Arming of MAIT Cell Cytolytic Antimicrobial Activity Is Induced by IL-7 and Defective in HIV-1 Infection.
ABSTRACT: Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells represent a large innate-like evolutionarily conserved antimicrobial T-cell subset in humans. MAIT cells recognize microbial riboflavin metabolites from a range of microbes presented by MR1 molecules. MAIT cells are impaired in several chronic diseases including HIV-1 infection, where they show signs of exhaustion and decline numerically. Here, we examined the broader effector functions of MAIT cells in this context and strategies to rescue their functions. Residual MAIT cells from HIV-infected patients displayed aberrant baseline levels of cytolytic proteins, and failed to mobilize cytolytic molecules in response to bacterial antigen. In particular, the induction of granzyme B (GrzB) expression was profoundly defective. The functionally impaired MAIT cell population exhibited abnormal T-bet and Eomes expression patterns that correlated with the deficiency in cytotoxic capacity and cytokine production. Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) did not fully restore these aberrations. Interestingly, IL-7 was capable of arming resting MAIT cells from healthy donors into cytotoxic GrzB+ effector T cells capable of killing bacteria-infected cells and producing high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in an MR1-dependent fashion. Furthermore, IL-7 treatment enhanced the sensitivity of MAIT cells to detect low levels of bacteria. In HIV-infected patients, plasma IL-7 levels were positively correlated with MAIT cell numbers and function, and IL-7 treatment in vitro significantly restored MAIT cell effector functions even in the absence of ART. These results indicate that the cytolytic capacity in MAIT cells is severely defective in HIV-1 infected patients, and that the broad-based functional defect in these cells is associated with deficiency in critical transcription factors. Furthermore, IL-7 induces the arming of effector functions and enhances the sensitivity of MAIT cells, and may be considered in immunotherapeutic approaches to restore MAIT cells.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are abundant antimicrobial T cells in humans and recognize antigens derived from the microbial riboflavin biosynthetic pathway presented by the MHC-Ib-related protein (MR1). However, the mechanisms responsible for MAIT cell antimicrobial activity are not fully understood, and the efficacy of these mechanisms against antibiotic resistant bacteria has not been explored. Here, we show that MAIT cells mediate MR1-restricted antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli clinical strains in a manner dependent on the activity of cytolytic proteins but independent of production of pro-inflammatory cytokines or induction of apoptosis in infected cells. The combined action of the pore-forming antimicrobial protein granulysin and the serine protease granzyme B released in response to T cell receptor (TCR)-mediated recognition of MR1-presented antigen is essential to mediate control against both cell-associated and free-living, extracellular forms of E. coli. Furthermore, MAIT cell-mediated bacterial control extends to multidrug-resistant E. coli primary clinical isolates additionally resistant to carbapenems, a class of last resort antibiotics. Notably, high levels of granulysin and granzyme B in the MAIT cell secretomes directly damage bacterial cells by increasing their permeability, rendering initially resistant E. coli susceptible to the bactericidal activity of carbapenems. These findings define the role of cytolytic effector proteins in MAIT cell-mediated antimicrobial activity and indicate that granulysin and granzyme B synergize to restore carbapenem bactericidal activity and overcome carbapenem resistance in E. coli.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are recently characterized as a novel subset of innate-like T cells that recognize microbial metabolites as presented by the MHC-1b-related protein MR1. The significance of MAIT cells in anti-bacterial defense is well-understood but not clear in viral infections such as SIV/HIV infection. Here we studied the phenotype, distribution, and function of MAIT cells and their association with plasma viral levels during chronic SHIV infection in rhesus macaques (RM). Two groups of healthy and chronic SHIV-infected macaques were characterized for MAIT cells in blood and mucosal tissues. Similar to human, we found a significant fraction of macaque T cells co-expressing MAIT cell markers CD161 and TCRV?