MAIT cells are activated during human viral infections.
ABSTRACT: 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:Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are striking in their abundance and their strict conservation across 150 million years of mammalian evolution, implying they must fulfill critical immunological function(s). MAIT cells are defined by their expression of a semi-invariant ?? TCR which recognizes biosynthetic derivatives of riboflavin synthesis presented on MR1. Initial studies focused on their role in detecting predominantly intracellular bacterial and mycobacterial infections. However, it is now recognized that there are several modes of MAIT cell activation and these are related to activation of distinct transcriptional programmes, each associated with distinct functional roles. In this minireview, we summarize current knowledge from human and animal studies of MAIT cell activation induced (1) in an MR1-TCR dependent manner in the context of inflammatory danger signals and associated with antibacterial host defense; (2) in an MR1-TCR independent manner by the cytokines interleukin(IL)-12/-15/-18 and type I interferon, which is associated with antiviral responses; and (3) a recently-described TCR-dependent "tissue repair" programme which is associated with accelerated wound healing in the context of commensal microbiota. Because of this capability for diverse functional responses in diverse immunological contexts, these intriguing cells now appear to be multifunctional effectors central to the interface of innate and adaptive immunity.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are members of the Flaviviridae and are predominantly transmitted via mosquito bites. Both viruses are responsible for a growing number of infections in tropical and subtropical regions. DENV infection can cause lethargy with severe morbidity and dengue shock syndrome leading to death in some cases. ZIKV is now linked with Guillain-Barré syndrome and fetal malformations including microcephaly and developmental disorders (congenital Zika syndrome). The protective and pathogenic roles played by the immune response in these infections is unknown. Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a population of innate T cells with potent anti-bacterial activity. MAIT cells have also been postulated to play a role in the immune response to viral infections. In this study, we evaluated MAIT cell frequency, phenotype, and function in samples from subjects with acute and convalescent DENV infection. We found that in acute DENV infection, MAIT cells had elevated co-expression of the activation markers CD38 and HLA-DR and had a poor IFN? response following bacterial stimulation. Furthermore, we found that MAIT cells can produce IFN? in response to in vitro infection with ZIKV. This MAIT cell response was independent of MR1, but dependent on IL-12 and IL-18. Our results suggest that MAIT cells may play an important role in the immune response to Flavivirus infections.
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:Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening, systemic reaction to invasive infection caused by group A streptococci (GAS). GAS superantigens are key mediators of STSS through their potent activation of T cells leading to a cytokine storm and consequently vascular leakage, shock, and multiorgan failure. Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells recognize MR1-presented antigens derived from microbial riboflavin biosynthesis and mount protective innate-like immune responses against the microbes producing such metabolites. GAS lack de novo riboflavin synthesis, and the role of MAIT cells in STSS has therefore so far been overlooked. Here we have conducted a comprehensive analysis of human MAIT cell responses to GAS, aiming to understand the contribution of MAIT cells to the pathogenesis of STSS. We show that MAIT cells are strongly activated and represent the major T cell source of IFN? and TNF in the early stages of response to GAS. MAIT cell activation is biphasic with a rapid TCR V?2-specific, TNF-dominated response to superantigens and a later IL-12- and IL-18-dependent, IFN?-dominated response to both bacterial cells and secreted factors. Depletion of MAIT cells from PBMC resulted in decreased total production of IFN?, IL-1?, IL-2, and TNF?. Peripheral blood MAIT cells in patients with STSS expressed elevated levels of the activation markers CD69, CD25, CD38, and HLA-DR during the acute compared with the convalescent phase. Our data demonstrate that MAIT cells are major contributors to the early cytokine response to GAS, and are therefore likely to contribute to the pathological cytokine storm underlying STSS.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection is the most severe form of viral hepatitis. Although HDV-associated liver disease is considered immune-mediated, adaptive immune responses against HDV are weak. Thus, the role of several other cell-mediated mechanisms such as those driven by mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, a group of innate-like T cells highly enriched in the human liver, has not been extensively studied in clinical HDV infection. METHODS:MAIT cells from a sizeable cohort of patients with chronic HDV were analyzed ex vivo and in vitro after stimulation. Results were compared with MAIT cells from hepatitis B virus (HBV) monoinfected patients and healthy controls. RESULTS:Circulating MAIT cells were dramatically decreased in the peripheral blood of HDV-infected patients. Signs of decline were also observed in the liver. In contrast, only a modest decrease of circulating MAIT cells was noted in HBV monoinfection. Unsupervised high-dimensional analysis of residual circulating MAIT cells in chronic HDV infection revealed the appearance of a compound phenotype of CD38hiPD-1hiCD28loCD127loPLZFloEomesloHelioslo cells indicative of activation. Corroborating these results, MAIT cells exhibited a functionally impaired responsiveness. In parallel to MAIT cell loss, HDV-infected patients exhibited signs of monocyte activation and increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines IL-12 and IL-18. In vitro, IL-12 and IL-18 induced an activated MAIT cell phenotype similar to the one observed ex vivo in HDV-infected patients. These cytokines also promoted MAIT cell death, suggesting that they may contribute to MAIT cell activation and subsequent loss during HDV infection. CONCLUSIONS:These results suggest that chronic HDV infection engages the MAIT cell compartment causing activation, functional impairment, and subsequent progressive loss of MAIT cells as the HDV-associated liver disease progresses. LAY SUMMARY:Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection is the most severe form of viral hepatitis. We found that in patients with HDV, a subset of innate-like T cells called mucosa-associated invariant T cells (or MAIT cells), which are normally abundant in peripheral blood and the liver, are activated, functionally impaired and severely depleted.
