Cutting edge: Ly9 (CD229), a SLAM family receptor, negatively regulates the development of thymic innate memory-like CD8+ T and invariant NKT cells.
ABSTRACT: Signaling lymphocytic activation molecule family receptors and the specific adapter signaling lymphocytic activation molecule-associated protein modulate the development of innate-like lymphocytes. In this study, we show that the thymus of Ly9-deficient mice contains an expanded population of CD8 single-positive cells with the characteristic phenotype of innate memory-like CD8(+) T cells. Moreover, the proportion of these innate CD8(+) T cells increased dramatically postinfection with mouse CMV. Gene expression profiling of Ly9-deficient mice thymi showed a significant upregulation of IL-4 and promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger. Analyses of Ly9(-/-)IL4ra(-/-) double-deficient mice revealed that IL-4 was needed to generate the thymic innate CD8(+) T cell subset. Furthermore, increased numbers of invariant NKT cells were detected in Ly9-deficient thymi. In wild-type mice, IL-4 levels induced by ?-galactosylceramide injection could be inhibited by a mAb against Ly9. Thus, Ly9 plays a unique role as an inhibitory cell surface receptor regulating the size of the thymic innate CD8(+) T cell pool and the development of invariant NKT cells.
Project description:T cell development in the thymus produces multiple lineages of cells, including innate T cells such as ?? TCR(+) cells, invariant NKT cells, mucosal-associated invariant T cells, and H2-M3-specific cells. Although innate cells are generally a minor subset of thymocytes, in several strains of mice harboring mutations in T cell signaling proteins or transcriptional regulators, conventional CD8(+) T cells develop as innate cells with characteristics of memory T cells. Thus, in Itk-deficient mice, mature CD4(-)CD8(+) (CD8 single-positive [SP]) thymocytes express high levels of the transcription factor eomesodermin (Eomes) and are dependent on IL-4 being produced in the thymic environment by a poorly characterized subset of CD4(+) thymocytes expressing the transcriptional regulator promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger. In this study, we show that a sizeable proportion of mature CD4(+)CD8(-) (CD4SP) thymocytes in itk(-/-) mice also develop as innate Eomes-expressing T cells. These cells are dependent on MHC class II and IL-4 signaling for their development, indicating that they are conventional CD4(+) T cells that have been converted to an innate phenotype. Surprisingly, neither CD4SP nor CD8SP innate Eomes(+) thymocytes in itk(-/-) or SLP-76(Y145F) mice are dependent on ?? T cells for their development. Instead, we find that the predominant population of Eomes(+) innate itk(-/-) CD4SP thymocytes is largely absent in mice lacking CD1d-specific invariant NKT cells, with no effect on innate itk(-/-) CD8SP thymocytes. In contrast, both subsets of innate Eomes(+)itk(-/-) T cells require the presence of a novel promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger-expressing, SLAM family receptor adapter protein-dependent thymocyte population that is essential for the conversion of conventional CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells into innate T cells with a memory phenotype.