-7.2 that correlated directly with macaque MR1 tetramer. These cells displayed memory phenotype and expressed high levels of IL-18R, CCR6, CD28, and CD95. During chronic infection, the frequency of MAIT cells are enriched in the blood but unaltered in the rectum; both blood and rectal MAIT cells displayed higher proliferative and cytotoxic phenotype post-SHIV infection. The frequency of MAIT cells in blood and rectum correlated inversely with plasma viral RNA levels and correlated directly with total CD4 T cells. MAIT cells respond to microbial products during chronic SHIV infection and correlated positively with serum immunoreactivity to flagellin levels. Tissue distribution analysis of MAIT cells during chronic infection showed significant enrichment in the non-lymphoid tissues (lung, rectum, and liver) compared to lymphoid tissues (spleen and LN), with higher levels of tissue-resident markers CD69 and CD103. Exogenous in vitro cytokine treatments during chronic SHIV infection revealed that IL-7 is important for the proliferation of MAIT cells, but IL-12 and IL-18 are important for their cytolytic function. Overall our results demonstrated that MAIT cells are enriched in blood but unaltered in the rectum during chronic SHIV infection, which displayed proliferative and functional phenotype that inversely correlated with SHIV plasma viral RNA levels. Treatment such as combined cytokine treatments could be beneficial for enhancing functional MAIT cells during chronic HIV infection in vivo.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells have a semi-invariant TCR V?-chain, and their optimal development is dependent upon commensal flora and expression of the nonpolymorphic MHC class I-like molecule MR1. MAIT cells are activated in an MR1-restricted manner by diverse strains of bacteria and yeast, suggesting a widely shared Ag. Recently, human and mouse MR1 were found to bind bacterial riboflavin metabolites (ribityllumazine [RL] Ags) capable of activating MAIT cells. In this study, we used MR1/RL tetramers to study MR1 dependency, subset heterogeneity, and protective effector functions important for tuberculosis immunity. Although tetramer(+) cells were detected in both MR1(+/+) and MR1(-/-) TCR V?19i-transgenic (Tg) mice, MR1 expression resulted in significantly increased tetramer(+) cells coexpressing TCR V?6/8, NK1.1, CD44, and CD69 that displayed more robust in vitro responses to IL-12 plus IL-18 and RL Ag, indicating that MR1 is necessary for the optimal development of the classic murine MAIT cell memory/effector subset. In addition, tetramer(+) MAIT cells expressing CD4, CD8, or neither developing in MR1(+/+) V?19i-Tg mice had disparate cytokine profiles in response to RL Ag. Therefore, murine MAIT cells are considerably more heterogeneous than previously thought. Most notably, after mycobacterial pulmonary infection, heterogeneous subsets of tetramer(+) V?19i-Tg MAIT cells expressing CXCR3 and ?4?1 were recruited into the lungs and afforded early protection. In addition, V?19iC?(-/-)MR(+/+) mice were significantly better protected than were V?19iC?(-/-)MR1(-/-), wild-type, and MR1(-/-) non-Tg mice. Overall, we demonstrate considerable functional diversity of MAIT cell responses, as well as that MR1-restricted MAIT cells are important for tuberculosis protective immunity.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate T cells that recognize intermediates of the vitamin B2 biosynthetic pathway presented by the monomorphic MR1 molecule. It remains unclear whether, in addition to their cytolytic activity that is important in antimicrobial defense, MAIT cells have immune-modulatory functions that could enhance dendritic cell (DC) maturation. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms dictating the interactions between human MAIT cells and DCs and demonstrate that human MAIT cells mature monocyte-derived and primary DCs in an MR1- and CD40L-dependent manner. Furthermore, we show that MAIT cell-derived signals synergize with microbial stimuli to induce secretion of bioactive IL-12 by DCs. Activation of human MAIT cells in whole blood leads to MR1- and cytokine-dependent NK cell transactivation. Our results underscore an important property of MAIT cells, which can be of translational relevance to rapidly orchestrate adaptive immunity through DC maturation.