Modes of Antigen Presentation by Lymph Node Stromal Cells and Their Immunological Implications.
ABSTRACT: Antigen presentation is no longer the exclusive domain of cells of hematopoietic origin. Recent works have demonstrated that lymph node stromal cell (LNSC) populations, such as fibroblastic reticular cells, lymphatic and blood endothelial cells, not only provide a scaffold for lymphocyte interactions but also exhibit active immunomodulatory roles that are critical to mounting and resolving effective immune responses. Importantly, LNSCs possess the ability to present antigens and establish antigen-specific interactions with T cells. One example is the expression of peripheral tissue antigens, which are presented on major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-I molecules with tolerogenic consequences on T cells. Additionally, exogenous antigens, including self and tumor antigens, can be processed and presented on MHC-I complexes, which result in dysfunctional activation of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells. While MHC-I is widely expressed on cells of both hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic origins, antigen presentation via MHC-II is more precisely regulated. Nevertheless, LNSCs are capable of endogenously expressing, or alternatively, acquiring MHC-II molecules. Transfer of antigen between LNSC and dendritic cells in both directions has been recently suggested to promote tolerogenic roles of LNSCs on the CD4(+) T cell compartment. Thus, antigen presentation by LNSCs is thought to be a mechanism that promotes the maintenance of peripheral tolerance as well as generates a pool of diverse antigen-experienced T cells for protective immunity. This review aims to integrate the current and emerging literature to highlight the importance of LNSCs in immune responses, and emphasize their role in antigen trafficking, retention, and presentation.
Project description:AIMS/HYPOTHESIS:Tolerance induction in lymph nodes can be mediated by both haematopoietic cells (e.g. specific dendritic cells subsets) and by non-haematopoietic cells (e.g. lymph node stromal cells [LNSCs]) when they present peripheral tissue antigens to autoreactive T cells. LNSCs normally regulate T cell trafficking and survival and help to maintain peripheral tolerance by exerting immunosuppressive effects. However, whether autoimmunity can be associated with defective tolerogenic functions of LNSCs is unknown and studies aimed at characterising LNSCs in humans are lacking. We hypothesised that dysregulated T cell responses in pancreatic lymph nodes (PLNs) from donors with type 1 diabetes and from NOD mice may be associated with altered LNSC function. METHODS:We analysed PLNs from donors with type 1 diabetes and NOD mice for LNSC distribution and phenotype using flow cytometry. We assessed the expression of tolerance-related genes in different subsets of LNSCs from human donors, as well as in a population of dendritic cells enriched in autoimmune regulator (AIRE)+ cells and identified as HLA-DRhigh CD45low. RESULTS:The relative frequency of different LNSC subsets was altered in both donors with type 1 diabetes and NOD mice, and both MHC class II and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression were upregulated in human type 1 diabetes. Tolerance-related genes showed similar expression profiles between mouse and human LNSCs at steady state but were generally upregulated in the context of human type 1 diabetes, while, at the same time, many such genes were downregulated in the AIRE-enriched dendritic cell population. CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION:Our study shows that LNSCs are substantially altered in type 1 diabetes, but, surprisingly, they exhibit an enhanced tolerogenic phenotype along with increased antigen-presenting potential, which may indicate an attempt to offset dendritic cell-related tolerogenic defects in tolerance. Thus, LNSCs could constitute alternative therapeutic targets in which to deliver antigens to help re-establish tolerance and prevent or treat type 1 diabetes. DATA AVAILABILITY:All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the published article (and its online supplementary files). Biomark gene expression data were deposited on the Mendeley repository at https://data.mendeley.com/datasets/d9rdzdmvyf/1 . Any other raw datasets are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. No applicable resources were generated or analysed during the current study.
Project description:Lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs) closely regulate immunity and self-tolerance, yet key aspects of their biology remain poorly elucidated. Here, comparative transcriptomic analyses of mouse LNSC subsets demonstrated the expression of important immune mediators, growth factors and previously unknown structural components. Pairwise analyses of ligands and cognate receptors across hematopoietic and stromal subsets suggested a complex web of crosstalk. Fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) showed enrichment for higher expression of genes relevant to cytokine signaling, relative to their expression in skin and thymic fibroblasts. LNSCs from inflamed lymph nodes upregulated expression of genes encoding chemokines and molecules involved in the acute-phase response and the antigen-processing and antigen-presentation machinery. Poorly studied podoplanin (gp38)-negative CD31(-) LNSCs showed similarities to FRCs but lacked expression of interleukin 7 (IL-7) and were identified as myofibroblastic pericytes that expressed integrin ?(7). Together our data comprehensively describe the transcriptional characteristics of LNSC subsets.
