Coregulation of CD8+ T cell exhaustion by multiple inhibitory receptors during chronic viral infection.
ABSTRACT: T cell exhaustion often occurs during chronic infection and prevents optimal viral control. The molecular pathways involved in T cell exhaustion remain poorly understood. Here we show that exhausted CD8+ T cells are subject to complex layers of negative regulation resulting from the coexpression of multiple inhibitory receptors. Exhausted CD8+ T cells expressed up to seven inhibitory receptors. Coexpression of multiple distinct inhibitory receptors was associated with greater T cell exhaustion and more severe infection. Regulation of T cell exhaustion by various inhibitory pathways was nonredundant, as blockade of the T cell inhibitory receptors PD-1 and LAG-3 simultaneously and synergistically improved T cell responses and diminished viral load in vivo. Thus, CD8+ T cell responses during chronic viral infections are regulated by complex patterns of coexpressed inhibitory receptors.
Project description:Exhausted CD8(+) T cells function poorly and are negatively regulated by inhibitory receptors. Transcriptional profiling has identified gene expression changes associated with exhaustion. However, the transcriptional pathways critical to the differences between exhausted and functional memory CD8(+) T cells are unclear. We thus defined transcriptional coexpression networks to define pathways centrally involved in exhaustion versus memory. These studies revealed differences between exhausted and memory CD8(+) T cells including the following: lack of coordinated transcriptional modules of quiescence during exhaustion, centrally connected hub genes, pathways such as transcription factors, genes involved in regulation of immune responses, and DNA repair genes, as well as differential connectivity for genes including T-bet, Eomes, and other transcription factors. These data identify pathways involved in CD8(+) T cell exhaustion, and highlight the context-dependent nature of transcription factors in exhaustion versus memory.
Project description:Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the major cause of inflammatory liver disease, of which the clinical recovery and effective anti-viral therapy is associated with the sustained viral control of effector T cells. In humans, chronic HBV infection often shows weak or absent virus-specific T-cell reactivity, which is described as the 'exhaustion' state characterized by poor effector cytotoxic activity, impaired cytokine production and sustained expression of multiple inhibitory receptors, such as programmed cell death-1 (PD-1), lymphocyte activation gene-3, cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 and CD244. As both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells participate in the immune responses against chronic hepatitis virus through distinct manners, compelling evidences have been proposed, which restore the anti-viral function of these exhausted T cells by blocking those inhibitory receptors with its ligand and will pave the way for the development of more effective immunotherapeutic and prophylactic strategies for the treatment of chronic infectious diseases. A large number of studies have stated the essentiality of T-cell exhaustion in virus-infected diseases, such as LCMV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus infections and cancers. Besides, the functional restoration of HCV- and HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells by PD-1 blockade has already been repeatedly verified, and also for the immunological control of tumors in humans, blocking the PD-1 pathway could be a major immunotherapeutic strategy. Although the specific molecular pathways of T-cell exhaustion remain ambiguous, several transcriptional pathways have been implicated in T-cell exhaustion recently; among them Blimp-1, T-bet and NFAT2 were able to regulate exhausted T cells during chronic viral infection, suggesting a distinct lineage fate for this sub-population of T cells. This paper summarizes the current literature relevant to T-cell exhaustion in patients with HBV-related chronic hepatitis, the options for identifying new potential therapeutic targets to treat HBV infection and highlights priorities for further study.
Project description:Inhibitory receptors play a crucial role in regulating CD8 T-cell function during chronic viral infection. T-cell Ig- and mucin-domain-containing molecule-3 (Tim-3) is well known to negatively regulate T-cell responses, but its role in CD8 T-cell exhaustion during chronic infection in vivo remains unclear. In this study, we document coregulation of CD8 T cell exhaustion by Tim-3 and PD-1 during chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection. Whereas Tim-3 was only transiently expressed by CD8 T cells after acute infection, virus-specific CD8 T cells retained high Tim-3 expression throughout chronic infection. The majority (approximately 65% to 80%) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-specific CD8 T cells in lymphoid and nonlymphoid organs coexpressed Tim-3 and PD-1. This coexpression of Tim-3 and PD-1 was associated with more severe CD8 T-cell exhaustion in terms of proliferation and secretion of effector cytokines such as IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-2. Interestingly, CD8 T cells expressing both inhibitory receptors also produced the suppressive cytokine IL-10. Most importantly, combined blockade of Tim-3 and PD-1 pathways in vivo synergistically improved CD8 T cell responses and viral control in chronically infected mice. Taken together, our study defines a parameter for determining the severity of CD8 T cell dysfunction and for identifying virus-specific CD8 T cells that produce IL-10, and shows that targeting both PD-1 and Tim-3 is an effective immune strategy for treating chronic viral infections.
