Analytical Prediction of the Spatiotemporal Distribution of Chemoattractants around Their Source: Theory and Application to Complement-Mediated Chemotaxis.
ABSTRACT: The ability of motile immune cells to detect and follow gradients of chemoattractant is critical to numerous vital functions, including their recruitment to sites of infection and-in emerging immunotherapeutic applications-to malignant tumors. Facilitated by a multitude of chemotactic receptors, the cells navigate a maze of stimuli to home in on their target. Distinct chemotactic processes direct this navigation at particular times and cell-target distances. The expedient coordination of this spatiotemporal hierarchy of chemotactic stages is the central element of a key paradigm of immunotaxis. Understanding this hierarchy is an enormous interdisciplinary challenge that requires, among others, quantitative insight into the shape, range, and dynamics of the profiles of chemoattractants around their sources. We here present a closed-form solution to a diffusion-reaction problem that describes the evolution of the concentration gradient of chemoattractant under various conditions. Our ready-to-use mathematical prescription captures many biological situations reasonably well and can be explored with standard graphing software, making it a valuable resource for every researcher studying chemotaxis. We here apply this mathematical model to characterize the chemoattractant cloud of anaphylatoxins that forms around bacterial and fungal pathogens in the presence of host serum. We analyze the spatial reach, rate of formation, and rate of dispersal of this locator cloud under realistic physiological conditions. Our analysis predicts that simply being small is an effective protective strategy of pathogens against complement-mediated discovery by host immune cells over moderate-to-large distances. Leveraging our predictions against single-cell, pure-chemotaxis experiments that use human immune cells as biosensors, we are able to explain the limited distance over which the cells recognize microbes. We conclude that complement-mediated chemotaxis is a universal, but short-range, homing mechanism by which chemotaxing immune cells can implement a last-minute course correction toward pathogenic microbes. Thus, the integration of theory and experiments provides a sound mechanistic explanation of the primary role of complement-mediated chemotaxis within the hierarchy of immunotaxis, and why other chemotactic processes are required for the successful recruitment of immune cells over large distances.
Project description:Coccidioides spp. are dimorphic pathogenic fungi whose parasitic forms cause coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) in mammalian hosts. We use an innovative interdisciplinary approach to analyze one-on-one encounters between human neutrophils and two forms of Coccidioides posadasii. To examine the mechanisms by which the innate immune system coordinates different stages of the host response to fungal pathogens, we dissect the immune-cell response into chemotaxis, adhesion, and phagocytosis. Our single-cell technique reveals a surprisingly strong response by initially quiescent neutrophils to close encounters with C. posadasii, both from a distance (by complement-mediated chemotaxis) as well as upon contact (by serum-dependent adhesion and phagocytosis). This response closely resembles neutrophil interactions with Candida albicans and zymosan particles, and is significantly stronger than the neutrophil responses to Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Rhizopus oryzae under identical conditions. The vigorous in vitro neutrophil response suggests that C. posadasii evades in vivo recognition by neutrophils through suppression of long-range mobilization and recruitment of the immune cells. This observation elucidates an important paradigm of the recognition of microbes, i.e., that intact immunotaxis comprises an intricate spatiotemporal hierarchy of distinct chemotactic processes. Moreover, in contrast to earlier reports, human neutrophils exhibit vigorous chemotaxis toward, and frustrated phagocytosis of, the large spherules of C. posadasii under physiological-like conditions. Finally, neutrophils from healthy donors and patients with chronic coccidioidomycosis display subtle differences in their responses to antibody-coated beads, even though the patient cells appear to interact normally with C. posadasii endospores.
Project description:Persistent directional movement of neutrophils in shallow chemotactic gradients raises the possibility that cells can increase their sensitivity to the chemotactic signal at the front, relative to the back. Redistribution of chemoattractant receptors to the anterior pole of a polarized neutrophil could impose asymmetric sensitivity by increasing the relative strength of detected signals at the cell's leading edge. Previous experiments have produced contradictory observations with respect to receptor location in moving neutrophils. To visualize a chemoattractant receptor directly during chemotaxis, we expressed a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged receptor for a complement component, C5a, in a leukemia cell line, PLB-985. Differentiated PLB-985 cells, like neutrophils, adhere, spread, and polarize in response to a uniform concentration of chemoattractant, and orient and crawl toward a micropipette containing chemoattractant. Recorded in living cells, fluorescence of the tagged receptor, C5aR-GFP, shows no apparent increase anywhere on the plasma membrane of polarized and moving cells, even at the leading edge. During chemotaxis, however, some cells do exhibit increased amounts of highly folded plasma membrane at the leading edge, as detected by a fluorescent probe for membrane lipids; this is accompanied by an apparent increase of C5aR-GFP fluorescence, which is directly proportional to the accumulation of plasma membrane. Thus neutrophils do not actively concentrate chemoattractant receptors at the leading edge during chemotaxis, although asymmetrical distribution of membrane may enrich receptor number, relative to adjacent cytoplasmic volume, at the anterior pole of some polarized cells. This enrichment could help to maintain persistent migration in a shallow gradient of chemoattractant.
