Viral protein R upregulates expression of ULBP2 on uninfected bystander cells during HIV-1 infection of primary CD4+ T lymphocytes.
ABSTRACT: HIV-1 Vpr triggers NK cell-mediated lysis of infected cells by upregulating ULBP2, a ligand of the NKG2D receptor, through activation of the ATR-mediated DNA damage response. Herein, we demonstrate that Vpr augments ULBP2 expression on both infected and uninfected bystander cells during HIV-1 infection of primary CD4+ T lymphocytes. Indeed, the frequency of uninfected bystander cells expressing high levels of ULBP2 was elevated in a Vpr-dependent manner. Nevertheless, the same does not hold true for a Vpr mutant that is not packaged into virions, suggesting the involvement of virion-associated Vpr in this process. Additionally, we show that soluble Vpr has the ability to induce a DNA damage response and to augment cell-surface ULBP2 upon transducing target cells, including T cells, conditions known to promote NK cell-mediated killing. Overall, these findings suggest that Vpr could contribute to CD4+ T cell loss by rendering uninfected bystander cells susceptible to NK cell-mediated killing.
Project description:HIV-1 viral protein R (Vpr) from laboratory-adapted virus strains activates the DNA damage/stress sensor ATR kinase and induces cell cycle arrest at the G(2)/M phase through a process that requires Vpr to engage the DDB1-CUL4A (VprBP/DCAF-1) E3 ligase complex. Activation of this DNA damage/stress checkpoint in G(2) by Vpr was shown to modulate NKG2D-dependent NK cell effector functions via enhancing expression of NKG2D ligands, notably ULBP2. However, it is unknown whether Vpr from HIV-1 primary isolates (groups M, N, O, and P) could modulate NKG2D-mediated cytotoxic functions of NK cells. Here, we report that Vpr from most HIV-1 primary isolates can upregulate ULBP2 expression and induce NKG2D-dependent NK cell killing. Importantly, these activities were always accompanied by an active G(2) cell cycle arrest function. Interestingly, Vpr variants from group P and a clade D isolate of group M were defective at enhancing NKG2D-mediated NK cell lysis owing to their inability to augment ULBP2 expression. However, distinct mechanisms were responsible for their failure to do so. While Vpr from group P was deficient in its ability to engage the DDB1-CUL4A (VprBP/DCAF-1) E3 ligase complex, the Vpr variant from group D was unable to properly localize to the nucleus, underlining the importance of these biological properties in Vpr function. In conclusion, the ability of Vpr from HIV-1 primary isolates to regulate NK cell effector function underscores the importance of this HIV-1 accessory protein in the modulation of the host's innate immune responses.
Project description:UL16 binding proteins (ULBPs) are a family of cell surface proteins that are present in transformed and stressed cells and ligands for NKG2D. Soluble NKG2D ligands have been found in sera from cancer patients with their protein concentrations correlated with poor cancer prognosis. Here we show, for the first time, that human tumor cells lost their surface expression of ULBP2, but not ULBP1 and ULBP3, during NK cell-mediated cytolysis. In contrast to spontaneous shedding of NKG2D ligands, NK cytolysis-mediated shedding of ULBP2 was linked to target cell apoptosis, although both resulted from metalloproteinase cleavages. Inhibition of ULBP2 shedding by a metalloproteinase inhibitor BB-94 lead to reduced NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity and cytokine production. These results illustrate a regulation of NK cell effector functions through cytolysis-induced NKG2D ligand shedding. Consequently, compounds inhibiting NKG2D ligand shedding may offer therapeutic means to reduce excessive pathogenic NK cell activities.
Project description:Many malignant cells release the NKG2D ligand ULBP2 from their cell surface to evade immunosurveillance by NK cells and CD8 T cells. Although the shedding mechanism remains unclear, various inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases have been shown to efficiently block the release of soluble ULBP2. The clinical use of these inhibitors, however, is limited because of adverse side effects. Using high-throughput screening technique, we identified a specific inhibitor of phosphatase of regenerating liver 3 (PRL-3) that could reduce the level of soluble ULBP2 in the culture supernatant of various cancer cell lines. Inhibition or gene knockdown of PRL-3 did not reduce ULBP2 shedding, but rather suppressed posttranslational maturation of ULBP2, resulting in intracellular retention of immature ULBP2. We then found that ULBP2 was constitutively associated with heat shock protein HSP60. Complete maturation of ULBP2 required tyrosine phosphorylation of HSP60 which was mediated by PRL-3.