Project description:Pregnancy is a common immunization event, but the molecular mechanisms and immunological consequences provoked by pregnancy remain largely unknown. We used mouse models and human transplant registry data to reveal that pregnancy induced exhausted CD8 T cells (Preg-TEX), which associated with prolonged allograft survival. Maternal CD8 T cells shared features of exhaustion with CD8 T cells from cancer and chronic infection, including transcriptional down-regulation of ribosomal proteins and up-regulation of TOX and inhibitory receptors. Similar to other models of T cell exhaustion, NFAT-dependent elements of the exhaustion program were induced by fetal antigen in pregnancy, whereas NFAT-independent elements did not require fetal antigen. Despite using conserved molecular circuitry, Preg-TEX cells differed from TEX cells in chronic viral infection with respect to magnitude and dependency of T cell hypofunction on NFAT-independent signals. Altogether, these data reveal the molecular mechanisms and clinical consequences of maternal CD8 T cell hypofunction and identify pregnancy as a previously unappreciated context in which T cell exhaustion may occur.
Project description:Exhausted CD8+ T cell responses during chronic viral infections are defined by a complex expression pattern of inhibitory receptors. However, very little information is currently available about the coexpression patterns of these receptors on human virus-specific CD8+ T cells and their correlation with antiviral functions, T cell differentiation and antigen recognition. We addressed these important aspects in a cohort of 38 chronically HCV infected patients and found a coexpression of inhibitory receptors such as 2B4, CD160 and KLRG1 in association with PD-1 in about half of the HCV-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Importantly, this exhaustive phenotype was associated with low and intermediate levels of CD127 expression, an impaired proliferative capacity, an intermediate T cell differentiation stage and absence of sequence variations within the corresponding epitopes, indicating ongoing antigen triggering. In contrast, a low expression of inhibitory receptors by the remaining HCV-specific CD8+ T cells occurred in concert with a CD127hi phenotype, an early T cell differentiation stage and presence of viral sequence variations within the corresponding epitopes. In sum, these results suggest that T cell exhaustion contributes to the failure of about half of HCV-specific CD8+ T cell responses and that it is determined by a complex interplay of immunological (e.g. T cell differentiation) and virological (e.g. ongoing antigen triggering) factors.
Project description:During chronic viral infections, responses by virus-specific CD8(+) T cells become marginalized by the acquisition of functional defects and reduced cell numbers in a process defined as T cell exhaustion. Similarly, T cell tolerance to self-antigen is also characterized by impaired effector function and eventual deletion of self-reactive T cells. Induction of both tolerance and exhaustion involve many shared inhibitory mechanisms, thus similar therapeutic approaches have proven effective in these distinct environments. We previously demonstrated that tolerant self-reactive CD8(+) T cells expressing dual-T cell receptors (i.e., dual-TCR) could be rescued by immunization through a second TCR specific for a foreign antigen. These data revealed that T cell tolerance was regulated at the level of the self-reactive TCR. Here, dual-TCR CD8(+) T cells were used to examine if exhaustion during persistent viral infection could be rescued by an analogous strategy of immunization through a second TCR not involved in recognition of virus. In direct contrast to the rescue achievable in tolerant CD8(+) T cells, exhausted T cells were equally impaired through both TCR. These findings suggest that exhaustion is maintained by defects downstream of the virus-specific TCR, and establish that exhaustion and tolerance are distinctly regulated states of T cell dysfunction.
Project description:T cell exhaustion represents one of the most pervasive strategies tumors employ to circumvent the immune system. Although repetitive, cognate TCR signaling is recognized as the primary driving force behind this phenomenon, and it remains unknown what other forces drive T cell exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment (TME). In this study, we show that activation of the self-ligand SLAMF7 immune receptor on T cells induced STAT1 and STAT3 phosphorylation, expression of multiple inhibitory receptors, and transcription factors associated with T cell exhaustion. Analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas revealed that SLAMF7 transcript levels were strongly correlated with various inhibitory receptors and that high SLAMF7 expression was indicative of poor survival in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Targeted reanalysis of a CyTOF dataset, which profiled the TME in 73 ccRCC patients, revealed cell-type-specific SLAMF7 expression patterns, strong correlations between exhausted T cells and SLAMF7<sup>+</sup> tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), and a unique subset of SLAMF7<sup>high</sup>CD38<sup>high</sup> TAMs. These SLAMF7<sup>high</sup>CD38<sup>high</sup> TAMs showed the strongest correlations with exhausted T cells and were an independent prognostic factor in ccRCC. Confirmatory ex vivo coculture studies validated that SLAMF7-SLAMF7 interactions between murine TAMs and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells induce expression of multiple inhibitory receptors. Finally, mice lacking SLAMF7 show restricted growth of B16-F10 tumors, and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells from these mice express less PD-1 and TOX and exhibited an impaired ability to progress through the exhaustion developmental trajectory to terminal exhaustion. These findings suggest that SLAMF7 might play an important role in modulating T cell function in the TME.
