The transcription factors ZEB2 and T-bet cooperate to program cytotoxic T cell terminal differentiation
ABSTRACT: T-bet is critical for cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) differentiation, but it is unclear how it operates in a graded manner in the formation of both terminal effector and memory precursor cells during infection. We find that at high concentrations T-bet induced expression of Zeb2 mRNA, which then triggered CTLs to adopt terminally differentiated states. ZEB2 and T-bet cooperate to switch on a terminal CTL differentiation program, while simultaneously repressing genes necessary for central memory CTL development. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) showed that a large proportion of these genes were bound by T-bet, and this binding was altered by ZEB2 deficiency. Furthermore, T-bet overexpression could not fully bypass ZEB2 function. Thus, the coordinated actions of T-bet and ZEB2 outline a novel genetic pathway that forces commitment of CTLs to terminal differentiation, thereby restricting their memory cell potential. Splenocyte derived CD8+ T cells from C57BL/6 mice with either a wildtype (WT) (GzmB-Cre Zeb2+/+) or GzmB-Cre Zeb2-fl/fl (Zeb2-/-) backgrounds, following 8 days post infection with LCMV-Armstrong, were subsetted into KLRG1-hi/IL-7R-lo populations (terminal effectors, TE) or KLRG1-lo/IL-7R-hi (memory precursors, MP) populations. Four experimental groups, each with 3 samples, comprised of TE+WT, MP+WT, TE+ZEB2-/-, and MP+ZEB2-/-, were profiled for gene expression utilizing a polyA RNA prep and hybridized to the Illumina microarray platform IlluminaWG-v2.0.
Project description:The transcription factor T-bet is critical for cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) differentiation, but it is unclear how it operates in a graded manner in the formation of both terminal effector and memory precursor cells during viral infection. We find that, at high concentrations, T-bet induced expression of Zeb2 mRNA, which then triggered CTLs to adopt terminally differentiated states. ZEB2 and T-bet cooperate to switch on a terminal CTL differentiation program, while simultaneously repressing genes necessary for central memory CTL development. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing showed that a large proportion of these genes were bound by T-bet, and this binding was altered by ZEB2 deficiency. Furthermore, T-bet overexpression could not fully bypass ZEB2 function. Thus, the coordinated actions of T-bet and ZEB2 outline a novel genetic pathway that forces commitment of CTLs to terminal differentiation, thereby restricting their memory cell potential.
Project description:ZEB2 is a multi-zinc-finger transcription factor known to play a significant role in early neurogenesis and in epithelial-mesenchymal transition-dependent tumor metastasis. Although the function of ZEB2 in T lymphocytes is unknown, activity of the closely related family member ZEB1 has been implicated in lymphocyte development. Here, we find that ZEB2 expression is up-regulated by activated T cells, specifically in the KLRG1(hi) effector CD8(+) T cell subset. Loss of ZEB2 expression results in a significant loss of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells after primary and secondary infection with a severe impairment in the generation of the KLRG1(hi) effector memory cell population. We show that ZEB2, which can bind DNA at tandem, consensus E-box sites, regulates gene expression of several E-protein targets and may directly repress Il7r and Il2 in CD8(+) T cells responding to infection. Furthermore, we find that T-bet binds to highly conserved T-box sites in the Zeb2 gene and that T-bet and ZEB2 regulate similar gene expression programs in effector T cells, suggesting that T-bet acts upstream and through regulation of ZEB2. Collectively, we place ZEB2 in a larger transcriptional network that is responsible for the balance between terminal differentiation and formation of memory CD8(+) T cells.