Project description:Liver CSCs are a rare subpopulation of heterogenous liver cancer cells with self-renewal and differentiation properties, which has emerged as a promising therapeutic target. Compelling data shows that NK cells selectively eliminate human cancer derived CSCs like colorectal carcinoma, melanoma, and glioblastoma. But the effect of NK cells on liver CSCs still remains unknown. To study the cytotoxic effect of NK cells on liver CSCs and the mechanism, we performed cytotoxicity assay, ELISA assays, CRISPRi, qRT-PCR, immunoblotting, RNA immunoprecipitation, and luciferase reporter using two types of CSCs reprogrammed from HCC. CSCs derived from liver cancer were susceptible to NK cell mediated cytotoxicity. The susceptibility of liver CSCs to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity declined significantly after silencing CD44 by CRISPRi-mediated gene knockdown. CD44 3' UTR functioned as a ceRNA to regulate the expression of ULBP2 mainly by competing miR-34a. CD44 3' UTR functioned as a ceRNA to enhance NK sensitivity of liver cancer stem cell by regulating ULBP2 expression.
Project description:HIV up-regulates cell-surface expression of specific ligands for the activating NKG2D receptor, including ULBP-1, -2, and -3, but not MICA or MICB, in infected cells both in vitro and in vivo. However, the viral factor(s) involved in NKG2D ligand expression still remains undefined. HIV-1 Vpr activates the DNA damage/stress-sensing ATR kinase and promotes G(2) cell-cycle arrest, conditions known to up-regulate NKG2D ligands. We report here that HIV-1 selectively induces cell-surface expression of ULBP-2 in primary CD4(+) T lymphocytes by a process that is Vpr dependent. Importantly, Vpr enhanced the susceptibility of HIV-1-infected cells to NK cell-mediated killing. Strikingly, Vpr alone was sufficient to up-regulate expression of all NKG2D ligands and thus promoted efficient NKG2D-dependent NK cell-mediated killing. Delivery of virion-associated Vpr via defective HIV-1 particles induced analogous biologic effects in noninfected target cells, suggesting that Vpr may act similarly beyond infected cells. All these activities relied on Vpr ability to activate the ATR-mediated DNA damage/stress checkpoint. Overall, these results indicate that Vpr is a key determinant responsible for HIV-1-induced up-regulation of NKG2D ligands and further suggest an immunomodulatory role for Vpr that may not only contribute to HIV-1-induced CD4(+) T-lymphocyte depletion but may also take part in HIV-1-induced NK-cell dysfunction.
Project description:The hexamethylene bisacetamide (HMBA) anticancer drug was dismissed due to limited efficacy in leukemic patients but it may re-enter into the clinics in HIV-1 eradication strategies because of its recently disclosed capacity to reactivate latent virus. Here, we investigated the impact of HMBA on the cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells against acute T lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells or HIV-1-infected T cells that exit from latency. We show that in T-ALL cells HMBA upmodulated MICB and ULBP2 ligands for the NKG2D activating receptor. In a primary CD4<sup>+</sup> T cell-based latency model, HMBA did not reactivate HIV-1, yet enhanced ULBP2 expression on cells harboring virus reactivated by prostratin (PRO). However, HMBA reduced the expression of NKG2D and its DAP10 adaptor in NK cells, hence impairing NKG2D-mediated cytotoxicity and DAP10-dependent response to IL-15 stimulation. Alongside, HMBA dampened killing of T-ALL targets by IL-15-activated NK cells and impaired NK cell-mediated clearance of PRO-reactivated HIV-1<sup>+</sup> cells. Overall, our results demonstrate a dominant detrimental effect of HMBA on the NKG2D pathway that crucially controls NK cell-mediated killing of tumors and virus-infected cells, providing one possible explanation for poor clinical outcome in HMBA-treated cancer patients and raising concerns for future therapeutic application of this drug.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are stimulated by ligands on virus-infected cells. We have recently demonstrated that NK cells respond to human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-infected autologous T-cells, in part, through the recognition of ligands for the NK cell activating receptor NKG2D on the surface of the infected cells. Uninfected primary CD4(pos) T-cell blasts express little, if any, NKG2D ligands. In the present study we determined the mechanism through which ligands for NKG2D are induced on HIV-1-infected cells. Our studies reveal that expression of vpr is necessary and sufficient to elicit the expression of NKG2D ligands in the context of HIV-1 infection. Vpr specifically induces surface expression of the unique-long 16 binding proteins (ULBP)-1 and ULBP-2, but not ULBP-3, MHC class I-related chain molecules (MIC)-A or MIC-B. In these studies we also demonstrated that Vpr increases the level of ULBP-1 and ULBP-2 mRNA in primary CD4(pos) T-cell blasts. The presence of ULBP-1 and ULBP-2 on HIV-1 infected cells is dependent on the ability of Vpr to associate with a protein complex know as Cullin 4a (Cul4a)/damaged DNA binding protein 1 (DDB1) and Cul4a-associated factor-1(DCAF-1) E3 ubiquitin ligase (Cul4a(DCAF-1)). ULBP-1 and -2 expression by Vpr is also dependent on activation of the DNA damage sensor, ataxia telangiectasia and rad-3-related kinase (ATR). When T-cell blasts are infected with a vpr-deficient HIV-1, NK cells are impaired in killing the infected cells. Thus, HIV-1 Vpr actively triggers the expression of the ligands to the NK cell activation receptor.