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Journal of Experimental Medicine, The

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites and is commonly thought of as a disease resulting from the cyclic infection and destruction of red blood...

In this issue, Zhang et al. report a novel function for DOCK8 (dedicator of cytokinesis 8) in controlling the structural integrity of lymphocytes. DOCK8 deficiency severely compromised...

The immune and nervous systems sense changes in the environment, mobilize host responses, and establish memories of threatening events. In this issue, an important study by Nakai...

Are we getting enough sleep? Clinical investigation has revealed an inverse correlation between the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease pathology) and the...

Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), caused by human T cell lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1), is an aggressive cancer that is refractory to current therapies. The long latency and low...

Age-related aggregation of amyloid-β (Aβ) is an upstream pathological event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis, and it disrupts the sleep–wake cycle. The amount of sleep declines with aging and to a greater extent in AD. Poor sleep quality and insufficient amounts of sleep have been noted in humans with preclinical evidence of AD. However, how the amount and quality of sleep affects Aβ aggregation is not yet well understood. Orexins (hypocretins) initiate and maintain wakefulness, and loss of orexin-producing neurons causes narcolepsy. We tried to determine whether orexin release or secondary changes in sleep via orexin modulation affect Aβ pathology. Amyloid precursor protein (APP)/Presenilin 1 (PS1) transgenic mice, in which the orexin gene is knocked out, showed a marked decrease in the amount of Aβ pathology in the brain with an increase in sleep time. Focal overexpression of orexin in the hippocampus in APP/PS1 mice did not alter the total amount of sleep/wakefulness and the amount of Aβ pathology. In contrast, sleep deprivation or increasing wakefulness by rescue of orexinergic neurons in APP/PS1 mice lacking orexin increased the amount of Aβ pathology in the brain. Collectively, modulation of orexin and its effects on sleep appear to modulate Aβ pathology in the brain.


Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) is an aggressive malignancy caused by human T cell lymphotropic virus type-I (HTLV-I) without curative treatment at present. To illuminate the pathogenesis of ATLL we performed whole transcriptome sequencing of purified ATLL patient samples and discovered recurrent somatic mutations in CCR4, encoding CC chemokine receptor 4. CCR4 mutations were detected in 14/53 ATLL samples (26%) and consisted exclusively of nonsense or frameshift mutations that truncated the coding region at C329, Q330, or Y331 in the carboxy terminus. Functionally, the CCR4-Q330 nonsense isoform was gain-of-function because it increased cell migration toward the CCR4 ligands CCL17 and CCL22, in part by impairing receptor internalization. This mutant enhanced PI(3) kinase/AKT activation after receptor engagement by CCL22 in ATLL cells and conferred a growth advantage in long-term in vitro cultures. These findings implicate somatic gain-of-function CCR4 mutations in the pathogenesis of ATLL and suggest that inhibition of CCR4 signaling might have therapeutic potential in this refractory malignancy.


Interactions between dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells control the decision between activation and tolerance induction. Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) and its receptor TP have been suggested to regulate adaptive immune responses through control of T cell–DC interactions. Here, we show that this control is achieved by selectively reducing expansion of low-avidity CD4+ T cells. During inflammation, weak tetramer-binding TP-deficient CD4+ T cells were preferentially expanded compared with TP-proficient CD4+ T cells. Using intravital imaging of cellular interactions in reactive peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs), we found that TXA2 led to disruption of low- but not high-avidity interactions between DCs and CD4+ T cells. Lack of TP correlated with higher expression of activation markers on stimulated CD4+ T cells and with augmented accumulation of follicular helper T cells (TFH), which correlated with increased low-avidity IgG responses. In sum, our data suggest that tonic suppression of weak CD4+ T cell–DC interactions by TXA2–TP signaling improves the overall quality of adaptive immune responses.


We used a genome-wide screen in mutagenized mice to identify genes which inactivation protects against lethal neuroinflammation during experimental cerebral malaria (ECM). We identified an ECM-protective mutation in coiled-coil domain containing protein 88b (Ccdc88b), a poorly annotated gene that is found expressed specifically in spleen, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and thymus. The CCDC88B protein is abundantly expressed in immune cells, including both CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and in myeloid cells, and loss of CCDC88B protein expression has pleiotropic effects on T lymphocyte functions, including impaired maturation in vivo, significantly reduced activation, reduced cell division as well as impaired cytokine production (IFN- and TNF) in response to T cell receptor engagement, or to nonspecific stimuli in vitro, and during the course of P. berghei infection in vivo. This identifies CCDC88B as a novel and important regulator of T cell function. The human CCDC88B gene maps to the 11q13 locus that is associated with susceptibility to several inflammatory and auto-immune disorders. Our findings strongly suggest that CCDC88B is the morbid gene underlying the pleiotropic effect of the 11q13 locus on inflammation.