Project description:We evaluated a cocktail of HLA-A2-specific peptides including heteroclitic XBP1 US184-192 (YISPWILAV), heteroclitic XBP1 SP367-375 (YLFPQLISV), native CD138260-268 (GLVGLIFAV) and native CS1239-247 (SLFVLGLFL), for their ability to elicit multipeptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (MP-CTLs) using T cells from smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) patients. Our results demonstrate that MP-CTLs generated from SMM patients' T cells show effective anti-MM responses including CD137 (4-1BB) upregulation, CTL proliferation, interferon-? production and degranulation (CD107a) in an HLA-A2-restricted and peptide-specific manner. Phenotypically, we observed increased total CD3(+)CD8(+) T cells (>80%) and cellular activation (CD69(+)) within the memory SMM MP-CTL (CD45RO(+)/CD3(+)CD8(+)) subset after repeated multipeptide stimulation. Importantly, SMM patients could be categorized into distinct groups by their level of MP-CTL expansion and antitumor activity. In high responders, the effector memory (CCR7(-)CD45RO(+)/CD3(+)CD8(+)) T-cell subset was enriched, whereas the remaining responders' CTL contained a higher frequency of the terminal effector (CCR7(-)CD45RO(-)/CD3(+)CD8(+)) subset. These results suggest that this multipeptide cocktail has the potential to induce effective and durable memory MP-CTL in SMM patients. Therefore, our findings provide the rationale for clinical evaluation of a therapeutic vaccine to prevent or delay progression of SMM to active disease.
Project description:Production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-12 by innate phagocytes drives the differentiation of IFN-gamma-producing effector T cells during Toxoplasma gondii infection. However, the role of IL-12 in the regulation of memory CD8+ T cell differentiation and function during murine toxoplasmosis is unclear. To track memory CTL development, we identified a novel H-2K(b)-restricted CTL population specific for the Toxoplasma antigen tgd057. Tgd057-specific CTLs were induced by both vaccination and natural peroral infection, and were representative of the polyclonal CTL population. Tgd057-specific primary effector cells required IL-12 for the differentiation of KLRG1+ effector subpopulations and IFN-gamma production in response to restimulation with parasite-infected cells, but not to restimulation with cognate peptide. The effect of IL-12 deficiency during the primary response was profoundly imprinted on memory CTLs, which continued to show defects in cell numbers, KLRG1+ effector memory subpopulation differentiation, and IFN-gamma recall responses. Importantly, isolated CD62L(hi) KLRG1- CD8+ T cells differentiated in the absence of IL-12 were enhanced in their ability to generate IFN-gamma-producing secondary tgd057-specific effector cells. Our data, for the first time, demonstrate the negative impact of IL-12 signaling on the quality of the central memory CTL compartment. Thus, despite the beneficial role of IL-12 in promoting effector differentiation, excessive exposure to IL-12 during CTL priming may limit the development of long-term protective immunity through the decreased fitness of central memory CTL responses.
Project description:T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation of naive CD8+ T cells initiates reprogramming of cis-regulatory landscapes that specify effector and memory cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) differentiation. We mapped regions of hyper-accessible chromatin in naive cells during TCR stimulation and discovered that the transcription factor (TF) Runx3 promoted accessibility to memory CTL-specific cis-regulatory regions before the first cell division and was essential for memory CTL differentiation. Runx3 was specifically required for accessibility to regions highly enriched with IRF, bZIP and Prdm1-like TF motifs, upregulation of TFs Irf4 and Blimp1, and activation of fundamental CTL attributes in early effector and memory precursor cells. Runx3 ensured that nascent CTLs differentiated into memory CTLs by preventing high expression of the TF T-bet, slowing effector cell proliferation, and repressing terminal CTL differentiation. Runx3 overexpression enhanced memory CTL differentiation during iterative infections. Thus, Runx3 governs chromatin accessibility during TCR stimulation and enforces the memory CTL developmental program.