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a unique population of ?? T cells in mammals that reside preferentially in mucosal tissues and express an invariant V? paired with limited V? T-cell receptor (TCR) chains. Furthermore, MAIT cell development is dependent upon the expression of the evolutionarily conserved major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class Ib molecule MR1. Using in vitro assays, recent studies have shown that mouse and human MAIT cells are activated by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) infected with diverse microbes, including numerous bacterial strains and yeasts, but not viral pathogens. However, whether MAIT cells play an important, and perhaps unique, role in controlling microbial infection has remained unclear. To probe MAIT cell function, we show here that purified polyclonal MAIT cells potently inhibit intracellular bacterial growth of Mycobacterium bovis BCG in macrophages (M?) in coculture assays, and this inhibitory activity was dependent upon MAIT cell selection by MR1, secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-?), and an innate interleukin 12 (IL-12) signal from infected M?. Surprisingly, however, the cognate recognition of MR1 by MAIT cells on the infected M? was found to play only a minor role in MAIT cell effector function. We also report that MAIT cell-deficient mice had higher bacterial loads at early times after infection compared to wild-type (WT) mice, demonstrating that MAIT cells play a unique role among innate lymphocytes in protective immunity against bacterial infection.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are "innate" T cells that express an invariant T-cell receptor ?-chain restricted by the nonclassical MHC class I molecule MHC-related protein 1 (MR1). A recent discovery that MR1 presents vitamin B metabolites, presumably from pathogenic and/or commensal bacteria, distinguishes MAIT cells from peptide- or lipid-recognizing ?? T cells in the immune system. MAIT cells are activated by a wide variety of bacterial strains in vitro, but their role in defense against infectious assaults in vivo remains largely unknown. To investigate how MAIT cells contribute to mucosal immunity in vivo, we used a murine model of pulmonary infection by using the live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis. In the early acute phase of infection, MAIT cells expanded robustly in the lungs, where they preferentially accumulated after reaching their peak expansion in the late phase of infection. Throughout the course of infection, MAIT cells produced the critical cytokines IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-17A. Mechanistic studies showed that MAIT cells required both MR1 and IL-12 40 kDa subunit (IL-12p40) signals from infected antigen presenting cells to control F. tularensis LVS intracellular growth. Importantly, pulmonary F. tularensis LVS infection of MR1-deficient (MR1(-/-)) mice, which lack MAIT cells, revealed defects in early mucosal cytokine production, timely recruitment of IFN-?-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells to the infected lungs, and control of pulmonary F. tularensis LVS growth. This study provides in vivo evidence demonstrating that MAIT cells are an important T-cell subset with activities that influence the innate and adaptive phases of mucosal immunity.
Project description:Mucosal-Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate-like T cells characterised by the invariant TCR-chain, V?7.2-J?33, and are restricted by MR1, which presents bacterial vitamin B metabolites. They are important for antibacterial immunity at mucosal sites; however, detailed characteristics of liver-infiltrating MAIT (LI-MAIT) and their role in biliary immune surveillance remain unexplored.The phenotype and intrahepatic localisation of human LI-MAIT cells was examined in diseased and normal livers. MAIT cell activation in response to E. coli-exposed macrophages, biliary epithelial cells (BEC) and liver B cells was assessed with/without anti-MR1.Intrahepatic MAIT cells predominantly localised to bile ducts in the portal tracts. Consistent with this distribution, they expressed biliary tropic chemokine receptors CCR6, CXCR6, and integrin ?E?7. LI-MAIT cells were also present in the hepatic sinusoids and possessed tissue-homing chemokine receptor CXCR3 and integrins LFA-1 and VLA-4, suggesting their recruitment via hepatic sinusoids. LI-MAIT cells were enriched in the parenchyma of acute liver failure livers compared to chronic diseased livers. LI-MAIT cells had an activated, effector memory phenotype, expressed ?4?7 and receptors for IL-12, IL-18, and IL-23. Importantly, in response to E. coli-exposed macrophages, liver B cells and BEC, MAIT cells upregulated IFN-? and CD40 Ligand and degranulated in an MR1-dependent, cytokine-independent manner. In addition, diseased liver MAIT cells expressed T-bet and ROR?t and the cytokines IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-17.Our findings provide the first evidence of an immune surveillance effector response for MAIT cells towards BEC in human liver; thus they could be manipulated for treatment of biliary disease in the future.
