Human Peripheral CD4(+) V?1(+) ??T Cells Can Develop into ??T Cells.
ABSTRACT: The lifelong generation of ??T cells enables us to continuously build immunity against pathogens and malignancies despite the loss of thymic function with age. Homeostatic proliferation of post-thymic naïve and memory T cells and their transition into effector and long-lived memory cells balance the decreasing output of naïve T cells, and recent research suggests that also ??T-cell development independent from the thymus may occur. However, the sites and mechanisms of extrathymic T-cell development are not yet understood in detail. ??T cells represent a small fraction of the overall T-cell pool, and are endowed with tremendous phenotypic and functional plasticity. ??T cells that express the V?1 gene segment are a minor population in human peripheral blood but predominate in epithelial (and inflamed) tissues. Here, we characterize a CD4(+) peripheral V?1(+) ??T-cell subpopulation that expresses stem-cell and progenitor markers and is able to develop into functional ??T cells ex vivo in a simple culture system and in vivo. The route taken by this process resembles thymic T-cell development. However, it involves the re-organization of the V?1(+) ??TCR into the ??TCR as a consequence of TCR-? chain downregulation and the expression of surface V?1(+)V?(+) TCR components, which we believe function as surrogate pre-TCR. This transdifferentiation process is readily detectable in vivo in inflamed tissue. Our study provides a conceptual framework for extrathymic T-cell development and opens up a new vista in immunology that requires adaptive immune responses in infection, autoimmunity, and cancer to be reconsidered.
Project description:Restoring T cell competence is a significant clinical challenge in patients whose thymic function is severely compromised due to age or cytoreductive conditioning. Here, we demonstrate in mice that mesenteric LNs (MLNs) support extrathymic T cell development in euthymic and athymic recipients of bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Furthermore, in aged murine BMT recipients, the contribution of the MLNs to the generation of T cells was maintained, while the contribution of the thymus was significantly impaired. Thymic impairment resulted in a proportional increase in extrathymic-derived T cell progenitors. Extrathymic development in athymic recipients generated conventional naive TCR?? T cells with a broad V? repertoire and intact functional and proliferative potential. Moreover, in the absence of a functional thymus, immunity against known pathogens could be augmented using engineered precursor T cells with viral specificity. These findings demonstrate the potential of extrathymic T cell development for T cell reconstitution in patients with limited thymic function.
Project description:The development of a broad repertoire of T cells, which is essential for effective immune function, occurs in the thymus. Although some data suggest that T cell development can occur extrathymically, many researchers remain skeptical that extrathymic T cell development has an important role in generating the T cell repertoire in healthy individuals. However, it may be important in the setting of poor thymic function or congenital deficit and in the context of autoimmunity, cancer, or regenerative medicine. Here, we report evidence that a stepwise program of T cell development occurs within the human tonsil. We identified 5 tonsillar T cell developmental intermediates: (a) CD34?CD38dimLin? cells, which resemble multipotent progenitors in the bone marrow and thymus; (b) more mature CD34?CD38brightLin? cells; (c) CD34?CD1a?CD11c? cells, which resemble committed T cell lineage precursors in the thymus; (d) CD34?CD1a?CD3?CD11c? cells, which resemble CD4?CD8? double-positive T cells in the thymus; and (e) CD34?CD1a?CD3?CD11c? cells. The phenotype of each subset closely resembled that of its thymic counterpart. The last 4 populations expressed RAG1 and PTCRA, genes required for TCR rearrangement, and all 5 subsets were capable of ex vivo T cell differentiation. TdT? cells found within the tonsillar fibrous scaffold expressed CD34 and/or CD1a, indicating that this distinct anatomic region contributes to pre-T cell development, as does the subcapsular region of the thymus. Thus, we provide evidence of a role for the human tonsil in a comprehensive program of extrathymic T cell development.
Project description:T-cell receptor (TCR) diversity, a prerequisite for immune system recognition of the universe of foreign antigens, is generated in the first two decades of life in the thymus and then persists to an unknown extent through life via homeostatic proliferation of naïve T cells. We have used next-generation sequencing and nonparametric statistical analysis to estimate a lower bound for the total number of different TCR beta (TCRB) sequences in human repertoires. We arrived at surprisingly high minimal estimates of 100 million unique TCRB sequences in naïve CD4 and CD8 T-cell repertoires of young adults. Naïve repertoire richness modestly declined two- to fivefold in healthy elderly. Repertoire richness contraction with age was even less pronounced for memory CD4 and CD8 T cells. In contrast, age had a major impact on the inequality of clonal sizes, as estimated by a modified Gini-Simpson index clonality score. In particular, large naïve T-cell clones that were distinct from memory clones were found in the repertoires of elderly individuals, indicating uneven homeostatic proliferation without development of a memory cell phenotype. Our results suggest that a highly diverse repertoire is maintained despite thymic involution; however, peripheral fitness selection of T cells leads to repertoire perturbations that can influence the immune response in the elderly.
