Distinct activation thresholds of human conventional and innate-like memory T cells.
ABSTRACT: Conventional memory CD8(+) T cells and mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAIT cells) are found in blood, liver, and mucosal tissues and have similar effector potential following activation, specifically expression of IFN-? and granzyme B. To better understand each subset's unique contributions to immunity and pathology, we interrogated inflammation- and TCR-driven activation requirements using human memory CD8(+) T and MAIT cells isolated from blood and mucosal tissue biopsies in ex vivo functional assays and single cell gene expression experiments. We found that MAIT cells had a robust IFN-? and granzyme B response to inflammatory signals but limited responsiveness when stimulated directly via their TCR. Importantly, this is not due to an overall hyporesponsiveness to TCR signals. When delivered together, TCR and inflammatory signals synergize to elicit potent effector function in MAIT cells. This unique control of effector function allows MAIT cells to respond to the same TCR signal in a dichotomous and situation-specific manner. We propose that this could serve to prevent responses to antigen in noninflamed healthy mucosal tissue, while maintaining responsiveness and great sensitivity to inflammation-eliciting infections. We discuss the implications of these findings in context of inflammation-inducing damage to tissues such as BM transplant conditioning or HIV infection.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells acquire effector function in response to proinflammatory signals, which synergize with TCR-mediated signals. We asked if cell-intrinsic regulatory mechanisms exist to curtail MAIT cell effector function akin to the activation-induced expression of inhibitory receptors by conventional T cells. We examined human MAIT cells from blood and oral mucosal tissues by RNA sequencing and found differential expression of immunoregulatory genes, including CTLA-4, by MAIT cells isolated from tissue. Using an ex vivo experimental setup, we demonstrate that inflammatory cytokines were sufficient to induce CTLA-4 expression on the MAIT cell surface in the absence of TCR signals. Even brief exposure to the cytokines IL-12, IL-15, and IL-18 was sufficient for sustained CTLA-4 expression by MAIT cells. These data suggest that control of CTLA-4 expression is fundamentally different between MAIT cells and conventional T cells. We propose that this mechanism serves to limit MAIT cell-mediated tissue damage.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells constitute a highly conserved subset of effector T cells with innate-like recognition of a wide array of bacteria and fungi in humans. Harnessing the potential of these cells could represent a major advance as a new immunotherapy approach to fight difficult-to-treat bacterial infections. However, despite recent advances in the design of potent agonistic ligands for MAIT cells, it has become increasingly evident that adjuvants are required to elicit potent antimicrobial effector functions by these cells, such as IFN? production and cytotoxicity. Indeed, TCR triggering alone elicits mostly barrier repair functions in MAIT cells, whereas an inflammatory milieu is required to drive the antibacterial functions. Cytokines such as IL-7, IL-12 and IL-18, IL-15 or more recently type 1 IFN all display an apparently similar ability to synergize with TCR stimulation to induce IFN? production and/or cytotoxic functions in vitro, but their mechanisms of action are not well established. Herein, we show that MAIT cells feature a build-in mechanism to respond to IFN?. We confirm that IFN? acts directly and specifically on MAIT cells and synergizes with TCR/CD3 triggering to induce maximum cytokine production and cytotoxic functions. We provide evidences suggesting that the preferential activation of the Stat4 pathway is involved in the high sensitivity of MAIT cells to IFN? stimulation. Finally, gene expression data confirm the specific responsiveness of MAIT cells to IFN? and pinpoints specific pathways that could be the target of this cytokine. Altogether, these data highlight the potential of IFN?-inducing adjuvants to maximize MAIT cells responsiveness to purified ligands in order to induce potent anti-infectious responses.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAIT cells) express a semi-invariant T cell receptor (TCR) ?-chain, TRAV1-2-TRAJ33, and are activated by vitamin B metabolites bound by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-related class I-like molecule, MR1. Understanding MAIT cell biology has been restrained by the lack of reagents to specifically identify and characterize these cells. Furthermore, the use of surrogate markers may misrepresent the MAIT cell population. We show that modified human MR1 tetramers loaded with the potent MAIT cell ligand, reduced 6-hydroxymethyl-8-D-ribityllumazine (rRL-6-CH?OH), specifically detect all human MAIT cells. Tetramer(+) MAIT subsets were predominantly CD8(+) or CD4(-)CD8(-), although a small subset of CD4(+) MAIT cells was also detected. Notably, most human CD8(+) MAIT cells were CD8?(+)CD8?(-/lo), implying predominant expression of CD8?? homodimers. Tetramer-sorted MAIT cells displayed a T(H)1 cytokine phenotype upon antigen-specific activation. Similarly, mouse MR1-rRL-6-CH?OH tetramers detected CD4(+), CD4(-)CD8(-) and CD8(+) MAIT cells in V?19 transgenic mice. Both human and mouse MAIT cells expressed a broad TCR-? repertoire, and although the majority of human MAIT cells expressed TRAV1-2-TRAJ33, some expressed TRAJ12 or TRAJ20 genes in conjunction with TRAV1-2. Accordingly, MR1 tetramers allow precise phenotypic characterization of human and mouse MAIT cells and revealed unanticipated TCR heterogeneity in this population.
