Human Herpesvirus 6B Downregulates Expression of Activating Ligands during Lytic Infection To Escape Elimination by Natural Killer Cells.
ABSTRACT: The Herpesviridae family consists of eight viruses, most of which infect a majority of the human population. One of the less-studied members is human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) (Roseolovirus), which causes a mild, well-characterized childhood disease. Primary HHV-6 infection is followed by lifelong latency. Reactivation frequently occurs in immunocompromised patients, such as those suffering from HIV infection or cancer or following transplantation, and causes potentially life-threatening complications. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms that HHV-6 utilizes to remain undetected by natural killer (NK) cells, which are key participants in the innate immune response to infections. We revealed viral mechanisms which downregulate ligands for two powerful activating NK cell receptors: ULBP1, ULBP3, and MICB, which trigger NKG2D, and B7-H6, which activates NKp30. Accordingly, this downregulation impaired the ability of NK cells to recognize HHV-6-infected cells. Thus, we describe for the first time immune evasion mechanisms of HHV-6 that protect lytically infected cells from NK elimination.Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) latently infects a large portion of the human population and can reactivate in humans lacking a functional immune system, such as cancer or AIDS patients. Under these conditions, it can cause life-threatening diseases. To date, the actions and interplay of immune cells, and particularly cells of the innate immune system, during HHV-6 infection are poorly defined. In this study, we aimed to understand how cells undergoing lytic HHV-6 infection interact with natural killer (NK) cells, innate lymphocytes constituting the first line of defense against viral intruders. We show that HHV-6 suppresses the expression of surface proteins that alert the immune cells by triggering two major receptors on NK cells, NKG2D and NKp30. As a consequence, HHV-6 can replicate undetected by the innate immune system and potentially spread infection throughout the body. This study advances the understanding of HHV-6 biology and the measures it uses to successfully escape immune elimination.
Project description:NK cells are innate immune cells that are important in tumor immunity, but also have the ability to modulate the adaptive immune system through cytokine production or direct cell-cell interactions. This study investigates the interaction of NK cells with dendritic cells (DCs) and tumor cells, and the role of specific NK cell-activating receptors in this process. Primary rat NK cells and an NK cell line produced IFN-? when cocultured with either DCs or the rat hepatoma cell line McA-RH7777 (McA). This NK cell activation by DCs and McA required cell-cell contact and was dependent on distinct NK-activating receptors. Silencing NK cell expression of NKp46 and NKp30 significantly diminished DC- and McA-mediated NK cell IFN-? production, respectively. NK cells killed immature and mature DCs independently of NKp46, NKp30, and NKG2D; however, cytotoxicity against McA cells was dependent on NKp30 and NKG2D. Thus, we have shown in this study that NKp30 plays dual activating roles in NK-McA tumor interactions by mediating cytokine production and cytotoxicity. More importantly, NK cells are activated by both DCs and hepatoma cells to produce IFN-?, but require distinct NK cell-activating receptors, NKp46 and NKp30, respectively. Our data suggest that therapeutics could be developed specifically to target NK-DC interactions without compromising NK tumor immunity.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are an important element in the immune defense against the orthopox family members vaccinia virus (VV) and ectromelia virus (ECTV). NK cells are regulated through inhibitory and activating signaling receptors, the latter involving NKG2D and the natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCR), NKp46, NKp44 and NKp30. Here we report that VV infection results in an upregulation of ligand structures for NKp30 and NKp46 on infected cells, whereas the binding of NKp44 and NKG2D was not significantly affected. Likewise, infection with ectromelia virus (ECTV), the mousepox agent, enhanced binding of NKp30 and, to a lesser extent, NKp46. The hemagglutinin (HA) molecules from VV and ECTV, which are known virulence factors, were identified as novel ligands for NKp30 and NKp46. Using NK cells with selectively silenced NCR expression and NCR-CD3? reporter cells, we observed that HA present on the surface of VV-infected cells, or in the form of recombinant soluble protein, was able to block NKp30-triggered activation, whereas it stimulated the activation through NKp46. The net effect of this complex influence on NK cell activity resulted in a decreased NK lysis susceptibility of infected cells at late time points of VV infection when HA was expression was pronounced. We conclude that poxviral HA represents a conserved ligand of NCR, exerting a novel immune escape mechanism through its blocking effect on NKp30-mediated activation at a late stage of infection.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells represent a key component of the innate immune system against cancer. Nevertheless, malignant diseases arise in immunocompetent individuals despite tumor immunosurveillance. Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is characterized by CD30(+) tumor cells and a massive infiltration of immune effector cells in affected lymph nodes. The latter obviously fail to eliminate the malignant cell population. Here, we tested for functional NK cell defects in HL and suggest an improvement of NK function by therapeutic means. We demonstrate that peripheral NK cells (pNK) from patients with HL fail to eliminate HL cell lines in ex vivo killing assays. Impaired NK cell function correlated with elevated serum levels of soluble ligands for NK cell receptors NKp30 (BAG6/BAT3) and NKG2D (MICA), factors known to constrict NK cell function. In vitro, NK cell cytotoxicity could be restored by an NKG2D/NKp30-independent bispecific antibody construct (CD30xCD16A). It artificially links the tumor receptor CD30 with the cytotoxicity NK cell receptor CD16A. Moreover, we observed that NK cells from patients treated with this construct were generally activated and displayed a restored cytotoxicity against HL target cells. These data suggest that reversible suppression of NK cell activity contributes to immune evasion in HL and can be antagonized therapeutically.