Project description:The efficient recruitment of immune cells is a vital cornerstone of our defense against infections and a key challenge of immunotherapeutic applications. It relies on the ability of chemotaxing cells to prioritize their responses to different stimuli. For example, immune cells are known to abandon gradients of host-cell-produced cytokines in favor of complement-derived anaphylatoxins, which then guide the cells toward nearby pathogen surfaces. The aptitude to triage stimuli depends on the cells' specific sensitivities to different chemoattractants. We here use human neutrophils as uniquely capable biodetectors to map out the anaphylatoxic cloud that surrounds microbes in the presence of host serum. We quantify the neutrophil sensitivity in terms of the ratio between the chemoattractant concentration c and the production rate j<sub>0</sub> of the chemoattractant at the source surface. An integrative experimental/theoretical approach allows us to estimate the c/j<sub>0</sub>-threshold at which human neutrophils first detect nearby ?-glucan surfaces as c/j<sub>0</sub> ? 0.0044 s/?m.
Project description:From an individual bacterium to the cells that compose the human immune system, cellular chemotaxis plays a fundamental role in allowing cells to navigate, interpret, and respond to their environments. While many features of cellular chemotaxis are shared among systems as diverse as bacteria and human immune cells, the machinery that guides the migration of these model organisms varies widely. In this article, we review current literature on the diversity of chemoattractant ligands, the cell surface receptors that detect and process chemotactic gradients, and the link between signal recognition and the regulation of cellular machinery that allow for efficient directed cellular movement. These facets of cellular chemotaxis are compared among E. coli, Dictyostelium discoideum, and mammalian neutrophils to derive organizational principles by which diverse cell systems sense and respond to chemotactic gradients to initiate cellular migration.
Project description:Directed cell migration mediates physiological and pathological processes. In particular, immune cell trafficking in tissues is crucial for inducing immune responses and is coordinated by multiple environmental cues such as chemoattractant gradients. Although the chemotaxis mechanism has been extensively studied, how cells integrate multiple chemotactic signals for effective trafficking and positioning in tissues is not clearly defined. Results from previous neutrophil chemotaxis experiments and modeling studies suggested that ligand-induced homologous receptor desensitization may provide an important mechanism for cell migration in competing chemoattractant gradients. However, the previous mathematical model is oversimplified to cell gradient sensing in one-dimensional (1-D) environment. To better understand the receptor desensitization mechanism for chemotactic navigation, we further developed the model to test the role of homologous receptor desensitization in regulating both cell gradient sensing and migration in different configurations of chemoattractant fields in two-dimension (2-D). Our results show that cells expressing normal desensitizable receptors preferentially orient and migrate toward the distant gradient in the presence of a second local competing gradient, which are consistent with the experimentally observed preferential migration of cells toward the distant attractant source and confirm the requirement of receptor desensitization for such migratory behaviors. Furthermore, our results are in qualitative agreement with the experimentally observed cell migration patterns in different configurations of competing chemoattractant fields.
Project description:Neutrophils sense and respond to diverse chemotactic cues through G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). However, the precise trafficking dynamics of chemoattractant GPCRs during neutrophil activation and chemotaxis remain unclear. Here, by using small-molecule inhibitors and CRISPR-based knockouts, we establish that two primary chemoattractant GPCRs - formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) and complement component 5a (C5a) receptor 1 (C5aR1) - internalize in a CDC42-actin-dependent manner. Through live-cell imaging, we demonstrate that, upon stimulation, FPR1 rapidly clusters and re-distributes along the plasma membrane to the trailing edge, where it internalizes and is directionally trafficked towards the front of migrating primary human neutrophils. In contrast to FPR1 and C5aR1, the leukotriene B4 (LTB4) receptor (BLT1, also known as LTB4R), which relays LTB4 signals in response to primary chemoattractants during neutrophil chemotaxis, fails to internalize upon physiological stimulation with LTB4, N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLF) or C5a. Importantly, we report that blocking the LTB4-BLT1 axis or downstream myosin activation enhances the internalization of FPR1 and C5aR1, thus reducing downstream signaling and impairing chemotaxis to primary chemoattractants. The polarized trafficking of chemoattractant GPCRs and its regulation by the BLT1-mediated myosin activation therefore drives persistent chemotactic signaling in neutrophils.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
Project description:Signaling from chemoattractant receptors activates the cytoskeleton of crawling cells for chemotaxis. We show using phosphoproteomics that different chemoattractants cause phosphorylation of the same core set of around 80 proteins in Dictyostelium cells. Strikingly, the majority of these are phosphorylated at an [S/T]PR motif by the atypical MAP kinase ErkB. Unlike most chemotactic responses, ErkB phosphorylations are persistent and do not adapt to sustained stimulation with chemoattractant. ErkB integrates dynamic autophosphorylation with chemotactic signaling through G-protein-coupled receptors. Downstream, our phosphoproteomics data define a broad panel of regulators of chemotaxis. Surprisingly, targets are almost exclusively other signaling proteins, rather than cytoskeletal components, revealing ErkB as a regulator of regulators rather than acting directly on the motility machinery. ErkB null cells migrate slowly and orientate poorly over broad dynamic ranges of chemoattractant. Our data indicate a central role for ErkB and its substrates in directing chemotaxis.