Project description:Human mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell receptors (TCRs) recognize bacterial riboflavin pathway metabolites through the MHC class 1-related molecule MR1. However, it is unclear whether MAIT cells discriminate between many species of the human microbiota. To address this, we developed an in vitro functional assay through human T cells engineered for MAIT-TCRs (eMAIT-TCRs) stimulated by MR1-expressing antigen-presenting cells (APCs). We then screened 47 microbiota-associated bacterial species from different phyla for their eMAIT-TCR stimulatory capacities. Only bacterial species that encoded the riboflavin pathway were stimulatory for MAIT-TCRs. Most species that were high stimulators belonged to Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria phyla, whereas low/non-stimulator species were primarily Actinobacteria or Firmicutes. Activation of MAIT cells by high- vs low-stimulating bacteria also correlated with the level of riboflavin they secreted or after bacterial infection of macrophages. Remarkably, we found that human T-cell subsets can also present riboflavin metabolites to MAIT cells in a MR1-restricted fashion. This T-T cell-mediated signaling also induced IFN?, TNF and granzyme B from MAIT cells, albeit at lower level than professional APC. These findings suggest that MAIT cells can discriminate and categorize complex human microbiota through computation of TCR signals depending on antigen load and presenting cells, and fine-tune their functional responses.
Project description:Human mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) CD8(+) and Tc17 cells are important tissue-homing cell populations, characterized by high expression of CD161 ((++)) and type-17 differentiation, but their origins and relationships remain poorly defined. By transcriptional and functional analyses, we demonstrate that a pool of polyclonal, precommitted type-17 CD161(++)CD8??(+) T cells exist in cord blood, from which a prominent MAIT cell (TCR V?7.2(+)) population emerges post-natally. During this expansion, CD8?? T cells appear exclusively within a CD161(++)CD8(+)/MAIT subset, sharing cytokine production, chemokine-receptor expression, TCR-usage, and transcriptional profiles with their CD161(++)CD8??(+) counterparts. Our data demonstrate the origin and differentiation pathway of MAIT-cells from a naive type-17 precommitted CD161(++)CD8(+) T-cell pool and the distinct phenotype and function of CD8?? cells in man.
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 abundant in humans and recognize bacterial ligands. Here, we demonstrate that MAIT cells are also activated during human viral infections in vivo. MAIT cells activation was observed during infection with dengue virus, hepatitis C virus and influenza virus. This activation-driving cytokine release and Granzyme B upregulation-is TCR-independent but dependent on IL-18 in synergy with IL-12, IL-15 and/or interferon-?/?. IL-18 levels and MAIT cell activation correlate with disease severity in acute dengue infection. Furthermore, HCV treatment with interferon-? leads to specific MAIT cell activation in vivo in parallel with an enhanced therapeutic response. Moreover, TCR-independent activation of MAIT cells leads to a reduction of HCV replication in vitro mediated by IFN-?. Together these data demonstrate MAIT cells are activated following viral infections, and suggest a potential role in both host defence and immunopathology.