Project description:In chronic viral infections, CD8? T cells become functionally deficient and display multiple molecular alterations. In contrast, only little is known of self- and tumor-specific CD8? T cells from mice and humans. Here we determined molecular profiles of tumor-specific CD8? T cells from melanoma patients. In peripheral blood from patients vaccinated with CpG and the melanoma antigen Melan-A/MART-1 peptide, we found functional effector T cell populations, with only small but nevertheless significant differences in T cells specific for persistent herpesviruses (EBV and CMV). In contrast, Melan-A/MART-1-specific T cells isolated from metastases from patients with melanoma expressed a large variety of genes associated with T cell exhaustion. The identified exhaustion profile revealed extended molecular alterations. Our data demonstrate a remarkable coexistence of effector cells in circulation and exhausted cells in the tumor environment. Functional T cell impairment is mediated by inhibitory receptors and further molecular pathways, which represent potential targets for cancer therapy.
Project description:The clinical course of autoimmune and infectious disease varies greatly, even between individuals with the same condition. An understanding of the molecular basis for this heterogeneity could lead to significant improvements in both monitoring and treatment. During chronic infection the process of T-cell exhaustion inhibits the immune response, facilitating viral persistence. Here we show that a transcriptional signature reflecting CD8 T-cell exhaustion is associated with poor clearance of chronic viral infection, but conversely predicts better prognosis in multiple autoimmune diseases. The development of CD8 T-cell exhaustion during chronic infection is driven both by persistence of antigen and by a lack of accessory 'help' signals. In autoimmunity, we find that where evidence of CD4 T-cell co-stimulation is pronounced, that of CD8 T-cell exhaustion is reduced. We can reproduce the exhaustion signature by modifying the balance of persistent stimulation of T-cell antigen receptors and specific CD2-induced co-stimulation provided to human CD8 T cells in vitro, suggesting that each process plays a role in dictating outcome in autoimmune disease. The 'non-exhausted' T-cell state driven by CD2-induced co-stimulation is reduced by signals through the exhaustion-associated inhibitory receptor PD-1, suggesting that induction of exhaustion may be a therapeutic strategy in autoimmune and inflammatory disease. Using expression of optimal surrogate markers of co-stimulation/exhaustion signatures in independent data sets, we confirm an association with good clinical outcome or response to therapy in infection (hepatitis C virus) and vaccination (yellow fever, malaria, influenza), but poor outcome in autoimmune and inflammatory disease (type 1 diabetes, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and dengue haemorrhagic fever). Thus, T-cell exhaustion plays a central role in determining outcome in autoimmune disease and targeted manipulation of this process could lead to new therapeutic opportunities.
Project description:Pathogenic gain-of-function mutations in the gene encoding phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta (PI3K?) cause activated PI3K? syndrome (APDS), a disease characterized by humoral immunodeficiency, lymphadenopathy, and an inability to control persistent viral infections including Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. Understanding the mechanisms leading to impaired immune response is important to optimally treat APDS patients. Immunosenescence of CD8+ T cells was suggested to contribute to APDS pathogenesis. However, the constitutive activation of T cells in APDS may also result in T cell exhaustion. Therefore, we studied exhaustion of the CD8+ T cell compartment in APDS patients and compared them with healthy controls and HIV patients, as a control for exhaustion. The subset distribution of the T cell compartment of APDS patients was comparable with HIV patients with decreased naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and increased effector CD8+ T cells. Like in HIV+ patients, expression of activation markers and inhibitory receptors CD160, CD244, and programmed death receptor (PD)-1 on CD8+ T cells was increased in APDS patients, indicating exhaustion. EBV-specific CD8+ T cells from APDS patients exhibited an exhausted phenotype that resembled HIV-specific CD8+ T cells in terms of inhibitory receptor expression. Inhibition of PD-1 on EBV-specific CD8+ T cells from APDS patients enhanced in vitro proliferation and effector cytokine production. Based on these results, we conclude that total and EBV-specific CD8+ T cells from APDS patients are characterized by T cell exhaustion. Furthermore, PD-1 checkpoint inhibition may provide a possible therapeutic approach to support the immune system of APDS patients to control EBV and CMV.