SGK1 Governs the Reciprocal Development of Th17 and Regulatory T Cells.
ABSTRACT: A balance between Th17 and regulatory T (Treg) cells is critical for immune homeostasis and tolerance. Our previous work has shown Serum- and glucocorticoid-induced kinase 1 (SGK1) is critical for the development and function of Th17 cells. Here, we show that SGK1 restrains the function of Treg cells and reciprocally regulates development of Th17/Treg balance. SGK1 deficiency leads to protection against autoimmunity and enhances self-tolerance by promoting Treg cell development and disarming Th17 cells. Treg cell-specific deletion of SGK1 results in enhanced Treg cell-suppressive function through preventing Foxo1 out of the nucleus, thereby promoting Foxp3 expression by binding to Foxp3 CNS1 region. Furthermore, our data suggest that SGK1 also plays a critical role in IL-23R-mediated inhibition of Treg and development of Th17 cells. Therefore, we demonstrate that SGK1 functions as a pivotal node in regulating the reciprocal development of pro-inflammatory Th17 and Foxp3+ Treg cells during autoimmune tissue inflammation.
Project description:It has been demonstrated that serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) and the downstream transcription factor forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) plays a critical role in the differentiation of T helper 17 cells/regulatory T cells (Th17/Treg). In the present study, we hypothesized that this SGK1-FoxO1 signaling pathway is involved in Th17/Treg imbalance and target organ damage in angiotensin II (AngII)-induced hypertensive mice. Results show that SGK1 inhibitor EMD638683 significantly reversed renal dysfunction and cardiac dysfunction in echocardiography as indicated by decreased blood urine nitrogen and serum creatinine in AngII-infused mice. Flow cytometric assay shows that there was significant Th17/Treg imbalance in spleen and in renal/cardiac infiltrating lymphocytes as indicated by the increased Th17 cells (CD4+-IL17A+ cells) and decreased Treg cells (CD4+-Foxp3+). Consistently, real-time PCR shows that Th17-related cytokines including IL-17A, IL-23, and tumor necrosis factor ? (TNF-?) was increased and Treg-related cytokine IL-10 was decreased in renal and cardiac infiltrating lymphocytes in AngII-infused mice. Meanwhile, SGK1 protein level, as well as its phosphorylation and activity, was significantly increased in spleen in AngII-infused rats. Furthermore, it was found that splenic phosphorylated FoxO1 was significantly increased, whereas total FoxO1 in nuclear preparation was significantly decreased in AngII-infused mice, suggesting that increased FoxO1 phosphorylation initiate its translocation from cytoplasm to nucleus. Notably, all changes were significantly inhibited by the treatment of EMD638683. These results suggest that SGK1 was involved in Th17/Treg imbalance and target organ damage in AngII-induced hypertension.
Project description:TH17 cells (interleukin-17 (IL-17)-producing helper T cells) are highly proinflammatory cells that are critical for clearing extracellular pathogens and for inducing multiple autoimmune diseases. IL-23 has a critical role in stabilizing and reinforcing the TH17 phenotype by increasing expression of IL-23 receptor (IL-23R) and endowing TH17 cells with pathogenic effector functions. However, the precise molecular mechanism by which IL-23 sustains the TH17 response and induces pathogenic effector functions has not been elucidated. Here we used transcriptional profiling of developing TH17 cells to construct a model of their signalling network and nominate major nodes that regulate TH17 development. We identified serum glucocorticoid kinase 1 (SGK1), a serine/threonine kinase, as an essential node downstream of IL-23 signalling. SGK1 is critical for regulating IL-23R expression and stabilizing the TH17 cell phenotype by deactivation of mouse Foxo1, a direct repressor of IL-23R expression. SGK1 has been shown to govern Na(+) transport and salt (NaCl) homeostasis in other cells. We show here that a modest increase in salt concentration induces SGK1 expression, promotes IL-23R expression and enhances TH17 cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo, accelerating the development of autoimmunity. Loss of SGK1 abrogated Na(+)-mediated TH17 differentiation in an IL-23-dependent manner. These data demonstrate that SGK1 has a critical role in the induction of pathogenic TH17 cells and provide a molecular insight into a mechanism by which an environmental factor such as a high salt diet triggers TH17 development and promotes tissue inflammation.
