adenosyl-L-methionine/S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio and 2-hydroxyglutarate levels are decreased by inhibiting the synthetic enzyme activities in Th17 and Treg cells, respectively. Consequently, these metabolic changes are associated with altered chromatin accessibility of essential transcription factors and key gene expression in Th17 and Treg cell differentiation, including decreased RORγt binding at the Il17a promoter. The adoptive transfer of itaconate-treated Th17-polarizing T cells ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. These results indicate that itaconate is a crucial metabolic regulator for Th17/Treg cell balance and could be a potential therapeutic agent for autoimmune diseases.
  10. Sci Immunol. 2023 Mar 10. 8(81): eabo2003
      Gut microbiota, specifically gut bacteria, are critical for effective immune checkpoint blockade therapy (ICT) for cancer. The mechanisms by which gut microbiota augment extraintestinal anticancer immune responses, however, are largely unknown. Here, we find that ICT induces the translocation of specific endogenous gut bacteria into secondary lymphoid organs and subcutaneous melanoma tumors. Mechanistically, ICT induces lymph node remodeling and dendritic cell (DC) activation, which facilitates the translocation of a selective subset of gut bacteria to extraintestinal tissues to promote optimal antitumor T cell responses in both the tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs) and the primary tumor. Antibiotic treatment results in decreased gut microbiota translocation into mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and TDLNs, diminished DC and effector CD8+ T cell responses, and attenuated responses to ICT. Our findings illuminate a key mechanism by which gut microbiota promote extraintestinal anticancer immunity.
  11. Nat Metab. 2023 Mar 02.
      Whereas cholesterol is vital for cell growth, proliferation, and remodeling, dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism is associated with multiple age-related pathologies. Here we show that senescent cells accumulate cholesterol in lysosomes to maintain the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We find that induction of cellular senescence by diverse triggers enhances cellular cholesterol metabolism. Senescence is associated with the upregulation of the cholesterol exporter ABCA1, which is rerouted to the lysosome, where it moonlights as a cholesterol importer. Lysosomal cholesterol accumulation results in the formation of cholesterol-rich microdomains on the lysosomal limiting membrane enriched with the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) scaffolding complex, thereby sustaining mTORC1 activity to support the SASP. We further show that pharmacological modulation of lysosomal cholesterol partitioning alters senescence-associated inflammation and in vivo senescence during osteoarthritis progression in male mice. Our study reveals a potential unifying theme for the role of cholesterol in the aging process through the regulation of senescence-associated inflammation.