The erythroid stress cytokine erythropoietin (Epo) supports the development of committed erythroid progenitors, but its ability to act on upstream, multipotent cells remains to be established. We observe that high systemic levels of Epo reprogram the transcriptomes of multi- and bipotent hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells in vivo. This induces erythroid lineage bias at all lineage bifurcations known to exist between hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and committed erythroid progenitors, leading to increased erythroid and decreased myeloid HSC output. Epo, therefore, has a lineage instructive role in vivo, through suppression of non-erythroid fate options, demonstrating the ability of a cytokine to systematically bias successive lineage choices in favor of the generation of a specific cell type.
Aberrant microglial responses contribute to neuroinflammation in many neurodegenerative diseases, but no current therapies target pathogenic microglia. We discovered unexpectedly that the antiviral drug ganciclovir (GCV) inhibits the proliferation of microglia in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model for multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as in kainic acid–induced excitotoxicity. In EAE, GCV largely prevented infiltration of T lymphocytes into the central nervous system (CNS) and drastically reduced disease incidence and severity when delivered before the onset of disease. In contrast, GCV treatment had minimal effects on peripheral leukocyte distribution in EAE and did not inhibit generation of antibodies after immunization with ovalbumin. Additionally, a radiolabeled analogue of penciclovir, [18F]FHBG, which is similar in structure to GCV, was retained in areas of CNS inflammation in EAE, but not in naive control mice, consistent with the observed therapeutic effects. Our experiments suggest GCV may have beneficial effects in the CNS beyond its antiviral properties.
Group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3) include IL-22–producing NKp46+ cells and IL-17A/IL-22–producing CD4+ lymphoid tissue inducerlike cells that express RORt and are implicated in protective immunity at mucosal surfaces. Whereas the transcription factor Gata3 is essential for T cell and ILC2 development from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and for IL-5 and IL-13 production by T cells and ILC2, the role for Gata3 in the generation or function of other ILC subsets is not known. We found that abundant GATA-3 protein is expressed in mucosa-associated ILC3 subsets with levels intermediate between mature B cells and ILC2. Chimeric mice generated with Gata3-deficient fetal liver hematopoietic precursors lack all intestinal RORt+ ILC3 subsets, and these mice show defective production of IL-22 early after infection with the intestinal pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, leading to impaired survival. Further analyses demonstrated that ILC3 development requires cell-intrinsic Gata3 expression in fetal liver hematopoietic precursors. Our results demonstrate that Gata3 plays a generalized role in ILC lineage determination and is critical for the development of gut RORt+ ILC3 subsets that maintain mucosal barrier homeostasis. These results further extend the paradigm of Gata3-dependent regulation of diversified innate ILC and adaptive T cell subsets.
Long-term hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs [LT-HSCs]) are well known to display unpredictable differences in their clonal expansion capacities after transplantation. Here, by analyzing the cellular output after transplantation of stem cells differing in surface expression levels of the Kit receptor, we show that LT-HSCs can be systematically subdivided into two subtypes with distinct reconstitution behavior. LT-HSCs expressing intermediate levels of Kit receptor (Kitint) are quiescent in situ but proliferate extensively after transplantation and therefore repopulate large parts of the recipient’s hematopoietic system. In contrast, metabolically active Kithi LT-HSCs display more limited expansion capacities and show reduced but robust levels of repopulation after transfer. Transplantation into secondary and tertiary recipient mice show maintenance of efficient repopulation capacities of Kitint but not of Kithi LT-HSCs. Initiation of differentiation is marked by the transit from Kitint to Kithi HSCs, both of which precede any other known stem cell population.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are heterogeneous with respect to their self-renewal, lineage, and reconstitution potentials. Although c-Kit is required for HSC function, gain and loss-of-function c-Kit mutants suggest that even small changes in c-Kit signaling profoundly affect HSC function. Herein, we demonstrate that even the most rigorously defined HSCs can be separated into functionally distinct subsets based on c-Kit activity. Functional and transcriptome studies show HSCs with low levels of surface c-Kit expression (c-Kitlo) and signaling exhibit enhanced self-renewal and long-term reconstitution potential compared with c-Kithi HSCs. Furthermore, c-Kitlo and c-Kithi HSCs are hierarchically organized, with c-Kithi HSCs arising from c-Kitlo HSCs. In addition, whereas c-Kithi HSCs give rise to long-term lymphomyeloid grafts, they exhibit an intrinsic megakaryocytic lineage bias. These functional differences between c-Kitlo and c-Kithi HSCs persist even under conditions of stress hematopoiesis induced by 5-fluorouracil. Finally, our studies show that the transition from c-Kitlo to c-Kithi HSC is negatively regulated by c-Cbl. Overall, these studies demonstrate that HSCs exhibiting enhanced self-renewal potential can be isolated based on c-Kit expression during both steady state and stress hematopoiesis. Moreover, they provide further evidence that the intrinsic functional heterogeneity previously described for HSCs extends to the megakaryocytic lineage.