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells play a central role during innate immune responses by eliminating pathogen-infected or tumorigenic cells. In the microenvironment, NK cells encounter not only target cells but also other cell types including non-target bystander cells. The impact of bystander cells on NK killing efficiency is, however, still elusive. In this study we show that the presence of bystander cells, such as P815, monocytes or HUVEC, enhances NK killing efficiency. With bystander cells present, the velocity and persistence of NK cells were increased, whereas the degranulation of lytic granules remained unchanged. Bystander cell-derived H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> was found to mediate the acceleration of NK cell migration. Using mathematical diffusion models, we confirm that local acceleration of NK cells in the vicinity of bystander cells reduces their search time to locate target cells. In addition, we found that integrin ? chains (?1, ?2 and ?7) on NK cells are required for bystander-enhanced NK migration persistence. In conclusion, we show that acceleration of NK cell migration in the vicinity of H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub>-producing bystander cells reduces target cell search time and enhances NK killing efficiency.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a disease with great morphological and genetic heterogeneity, which complicates its prognosis and treatment. The hypomethylating agents azacitidine (Vidaza®, AZA) and decitabine (Dacogen®, DAC) have been approved for the treatment of AML patients, but their mechanisms of action are poorly understood. Natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in the recognition of AML blasts through the interaction of the activating NKG2D receptor with its ligands (NKG2DL: MICA/B and ULBPs1-3). However, soluble NKG2DL (sNKG2DL) can be released from the cell surface, impairing immune recognition. Here, we examined whether hypomethylating agents modulate the release of sNKG2DL from AML cells. Results demonstrated that AZA- and DAC-treated AML cells reduce the release of sNKG2DL, preventing downregulation of NKG2D receptor on the cell surface and promoting immune recognition mediated by NKG2D-NKG2DL engagement. We show that the shedding of MICA, MICB and ULBP2 is inhibited by the increased expression of TIMP3, an ADAM17 inhibitor, after DAC treatment. The TIMP3 gene is highly methylated in AML cells lines and in AML patients (25.5%), in which it is significantly associated with an adverse cytogenetic prognosis of the disease. Overall, TIMP3 could be a target of the demethylating treatments in AML patients, leading to a decrease in MICA, MICB and ULBP2 shedding and the enhancement of the lytic activity of NK cells through the immune recognition mediated by the NKG2D receptor.
Project description:The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of cisplatin on the efficacy of natural killer (NK) cells immunotherapy to suppress HCC progression, and provide valuable information on better application of cisplatin in clinical settings. By using in vitro cell cytotoxicity test and in vivo liver orthotopic xenograft mice model, we identified the role of cisplatin in modulating NK cells cytotoxicity. Luciferase report assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay were applied for mechanism dissection. Immunohistochemistry is performed for sample staining. We found cisplatin could enhance the efficacy of NK cells immunotherapy to better suppress HCC progression via altering the androgen receptor (AR)-UL16-binding protein 2 (ULBP2) signals both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanism dissection revealed that cisplatin could suppress AR expression via two distinct ways: increasing miR-34a-5p to suppress AR expression and altering the ubiquitination to accelerate the AR protein degradation. The suppressed AR might then function through up-regulating ULBP2, a natural-killer group 2 member D ligand, to enhance the cytotoxicity of NK cells. Together, these results indicated an unrecognized favoring effect of cisplatin in HCC treatment. By suppressing AR in HCC, cisplatin could up-regulate cytotoxicity of NK cells to better target HCC. This finding may provide a potential new approach to control HCC by combining traditional chemotherapy with immunotherapy.