Somatic Variation of T-Cell Receptor Genes Strongly Associate with HLA Class Restriction.
ABSTRACT: Every person carries a vast repertoire of CD4+ T-helper cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells for a healthy immune system. Somatic VDJ recombination at genomic loci that encode the T-cell receptor (TCR) is a key step during T-cell development, but how a single T cell commits to become either CD4+ or CD8+ is poorly understood. To evaluate the influence of TCR sequence variation on CD4+/CD8+ lineage commitment, we sequenced rearranged TCRs for both ? and ? chains in naïve T cells isolated from healthy donors and investigated gene segment usage and recombination patterns in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets. Our data demonstrate that most V and J gene segments are strongly biased in the naïve CD4+ and CD8+ subsets with some segments increasing the odds of being CD4+ (or CD8+) up to five-fold. These V and J gene associations are highly reproducible across individuals and independent of classical HLA genotype, explaining ~11% of the observed variance in the CD4+ vs. CD8+ propensity. In addition, we identified a strong independent association of the electrostatic charge of the complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) in both ? and ? chains, where a positively charged CDR3 is associated with CD4+ lineage and a negatively charged CDR3 with CD8+ lineage. Our findings suggest that somatic variation in different parts of the TCR influences T-cell lineage commitment in a predominantly additive fashion. This notion can help delineate how certain structural features of the TCR-peptide-HLA complex influence thymic selection.
Project description:Adipose tissue (AT) CD4+ and CD8+ T cells contribute to obesity-associated insulin resistance. Prior studies identified conserved T-cell receptor (TCR) chain families in obese AT, but the presence and clonal expansion of specific TCR sequences in obesity has not been assessed. We characterized AT and liver CD8+ and CD4+ TCR repertoires of mice fed a low-fat diet (LFD) and high-fat diet (HFD) using deep sequencing of the TCRβ chain to quantify clonal expansion, gene usage, and CDR3 sequence. In AT CD8+ T cells, HFD reduced TCR diversity, increased the prevalence of public TCR clonotypes, and selected for TCR CDR3 regions enriched in positively charged and less polarized amino acids. Although TCR repertoire alone could distinguish between LFD- and HFD-fed mice, these properties of the CDR3 region of AT CD8+ T cells from HFD-fed mice led us to examine the role of negatively charged and nonpolar isolevuglandin (isoLG) adduct-containing antigen-presenting cells within AT. IsoLG-adducted protein species were significantly higher in AT macrophages of HFD-fed mice; isoLGs were elevated in M2-polarized macrophages, promoting CD8+ T-cell activation. Our findings demonstrate that clonal TCR expansion that favors positively charged CDR3s accompanies HFD-induced obesity, which may be an antigen-driven response to isoLG accumulation in macrophages.
Project description:Human aging is associated with a profound loss of thymus productivity, yet naïve T lymphocytes still maintain their numbers by division in the periphery for many years. The extent of such proliferation may depend on the cytokine environment, including IL-7 and T-cell receptor (TCR) "tonic" signaling mediated by self pMHCs recognition. Additionally, intrinsic properties of distinct subpopulations of naïve T cells could influence the overall dynamics of aging-related changes within the naïve T cell compartment. Here, we investigated the differences in the architecture of TCR beta repertoires for naïve CD4, naïve CD8, naïve CD4+CD25-CD31+ (enriched with recent thymic emigrants, RTE), and mature naïve CD4+CD25-CD31- peripheral blood subsets between young and middle-age/old healthy individuals. In addition to observing the accumulation of clonal expansions (as was shown previously), we reveal several notable changes in the characteristics of T cell repertoire. We observed significant decrease of CDR3 length, NDN insert, and number of non-template added N nucleotides within TCR beta CDR3 with aging, together with a prominent change of physicochemical properties of the central part of CDR3 loop. These changes were similar across CD4, CD8, RTE-enriched, and mature CD4 subsets of naïve T cells, with minimal or no difference observed between the latter two subsets for individuals of the same age group. We also observed an increase in "publicity" (fraction of shared clonotypes) of CD4, but not CD8 naïve T cell repertoires. We propose several explanations for these phenomena built upon previous studies of naïve T-cell homeostasis, and call for further studies of the mechanisms causing the observed changes and of consequences of these changes in respect of the possible holes formed in the landscape of naïve T cell TCR repertoire.