Project description:The transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) can activate or repress gene expression in a cell-context dependent manner. We have previously shown that KLF4 inhibits the proliferation of naïve CD8(+) T cells in vitro downstream of the transcription factor ELF4. In this work, we describe a novel role of KLF4 in the differentiation of CD8(+) T cells upon infection. Loss of KLF4 had minimal effect on thymic T cell development and distribution of mature T cells in the spleen, blood, and lymph nodes. KLF4-deficient naïve CD8(+) T cells also displayed normal homeostatic proliferation upon adoptive transfer into lymphopenic hosts. However, activation of KLF4-deficient naïve CD8(+) T cells by in vitro TCR crosslink and co-stimulation resulted in increased proliferation. Furthermore, naïve KLF4-deficient OT-I CD8(+) T cells generated increased numbers of functional memory CD8(+) T cells compared to wild type OT-I CD8(+) T cells co-injected in the same recipient in both primary and recall responses to Listeria monocytogenes-OVA. Collectively, our data demonstrate that KLF4 regulates differentiation of functional memory CD8(+) T cells while sparing development and homeostasis of naïve CD8(+) T cells.
Project description:Immunization with irradiated sporozoites is currently the most effective vaccination strategy against liver stages of malaria parasites, yet the mechanisms underpinning the success of this approach are unknown. Here we show that the complete development of protective CD8+ T cell responses requires prolonged antigen presentation. Using TCR transgenic cells specific for the malaria circumsporozoite protein, a leading vaccine candidate, we found that sporozoite antigen persists for over 8 weeks after immunization--a remarkable finding since irradiated sporozoites are incapable of replication and do not differentiate beyond early liver stages. Persisting antigen was detected in lymphoid organs and depends on the presence of CD11c+ cells. Prolonged antigen presentation enhanced the magnitude of the CD8+ T cell response in a number of ways. Firstly, reducing the time primed CD8+ T cells were exposed to antigen in vivo severely reduced the final size of the developing memory population. Secondly, fully developed memory cells expanded in previously immunized mice but not when transferred to naïve animals. Finally, persisting antigen was able to prime naïve cells, including recent thymic emigrants, to become functional effector cells capable of eliminating parasites in the liver. Together these data show that the optimal development of protective CD8+ T cell immunity against malaria liver stages is dependent upon the prolonged presentation of sporozoite-derived antigen.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells display two evolutionarily conserved features: an invariant T cell receptor (TCR)alpha (iTCRalpha) chain and restriction by the nonpolymorphic class Ib major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule, MHC-related molecule 1 (MR1). MR1 expression on thymus epithelial cells is not necessary for MAIT cell development but their accumulation in the gut requires MR1 expressing B cells and commensal flora. MAIT cell development is poorly known, as these cells have not been found in the thymus so far. Herein, complementary human and mouse experiments using an anti-humanValpha7.2 antibody and MAIT cell-specific iTCRalpha and TCRbeta transgenic mice in different genetic backgrounds show that MAIT cell development is a stepwise process, with an intra-thymic selection followed by peripheral expansion. Mouse MAIT cells are selected in an MR1-dependent manner both in fetal thymic organ culture and in double iTCRalpha and TCRbeta transgenic RAG knockout mice. In the latter mice, MAIT cells do not expand in the periphery unless B cells are added back by adoptive transfer, showing that B cells are not required for the initial thymic selection step but for the peripheral accumulation. In humans, contrary to natural killer T (NKT) cells, MAIT cells display a naïve phenotype in the thymus as well as in cord blood where they are in low numbers. After birth, MAIT cells acquire a memory phenotype and expand dramatically, up to 1%-4% of blood T cells. Finally, in contrast with NKT cells, human MAIT cell development is independent of the molecular adaptor SAP. Interestingly, mouse MAIT cells display a naïve phenotype and do not express the ZBTB16 transcription factor, which, in contrast, is expressed by NKT cells and the memory human MAIT cells found in the periphery after birth. In conclusion, MAIT cells are selected by MR1 in the thymus on a non-B non-T hematopoietic cell, and acquire a memory phenotype and expand in the periphery in a process dependent both upon B cells and the bacterial flora. Thus, their development follows a unique pattern at the crossroad of NKT and gammadelta T cells.
