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Journal of Experimental Medicine, The

Communication between cells is vital for maintenance of immune homeostasis and is also required for rapid and effective immune responses. Nowhere is this balance of activity more important than...

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a heterogeneous B cell malignancy that can be stratified into three molecular subtypes using gene expression profiling: activated B cell–like DLBCL (ABC-DLBCL),...

Notch signaling induces and supports T cell lineage differentiation in the intrathymic microenvironment. Although the antigen-independent specification of the B cell lineage is known to occur in the...

It has long been noted that the initiation of definitive hematopoiesis occurs just after blood circulation begins during embryonic development. In this issue, three companion papers demonstrate that this...

The goal of precision medicine is to deliver optimally targeted and timed interventions tailored to an individual’s molecular drivers of disease. This concept has wide currency in cancer care and in some diseases caused by monogenetic mutations, such as cystic fibrosis, and recently has been endorsed by the White House Office of Science and Technology for more widespread application in medicine. Here we describe our vision of how precision medicine can bring greater clarity to the clinical and biological complexity of the two most common neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.


The balance of effector and regulatory T cell function, dependent on multiple signals and epigenetic regulators, is critical to immune self-tolerance. Dysregulation of T helper 17 (Th17) effector cells is associated with multiple autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Here, we report that Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), a protein deacetylase previously reported to have an antiinflammatory function, in fact promotes autoimmunity by deacetylating RORt, the signature transcription factor of Th17 cells. SIRT1 increases RORt transcriptional activity, enhancing Th17 cell generation and function. Both T cell–specific Sirt1 deletion and treatment with pharmacologic SIRT1 inhibitors suppress Th17 differentiation and are protective in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Moreover, analysis of infiltrating cell populations during disease induction in mixed hematopoietic chimeras shows a marked bias against Sirt1-deficient Th17 cells. These findings reveal an unexpected proinflammatory role of SIRT1 and, importantly, support the possible therapeutic use of SIRT1 inhibitors against autoimmunity.


Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) is characterized by recurrent or persistent infections of the skin, nail, oral, and genital mucosae with Candida species, mainly C. albicans. Autosomal-recessive (AR) IL-17RA and ACT1 deficiencies and autosomal-dominant IL-17F deficiency, each reported in a single kindred, underlie CMC in otherwise healthy patients. We report three patients from unrelated kindreds, aged 8, 12, and 37 yr with isolated CMC, who display AR IL-17RC deficiency. The patients are homozygous for different nonsense alleles that prevent the expression of IL-17RC on the cell surface. The defect is complete, abolishing cellular responses to IL-17A and IL-17F homo- and heterodimers. However, in contrast to what is observed for the IL-17RA– and ACT1-deficient patients tested, the response to IL-17E (IL-25) is maintained in these IL-17RC–deficient patients. These experiments of nature indicate that human IL-17RC is essential for mucocutaneous immunity to C. albicans but is otherwise largely redundant.


Fluid shear stress promotes the emergence of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the aorta–gonad–mesonephros (AGM) of the developing mouse embryo. We determined that the AGM is enriched for expression of targets of protein kinase A (PKA)–cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), a pathway activated by fluid shear stress. By analyzing CREB genomic occupancy from chromatin-immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) data, we identified the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway as a potential regulator of CREB. By chemical modulation of the PKA–CREB and BMP pathways in isolated AGM VE-cadherin+ cells from mid-gestation embryos, we demonstrate that PKA–CREB regulates hematopoietic engraftment and clonogenicity of hematopoietic progenitors, and is dependent on secreted BMP ligands through the type I BMP receptor. Finally, we observed blunting of this signaling axis using Ncx1-null embryos, which lack a heartbeat and intravascular flow. Collectively, we have identified a novel PKA–CREB–BMP signaling pathway downstream of shear stress that regulates HSC emergence in the AGM via the endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition.


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) emerge from aortic endothelium via the endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition (EHT). The molecular mechanisms that initiate and regulate EHT remain poorly understood. Here, we show that adenosine signaling regulates hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) development in zebrafish embryos. The adenosine receptor A2b is expressed in the vascular endothelium before HSPC emergence. Elevated adenosine levels increased runx1+/cmyb+ HSPCs in the dorsal aorta, whereas blocking the adenosine pathway decreased HSPCs. Knockdown of A2b adenosine receptor disrupted scl+ hemogenic vascular endothelium and the subsequent EHT process. A2b adenosine receptor activation induced CXCL8 via cAMP–protein kinase A (PKA) and mediated hematopoiesis. We further show that adenosine increased multipotent progenitors in a mouse embryonic stem cell colony-forming assay and in embryonic day 10.5 aorta-gonad-mesonephros explants. Our results demonstrate that adenosine signaling plays an evolutionary conserved role in the first steps of HSPC formation in vertebrates.