Project description:An imbalance between T helper 17 (Th17) and T regulatory (Treg) cell subsets contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). However, the underlying regulatory mechanisms that cause this imbalance are unknown. Serum/glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) has been suggested to affect Th17 polarization in a salt-dependent manner, and sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) have been demonstrated to regulate sodium-mediated transportation in the renal tubules. This study aimed to evaluate the potential benefits of dapagliflozin (Dap) on DKD, as well as its influence on shifting renal T-cell polarization and related cytokine secretion. We treated male db/db mice with Dap or voglibose (Vog) and measured blood and kidney levels of Th17 and Treg cells using flow cytometry. We found that Th17 cells were significantly increased, while Treg cells were significantly decreased in diabetic mice. Moreover, Dap suppressed the polarization of Th17/Treg cells by inhibiting SGK1 in diabetic kidneys, and this was accompanied by attenuation of albuminuria and tubulointerstitial fibrosis independent of glycemic control. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the imbalance of Th17/Treg cells plays an important role in the progression of DKD. Moreover, Dap protects against DKD by inhibiting SGK1 and reversing the T-cell imbalance.
Project description:IL-17-producing CD4+ cells (TH17) are pathogenically linked to autoimmunity including to autoimmune kidney disease. Erythropoietin's (EPO) newly recognized immunoregulatory functions and its predominant intra-renal source suggested that EPO physiologically regulates TH17 differentiation, thereby serving as a barrier to the development of autoimmune kidney disease. Using in vitro studies of human and murine cells and in vivo models, we show that EPO ligation of its receptor (EPO-R) on CD4+ T cells directly inhibits TH17 generation and promotes trans-differentiation of TH17 into IL-17-FOXP3+CD4+ T cells. Mechanistically, EPO/EPO-R ligation abrogates upregulation of SGK1 gene expression and blocks p38 activity to prevent SGK1 phosphorylation, thereby inhibiting RORC-mediated transcription of IL-17 and IL-23 receptor genes. In a murine model of TH17-dependent aristolochic acid (ArA)-induced, interstitial kidney disease associated with reduced renal EPO production, we demonstrate that transgenic EPO overexpression or recombinant EPO (rEPO) administration limits TH17 formation and clinical/histological disease expression. EPO/EPO-R ligations on CD4+ T cells abrogate, while absence of T cell-expressed EPO-R augments, TH17 induction and clinical/histological expression of pristane-induced glomerulonephritis (associated with decreased intrarenal EPO). rEPO prevents spontaneous glomerulonephritis and TH17 generation in MRL-lpr mice. Together, our findings indicate that EPO physiologically and therapeutically modulate TH17 cells to limit expression of TH17-associated autoimmune kidney disease.
Project description:T-regulatory cells are an upsurge in the tumor microenvironment and induce immune-evasion. CD4+ Treg cells are well characterized whereas the role of CD8+ Tregs in cancer has recently started to crease attention. Here, we report an augmentation CD8+FOXP3+ Tregs in breast tumor microenvironment. FOXP3, the lineage-specific transcription factor, is a dominant regulator of Treg cell development and function. FOXP3 is induced preferentially by divergent signaling in CD4+ Treg cells. But how FOXP3 is induced and maintained in tumor-CD8+ Tregs is the Cinderella of the investigation. We observed that RUNX3, a CD8+ lineage-specific transcription factor, binds at the FOXP3-promoter to induce its transcription. In addition to promoter activation, involvement of cis-elements CNS1 and CNS2 in the transcriptional regulation of FOXP3 was also evident in these cells. SMAD3 binds to CNS1 region and acts as transcription inducer, whereas GATA3 plays a temporal role in the FOXP3 transcription by differential chromatin modification in CNS regions. In CNS1 region, GATA3 acts as a repressor for FOXP3 in naïve CD8+ T cells. Whereas in CD8+ Tregs, GATA3 binds directly at CNS2 region and persuaded the maintenance of FOXP3. Therefore, the intervention of these concerted transcriptional machinery may have a therapeutic potential in immunotherapy of cancer.
Project description:Bile acids are abundant in the mammalian gut, where they undergo bacteria-mediated transformation to generate a large pool of bioactive molecules. Although bile acids are known to affect host metabolism, cancer progression and innate immunity, it is unknown whether they affect adaptive immune cells such as T helper cells that express IL-17a (TH17 cells) or regulatory T cells (Treg cells). Here we screen a library of bile acid metabolites and identify two distinct derivatives of lithocholic acid (LCA), 3-oxoLCA and isoalloLCA, as T cell regulators in mice. 3-OxoLCA inhibited the differentiation of TH17 cells by directly binding to the key transcription factor retinoid-related orphan receptor-?t (ROR?t) and isoalloLCA increased the differentiation of Treg cells through the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mitoROS), which led to increased expression of FOXP3. The isoalloLCA-mediated enhancement of Treg cell differentiation required an intronic Foxp3 enhancer, the conserved noncoding sequence (CNS) 3; this represents a mode of action distinct from that of previously identified metabolites that increase Treg cell differentiation, which require CNS1. The administration of 3-oxoLCA and isoalloLCA to mice reduced TH17 cell differentiation and increased Treg cell differentiation, respectively, in the intestinal lamina propria. Our data suggest mechanisms through which bile acid metabolites control host immune responses, by directly modulating the balance of TH17 and Treg cells.
