Runx3 and T-box proteins cooperate to establish the transcriptional program of effector CTLs.
ABSTRACT: Activation of naive CD8(+) T cells with antigen induces their differentiation into effector cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTLs). CTLs lyse infected or aberrant target cells by exocytosis of lytic granules containing the pore-forming protein perforin and a family of proteases termed granzymes. We show that effector CTL differentiation occurs in two sequential phases in vitro, characterized by early induction of T-bet and late induction of Eomesodermin (Eomes), T-box transcription factors that regulate the early and late phases of interferon (IFN) gamma expression, respectively. In addition, we demonstrate a critical role for the transcription factor Runx3 in CTL differentiation. Runx3 regulates Eomes expression as well as expression of three cardinal markers of the effector CTL program: IFN-gamma, perforin, and granzyme B. Our data point to the existence of an elaborate transcriptional network in which Runx3 initially induces and then cooperates with T-box transcription factors to regulate gene transcription in differentiating CTLs.
Project description:The maturation of naive CD8(+) T cells into effector CTLs is a critical feature of a functional adaptive immune system. Development of CTLs depends, in part, upon the expression of the transcriptional regulator eomesodermin (EOMES), which is thought to regulate expression of two key effector molecules, perforin and granzyme B. Although EOMES is important for effector CTL development, the precise mechanisms regulating CD8(+) effector cell maturation remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that Notch1 regulates the expression of EOMES, perforin, and granzyme B through direct binding to the promoters of these crucial effector molecules. By abrogating Notch signaling, both biochemically as well as genetically, we conclude that Notch activity mediates CTL activity through direct regulation of EOMES, perforin, and granzyme B.
Project description:Interleukin(IL)-2 and inflammation regulate effector and memory cytolytic T-lymphocyte (CTL) generation during infection. We demonstrate a complex interplay between IL-2 and inflammatory signals during CTL differentiation. IL-2 stimulation induced the transcription factor eomesodermin (Eomes), upregulated perforin (Prf1) transcription, and repressed re-expression of memory CTL markers Bcl6 and IL-7Ralpha. Binding of Eomes and STAT5 to Prf1 cis-regulatory regions correlated with transcriptional initiation (increased recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the Prf1 promoter). Inflammation (CpG, IL-12) enhanced expression of IL-2Ralpha and the transcription factor T-bet, but countered late Eomes and perforin induction while preventing IL-7Ralpha repression by IL-2. After infection of mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, IL-2Ralpha-deficient effector CD8(+) T cells expressed more Bcl6 but less perforin and granzyme B, formed fewer KLRG-1(+) and T-bet-expressing CTL, and killed poorly. Thus, inflammation influences both effector and memory CTL differentiation, whereas persistent IL-2 stimulation promotes effector at the expense of memory CTL development.
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:Agonists to the TNF/TNFR costimulatory receptors CD134 (OX40) and CD137 (4-1BB) elicit antitumor immunity. Dual costimulation with anti-CD134 plus anti-CD137 is particularly potent because it programs cytotoxic potential in CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Cytotoxicity in dual-costimulated CD4 T cells depends on the T-box transcription factor eomesodermin (Eomes), which we report is induced via a mechanism that does not rely on IL-2, in contrast to CD8+ CTL, but rather depends on the CD8 T cell lineage commitment transcription factor Runx3, which supports Eomes expression in mature CD8+ CTLs. Further, Eomes and Runx3 were indispensable for dual-costimulated CD4 T cells to mediate antitumor activity in an aggressive melanoma model. Runx3 is also known to be expressed in standard CD4 Th1 cells where it fosters IFN-? expression; however, the CD4 T cell lineage commitment factor ThPOK represses transcription of Eomes and other CD8 lineage genes, such as Cd8a Hence, CD4 T cells can differentiate into Eomes+ cytotoxic CD4+CD8+ double-positive T cells by terminating ThPOK expression. In contrast, dual-costimulated CD4 T cells express Eomes, despite the continued expression of ThPOK and the absence of CD8?, indicating that Eomes is selectively released from ThPOK repression. Finally, although Eomes was induced by CD137 agonist, but not CD134 agonist, administered individually, CD137 agonist failed to induce CD134-/- CD4 T cells to express Eomes or Runx3, indicating that both costimulatory pathways are required for cytotoxic Th1 programming, even when only CD137 is intentionally engaged with a therapeutic agonist.