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:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in HIV-1–infected individuals are functionally impaired by poorly understood mechanisms. Single-cell transcriptional and surface protein analyses revealed that peripheral MAIT cells from HIV-1–infected subjects were highly activated with the up-regulation of interferon (IFN)–stimulated genes as compared to healthy individuals. Sustained IFN-? treatment suppressed MAIT cell responses to Escherichia coli by triggering high-level interleukin-10 (IL-10) production by monocytes, which subsequently inhibited the secretion of IL-12, a crucial costimulatory cytokine for MAIT cell activation. Blocking IFN-? or IL-10 receptors prevented MAIT cell dysfunction induced by HIV-1 exposure in vitro. Moreover, blocking the IL-10 receptor significantly improved anti–Mycobacterium tuberculosis responses of MAIT cells from HIV-1–infected patients. Our findings demonstrate the central role of the IFN-I/IL-10 axis in MAIT cell dysfunction during HIV-1 infection, which has implications for the development of anti–IFN-I/IL-10 strategies against bacterial coinfections in HIV-1–infected patients.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are characterized by the combined expression of the semi-invariant T cell receptor (TCR) V?7.2, the lectin receptor CD161, as well as IL-18R, and play an important role in antibacterial host defense of the gut. The current study characterized CD161(+) MAIT and CD161-TCRV?7.2(+) T cell subsets within a large cohort of HIV patients with emphasis on patients with slow disease progression and elite controllers. Mononuclear cells from blood and lymph node samples as well as plasma from 63 patients and 26 healthy donors were analyzed by multicolor flow cytometry and ELISA for IL-18, sCD14 and sCD163. Additionally, MAIT cells were analyzed after in vitro stimulation with different cytokines and/or fixed E.coli. Reduced numbers of CD161(+) MAIT cells during HIV infection were detectable in the blood and lymph nodes of all patient groups, including elite controllers. CD161+ MAIT cell numbers did not recover even after successful antiretroviral treatment. The loss of CD161(+) MAIT cells was correlated with higher levels of MAIT cell activation; an increased frequency of the CD161-TCRV?7.2(+)T cell subset in HIV infection was observed. In vitro stimulation of MAIT cells with IL-18 and IL-12, IL-7 and fixed E.coli also resulted in a rapid and additive reduction of the MAIT cell frequency defined by CD161, IL-18R and CCR6. In summary, the irreversible reduction of the CD161(+) MAIT cell subset seems to be an early event in HIV infection that is independent of later stages of the disease. This loss appears to be at least partially due to the distinctive vulnerability of MAIT cells to the pronounced stimulation by microbial products and cytokines during HIV-infection.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate-like T cells that can detect bacteria-derived metabolites presented on MR1. Here we show, using a controlled infection of humans with live Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A, that MAIT cells are activated during infection, an effect maintained even after antibiotic treatment. At the peak of infection MAIT cell T-cell receptor (TCR)? clonotypes that are over-represented prior to infection transiently contract. Select MAIT cell TCR? clonotypes that expand after infection have stronger TCR-dependent activation than do contracted clonotypes. Our results demonstrate that host exposure to antigen may drive clonal expansion of MAIT cells with increased functional avidity, suggesting a role for specific vaccination strategies to increase the frequency and potency of MAIT cells to optimize effector function.