Project description:Conventional T cells exhibit a delayed response to the initial priming of peptide antigens presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins. Unlike conventional T cells, mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells quickly respond to non-peptidic metabolite antigens presented by MHC-related protein 1 (MR1). To elucidate the MR1-dependent activation program of MAIT cells in response to mycobacterial infections, we determined the surface markers, transcriptomic profiles, and effector responses of activated human MAIT cells. Results revealed that mycobacterial-incubated antigen-presenting cells stimulated abundant human CD8+ MAIT cells to upregulate the co-expression of CD69 and CD26, as a combinatorial activation marker. Further transcriptomic analyses demonstrated that CD69+CD26++ CD8+MAIT cells highly expressed numerous genes for mediating anti-mycobacterial immune responses, including pro-inflammatory cytokines, cytolytic molecules, NK cell receptors, and transcription factors, in contrast to inactivated counterparts CD69+/-CD26+/- CD8+MAIT cells. Gene co-expression, enrichment, and pathway analyses yielded high statistical significance to strongly support that activated CD8+ MAIT cells shared gene expression and numerous pathways with NK and CD8+ T cells in activation, cytokine production, cytokine signaling, and effector functions. Flow cytometry detected that activated CD8+MAIT cells produced TNF?, IFN?, and granulysin to inhibit mycobacterial growth and fight mycobacterial infection. Together, results strongly support that the combinatorial activation marker CD69+CD26++ labels the activated CD8+MAIT cells that develop an innate-like activation program in anti-mycobacterial immune responses. We speculate that the rapid production of anti-mycobacterial effector molecules facilitates MAIT cells to fight early mycobacterial infection in humans.
Project description:Human mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are an important T cell subset that are enriched in tissues and possess potent effector functions. Typically such cells are marked by their expression of V?7.2-J?33/J?20/J?12 T cell receptors, and functionally they are major histocompatibility complex class I-related protein 1 (MR1)-restricted, responding to bacterially derived riboflavin synthesis intermediates. MAIT cells are contained within the CD161++ V?7.2+ T cell population, the majority of which express the CD8 receptor (CD8+), while a smaller fraction expresses neither CD8 or CD4 coreceptor (double negative; DN) and a further minority are CD4+. Whether these cells have distinct homing patterns, phenotype and functions have not been examined in detail. We used a combination of phenotypic staining and functional assays to address the similarities and differences between these CD161++ V?7.2+ T cell subsets. We find that most features are shared between CD8+ and DN CD161++ V?7.2+ T cells, with a small but detectable role evident for CD8 binding in tuning functional responsiveness. By contrast, the CD4+ CD161++ V?7.2+ T cell population, although showing MR1-dependent responsiveness to bacterial stimuli, display reduced T helper 1 effector functions, including cytolytic machinery, while retaining the capacity to secrete interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13. This was consistent with underlying changes in transcription factor (TF) expression. Although we found that only a proportion of CD4+ CD161++ V?7.2+ T cells stained for the MR1-tetramer, explaining some of the heterogeneity of CD4+ CD161++ V?7.2+ T cells, these differences in TF expression were shared with CD4+ CD161++ MR1-tetramer+ cells. These data reveal the functional diversity of human CD161++ V?7.2+ T cells and indicate potentially distinct roles for the different subsets <i>in vivo</i>.
Project description:Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are an innate-like T cell subset prevalent in humans and distributed throughout the blood and mucosal sites. Human MAIT cells are defined by the expression of the semi-invariant TCR? chain TRAV1-2/TRAJ12/20/33 and are restricted by the non-polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-like molecule, MHC-related protein 1, MR1. MAIT cells are activated by small organic molecules, derived from the riboflavin biosynthesis pathway of bacteria and fungi, presented by MR1. Traditionally, MAIT cells were thought to recognize a limited number of antigens due to usage of an invariant TCR? chain and restriction by a non-polymorphic MHC molecule. However, recent studies demonstrate that the TCR repertoire of MAIT cells is more heterogeneous, suggesting there is a more diverse array of MR1 antigens that MAIT cells can recognize. In response to infected cells, MAIT cells produce the pro-inflammatory cytokines, IFN-? and TNF, and are cytolytic. Studies performed in MR1-deficient mice suggest that MAIT cells can provide anti-bacterial control within the first few days post-infection, as well as contribute to enhanced adaptive immunity in murine models of respiratory infections. In humans, the role of MAIT cells is unclear; however, evidence points to interplay between MAIT cells and microbial infections, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Given that MAIT cells are pro-inflammatory, serve in early control of bacterial infections, and appear enriched at tissue sites where microbes interface and gain access to the body, we postulate that they play an important role in antimicrobial immune responses. In this review, we discuss the most recent studies on the function and phenotype of MAIT cells, including their TCR diversity and antigenic repertoire, with a focus on the contribution of human MAIT cells in the immune response to microbial infection.