Project description:Objectives:The host DNA sensor proteins TLR9, STING, IFI16 are central signaling molecules that control the innate immune response to cytosolic nucleic acids. Here we propose to investigate how Natural killer (NK) cell infection by human herpesvirus (HHV)-6A, HHV-6B or HHV-7 is able to modify DNA sensor signaling in NK cells. Methods:We infected the NK92 cell line and primary NK cells with cell-free inocula of HHV-6A, HHV-6B or HHV-7 and evaluated TLR9, STING, and IFI16 pathway expression by Real-Time PCR, Western Blot, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry for 1, 2, 3, and 6 days post-infection. We evaluated NK cell cytokine-producing by Real-Time PCR and enzyme immunosorbent assay. Results:NK92 and primary NK cells were promptly infected by three viruses, as demonstrated by virus presence (DNA) and transcription (RNA) analysis. Our data show STING/STAT6 up-modulation in HHV-6A infected NK cells. NK cells infected with HHV-6B and HHV-7 up-regulated CCL3, IFN-alpha, TNF-alpha, IL-8 and IFN-gamma and slightly induced IL-4, and CCL4. HHV-6A infected NK cells up-regulated IL-4 and IL-13 and slightly induced IL-10, TNF-alpha, IFN-alpha, and IFN-gamma. Conclusion:For the first time, we demonstrate that HHV-6A, HHV-6B, and HHV-7 infections have a differential impact on intracellular DNA sensors. HHV-6B and HHV-7 mainly lead to the active control of in vivo viral spreading by pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion via TLR9. HHV-6A infected NK cells conversely induced STING/STAT6 pathway, as a mechanism of anti-viral activation, but they were characterized by a Th2 type response and a non-cytotoxic profile, suggesting a potential novel mechanism of HHV-6A-mediated immunosuppression.
Project description:The contribution of innate immunity to immunosurveillance of the oncogenic Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV8) has not been studied in depth. We investigated NK cell phenotype and function in 70 HHV8-infected subjects, either asymptomatic carriers or having developed Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Our results revealed substantial alterations of the NK cell receptor repertoire in healthy HHV8 carriers, with reduced expression of NKp30, NKp46 and CD161 receptors. In addition, down-modulation of the activating NKG2D receptor, associated with impaired NK-cell lytic capacity, was observed in patients with active KS. Resolution of KS after treatment was accompanied with restoration of NKG2D levels and NK cell activity. HHV8-latently infected endothelial cells overexpressed ligands of several NK cell receptors, including NKG2D ligands. The strong expression of NKG2D ligands by tumor cells was confirmed in situ by immunohistochemical staining of KS biopsies. However, no tumor-infiltrating NK cells were detected, suggesting a defect in NK cell homing or survival in the KS microenvironment. Among the known KS-derived immunoregulatory factors, we identified prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) as a critical element responsible for the down-modulation of NKG2D expression on resting NK cells. Moreover, PGE2 prevented up-regulation of the NKG2D and NKp30 receptors on IL-15-activated NK cells, and inhibited the IL-15-induced proliferation and survival of NK cells. Altogether, our observations are consistent with distinct immunoevasion mechanisms that allow HHV8 to escape NK cell responses stepwise, first at early stages of infection to facilitate the maintenance of viral latency, and later to promote tumor cell growth through suppression of NKG2D-mediated functions. Importantly, our results provide additional support to the use of PGE2 inhibitors as an attractive approach to treat aggressive KS, as they could restore activation and survival of tumoricidal NK cells.