Project description:Semi-invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells are thymus-derived innate lymphocytes that modulate microbial and tumour immunity as well as autoimmune diseases. These immunoregulatory properties of NKT cells are acquired during their development. Much has been learnt regarding the molecular and cellular cues that promote NKT cell development, yet how these cells are maintained in the thymus and the periphery and how they acquire functional competence are incompletely understood. We found that IL-15 induced several Bcl-2 family survival factors in thymic and splenic NKT cells in vitro. Yet, IL15-mediated thymic and peripheral NKT cell survival critically depended on Bcl-xL expression. Additionally, IL-15 regulated thymic developmental stage 2 (ST2) to ST3 lineage progression and terminal NKT cell differentiation. Global gene expression analyses and validation revealed that IL-15 regulated Tbx21 (T-bet) expression in thymic ST3 NKT cells. The loss of IL15-dependent T-bet expression resulted in poor expression of IFN-γ and several NK cell receptors in NKT cells. Taken together, our findings reveal a critical role for IL-15 in NKT cell survival, which is mediated by Bcl-xL, and effector differentiation, which is regulated by T-bet. Gene expression was measured in NKT cells sorted from pooled thymi of wild-type (3 replicates) or IL-15 deficient (2 replicates) mice.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells develop into three subsets (NKT1, NKT2, and NKT17) expressing a distinct transcription factor profile, which regulates cytokine secretion upon activation. iNKT cell development in the thymus is modulated by signaling lymphocytic activation molecule family (SLAMF) receptors. In contrast to other SLAMF members, Ly9 (SLAMF3) is a non-redundant negative regulator of iNKT cell development. Here, we show that Ly9 influences iNKT cell lineage differentiation. Ly9-deficient mice on a BALB/c background contained a significantly expanded population of thymic NKT2 cells, while NKT1 cells were nearly absent in BALB/c.Ly9-/- thymus. Conversely, the number of peripheral NKT1 cells in BALB/c.Ly9-/- mice was comparable to that in wild-type mice, indicating that the homeostasis of the different iNKT cell subsets may have distinct requirements depending on their tissue localization. Importantly, Ly9 absence also promoted NKT2 cell differentiation in the NKT1-skewed C57BL/6 background. Furthermore, treatment of wild-type mice with an agonistic monoclonal antibody directed against Ly9 impaired IL-4 and IFN-? production and reduced by half the number of spleen iNKT cells, with a significant decrease in the proportion of NKT2 cells. Thus, anti-Ly9 targeting could represent a novel therapeutic approach to modulate iNKT cell numbers and activation.
Project description:Mice deficient in the Tec kinase Itk develop a large population of CD8(+) T cells with properties, including expression of memory markers, rapid production of cytokines, and dependence on Interleukin-15, resembling NKT and other innate T cell lineages. Like NKT cells, these CD8(+) T cells can be selected on hematopoietic cells. We demonstrate that these CD8(+) T cell phenotypes resulted from selection on hematopoietic cells-forcing selection on the thymic stroma reduced the number and innate phenotypes of mature Itk-deficient CD8(+) T cells. We further show that, similar to NKT cells, selection of innate-type CD8(+) T cells in Itk(-/-) mice required the adaptor SAP. Acquisition of their innate characteristics, however, required CD28. Our results suggest that SAP and Itk reciprocally regulate selection of innate and conventional CD8(+) T cells on hematopoietic cells and thymic epithelium, respectively, whereas CD28 regulates development of innate phenotypes resulting from selection on hematopoietic cells.
Project description:Signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM)-associated protein (SAP) plays an essential role in the immune system mediating the function of several members of the SLAM family (SLAMF) of receptors, whose expression is essential for T, NK, and B-cell responses. Additionally, the expression of SAP in double-positive thymocytes is mandatory for natural killer T (NKT) cells and, in mouse, for innate CD8(+) T cell development. To date, only two members of the SLAMF of receptors, Slamf1 and Slamf6, have been shown to positively cooperate during NKT cell differentiation in mouse. However, it is less clear whether other members of this family may also participate in the development of these innate T cells. Here, we show that Slamf[1?+?6](-/-) and Slamf[1?+?5?+?6](-/-) B6 mice have ~70% reduction of NKT cells compared to wild-type B6 mice. Unexpectedly, the proportion of innate CD8(+) T cells slightly increased in the Slamf[1?+?5?+?6](-/-) , but not in the Slamf[1?+?6](-/-) strain, suggesting that Slamf5 may function as a negative regulator of innate CD8(+) T cell development. Accordingly, Slamf5(-/-) B6 mice showed an exclusive expansion of innate CD8(+) T cells, but not NKT cells. Interestingly, the SAP-independent Slamf7(-/-) strain showed an expansion of both splenic innate CD8(+) T cells and thymic NKT cells. On the other hand, and similar to what was recently shown in Slamf3(-/-) BALB/c mice, the proportions of thymic promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF(hi)) NKT cells and innate CD8(+) T cells significantly increased in the SAP-independent Slamf8(-/-) BALB/c strain. In summary, these results show that NKT and innate CD8(+) T cell development can be regulated in a SAP-dependent and -independent fashion by SLAMF receptors, in which Slamf1, Slamf6, and Slamf8 affect development of NKT cells, and that Slamf5, Slamf7, and Slamf8 affect the development of innate CD8(+) T cells.