Project description:The T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire is an essential component of the CD8 T-cell immune response. Here, we seek to investigate factors that drive selection of TCR repertoires specific to the HLA-A2-restricted immunodominant epitope BRLF1109-117 (YVLDHLIVV) over the course of primary Epstein Barr virus (EBV) infection. Using single-cell paired TCR?? sequencing of tetramer sorted CD8 T cells ex vivo, we show at the clonal level that recognition of the HLA-A2-restricted BRLF1 (YVL-BR, BRLF-1109) epitope is mainly driven by the TCR? chain. For the first time, we identify a CDR3? (complementarity determining region 3 ?) motif, KDTDKL, resulting from an obligate AV8.1-AJ34 pairing that was shared by all four individuals studied. This observation coupled with the fact that this public AV8.1-KDTDKL-AJ34 TCR pairs with multiple different TCR? chains within the same donor (median 4; range: 1-9), suggests that there are some unique structural features of the interaction between the YVL-BR/MHC and the AV8.1-KDTDKL-AJ34 TCR that leads to this high level of selection. Newly developed TCR motif algorithms identified a lysine at position 1 of the CDR3? motif that is highly conserved and likely important for antigen recognition. Crystal structure analysis of the YVL-BR/HLA-A2 complex revealed that the MHC-bound peptide bulges at position 4, exposing a negatively charged aspartic acid that may interact with the positively charged lysine of CDR3?. TCR cloning and site-directed mutagenesis of the CDR3? lysine ablated YVL-BR-tetramer staining and substantially reduced CD69 upregulation on TCR mutant-transduced cells following antigen-specific stimulation. Reduced activation of T cells expressing this CDR3 motif was also observed following exposure to mutated (D4A) peptide. In summary, we show that a highly public TCR repertoire to an immunodominant epitope of a common human virus is almost completely selected on the basis of CDR3? and provide a likely structural basis for the selection. These studies emphasize the importance of examining TCR?, as well as TCR?, in understanding the CD8 T cell receptor repertoire.
Project description:Human CD4+ T cells play an important role in the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). However, little is known about the spectratyping characteristics of the CD4+ T-cell receptor (TCR) ?- and ?-chains CDR3 region in tuberculosis (TB) patients. We sorted MTB peptide E7-bound CD4+ T cells by using E7/HLA-DR tetramers constructed with different HLA-DRB1 alleles and extracted the CDR3 amino-acid sequences of TCR ?- and ?-chains. The results showed that the CDR3 sequences of E7-bound CD4+ T cells were completely or partially identical in a single patient. The sequences of MTB peptide C5-bound CD4+ T cells shared another, and non-peptide bound CD4+ T cells, as well as unbound CD4+ T cells with tetramers were different from each other. Specifically, diverse CDR3 sequences of E7-bound CD4+ T cells displayed similar protein tertiary structure in one TB patient. In summary, the TCR ?- and ?-chains of CDR3 lineage of CD4+ T cells in TB patients apparently drifted, and the predominant CDR3 sequences of TCR ?- and ?-chains that recognized the MTB antigen exhibited peptide specificity, and certain HLA-DR restriction was also established. This study elucidates the possible causes and mechanisms of peptide-specific CD4+ T-cell-related presentation against MTB.