Project description:Considering the essential role of chemotaxis of adherent, slow-moving cells in processes such as tumor metastasis or wound healing, a detailed understanding of the mechanisms and cues that direct migration of cells through tissues is highly desirable. The state-of-the-art chemotaxis instruments (e.g. microfluidic-based devices, bridge assays) can generate well-defined, long-term stable chemical gradients, crucial for quantitative investigation of chemotaxis in slow-moving cells. However, the majority of chemotaxis tools are designed for the purpose of an in-depth, but labor-intensive analysis of migratory behavior of single cells. This is rather inefficient for applications requiring higher experimental throughput, as it is the case of e.g. clinical examinations, chemoattractant screening or studies of the chemotaxis-related signaling pathways based on subcellular perturbations. Here, we present an advanced migration assay for accelerated and facilitated evaluation of the chemotactic response of slow-moving cells. The revised chemotaxis chamber contains a hydrogel microstructure-the migration arena, designed to enable identification of chemotactic behavior of a cell population in respect to the end-point of the experiment. At the same time, the assay in form of a microscopy slide enables direct visualization of the cells in either 2D or 3D environment, and provides a stable and linear gradient of chemoattractant. We demonstrate the correctness of the assay on the model study of HT-1080 chemotaxis in 3D and on 2D surface. Finally, we apply the migration arena chemotaxis assay to screen for a chemoattractant of primary keratinocytes, cells that play a major role in wound healing, being responsible for skin re-epithelialization and a successful wound closure. In direction of new therapeutic strategies to promote wound repair, we identified the chemotactic activity of the epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligands EGF and TGF? (transforming growth factor ?).
Project description:Neutrophils are frontline cells of the innate immune system. These effector leukocytes are equipped with intriguing antimicrobial machinery and consequently display high cytotoxic potential. Accurate neutrophil recruitment is essential to combat microbes and to restore homeostasis, for inflammation modulation and resolution, wound healing and tissue repair. After fulfilling the appropriate effector functions, however, dampening neutrophil activation and infiltration is crucial to prevent damage to the host. In humans, chemoattractant molecules can be categorized into four biochemical families, i.e., chemotactic lipids, formyl peptides, complement anaphylatoxins and chemokines. They are critically involved in the tight regulation of neutrophil bone marrow storage and egress and in spatial and temporal neutrophil trafficking between organs. Chemoattractants function by activating dedicated heptahelical G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In addition, emerging evidence suggests an important role for atypical chemoattractant receptors (ACKRs) that do not couple to G proteins in fine-tuning neutrophil migratory and functional responses. The expression levels of chemoattractant receptors are dependent on the level of neutrophil maturation and state of activation, with a pivotal modulatory role for the (inflammatory) environment. Here, we provide an overview of chemoattractant receptors expressed by neutrophils in health and disease. Depending on the (patho)physiological context, specific chemoattractant receptors may be up- or downregulated on distinct neutrophil subsets with beneficial or detrimental consequences, thus opening new windows for the identification of disease biomarkers and potential drug targets.
Project description:The PI3K/PTEN pathway, as the regulator of 3'-phosphoinositide (3'-PI) dynamics, has emerged as a key regulator of chemoattractant gradient sensing during chemotaxis in Dictyostelium and other cell types. Previous results have shown 3'-PIs to be important for regulating basal cell motility and sensing the direction and strength of the chemoattractant gradient. We examined the chemotaxis of wild-type cells and cells lacking PTEN or PI3K1 and 2 using analytical methods that allowed us to quantitatively discern differences between the genotype's ability to sense and efficiently respond to changes in gradient steepness during chemotaxis. We found that cells are capable of increasing their chemotactic accuracy and speed as they approach a micropipette in a manner that is dependent on the increasing strength of the concentration gradient and 3'-PI signaling. Further, our data show that 3'-PI signaling affects a cell's ability to coordinate speed and direction to increase chemotactic efficiency. Using to our knowledge a new measurement of chemotactic efficiency that reveals the degree of coordination between speed and accuracy, we found that cells also have the capacity to increase their chemotactic efficiency as they approach the micropipette. Like directional accuracy and speed, the increase in chemotactic efficiency of cells with increased gradient strength is sensitive to 3'-PI dysregulation. Our evidence suggests that receptor-driven 3'-PI signaling regulates the ability of a cell to capitalize on stronger directional inputs and minimize the effects of inaccurate turns to increase chemotactic efficiency.