Project description:Semi-invariant NKT cells are thymus-derived innate-like lymphocytes that modulate microbial and tumor immunity as well as autoimmune diseases. These immunoregulatory properties of NKT cells are acquired during their development. Much has been learned regarding the molecular and cellular cues that promote NKT cell development, yet how these cells are maintained in the thymus and the periphery and how they acquire functional competence are incompletely understood. We found that IL-15 induced several Bcl-2 family survival factors in thymic and splenic NKT cells in vitro. Yet, IL-15-mediated thymic and peripheral NKT cell survival critically depended on Bcl-x(L) expression. Additionally, IL-15 regulated thymic developmental stage 2 to stage 3 lineage progression and terminal NKT cell differentiation. Global gene expression analyses and validation revealed that IL-15 regulated Tbx21 (T-bet) expression in thymic NKT cells. The loss of IL-15 also resulted in poor expression of key effector molecules such as IFN-?, granzyme A and C, as well as several NK cell receptors, which are also regulated by T-bet in NKT cells. Taken together, our findings reveal a critical role for IL-15 in NKT cell survival, which is mediated by Bcl-x(L), and effector differentiation, which is consistent with a role of T-bet in regulating terminal maturation.
Project description:T cell development in the thymus produces multiple lineages of cells, including innate T cells. Studies in mice harboring alterations in TCR signaling proteins or transcriptional regulators have revealed an expanded population of CD4(+) innate T cells in the thymus that produce IL-4 and express the transcription factor promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF). In these mice, IL-4 produced by the CD4(+)PLZF(+) T cell population leads to the conversion of conventional CD8(+) thymocytes into innate CD8(+) T cells resembling memory T cells expressing eomesodermin. The expression of PLZF, the signature invariant NKT cell transcription factor, in these innate CD4(+) T cells suggests that they might be a subset of ?? or ?? TCR(+) NKT cells or mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. To address these possibilities, we characterized the CD4(+)PLZF(+) innate T cells in itk(-/-) mice. We show that itk(-/-) innate PLZF(+)CD4(+) T cells are not CD1d-dependent NKT cells, MR1-dependent MAIT cells, or ?? T cells. Furthermore, although the itk(-/-) innate PLZF(+)CD4(+) T cells express ?? TCRs, neither ?2-microglobulin-dependent MHC class I nor any MHC class II molecules are required for their development. In contrast to invariant NKT cells and MAIT cells, this population has a highly diverse TCR?-chain repertoire. Analysis of peripheral tissues indicates that itk(-/-) innate PLZF(+)CD4(+) T cells preferentially home to spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes owing to increased expression of gut-homing receptors, and that their expansion is regulated by commensal gut flora. These data support the conclusion that itk(-/-) innate PLZF(+)CD4(+) T cells are a novel subset of innate T cells.
Project description:In the thymus, stromal microenvironments support a developmental program that generates mature T cells ready for thymic exit. The cellular and molecular specialization within thymic stromal cells that enables their regulation of specific stages of thymocyte development is poorly understood. Here, we show the thymic microenvironment expresses the type 2 IL-4R complex and is functionally responsive to its known ligands, IL-4 and IL-13. Absence of IL-4Rα limits thymocyte emigration, leading to an intrathymic accumulation of mature thymocytes within medullary perivascular spaces and reduced numbers of recent thymic emigrants. Thymus transplantation shows this requirement maps to IL-4Rα expression by stromal cells, and we provide evidence that it regulates thymic exit via a process distinct from S1P-mediated migration. Finally, we reveal a cellular mechanism by which IL-4+IL-13+ invariant NKT cells are necessary for IL-4Rα signaling that regulates thymic exit. Collectively, we define a new axis for thymic emigration involving stimulation of the thymic microenvironment via type 2 cytokines from innate T cells.