Project description:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive, destructive autoimmune arthritis. Break of tolerance and formation of autoantibodies occur years before arthritis. Adaptive immunity is initiated in lymphoid tissue where lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs) play a crucial role in shaping the immune response and maintaining peripheral tolerance. Here we performed the first epigenomic characterization of LNSCs during health and early RA, by analyzing their transcriptome and DNA methylome in LNSCs isolated from lymph node needle biopsies obtained from healthy controls (HC), autoantibody positive RA-risk individuals and patients with established RA. Of interest, LNSCs from RA-risk individuals and RA patients revealed a common significantly differential expressed gene signature compared with HC LNSCs. Pathway analysis of this common signature showed, among others, significant enrichment of pathways affecting the extracellular matrix (ECM), cholesterol biosynthesis and immune system. In a gel contraction assay LNSCs from RA-risk individuals and RA patients showed impaired collagen contraction compared to healthy LNSCs. In RA LNSCs a significant enrichment was observed for genes involved in cytokine signaling, hemostasis and packaging of telomere ends. In contrast, in RA-risk LNSCs pathways in cancer (cell cycle related genes) were differentially expressed compared with HC, which could be validated in vitro using a proliferation assay, which indicated a slower proliferation rate. DNA methylation analyses revealed common and specific differentially methylated CpG sites (DMS) in LNSC from RA patients and RA-risk individuals compared with HC. Intriguingly, shared DMS were all associated with antigen processing and presentation. This data point toward alterations in cytoskeleton and antigen-processing and presentation in LNSC from RA-risk individuals and RA patients. Further studies are required to investigate the consequence of this LNSC abnormality on LNSC-mediated immunomodulation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the cause for loss of tolerance and anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) production remains unidentified. Mouse studies showed that lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs) maintain peripheral tolerance through presentation of peripheral tissue antigens (PTAs). We hypothesize that dysregulation of peripheral tolerance mechanisms in human LNSCs might underlie pathogenesis of RA. METHOD:Lymph node (LN) needle biopsies were obtained from 24 RA patients, 23 individuals positive for RA-associated autoantibodies but without clinical disease (RA-risk individuals), and 14 seronegative healthy individuals. Ex vivo human LNs from non-RA individuals were used to directly analyze stromal cells. Molecules involved in antigen presentation and immune modulation were measured in LNSCs upon interferon ? (IFN?) stimulation (n = 15). RESULTS:Citrullinated targets of ACPAs were detected in human LN tissue and in cultured LNSCs. Human LNSCs express several PTAs, transcription factors autoimmune regulator (AIRE) and deformed epidermal autoregulatory factor 1 (DEAF1), and molecules involved in citrullination, antigen presentation, and immunomodulation. Overall, no clear differences between donor groups were observed with exception of a slightly lower induction of human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR) and programmed cell death 1 ligand (PD-L1) molecules in LNSCs from RA patients. CONCLUSION:Human LNSCs have the machinery to regulate peripheral tolerance making them an attractive target to exploit in tolerance induction and maintenance.
Project description:The transcriptional regulator deformed epidermal autoregulatory factor 1 (DEAF1) has been suggested to play a role in maintaining peripheral tolerance by controlling the transcription of peripheral tissue antigen genes in lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs). Here, we demonstrate that DEAF1 also regulates the translation of genes in LNSCs by controlling the transcription of the poorly characterized eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4 gamma 3 (Eif4g3) that encodes eIF4GII. Eif4g3 gene expression was reduced in the pancreatic lymph nodes of Deaf1-KO mice, non-obese diabetic mice, and type 1 diabetes patients, where functional Deaf1 is absent or diminished. Silencing of Deaf1 reduced Eif4g3 expression, but increased the expression of Caspase 3, a serine protease that degrades eIF4GII. Polysome profiling showed that reduced Eif4g3 expression in LNSCs resulted in the diminished translation of various genes, including Anpep, the gene for aminopeptidase N, an enzyme involved in fine-tuning antigen presentation on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II. Together these findings suggest that reduced DEAF1 function, and subsequent loss of Eif4g3 transcription may affect peripheral tissue antigen (PTA) expression in LNSCs and contribute to the pathology of T1D.