Project description:Regulatory T (Treg) cells, whose differentiation and function are controlled by X chromosome-encoded transcription factor Foxp3, are generated in the thymus (tTreg) and extrathymically (peripheral, pTreg), and their deficiency results in fatal autoimmunity. Here, we demonstrate that a Foxp3 enhancer, conserved noncoding sequence 1 (CNS1), essential for pTreg but dispensable for tTreg cell generation, is present only in placental mammals. CNS1 is largely composed of mammalian-wide interspersed repeats (MIR) that have undergone retrotransposition during early mammalian radiation. During pregnancy, pTreg cells specific to a model paternal alloantigen were generated in a CNS1-dependent manner and accumulated in the placenta. Furthermore, when mated with allogeneic, but not syngeneic, males, CNS1-deficient females showed increased fetal resorption accompanied by increased immune cell infiltration and defective remodeling of spiral arteries. Our results suggest that, during evolution, a CNS1-dependent mechanism of extrathymic differentiation of Treg cells emerged in placental animals to enforce maternal-fetal tolerance.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms that govern differential T cell development into pro-inflammatory Th17 vs. regulatory T (Treg) cells remain unclear. Here, we show that selective deletion of CREB in T cells or Th17 cells impaired Th17 cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo, and led to resistance to autoimmune diseases. Mechanistically, CREB, activated by CD3-PKC-? signaling, plays a key role in regulating Th17 cell differentiation, at least in part through directly binding to the Il17-Il17f gene locus. Unexpectedly, although dispensable for FOXP3 expression and for the homeostasis and suppressive function of thymus-derived Treg cells, CREB negatively regulates the survival of TGF-?-induced Treg cells, and deletion of CREB resulted in increased FOXP3+ Treg cells in the intestine and protection in a colitis model. Thus, CREB is critical in autoimmune diseases by promoting Th17 cell and inhibiting de novo Treg cell generation.
Project description:Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are an immunosuppressive population that are identified based on the stable expression of the fate-determining transcription factor forkhead box P3 (Foxp3). Tregs can be divided into distinct subsets based on whether they developed in the thymus (tTregs) or in the periphery (pTregs). Whether there are unique functional roles that distinguish pTregs and tTregs remains largely unclear. To elucidate these functions, efforts have been made to specifically identify and modify individual Treg subsets. Deletion of the conserved non-coding sequence (CNS)1 in the Foxp3 locus leads to selective impairment of pTreg generation without disrupting tTreg generation in the C57BL/6J background. Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology, we removed the Foxp3 CNS1 region in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model of spontaneous type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) to determine if pTregs contribute to autoimmune regulation. Deletion of CNS1 impaired in vitro induction of Foxp3 in naïve NOD CD4+ T cells, but it did not alter Tregs in most lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues analyzed except for the large intestine lamina propria, where a small but significant decrease in ROR?t+ Tregs and corresponding increase in Helios+ Tregs was observed in NOD CNS1-/- mice. CNS1 deletion also did not alter the development of T1D or glucose tolerance despite increased pancreatic insulitis in pre-diabetic female NOD CNS1-/- mice. Furthermore, the proportions of autoreactive Tregs and conventional T cells (Tconvs) within pancreatic islets were unchanged. These results suggest that pTregs dependent on the Foxp3 CNS1 region are not the dominant regulatory population controlling T1D in the NOD mouse model.
Project description:Commensal bacteria shape the colonic regulatory T (Treg) cell population required for intestinal tolerance. However, little is known about this process. Here, we use the transfer of naive commensal-reactive transgenic T cells expressing colonic Treg T cell receptors (TCRs) to study peripheral Treg (pTreg) cell development in normal hosts. We found that T cells were activated primarily in the distal mesenteric lymph node. Treg cell induction was rapid, generating >40% Foxp3(+) cells 1 week after transfer. Contrary to prior reports, Foxp3(+) cells underwent the most cell divisions, demonstrating that pTreg cell generation can be the dominant outcome from naive T cell activation. Moreover, Notch2-dependent, but not Batf3-dependent, dendritic cells were involved in Treg cell selection. Finally, neither deletion of the conserved nucleotide sequence 1 (CNS1) region in Foxp3 nor blockade of TGF-? (transforming growth factor-?)-receptor signaling completely abrogated Foxp3 induction. Thus, these data show that pTreg cell selection to commensal bacteria is rapid, is robust, and may be specified by TGF-?-independent signals.