Project description:The reports on the origin of human CD8(+) Valpha24(+) T-cell receptor (TCR) natural killer T (NKT) cells are controversial. The underlying mechanism that controls human CD4 versus CD8 NKT cell development is not well-characterized. In the present study, we have studied total 177 eligible patients and subjects including 128 healthy latent Epstein-Barr-virus(EBV)-infected subjects, 17 newly-onset acute infectious mononucleosis patients, 16 newly-diagnosed EBV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma patients, and 16 EBV-negative normal control subjects. We have established human-thymus/liver-SCID chimera, reaggregated thymic organ culture, and fetal thymic organ culture. We here show that the average frequency of total and CD8(+) NKT cells in PBMCs from 128 healthy latent EBV-infected subjects is significantly higher than in 17 acute EBV infectious mononucleosis patients, 16 EBV-associated Hodgkin lymphoma patients, and 16 EBV-negative normal control subjects. However, the frequency of total and CD8(+) NKT cells is remarkably increased in the acute EBV infectious mononucleosis patients at year 1 post-onset. EBV-challenge promotes CD8(+) NKT cell development in the thymus of human-thymus/liver-SCID chimeras. The frequency of total (3% of thymic cells) and CD8(+) NKT cells ( approximately 25% of NKT cells) is significantly increased in EBV-challenged chimeras, compared to those in the unchallenged chimeras (<0.01% of thymic cells, CD8(+) NKT cells undetectable, respectively). The EBV-induced increase in thymic NKT cells is also reflected in the periphery, where there is an increase in total and CD8(+) NKT cells in liver and peripheral blood in EBV-challenged chimeras. EBV-induced thymic CD8(+) NKT cells display an activated memory phenotype (CD69(+)CD45RO(hi)CD161(+)CD62L(lo)). After EBV-challenge, a proportion of NKT precursors diverges from DP thymocytes, develops and differentiates into mature CD8(+) NKT cells in thymus in EBV-challenged human-thymus/liver-SCID chimeras or reaggregated thymic organ cultures. Thymic antigen-presenting EBV-infected dendritic cells are required for this process. IL-7, produced mainly by thymic dendritic cells, is a major and essential factor for CD8(+) NKT cell differentiation in EBV-challenged human-thymus/liver-SCID chimeras and fetal thymic organ cultures. Additionally, these EBV-induced CD8(+) NKT cells produce remarkably more perforin than that in counterpart CD4(+) NKT cells, and predominately express CD8alphaalpha homodimer in their co-receptor. Thus, upon interaction with certain viruses, CD8 lineage-specific NKT cells are developed, differentiated and matured intrathymically, a finding with potential therapeutic importance against viral infections and tumors.
Project description:BACKGROUND: It is well known that CD1d-restricted Valpha14 invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells are derived from cells in the CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) population in the thymus. However, the developmental progression of NKT cells in the earlier stages remains unclear, and the possible existence of NKT cell presursors in the earlier stages than DP stage remains to be tested. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we demonstrate that NKT cell precursors that express invariant Valpha14-Jalpha18 transcripts but devoid of surface expression of the invariant Valpha14 receptor are present in the late CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative (DN)4 stage and have the potential to generate mature NKT cells in both in vivo and in vitro experimental conditions. Moreover, the DN4 population in CD1d knock-out (CD1dKO) mice was similar to those with an NKT cell potential in wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 (B6) mice, but failed to develop into NKT cells in vitro. However, these precursors could develop into NKT cells when co-cultured with normal thymocytes or in an in vivo experimental setting, indicating that functional NKT cell precursors are present in CD1dKO mice. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results demonstrate that thymic DN4 fraction contains NKT cell precursors. Our findings provide new insights into the early development of NKT cells prior to surface expression of the invariant Valpha14 antigen receptor and suggest the possible alternative developmental pathway of NKT cells.