Project description:PURPOSE:Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a tumor-associated protein expressed on a variety of adenocarcinomas. To develop an immunotherapy for patients with cancers that overexpress CEA, we isolated and genetically modified a T-cell receptors (TCRs) that specifically bound a CEA peptide on human cancer cells. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice were immunized with CEA:691-699. A CEA-reactive TCR was isolated from splenocytes of these mice and was genetically introduced into human peripheral blood lymphocytes via RNA electroporation or retroviral transduction. Amino acid substitutions were introduced throughout the complementarity determining regions (CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3) of both TCR alpha and beta chains to improve recognition of CEA. RESULTS:Murine lymphocytes bearing the CEA-reactive TCR specifically recognized peptide-loaded T2 cells and HLA-A2.1(+) CEA(+) human colon cancer cells. Both CD8(+) and CD4(+) human lymphocytes expressing the murine TCR specifically recognized peptide-loaded T2 cells. However, only gene-modified CD8(+) lymphocytes specifically recognized HLA-A2.1(+) CEA(+) colon cancer cell lines, and tumor cell recognition was weak and variable. We identified two substitutions in the CDR3 of the alpha chain that significantly influenced tumor cell recognition by human peripheral blood lymphocytes. One substitution, T for S at position 112 (S112T), enhanced tumor cell recognition by CD8(+) lymphocytes, and a second dually substituted receptor (S112T L110F) enhanced tumor cell recognition by CD4(+) T cells. CONCLUSIONS:The modified CEA-reactive TCRs are good candidates for future gene therapy clinical trials and show the power of selected amino acid substitutions in the antigen-binding regions of the TCR to enhance desired reactivities.
Project description:Since the discovery of co-receptor dependent ??TCR recognition, considerable effort has been spent on elucidating the basis of CD4 and CD8 lineage commitment in the thymus. The latter is responsible for generating mature CD4 helper and CD8?? cytotoxic T cell subsets. Although CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell recognition of peptide antigens is known to be MHC class II- and MHC class I-restricted, respectively, the mechanism of single positive (SP) thymocyte lineage commitment from bipotential double-positive (DP) progenitors is not fully elucidated. Classical models to explain thymic CD4 vs. CD8 fate determination have included a stochastic selection model or instructional models. The latter are based either on strength of signal or duration of signal impacting fate. More recently, differential co-receptor gene imprinting has been shown to be involved in expression of transcription factors impacting cytotoxic T cell development. Here, we address commitment from a structural perspective, focusing on the nature of co-receptor binding to MHC molecules. By surveying 58 MHC class II and 224 MHC class I crystal structures in the Protein Data Bank, it becomes clear that CD4 cannot bind to MHC I molecules, nor can CD8?? or CD8?? bind to MHC II molecules. Given that the co-receptor delivers Lck to phosphorylate exposed CD3 ITAMs within a peptide/MHC (pMHC)-ligated TCR complex to initiate cell signaling, this strict co-receptor recognition fosters MHC class-restricted SP thymocyte lineage commitment at the DP stage even though both co-receptors are expressed on a single cell. In short, the binding preference of an ??TCR for a peptide complexed with an MHC molecule dictates which co-receptor subsequently binds, thereby supporting development of that subset lineage. How function within the lineage is linked further to biopotential fate determination is discussed.
Project description:T-lineage committed precursor thymocytes are screened by a fate-determination process mediated via T cell receptor (TCR) signals for differentiation into distinct lineages. However, it remains unclear whether any antecedent event is required to couple TCR signals with the transcriptional program governing lineage decisions. Here we show that Bcl11b, known as a T-lineage commitment factor, is essential for proper expression of ThPOK and Runx3, central regulators for the CD4-helper/CD8-cytotoxic lineage choice. Loss of Bcl11b results in random expression of these factors and, thereby, lineage scrambling that is disconnected from TCR restriction by MHC. Initial Thpok repression by Bcl11b prior to the pre-selection stage is independent of a known silencer for Thpok, and requires the last zinc-finger motif in Bcl11b protein, which by contrast is dispensable for T-lineage commitment. Collectively, our findings shed new light on the function of Bcl11b in priming lineage-specifying genes to integrate TCR signals into subsequent transcriptional regulatory mechanisms.CD4 and CD8 T cells develop in the thymus with their transcription programs controlled by ThPOK and Runx3, respectively. Here the authors show that a pre-commitment event modulated by the transcription factor, Bcl11b, is required for the proper expression of ThPOK and Runx3 and correct CD4/CD8 lineage commitment.