Project description:CD161(++) CD8(+) T cells represent a novel subset that is dominated in adult peripheral blood by mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, as defined by the expression of a variable-? chain 7.2 (V?7.2)-J?33 TCR, and IL-18R?. Stimulation with IL-18+IL-12 is known to induce IFN-? by both NK cells and, to a more limited extent, T cells. Here, we show the CD161(++) CD8(+) T-cell population is the primary T-cell population triggered by this mechanism. Both CD161(++) V?7.2(+) and CD161(++) V?7.2(-) T-cell subsets responded to IL-12+IL-18 stimulation, demonstrating this response was not restricted to the MAIT cells, but to the CD161(++) phenotype. Bacteria and TLR agonists also indirectly triggered IFN-? expression via IL-12 and IL-18. These data show that CD161(++) T cells are the predominant T-cell population that responds directly to IL-12+IL-18 stimulation. Furthermore, our findings broaden the potential role of MAIT cells beyond bacterial responsiveness to potentially include viral infections and other inflammatory stimuli.
Project description:Expression of the C-type lectin-like receptor CD161 by human T cells is associated with type-17 responses, which play critical regulatory roles in immunity and inflammation at mucosal sites. However, the functions of CD161-expressing T cells in macaques, the pre-clinical model of several human diseases, remain unknown. This study examined the phenotypic and functional characteristics of CD161+ T cells in peripheral blood, mucosal tissues and lymph nodes of rhesus macaques. Majority of CD161-expressing T cells in peripheral blood and lung/intestinal mucosal tissues of rhesus macaques were found to be CD8+CD4- in phenotype. There was a significant enrichment of CD161+CD8+ T cells in the lungs and colonic mucosa (16.1%±6.6 and 16.8%±5.7) in comparison to peripheral blood (4.2%±1.2) and mesenteric lymph nodes (1.3%±0.8). Regardless of the tissue compartment, CD161+CD8+ T cells mainly comprised of ?? T cells and TCR V?7.2+ MAIT cells (up to 80%), and displayed Th1 and Th17 cytokine responses to mitogen stimulation. Mucosal CD161+CD8+ T cells were characterized by very high expression of CD69, a recent activation marker that is preferentially expressed on tissue resident cells. Furthermore, lung and colonic mucosal CD161+CD8+ T cells showed enhanced IFN-?, IL-17, and Perforin production in comparison to those in blood. Thus, macaque CD161+CD8+ T cells represent mucosal tissue-homing innate-like CD8+ T-cell populations with Th1/Th17 type cytokine and cytotoxic effector functions that can potentially enhance the recruitment of adaptive immune cells and control initial pathogen burden/dissemination in tissues. Analysis of their role in early immune responses to mucosal pathogens will be valuable in the design of vaccines and therapeutics.
Project description:Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) causes substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly among young children. Humans develop an array of mucosal immune responses following S. Typhi infection. Whereas the cellular mechanisms involved in S. Typhi infection have been intensively studied, very little is known about the early chromatin modifications occurring in the human gut microenvironment that influence downstream immune responses. To address this gap in knowledge, cells isolated from human terminal ileum exposed ex vivo to the wild-type S. Typhi strain were stained with a 33-metal-labeled antibody panel for mass cytometry analyses of the early chromatin modifications modulated by S. Typhi. We measured the cellular levels of 6 classes of histone modifications, and 1 histone variant in 11 major cell subsets (i.e., B, CD3?+?T, CD4?+?T, CD8?+?T, NK, TCR-??, Mucosal associated invariant (MAIT), and NKT cells as well as monocytes, macrophages, and epithelial cells). We found that arginine methylation might regulate the early-differentiation of effector-memory CD4+?T-cells following exposure to S. Typhi. We also found S. Typhi-induced post-translational modifications in histone methylation and acetylation associated with epithelial cells, NKT, MAIT, TCR-??, Monocytes, and CD8?+?T-cells that are related to both gene activation and silencing.