Project description:CD4(+) CD44(v.low) cells are peripheral precursor T cells that inhibit lymphopenia by generating a large CD4(+) T cell pool containing balanced numbers of naïve, memory, and regulatory Foxp3(+) cells with a diverse TCR repertoire. Recent thymic emigrants (RTE) and stem cell-like memory T cells (T(SCM)) can also replenish a T cell pool. In this study we formally test whether CD44(v.low) cells are the same population as RTE and T(SCM). Our data show that, in contrast to RTE, CD44(v.low) cells express high levels of CD45RB and low levels of CD24. Moreover, CD44(v.low) cells isolated from mice devoid of RTE retain their capacity to repopulate lymphopenic mice with naïve and memory cells and Foxp3(+) Tregs. In addition, CD44(v.low) cells do not express IL-2R?, Sca-1, and CXCR3, the phenotypic hallmarks of T(SCM). Overall, these data demonstrate that CD44(v.low) cells are neither RTE nor T(SCM).
Project description:We have previously reported a highly diabetogenic CD8 T-cell clone, G9C8, in the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse, specific to low-avidity insulin peptide B15-23, and cells responsive to this antigen are among the earliest islet infiltrates. We aimed to study the selection, activation, and development of the diabetogenic capacity of these insulin-reactive T-cells.We generated a T-cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mouse expressing the cloned TCR Valpha18/Vbeta6 receptor of the G9C8 insulin-reactive CD8 T-cell clone. The mice were crossed to TCRCalpha-/- mice so that the majority of the T-cells expressed the clonotypic TCR, and the phenotype and function of the cells was investigated.There was good selection of CD8 T-cells with a predominance of CD8 single-positive thymocytes, in spite of thymic insulin expression. Peripheral lymph node T-cells had a naïve phenotype (CD44lo, CD62Lhi) and proliferated to insulin B15-23 peptide and to insulin. These cells produced interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in response to insulin peptide and were cytotoxic to insulin peptide-coated targets. In vivo, the TCR transgenic mice developed insulitis but not spontaneous diabetes. However, the mice developed diabetes on immunization, and the activated transgenic T-cells were able to transfer diabetes to immunodeficient NOD.scid mice.Autoimmune CD8 T-cells responding to a low-affinity insulin B-chain peptide escape from thymic negative selection and require activation in vivo to cause diabetes.
Project description:DO (HLA-DO, in human; murine H2-O) is a highly conserved nonclassical major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) accessory molecule mainly expressed in the thymic medulla and B cells. Previous reports have suggested possible links between DO and autoimmunity, Hepatitis C (HCV) infection, and cancer, but the mechanism of how DO contributes to these diseases remains unclear. Here, using a combination of various in vivo approaches, including peptide elution, mixed lymphocyte reaction, T-cell receptor (TCR) deep sequencing, tetramer-guided naïve CD4 T-cell precursor enumeration, and whole-body imaging, we report that DO affects the repertoire of presented self-peptides by B cells and thymic epithelium. DO induces differential effects on epitope presentation and thymic selection, thereby altering CD4 T-cell precursor frequencies. Our findings were validated in two autoimmune disease models by demonstrating that lack of DO increases autoreactivity and susceptibility to autoimmune disease development.
Project description:Dermal IL-17-producing ??T cells have a critical role in skin inflammation. However, their development and peripheral regulation have not been fully elucidated. Here we demonstrate that dermal ??T cells develop from the embryonic thymus and undergo homeostatic proliferation after birth with diversified TCR repertoire. V?6T cells are bona fide resident, but precursors of dermal V?4T cells may require extrathymic environment for imprinting skin-homing properties. Thymic V?6T cells are more competitive than V?4 for dermal ??T cell reconstitution and TCR?(-/-) mice reconstituted with V?6 develop psoriasis-like inflammation after IMQ-application. Although both IL-23 and IL-1? promote V?4 and V?6 proliferation, V?4 are the main source of IL-17 production that requires IL-1 signalling. Mice with deficiency of IL-1RI signalling have significantly decreased skin inflammation. These studies reveal a differential developmental requirement and peripheral regulation for dermal V?6 and V?4 ??T cells, implying a new mechanism that may be involved in skin inflammation.