Class IA phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3K), which generate PIP3 as a signal for cell growth and proliferation, exist as an intracellular complex of a catalytic subunit bound to a regulatory subunit. We and others have previously reported that heterozygous mutations in PIK3CD encoding the p110 catalytic PI3K subunit cause a unique disorder termed p110-activating mutations causing senescent T cells, lymphadenopathy, and immunodeficiency (PASLI) disease. We report four patients from three families with a similar disease who harbor a recently reported heterozygous splice site mutation in PIK3R1, which encodes the p85α, p55α, and p50α regulatory PI3K subunits. These patients suffer from recurrent sinopulmonary infections and lymphoproliferation, exhibit hyperactive PI3K signaling, and have prominent expansion and skewing of peripheral blood CD8+ T cells toward terminally differentiated senescent effector cells with short telomeres. The PIK3R1 splice site mutation causes skipping of an exon, corresponding to loss of amino acid residues 434–475 in the inter-SH2 domain. The mutant p85α protein is expressed at low levels in patient cells and activates PI3K signaling when overexpressed in T cells from healthy subjects due to qualitative and quantitative binding changes in the p85α–p110 complex and failure of the C-terminal region to properly inhibit p110 catalytic activity.


DOCK8 mutations result in an inherited combined immunodeficiency characterized by increased susceptibility to skin and other infections. We show that when DOCK8-deficient T and NK cells migrate through confined spaces, they develop cell shape and nuclear deformation abnormalities that do not impair chemotaxis but contribute to a distinct form of catastrophic cell death we term cytothripsis. Such defects arise during lymphocyte migration in collagen-dense tissues when DOCK8, through CDC42 and p21-activated kinase (PAK), is unavailable to coordinate cytoskeletal structures. Cytothripsis of DOCK8-deficient cells prevents the generation of long-lived skin-resident memory CD8 T cells, which in turn impairs control of herpesvirus skin infections. Our results establish that DOCK8-regulated shape integrity of lymphocytes prevents cytothripsis and promotes antiviral immunity in the skin.


Leukocyte residence in lymphoid organs is controlled by a balance between retention and egress-promoting chemoattractants sensed by pertussis toxin (PTX)–sensitive Gαi protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs). Here, we use two-photon intravital microscopy to show that immature B cell retention within bone marrow (BM) was strictly dependent on amoeboid motility mediated by CXCR4 and CXCL12 and by α4β1 integrin–mediated adhesion to VCAM-1. However, B lineage cell egress from BM is independent of PTX-sensitive GPCR signaling. B lineage cells expressing PTX rapidly exited BM even though their motility within BM parenchyma was significantly reduced. Our experiments reveal that when immature B cells are near BM sinusoids their motility is reduced, their morphology is predominantly rounded, and cells reverse transmigrate across sinusoidal endothelium in a largely nonamoeboid manner. Immature B cell egress from BM was dependent on a twofold CXCR4 down-regulation that was antagonized by antigen-induced BCR signaling. This passive mode of cell egress from BM also contributes significantly to the export of other hematopoietic cells, including granulocytes, monocytes, and NK cells, and is reminiscent of erythrocyte egress.


Lymphocyte recirculation through secondary lymphoid organs is essential for immunosurveillance and lymphocyte effector functions. Here, we show that signals through β2-adrenergic receptors (β2ARs) expressed on lymphocytes are involved in the control of lymphocyte dynamics by altering the responsiveness of chemoattractant receptors. Agonist stimulation of lymphocyte β2ARs inhibited egress of lymphocytes from lymph nodes (LNs) and rapidly produced lymphopenia in mice. Physiological inputs from adrenergic nerves contributed to retention of lymphocytes within LNs and homeostasis of their distribution among lymphoid tissues. β2ARs physically interacted with CCR7 and CXCR4, chemokine receptors promoting lymphocyte retention in LNs. Activation of β2ARs enhanced retention-promoting signals through CCR7 and CXCR4, and consequently inhibited lymphocyte egress from LNs. In models of T cell–mediated inflammatory diseases, β2AR-mediated signals inhibited LN egress of antigen-primed T cells and reduced their recruitment into peripheral tissues. Thus, this study reveals a novel mechanism for controlling lymphocyte trafficking and provides additional insights into immune regulation by the nervous system.


αβ and T cells are disparate T cell lineages that can respond to distinct antigens (Ags) via the use of the αβ and T cell Ag receptors (TCRs), respectively. Here we characterize a population of human T cells, which we term /αβ T cells, expressing TCRs comprised of a TCR- variable gene (V1) fused to joining α and constant α domains, paired with an array of TCR-β chains. We demonstrate that these cells, which represent ~50% of all V1+ human T cells, can recognize peptide- and lipid-based Ags presented by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and CD1d, respectively. Similar to type I natural killer T (NKT) cells, CD1d-lipid Ag-reactive /αβ T cells recognized α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer); however, their fine specificity for other lipid Ags presented by CD1d, such as α-glucosylceramide, was distinct from type I NKT cells. Thus, /αβTCRs contribute new patterns of Ag specificity to the human immune system. Furthermore, we provide the molecular bases of how /αβTCRs bind to their targets, with the V1-encoded region providing a major contribution to /αβTCR binding. Our findings highlight how components from αβ and TCR gene loci can recombine to confer Ag specificity, thus expanding our understanding of T cell biology and TCR diversity.