Project description:Tumor cells frequently escape from CD8+ T cell recognition by abrogating MHC-I antigen presentation. Deficiency in processing components, like the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP), results in strongly decreased surface display of peptide/MHC-I complexes. We previously identified a class of hidden self-antigens known as T cell epitopes associated with impaired peptide processing (TEIPP), which emerge on tumor cells with such processing defects. In the present study, we analyzed thymus selection and peripheral behavior of T cells with specificity for the prototypic TEIPP antigen, the "self" TRH4 peptide/Db complex. TEIPP T cells were efficiently selected in the thymus, egressed with a naive phenotype, and could be exploited for immunotherapy against immune-escaped, TAP-deficient tumor cells expressing low levels of MHC-I (MHC-Ilo). In contrast, overt thymus deletion and functionally impaired TEIPP T cells were observed in mice deficient for TAP1 due to TEIPP antigen presentation on all body cells in these mice. Our results strongly support the concept that TEIPPs derive from ubiquitous, nonmutated self-antigens and constitute a class of immunogenic neoantigens that are unmasked during tumor immune evasion. These data suggest that TEIPP-specific CD8+ T cells are promising candidates in the treatment of tumors that have escaped from conventional immunotherapies.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs), and more recently lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs), have been described to tolerize self-reactive CD8(+) T cells in LNs. Although LNSCs express MHCII, it is unknown whether they can also impact CD4(+) T cell functions. We show that the promoter IV (pIV) of class II transactivator (CIITA), the master regulator of MHCII expression, controls endogenous MHCII expression by LNSCs. Unexpectedly, LNSCs also acquire peptide-MHCII complexes from DCs and induce CD4(+) T cell dysfunction by presenting transferred complexes to naive CD4(+) T cells and preventing their proliferation and survival. Our data reveals a novel, alternative mechanism where LN-resident stromal cells tolerize CD4(+) T cells through the presentation of self-antigens via transferred peptide-MHCII complexes of DC origin.
Project description:We previously showed that antigen immunization in the presence of the immunosuppressant dexamethasone (a strategy we termed "suppressed immunization") could tolerize established recall responses of T cells. However, the mechanism by which dexamethasone acts as a tolerogenic adjuvant has remained unclear. In the present study, we show that dexamethasone enriches CD11c(lo) CD40(lo) macrophages in a dose-dependent manner in the spleen and peripheral lymph nodes of mice by depleting all other CD11c(+) CD40(+) cells including dendritic cells. The enriched macrophages display a distinct MHC class II (MHC II)(lo) CD86(hi) phenotype. Upon activation by antigen in vivo, CD11c(lo) CD40(lo) macrophages upregulate IL-10, a classic marker for tolerogenic antigen-presenting cells, and elicit a serum IL-10 response. When presenting antigen in vivo, these cells do not elicit recall responses from memory T cells, but rather stimulate the expansion of antigen-specific regulatory T cells. Moreover, the depletion of CD11c(lo) CD40(lo) macrophages during suppressed immunization diminishes the tolerogenic efficacy of the treatment. These results indicate that dexamethasone acts as a tolerogenic adjuvant partly by enriching the CD11c(lo) CD40(lo) tolerogenic macrophages.
Project description:How lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs) shape peripheral T-cell responses remains unclear. We have previously demonstrated that murine LNSCs, lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs), blood endothelial cells (BECs), and fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) use the IFN-?-inducible promoter IV (pIV) of the MHC class II (MHCII) transactivator CIITA to express MHCII. Here, we show that aging mice (>1 yr old) in which MHCII is abrogated in LNSCs by the selective deletion of pIV exhibit a significant T-cell dysregulation in LNs, including defective Treg and increased effector CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell frequencies, resulting in enhanced peripheral organ T-cell infiltration and autoantibody production. The proliferation of LN-Tregs interacting with LECs increases following MHCII up-regulation by LECs upon aging or after exposure to IFN-?, this effect being abolished in mice in which LECs lack MHCII. Overall, our work underpins the importance of LNSCs, particularly LECs, in supporting Tregs and T-cell tolerance.
Project description:Virus-specific CD8(+) T cells (T(CD8+)) are initially triggered by peptide-MHC Class I complexes on the surface of professional antigen presenting cells (pAPC). Peptide-MHC complexes are produced by two spatially distinct pathways during virus infection. Endogenous antigens synthesized within virus-infected pAPC are presented via the direct-presentation pathway. Many viruses have developed strategies to subvert direct presentation. When direct presentation is blocked, the cross-presentation pathway, in which antigen is transferred from virus-infected cells to uninfected pAPC, is thought to compensate and allow the generation of effector T(CD8+). Direct presentation of vaccinia virus (VACV) antigens driven by late promoters does not occur, as an abortive infection of pAPC prevents production of these late antigens. This lack of direct presentation results in a greatly diminished or ablated T(CD8+) response to late antigens. We demonstrate that late poxvirus antigens do not enter the cross-presentation pathway, even when identical antigens driven by early promoters access this pathway efficiently. The mechanism mediating this novel means of viral modulation of antigen presentation involves the sequestration of late antigens within virus factories. Early antigens and cellular antigens are cross-presented from virus-infected cells, as are late antigens that are targeted to compartments outside of the virus factories. This virus-mediated blockade specifically targets the cross-presentation pathway, since late antigen that is not cross-presented efficiently enters the MHC Class II presentation pathway. These data are the first to describe an evasion mechanism employed by pathogens to prevent entry into the cross-presentation pathway. In the absence of direct presentation, this evasion mechanism leads to a complete ablation of the T(CD8+) response and a potential replicative advantage for the virus. Such mechanisms of viral modulation of antigen presentation must also be taken into account during the rational design of antiviral vaccines.