Antibodies to transferrin receptor (TfR) have potential use for therapeutic entry into the brain. We have shown that bispecific antibodies against TfR and β-secretase (BACE1 [β-amyloid cleaving enzyme-1]) traverse the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and effectively reduce brain amyloid β levels. We found that optimizing anti-TfR affinity improves brain exposure and BACE1 inhibition. Here we probe the cellular basis of this improvement and explore whether TfR antibody affinity alters the intracellular trafficking of TfR. Comparing high- and low-affinity TfR bispecific antibodies in vivo, we found that high-affinity binding to TfR caused a dose-dependent reduction of brain TfR levels. In vitro live imaging and colocalization experiments revealed that high-affinity TfR bispecific antibodies facilitated the trafficking of TfR to lysosomes and thus induced the degradation of TfR, an observation which was further confirmed in vivo. Importantly, high-affinity anti-TfR dosing induced reductions in brain TfR levels, which significantly decreased brain exposure to a second dose of low-affinity anti-TfR bispecific. Thus, high-affinity anti-TfR alters TfR trafficking, which dramatically impacts the capacity for TfR to mediate BBB transcytosis.
Type I interferons (IFN-1s) are antiviral cytokines that suppress blood production while paradoxically inducing hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) proliferation. Here, we clarify the relationship between the proliferative and suppressive effects of IFN-1s on HSC function during acute and chronic IFN-1 exposure. We show that IFN-1–driven HSC proliferation is a transient event resulting from a brief relaxation of quiescence-enforcing mechanisms in response to acute IFN-1 exposure, which occurs exclusively in vivo. We find that this proliferative burst fails to exhaust the HSC pool, which rapidly returns to quiescence in response to chronic IFN-1 exposure. Moreover, we demonstrate that IFN-1–exposed HSCs with reestablished quiescence are largely protected from the killing effects of IFNs unless forced back into the cell cycle due to culture, transplantation, or myeloablative treatment, at which point they activate a p53-dependent proapoptotic gene program. Collectively, our results demonstrate that quiescence acts as a safeguard mechanism to ensure survival of the HSC pool during chronic IFN-1 exposure. We show that IFN-1s can poise HSCs for apoptosis but induce direct cell killing only upon active proliferation, thereby establishing a mechanism for the suppressive effects of IFN-1s on HSC function.
Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH [IPAH]) is an insidious and potentially fatal disease linked to a mutation or reduced expression of bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2). Because intravascular inflammatory cells are recruited in IPAH pathogenesis, we hypothesized that reduced BMPR2 enhances production of the potent chemokine granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in response to an inflammatory perturbation. When human pulmonary artery (PA) endothelial cells deficient in BMPR2 were stimulated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a twofold increase in GM-CSF was observed and related to enhanced messenger RNA (mRNA) translation. The mechanism was associated with disruption of stress granule formation. Specifically, loss of BMPR2 induced prolonged phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in response to TNF, and this increased GADD34–PP1 phosphatase activity, dephosphorylating eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF2α), and derepressing GM-CSF mRNA translation. Lungs from IPAH patients versus unused donor controls revealed heightened PA expression of GM-CSF co-distributing with increased TNF and expanded populations of hematopoietic and endothelial GM-CSF receptor α (GM-CSFRα)–positive cells. Moreover, a 3-wk infusion of GM-CSF in mice increased hypoxia-induced PAH, in association with increased perivascular macrophages and muscularized distal arteries, whereas blockade of GM-CSF repressed these features. Thus, reduced BMPR2 can subvert a stress granule response, heighten GM-CSF mRNA translation, increase inflammatory cell recruitment, and exacerbate PAH.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases generate bioactive lipid epoxides which can be further metabolized to supposedly less active diols by the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). As the role of epoxides and diols in angiogenesis is unclear, we compared retinal vasculature development in wild-type and sEH–/– mice. Deletion of the sEH significantly delayed angiogenesis, tip cell, and filopodia formation, a phenomenon associated with activation of the Notch signaling pathway. In the retina, sEH was localized in Müller glia cells, and Müller cell–specific sEH deletion reproduced the sEH–/– retinal phenotype. Lipid profiling revealed that sEH deletion decreased retinal and Müller cell levels of 19,20–dihydroxydocosapentaenoic acid (DHDP), a diol of docosahexenoic acid (DHA). 19,20-DHDP suppressed endothelial Notch signaling in vitro via inhibition of the -secretase and the redistribution of presenilin 1 from lipid rafts. Moreover, 19,20-DHDP, but not the parent epoxide, was able to rescue the defective angiogenesis in sEH–/– mice as well as in animals lacking the Fbxw7 ubiquitin ligase, which demonstrate strong basal activity of the Notch signaling cascade. These studies demonstrate that retinal angiogenesis is regulated by a novel form of neuroretina–vascular interaction involving the sEH-dependent generation of a diol of DHA in Müller cells.
Mounting evidence in models of both autoimmunity and chronic viral infection suggests that the outcome of T cell activation is critically impacted by the constellation of co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory receptors expressed on the cell surface. Here, we identified a critical role for the co-inhibitory SLAM family member 2B4 (CD244) in attenuating primary antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses in the presence of immune modulation with selective CD28 blockade. Our results reveal a specific up-regulation of 2B4 on antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in animals in which CD28 signaling was blocked. However, 2B4 up-regulation was not observed in animals treated with CTLA-4 Ig (abatacept) or CD28 blockade in the presence of anti–CTLA-4 mAb. 2B4 up-regulation after CD28 blockade was functionally significant, as the inhibitory impact of CD28 blockade was diminished when antigen-specific CD8+ T cells were deficient in 2B4. In contrast, 2B4 deficiency had no effect on CD8+ T cell responses during unmodified rejection or in the presence of CTLA-4 Ig. We conclude that blockade of CD28 signals in the presence of preserved CTLA-4 signals results in the unique up-regulation of 2B4 on primary CD8+ effectors, and that this 2B4 expression plays a critical functional role in controlling antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses.
Lys63-linked polyubiquitination of RIG-I is essential in antiviral immune defense, yet the molecular mechanism that negatively regulates this critical step is poorly understood. Here, we report that USP21 acts as a novel negative regulator in antiviral responses through its ability to bind to and deubiquitinate RIG-I. Overexpression of USP21 inhibited RNA virus–induced RIG-I polyubiquitination and RIG-I–mediated interferon (IFN) signaling, whereas deletion of USP21 resulted in elevated RIG-I polyubiquitination, IRF3 phosphorylation, IFN-α/β production, and antiviral responses in MEFs in response to RNA virus infection. USP21 also restricted antiviral responses in peritoneal macrophages (PMs) and bone marrow–derived dendritic cells (BMDCs). USP21-deficient mice spontaneously developed splenomegaly and were more resistant to VSV infection with elevated production of IFNs. Chimeric mice with USP21-deficient hematopoietic cells developed virus-induced splenomegaly and were more resistant to VSV infection. Functional comparison of three deubiquitinases (USP21, A20, and CYLD) demonstrated that USP21 acts as a bona fide RIG-I deubiquitinase to down-regulate antiviral response independent of the A20 ubiquitin-editing complex. Our studies identify a previously unrecognized role for USP21 in the negative regulation of antiviral response through deubiquitinating RIG-I.