Blood flow promotes emergence of definitive hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the developing embryo, yet the signals generated by hemodynamic forces that influence hematopoietic potential remain poorly defined. Here we show that fluid shear stress endows long-term multilineage engraftment potential upon early hematopoietic tissues at embryonic day 9.5, an embryonic stage not previously described to harbor HSCs. Effects on hematopoiesis are mediated in part by a cascade downstream of wall shear stress that involves calcium efflux and stimulation of the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)–cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)–protein kinase A (PKA) signaling axis. Blockade of the PGE2–cAMP–PKA pathway in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) abolished enhancement in hematopoietic activity. Furthermore, Ncx1 heartbeat mutants, as well as static cultures of AGM, exhibit lower levels of expression of prostaglandin synthases and reduced phosphorylation of the cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB). Similar to flow-exposed cultures, transient treatment of AGM with the synthetic analogue 16,16-dimethyl-PGE2 stimulates more robust engraftment of adult recipients and greater lymphoid reconstitution. These data provide one mechanism by which biomechanical forces induced by blood flow modulate hematopoietic potential.


Viral infections and type 2 immune responses are thought to be critical for the development of chronic respiratory disease, but the link between these events needs to be better defined. Here, we study a mouse model in which infection with a mouse parainfluenza virus known as Sendai virus (SeV) leads to long-term activation of innate immune cells that drive IL-13–dependent lung disease. We find that chronic postviral disease (signified by formation of excess airway mucus and accumulation of M2-differentiating lung macrophages) requires macrophage expression of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-2 (TREM-2). Analysis of mechanism shows that viral replication increases lung macrophage levels of intracellular and cell surface TREM-2, and this action prevents macrophage apoptosis that would otherwise occur during the acute illness (5–12 d after inoculation). However, the largest increases in TREM-2 levels are found as the soluble form (sTREM-2) long after clearance of infection (49 d after inoculation). At this time, IL-13 and the adapter protein DAP12 promote TREM-2 cleavage to sTREM-2 that is unexpectedly active in preventing macrophage apoptosis. The results thereby define an unprecedented mechanism for a feed-forward expansion of lung macrophages (with IL-13 production and consequent M2 differentiation) that further explains how acute infection leads to chronic inflammatory disease.


Type I interferons (IFNs) are important for host defense from viral infections, acting to restrict viral production in infected cells and to promote antiviral immune responses. However, the type I IFN system has also been associated with severe lung inflammatory disease in response to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Which cells produce type I IFNs upon RSV infection and how this directs immune responses to the virus, and potentially results in pathological inflammation, is unclear. Here, we show that alveolar macrophages (AMs) are the major source of type I IFNs upon RSV infection in mice. AMs detect RSV via mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS)–coupled retinoic acid–inducible gene 1 (RIG-I)–like receptors (RLRs), and loss of MAVS greatly compromises innate immune restriction of RSV. This is largely attributable to loss of type I IFN–dependent induction of monocyte chemoattractants and subsequent reduced recruitment of inflammatory monocytes (infMo) to the lungs. Notably, the latter have potent antiviral activity and are essential to control infection and lessen disease severity. Thus, infMo recruitment constitutes an important and hitherto underappreciated, cell-extrinsic mechanism of type I IFN–mediated antiviral activity. Dysregulation of this system of host antiviral defense may underlie the development of RSV-induced severe lung inflammation.


Immune control of persistent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) requires a sustained pathogen-specific CD4 T cell response; however, the molecular pathways governing the generation and maintenance of Mtb protective CD4 T cells are poorly understood. Using MHCII tetramers, we show that Mtb-specific CD4 T cells are subject to ongoing antigenic stimulation. Despite this chronic stimulation, a subset of PD-1+ cells is maintained within the lung parenchyma during tuberculosis (TB). When transferred into uninfected animals, these cells persist, mount a robust recall response, and provide superior protection to Mtb rechallenge when compared to terminally differentiated Th1 cells that reside preferentially in the lung-associated vasculature. The PD-1+ cells share features with memory CD4 T cells in that their generation and maintenance requires intrinsic Bcl6 and intrinsic ICOS expression. Thus, the molecular pathways required to maintain Mtb-specific CD4 T cells during ongoing infection are similar to those that maintain memory CD4 T cells in scenarios of antigen deprivation. These results suggest that vaccination strategies targeting the ICOS and Bcl6 pathways in CD4 T cells may provide new avenues to prevent TB.


JAK-STAT signaling mediates the actions of numerous cytokines and growth factors, and its endogenous brake is the family of SOCS proteins. Consistent with their intracellular roles, SOCS proteins have never been identified in the extracellular space. Here we report that alveolar macrophages can secrete SOCS1 and -3 in exosomes and microparticles, respectively, for uptake by alveolar epithelial cells and subsequent inhibition of STAT activation. Secretion is tunable and occurs both in vitro and in vivo. SOCS secretion into lung lining fluid was diminished by cigarette smoking in humans and mice. Secretion and transcellular delivery of vesicular SOCS proteins thus represent a new model for the control of inflammatory signaling, which is subject to dysregulation during states of inflammation.