Project description:T cell development is critically dependent on both the environment and signals delivered by the T cell Receptor (TCR). The Tec family kinase Itk has been suggested to be an amplifier of signals emanating from the TCR and the loss of Itk partially affects most stages of thymopoiesis. Loss of Itk also differentially affects the development of conventional vs. non-conventional or innate memory phenotype T cells. Here, we examine whether these lineage choices are affected by a combination of TCR affinity and Itk by analyzing mice lacking Itk and carrying two TCR transgenes with differing affinities, OT-II and DO11.10. Our results show that developing thymocytes receive a gradient of signals, DO11.10>OT-II>DO11.10/Itk(-/-)>OT-II/Itk(-/-). We also show that the development of CD4(+) T cells is controlled by TCR signaling via Itk, which regulates the expression of the transcription factor, Th-POK, an enforcement factor for CD4 commitment. This results in a reduction in CD4(+) T cell development, and an increase in the development of MHC class II restricted TCR transgenic CD8(+) T cells that resemble non-conventional or innate memory phenotype CD8 T cells. This alteration accompanies increased expression of Runx3 and its target genes Eomesodermin, Granzyme B and Perforin in Itk null OT-II CD4(+) thymocytes. All together, these data suggest that Itk plays an important role in CD4/CD8 commitment by regulating signal thresholds for the lineage commitment. Our data also suggest that the lower level of TCR signaling that occurs with a low affinity TCR in the absence of Itk can redirect some MHC class II restricted CD4(+) T cell to class II-restricted CD8(+) innate memory phenotype T cells.
Project description:Clonal CD8(+)/T-cell receptor (TCR)??(+) T-cell large granular lymphocyte (T-LGL) proliferations constitute the most common subtype of T-LGL leukemia. Although the etiology of T-LGL leukemia is largely unknown, it has been hypothesized that chronic antigenic stimulation contributes to the pathogenesis of this disorder. In the present study, we explored the association between expanded TCR-V? and TCR-V? clonotypes in a cohort of 26 CD8(+)/TCR??(+) T-LGL leukemia patients, in conjunction with the HLA-ABC genotype, to find indications for common antigenic stimuli. In addition, we applied purpose-built sophisticated computational tools for an in-depth evaluation of clustering of TCR? (TCRB) complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) amino-acid LGL clonotypes. We observed a lack of clear TCRA and TCRB CDR3 homology in CD8(+)/TCR??(+) T-LGL, with only low level similarity between small numbers of cases. This is in strong contrast to the homology that is seen in CD4(+)/TCR??(+) T-LGL and TCR??(+) T-LGL and thus underlines the idea that the LGL types have different etiopathogenesis. The heterogeneity of clonal CD8(+)/TCR??(+) T-LGL proliferations might in fact suggest that multiple pathogens or autoantigens are involved.
Project description:During positive selection, thymocytes transition through a stage during which T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signaling controls CD4-versus-CD8 lineage 'choice' and subsequent maturation. Here we describe a previously unknown T cell-specific protein, Themis, that serves a distinct function during this stage. In Themis(-/-) mice, thymocyte selection was impaired and the number of transitional CD4(+)CD8(int) thymocytes as well as CD4(+) or CD8(+) single-positive thymocytes was lower. Notably, although we detected no overt TCR-proximal signaling deficiencies, Themis(-/-) CD4(+)CD8(int) thymocytes showed developmental defects consistent with attenuated signaling that were reversible by TCR stimulation. Our results identify Themis as a critical component of the T cell developmental program and suggest that Themis functions to sustain and/or integrate signals required for proper lineage commitment and maturation.