Project description:Background: We have recently reported the presence of Human herpesvirus-6A (HHV-6A) DNA in the 43% of endometrial epithelial cells from primary idiopathic infertile women, with no positivity in fertile women. To investigate the possible effect of HHV-6A infection in endometrial (e)NK cells functions, we examined activating/inhibitory receptors expressed by eNK cells and the corresponding ligands on endometrial cells during HHV-6A infection. Methods: Endometrial biopsies and uterine flushing samples during the secretory phase were obtained from 20 idiopathic infertile women and twenty fertile women. HHV-6A infection of endometrial epithelial cells was analyzed by Real-Time PCR, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. eNKs receptors and endometrial ligands expression were evaluated by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. Results: We observed the presence of HHV-6A infection (DNA, protein) of endometrial epithelial cells in the 40% of idiopathic infertile women. The eNK from all the subgroups expressed high levels of NKG2D and NKG2A receptors. Functional studies showed that NKG2D activating receptor and FasL are involved in the acquired cytotoxic function of eNK cells during HHV-6A infection of endometrial epithelial cells. In the presence of HHV-6A infection, eNK cells increased expression of CCR2, CXCR3 and CX3CR1 chemokine receptors (p = 0.01) and endometrial epithelial cells up-modulated the corresponding ligands: MCP1 (Monocyte chemotactic protein 1, CCL2), IP-10 (Interferon gamma-induced protein 10, CXCL10) and Eotaxin-3 (CCL26). Conclusion: Our results, for the first time, showed the implication of eNK cells in controlling HHV-6A endometrial infection and clarify the mechanisms that might be implicated in female idiopathic infertility.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are primary immune effector cells with both innate and potentially adaptive functions against viral infections, but commonly become exhausted or dysfunctional during chronic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Chimpanzees are the closest genetic relatives of humans and have been previously used in immunology, behavior and disease models. Due to their similarities to humans, a better understanding of chimpanzee immunology, particularly innate immune cells, can lend insight into the evolution of human immunology, as well as response to disease. However, the phenotype of NK cells has been poorly defined. In order to define NK cell phenotypes, we unbiasedly quantified NK cell markers among mononuclear cells in both naive and HIV-infected chimpanzees by flow cytometry. We identified NKG2D and NKp46 as the most dominant stable NK cells markers using multidimensional data reduction analyses. Other traditional NK cell markers such as CD8?, CD16 and perforin fluctuated during infection, while some such as CD56, NKG2A and NKp30 were generally unaltered by HIV infection, but did not delineate the full NK cell repertoire. Taken together, these data indicate that phenotypic dysregulation may not be pronounced during HIV infection of chimpanzees, but traditional NK cell phenotyping used for both humans and other non-human primate species may need to be revised to accurately identify chimpanzee NK cells.
Project description:The rVSV-ZEBOV Ebolavirus vaccine confers protection within days after immunization, suggesting the contribution of innate immune responses. We report modulation of rVSV-ZEBOV vaccinee blood CD56+ NK cell numbers, NKG2D or NKp30 surface receptor expression, Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptor (KIR)+ cell percentages and NK-cell-related genes on day 1 post immunization. Inverse correlations existed between the concentration of several plasma cytokines and inhibitory KIR+ CD56dim or cytokine-responsive CD56bright NK cells. Thus, NK cells may contribute to the early protective efficacy of rVSV-ZEBOV in humans.
Project description:NK cells are key players in anti tumor immune response, which can be employed in cell-based therapeutic modalities. One of the suggested ways to amplify their anti tumor effect, especially in the field of stem cell transplantation, is by selecting donor/recipient mismatches in specific HLA, to reduce the inhibitory effect of killer Ig-like receptors (KIRs). Here we suggest an alternative approach for augmentation of anti tumor effect of allogeneic NK cells, which is founded on profile matching of donor NK lysis receptors (NKLR) phenotype with tumor lysis-ligands.We show that an NKLR-mediated killing directly correlates with the NKLR expression intensity on NK cells. Considerable donor variability in the expression of CD16, NKp46, NKG2D and NKp30 on circulating NK cells, combined with the stability of phenotype in several independently performed tests over two months, indicates that NKLR-guided selection of donors is feasible. As a proof of concept, we show that melanoma cells are dominantly recognized by three NKLRs: NKG2D, NKp30 and NKp44. Notably, the expression of NKp30 on circulating NK cells among metastatic melanoma patients was significantly decreased, which diminishes their ability to kill melanoma cells. Ex vivo expansion of NK cells results not only in increased amount of cells but also in a consistently superior and predictable expression of NKG2D, NKp30 and NKp44. Moreover, expanded NK cultures with high expression of NKG2D or NKp30 were mostly derived from the corresponding NKG2D(high) or NK30(high) donors. These NK cultures subsequently displayed an improved cytotoxic activity against melanoma in a HLA/KIR-ligand mismatched setup, which was NKLR-dependent, as demonstrated with blocking anti-NKG2D antibodies.NKLR/NKLR-ligand matching reproducibly elicits enhanced NK anti-tumor response. Common NKLR recognition patterns of tumors, as demonstrated here in melanoma, would allow implementation of this approach in solid malignancies and potentially in hematological malignancies, either independently or in adjunction to other modalities.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are part of the innate immunity repertoire, and function in the recognition and destruction of tumorigenic and pathogen-infected cells. Engagement of NK cell activating receptors can lead to functional activation of NK cells, resulting in lysis of target cells. NK cell activating receptors specific for non-major histocompatibility complex ligands are NKp46, NKp44, NKp30, NKG2D, and CD16 (also known as Fc?RIII). The natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs), NKp46, NKp44, and NKp30, have been implicated in functional activation of NK cells following influenza virus infection via binding with influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA). In this review we describe NK cell and influenza A virus biology, and the interactions of influenza A virus HA and other pathogen lectins with NK cell natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs). We review concepts which intersect viral immunology, traditional virology and glycobiology to provide insights into the interactions between influenza virus HA and the NCRs. Furthermore, we provide expert opinion on future directions that would provide insights into currently unanswered questions.