Characterization of functionally distinct dendritic cell (DC) subsets in mice has fueled interest in whether analogous counterparts exist in humans. Transcriptional modules of coordinately expressed genes were used for defining shared functions between the species. Comparing modules derived from four human skin DC subsets and modules derived from the Immunological Genome Project database for all mouse DC subsets revealed that human Langerhans cells (LCs) and the mouse XCR1+CD8α+CD103+ DCs shared the class I–mediated antigen processing and cross-presentation transcriptional modules that were not seen in mouse LCs. Furthermore, human LCs were enriched in a transcriptional signature specific to the blood cross-presenting CD141/BDCA-3+ DCs, the proposed equivalent to mouse CD8α+ DCs. Consistent with our analysis, LCs were highly adept at inducing primary CTL responses. Thus, our study suggests that the function of LCs may not be conserved between mouse and human and supports human LCs as an especially relevant therapeutic target.


Production of the cells that ultimately populate the thymus to generate α/β T cells has been controversial, and their molecular drivers remain undefined. Here, we report that specific deletion of bone-producing osteocalcin (Ocn)-expressing cells in vivo markedly reduces T-competent progenitors and thymus-homing receptor expression among bone marrow hematopoietic cells. Decreased intrathymic T cell precursors and decreased generation of mature T cells occurred despite normal thymic function. The Notch ligand DLL4 is abundantly expressed on bone marrow Ocn+ cells, and selective depletion of DLL4 from these cells recapitulated the thymopoietic abnormality. These data indicate that specific mesenchymal cells in bone marrow provide key molecular drivers enforcing thymus-seeding progenitor generation and thereby directly link skeletal biology to the production of T cell–based adaptive immunity.


The epigenetic dysregulation of tumor suppressor genes is an important driver of human carcinogenesis. We have combined genome-wide DNA methylation analyses and gene expression profiling after pharmacological DNA demethylation with functional screening to identify novel tumor suppressors in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We find that a CpG island in the promoter of the dual-specificity phosphatase DUSP4 is aberrantly methylated in nodal and extranodal DLBCL, irrespective of ABC or GCB subtype, resulting in loss of DUSP4 expression in 75% of >200 examined cases. The DUSP4 genomic locus is further deleted in up to 13% of aggressive B cell lymphomas, and the lack of DUSP4 is a negative prognostic factor in three independent cohorts of DLBCL patients. Ectopic expression of wild-type DUSP4, but not of a phosphatase-deficient mutant, dephosphorylates c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) and induces apoptosis in DLBCL cells. Pharmacological or dominant-negative JNK inhibition restricts DLBCL survival in vitro and in vivo and synergizes strongly with the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor ibrutinib. Our results indicate that DLBCL cells depend on JNK signaling for survival. This finding provides a mechanistic basis for the clinical development of JNK inhibitors in DLBCL, ideally in synthetic lethal combinations with inhibitors of chronic active B cell receptor signaling.


Invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) are innate-like T cells that rapidly produce cytokines that impact antimicrobial immune responses, asthma, and autoimmunity. These cells acquire multiple effector fates during their thymic development that parallel those of CD4+ T helper cells. The number of Th2-type effector iNKT cells is variable in different strains of mice, and their number impacts CD8 T, dendritic, and B cell function. Here we demonstrate a unique function for the transcription factor lymphoid enhancer factor 1 (LEF1) in the postselection expansion of iNKT cells through a direct induction of the CD127 component of the receptor for interleukin-7 (IL-7) and the transcription factor c-myc. LEF1 also directly augments expression of the effector fate–specifying transcription factor GATA3, thus promoting the development of Th2-like effector iNKT cells that produce IL-4, including those that also produce interferon-. Our data reveal LEF1 as a central regulator of iNKT cell number and Th2-type effector differentiation.


Rag1 and Rag2 gene expression in CD4+CD8+ double-positive (DP) thymocytes depends on the activity of a distant anti-silencer element (ASE) that counteracts the activity of an intergenic silencer. However, the mechanistic basis for ASE activity is unknown. Here, we show that the ASE physically interacts with the distant Rag1 and Rag2 gene promoters in DP thymocytes, bringing the two promoters together to form an active chromatin hub. Moreover, we show that the ASE functions as a classical enhancer that can potently activate these promoters in the absence of the silencer or other locus elements. In thymocytes lacking the chromatin organizer SATB1, we identified a partial defect in Tcra gene rearrangement that was associated with reduced expression of Rag1 and Rag2 at the DP stage. SATB1 binds to the ASE and Rag promoters, facilitating inclusion of Rag2 in the chromatin hub and the loading of RNA polymerase II to both the Rag1 and Rag2 promoters. Our results provide a novel framework for understanding ASE function and demonstrate a novel role for SATB1 as a regulator of Rag locus organization and gene expression in DP thymocytes.


Vol. 203, No. 5, May 15, 2006. Pages 1185–1196.

The authors regret that Shanmugasundaram Ganapathy-Kanniappan’s name appeared incorrectly in the original version of this paper. This has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of...











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