Numerous studies indicate that T cell receptor (TCR) expression alone does not reliably mark commitment of early thymic progenitors to the fate. This raises the possibility that the TCR is unable to intrinsically specify fate and instead requires additional environmental factors, including TCR–ligand engagement. We use single cell progenitor assays to reveal that ligand acts instructionally to direct adoption of the fate. Moreover, we identify CD73 as a TCR ligand-induced cell surface protein that distinguishes TCR-expressing CD4–CD8– progenitors that have committed to the fate from those that have not yet done so. Indeed, unlike CD73– TCR+ progenitors, which largely adopt the αβ fate upon separation from the intrathymic selecting environment, those that express CD73 remain CD4–CD8– and committed to the fate. CD73 is expressed by >90% of peripheral cells, suggesting this is a common occurrence during development. Moreover, CD73 induction appears to mark a metastable intermediate stage before acquisition of effector function, suggesting that lineage and effector fate are specified sequentially. These findings have important implications for the role of ligand in lineage commitment and its relationship to the specification of effector fate.
A hallmark of immunological memory is the ability of previously primed T cells to undergo rapid recall responses upon antigen reencounter. Classic work has suggested that memory T cells proliferate in response to lower doses of antigen than naive T cells and with reduced requirements for co-stimulation. In contrast to this premise, we observed that naive but not memory T cells proliferate in vivo in response to limited antigen presentation. To reconcile these observations, we tested the antigen threshold requirement for cell cycle entry in naive and central memory CD8+ T cells. Although both naive and memory T cells detect low dose antigen, only naive T cells activate cell cycle effectors. Direct comparison of TCR signaling on a single cell basis indicated that central memory T cells do not activate Zap70, induce cMyc expression, or degrade p27 in response to antigen levels that activate these functions in naive T cells. The reduced sensitivity of memory T cells may result from both decreased surface TCR expression and increased expression of protein tyrosine phosphatases as compared with naive T cells. Our data describe a novel aspect of memory T cell antigen threshold sensitivity that may critically regulate recall expansion.
Receptor editing is a mechanism of self-tolerance used in newly generated B cells. The expressed heavy (H) or light (L) chain of an autoreactive receptor is replaced by upstream V genes which eliminate or modify autoreactivity. Editing of anti-DNA receptors has been characterized in anti-DNA transgenic mouse models including 3H9, 3H9/56R, and their revertant 3H9GL. Certain L chains, termed editors, rescue anti-DNA B cells by neutralizing or modifying DNA binding of the H chain. This editing mechanism acts on the natural H chain repertoire; endogenous H chains with anti-DNA features are expressed primarily in combination with editor L chains. We ask whether a similar set of L chains exists in the human repertoire, and if so, do they edit H chains with anti-DNA signatures? We compared the protein sequences of mouse editors to all human L chains and found several human L chains similar to mouse editors. These L chains diminish or veto anti-DNA binding when expressed with anti-DNA H chains. The human H chains expressed with these L chains also have relatively high arginine (Arg) content in the H chain complementarity determining region (H3), suggesting that receptor editing plays a role in establishing tolerance to DNA in humans.
Valency requirements for B cell activation upon antigen encounter are poorly understood. OB1 transnuclear B cells express an IgG1 B cell receptor (BCR) specific for ovalbumin (OVA), the epitope of which can be mimicked using short synthetic peptides to allow antigen-specific engagement of the BCR. By altering length and valency of epitope-bearing synthetic peptides, we examined the properties of ligands required for optimal OB1 B cell activation. Monovalent engagement of the BCR with an epitope-bearing 17-mer synthetic peptide readily activated OB1 B cells. Dimers of the minimal peptide epitope oriented in an N to N configuration were more stimulatory than their C to C counterparts. Although shorter length correlated with less activation, a monomeric 8-mer peptide epitope behaved as a weak agonist that blocked responses to cell-bound peptide antigen, a blockade which could not be reversed by CD40 ligation. The 8-mer not only delivered a suboptimal signal, which blocked subsequent responses to OVA, anti-IgG, and anti-kappa, but also competed for binding with OVA. Our results show that fine-tuning of BCR-ligand recognition can lead to B cell nonresponsiveness, activation, or inhibition.