The Polycomb group (PcG) protein Bmi1 is an essential epigenetic regulator of stem cell function during normal development and in adult organ systems. We show that mild up-regulation of Bmi1 expression in the adult stem cells of the skeletal muscle leads to a remarkable improvement of muscle function in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The molecular mechanism underlying enhanced physiological function of Bmi1 depends on the injury context and it is mediated by metallothionein 1 (MT1)–driven modulation of resistance to oxidative stress in the satellite cell population. These results lay the basis for developing Bmi1 pharmacological activators, which either alone or in combination with MT1 agonists could be a powerful novel therapeutic approach to improve regeneration in muscle wasting conditions.


Antigen-mediated cross-linking of IgE on mast cells triggers a signaling cascade that results in their degranulation and proinflammatory cytokine production, which are key effectors in allergic reactions. We show that the activation of mast cells is negatively regulated by the newly identified adaptor protein Tespa1. Loss of Tespa1 in mouse mast cells led to hyper-responsiveness to stimulation via FcRI. Mice lacking Tespa1 also displayed increased sensitivity to IgE-mediated allergic responses. The dysregulated signaling in KO mast cells was associated with increased activation of Grb2-PLC-1-SLP-76 signaling within the LAT1 (linker for activation of T cells family, member 1) signalosome versus the LAT2 signalosome. Collectively, these findings show that Tespa1 orchestrates mast cell activation by tuning the balance of LAT1 and LAT2 signalosome assembly.


E-proteins are TCR-sensitive transcription factors essential for intrathymic T cell transitions. Here, we show that deletion of E-proteins leads to both enhanced peripheral TGF-β–induced regulatory T (iT reg) cell and thymic naturally arising T reg cell (nT reg cell) differentiation. In contrast, deletion of Id proteins results in reduced nT reg cell differentiation. Mechanistic analysis indicated that decreased E-protein activity leads to de-repression of signaling pathways that are essential to Foxp3 expression. Decreased E-protein binding to an IL-2Rα enhancer locus facilitated TCR-induced IL-2Rα expression. Similarly, decreased E-protein activity facilitated TCR-induced NF-B activation and generation of c-Rel. Consistent with this, microarray analysis indicated that cells with E-protein depletion that are not yet expressing Foxp3 exhibit activation of the IL-2 and NF-B signaling pathways as well as enhanced expression of many of the genes associated with Foxp3 induction. Finally, studies using Nur77-GFP mice to monitor TCR signaling showed that TCR signaling strength sufficient to induce Foxp3 differentiation is accompanied by down-regulation of E-protein levels. Collectively, these data suggest that TCR stimulation acts in part through down-regulation of E-protein activity to induce T reg cell lineage development.


Natural killer (NK) cells play a key role in the host response to cytomegalovirus (CMV) and can mediate an enhanced response to secondary challenge with CMV. We assessed the ability of mouse CMV (MCMV)–induced memory Ly49H+ NK cells to respond to challenges with influenza, an acute viral infection localized to the lung, and Listeria monocytogenes, a systemic bacterial infection. MCMV-memory NK cells did not display enhanced activation or proliferation after infection with influenza or Listeria, as compared with naive Ly49H+ or Ly49H NK cells. Memory NK cells also showed impaired activation compared with naive cells when challenged with a mutant MCMV lacking m157, highlighting their antigen-specific response. Ex vivo, MCMV-memory NK cells displayed reduced phosphorylation of STAT4 and STAT1 in response to stimulation by IL-12 and type I interferon (IFN), respectively, and IFN- production was reduced in response to IL-12 + IL-18 compared with naive NK cells. However, costimulation of MCMV-memory NK cells with IL-12 and m157 antigen rescues their impaired response compared with cytokines alone. These findings reveal that MCMV-primed memory NK cells are diminished in their response to cytokine-driven bystander responses to heterologous infections as they become specialized and antigen-specific for the control of MCMV upon rechallenge.


Vol. 211, No. 9, August 25, 2014. Pages 1821–1832.

The authors regret that Laurent Vanhille’s name was spelled incorrectly in the print and online versions of this article.


Vol. 211, No. 12, November 17, 2014. Pages 2397–2410.

The authors regret that some errors appeared in the original version of this article. The incorrect staining image was used in Figure 7 B. The...


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Insight from Brandon Sack (left) and Stefan Kappe (right)

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