Project description:The induction of functional memory cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is a major goal of vaccination against intracellular pathogens. Interleukin (IL)-12 is critical for the generation of memory CTLs, and inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) by rapamycin can effectively enhance the memory CTL response. Yet, the role of IL-12 in mTOR's regulation of memory CTL is unknown. Here we hypothesized that the immunostimulatory effects of mTOR on memory CTLs requires IL-12 signaling. Our results revealed that rapamycin increased the generation of memory CTLs in vaccinia virus infection, and this enhancement was dependent upon the IL-12 signal. Furthermore, IL-12 receptor deficiency diminished the secondary expansion of rapamycin-regulated memory and resultant secondary memory CTLs were abolished. Rapamycin enhanced IL-12 signaling by upregulating IL-12 receptor ?2 expression and signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 4 phosphorylation in CTLs during early infection. In addition, rapamycin continually suppressed T-bet expression in both wild-type and IL-12 receptor knockout CTLs. These results indicate an essential role for IL-12 in the regulation of memory CTLs by mTOR and highlight the importance of considering the interplay between cytokines and adjuvants during vaccine design.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Type I interferons (IFN-I) have recently emerged as key regulators of tumor response to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. However, IFN-I function in cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in the tumor microenvironment is largely unknown. METHODS:Tumor tissues and CTLs of human colorectal cancer patients were analyzed for interferon (alpha and beta) receptor 1 (IFNAR1) expression. IFNAR1 knock out (IFNAR-KO), mixed wild type (WT) and IFNAR1-KO bone marrow chimera mice, and mice with IFNAR1 deficiency only in T cells (IFNAR1-TKO) were used to determine IFN-I function in T cells in tumor suppression. IFN-I target genes in tumor-infiltrating and antigen-specific CTLs were identified and functionally analyzed. RESULTS:IFNAR1 expression level is significantly lower in human colorectal carcinoma tissue than in normal colon tissue. IFNAR1 protein is also significantly lower on CTLs from colorectal cancer patients than those from healthy donors. Although IFNAR1-KO mice exhibited increased susceptibility to methylcholanthrene-induced sarcoma, IFNAR1-sufficient tumors also grow significantly faster in IFNAR1-KO mice and in mice with IFNAR1 deficiency only in T cells (IFNAR1-TKO), suggesting that IFN-I functions in T cells to enhance host cancer immunosurveillance. Strikingly, tumor-infiltrating CTL levels are similar between tumor-bearing WT and IFNAR1-KO mice. Competitive reconstitution of mixed WT and IFNAR1-KO bone marrow chimera mice further determined that IFNAR1-deficient naïve CTLs exhibit no deficiency in response to vaccination to generate antigen-specific CTLs as compared to WT CTLs. Gene expression profiling determined that Gzmb expression is down-regulated in tumor-infiltrating CTLs of IFNAR1-KO mice as compared to WT mice, and in antigen-specific IFNAR1-KO CTLs as compared to WT CTLs in vivo. Mechanistically, we determined that IFN-I activates STAT3 that binds to the Gzmb promoter to activate Gzmb transcription in CTLs. CONCLUSION:IFN-I induces STAT3 activation to activate Gzmb expression to enhance CTL effector function to suppress tumor development. Human colorectal carcinoma may use down-regulation of IFNAR1 on CTLs to suppress CTL effector function to evade host cancer immunosurveillance.
Project description:Granzyme B (GzmB) is a serine protease best known for inducing target cell apoptosis when released by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) or natural killer cells with pore-forming perforin. As a result, GzmB detected in the serum of virus-infected individuals has typically been attributed to these sources. Here, we show that patients with recently diagnosed infectious mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have high circulating levels of GzmB that may be derived from infected B cells early in course of disease. We recently reported that human B cells from healthy donors secrete active GzmB when stimulated in vitro through B-cell receptor (BCR) ligation and interleukin (IL)-21. We found that infecting B cells with EBV greatly amplified GzmB secretion in response to the same stimuli, but the expression was terminated once the infection had become latent. Our results represent a rare instance of GzmB expression by non-CTL/natural killer cells in the context of infection with a human pathogen.
Project description:CMV remains an important opportunistic pathogen in high-risk lung transplant recipients. We characterized the phenotype and function of CD8+ T cells from acute/primary into chronic CMV infection in 23 (donor+/recipient-; D+R-) lung transplant recipients and found rapid induction of both KLRG1+ and/or CD57+ CMV-specific CD8+ T cells with unexpected coexpression of CD27. These cells demonstrated maturation from an acute effector T cell (TAEFF) to an effector memory T cell (TEM) phenotype with progressive enrichment of KLRG1+CD57+CD27- cells into memory. CMV-specific KLRG1+ TAEFF were capable of in vitro proliferation that diminished upon acquisition of CD57, whereas only KLRG1+ expression correlated with T-bet expression and effector function. In contrast to blood TAEFF, lung mucosal TAEFF demonstrated reduced KLRG1/T-bet expression but similar CD57 levels. Additionally, increased KLRG1+TAEFF were associated with early immune viral control following primary infection. To our knowledge, our findings provide new insights into the roles of KLRG1 and CD57 expression in human T cells, forming the basis for a refined model of CD8+ T cell differentiation during CMV infection.