Project description:Acquisition of effector properties is a key step in the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Here we show that inflammatory signals regulate Dicer expression in CTL, and that deletion or depletion of Dicer in mouse or human activated CD8+ T cells causes upregulation of perforin, granzyme and effector cytokines. Genome-wide analysis of miRNA changes induced by exposure of differentiating CTLs to IL-2 and inflammatory signals identifies miR-139 and miR-150 as components of a miRNA network that controls perforin, eomesodermin (Eomes) and IL-2Ra expression in differentiating CTLs and whose activity is modulated by IL-2, inflammation and antigenic stimulation. Overall our data show that strong IL-2R and inflammatory signals act through Dicer and miRNAs to control the cytolytic program and other aspects of effector CTL differentiation. Comparison of control and Dicer knock-out CTLs differentiated in vitro; Comparison of wild type CTLs differentiated in vitro with or without inflammatory stimuli; Comparison of effector and memory precursor CTLs isolated from mice infected with LCMV-Armstrong
Project description:The two T-box transcription factors T-bet and Eomesodermin (Eomes) are important regulators of cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs), such as activated CD8 T cells, which are essential in the fight against intracellular pathogens and tumors. Both transcription factors share a great degree of homology based on sequence analysis and as a result exert partial functional redundancy during viral infection. However, the actual degree of redundancy between T-bet and Eomes remains a matter of debate and is further confounded by their distinct spatiotemporal expression pattern in activated CD8 T cells. To directly investigate the functional overlap of these transcription factors, we generated a new mouse model in which Eomes expression is under the transcriptional control of the endogenous Tbx21 (encoding for T-bet) locus. Applying this model, we demonstrate that the induction of Eomes in lieu of T-bet cannot rescue T-bet deficiency in CD8 T cells during acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. We found that the expression of Eomes instead of T-bet was not sufficient for early cell expansion or effector cell differentiation. Finally, we show that imposed expression of Eomes after acute viral infection promotes some features of exhaustion but must act in concert with other factors during chronic viral infection to establish all hallmarks of exhaustion. In summary, our results clearly underline the importance of T-bet in guiding canonical CTL development during acute viral infections.
Project description:Acquisition of effector properties is a key step in the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Here we show that inflammatory signals regulate Dicer expression in CTLs, and that deletion or depletion of Dicer in mouse or human activated CD8(+) T cells causes up-regulation of perforin, granzymes, and effector cytokines. Genome-wide analysis of microRNA (miR, miRNA) changes induced by exposure of differentiating CTLs to IL-2 and inflammatory signals identifies miR-139 and miR-150 as components of an miRNA network that controls perforin, eomesodermin, and IL-2R? expression in differentiating CTLs and whose activity is modulated by IL-2, inflammation, and antigenic stimulation. Overall, our data show that strong IL-2R and inflammatory signals act through Dicer and miRNAs to control the cytolytic program and other aspects of effector CTL differentiation.
Project description:The underlying mechanisms that regulate neonatal immune suppression are poorly characterized. CD31 (PECAM1) is highly expressed on neonatal lymphocytes and is a known modulator of TCR signaling. To further characterize the role of CD31 in the neonatal CTL response, 3-d and 7-d-old murine neonates were infected with influenza virus and compared to adults. The majority of the pulmonary viral-specific CTLs in the 3-d-old murine neonate retain CD31 expression, whereas adult CTLs have decreased CD31 expression. In addition, CD31+ neonatal viral-specific CTLs demonstrate decreased IFN-? production, decreased proliferative capacity, and increased likelihood of death. At the peak of infection, sorted neonatal effector CTLs continue to transcribe CD31, indicating a developmental regulation of expression. To explore potential mechanisms for this reduced function, we compared the expression of the transcription factors Eomesodermin (Eomes) and T-bet; there was a significant increase in Eomes paired with a reduction in T-bet in CD31+ neonatal effector CTLs in the lung. Furthermore, in vitro stimulated neonatal CTLs significantly reduce IFN-? production upon CD31 signaling. Altogether, these data indicate that neonatal CTLs may retain elevated levels of CD31 to maintain peripheral T cell suppression during the bridge to ex utero life.
Project description:The transcription factor GATA3 is crucial for the differentiation of naive CD4(+) T cells into T helper 2 (Th2) cells. Here, we show that deletion of Gata3 allowed the appearance of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-producing cells in the absence of interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IFN-gamma. Such IFN-gamma production was transcription factor T-bet independent. Another T-box-containing transcription factor Eomes, but not T-bet, was induced both in GATA3-deficient CD4(+) T cells differentiated under Th2 cell conditions and in Th2 cells with enforced Runx3 expression, contributing to IFN-gamma production. GATA3 overexpression blocked Runx3-mediated Eomes induction and IFN-gamma production, and GATA3 protein physically interacted with Runx3 protein. Furthermore, we found that Runx3 directly bound to multiple regulatory elements of the Ifng gene and that blocking Runx3 function in either Th1 or GATA3-deficient "Th2" cells results in diminished IFN-gamma production by these cells. Thus, the Runx3-mediated pathway, actively suppressed by GATA3, induces IFN-gamma production in a STAT4- and T-bet-independent manner.
Project description:Eomes, a T-box transcription factor, is known important for both function and homeostasis of effector and memory T cells, but was recently also implicated in CD8+ T cell exhaustion. However, whether and how Eomes might regulate effector functions or exhaustion of CD8+ T cells, especially in the tumor setting, is unknown. Here we first show, as tumor progressed, Eomes expression was elevated in tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, especially in PD-1+Tim-3+ exhausted CD8+ T cells. Complete loss of Eomes in T cells resulted in impaired development of anti-tumor CTLs, whereas deletion of one allele of Eomes in T cells decreased development of exhausted CD8+ T cells, which offered better tumor control. Integrative analysis of RNAseq and ChIPseq of Eomes-overexpressing T cells revealed that high levels of Eomes expression directly controlled expression of T cell exhaustion genes, such as Havcr2. In addition, Eomes might compete with T-bet binding to regulatory genomic loci to antagonize T-bet functions. Collectively, Eomes exerts bimodal functions in CD8+ T cells in tumor.