CCR7 defines a precursor for murine iNKT cells in thymus and periphery.
ABSTRACT: The precise steps of iNKT subset differentiation in the thymus and periphery have been controversial. We demonstrate here that the small proportion of thymic iNKT and mucosal associated invariant T cells that express CCR7 represent a multi-potent progenitor pool that gives rise to effector subsets within the thymus. Using intra-thymic labeling, we also showed that CCR7+ iNKT cells emigrate from the thymus in a Klf2 dependent manner, and undergo further maturation after reaching the periphery. Ccr7 deficiency impaired differentiation of iNKT effector subsets and localization to the medulla. Parabiosis and intra-thymic transfer showed that thymic NKT1 and NKT17 were resident-they were not derived from and did not contribute to the peripheral pool. Finally, each thymic iNKT effector subset produces distinct factors that influence T cell development. Our findings demonstrate how the thymus is both a source of iNKT progenitors and a unique site of tissue dependent effector cell differentiation.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells recognize glycolipids as antigens and diversify into NKT1 (IFN-?), NKT2 (IL-4), and NKT17 (IL-17) functional subsets while developing in the thymus. Mechanisms that govern the balance between these functional subsets are poorly understood due, partly, to the lack of distinguishing surface markers. Here we identify the heparan sulfate proteoglycan syndecan-1 (sdc1) as a specific marker of naïve thymic NKT17 cells in mice and show that sdc1 deficiency significantly increases thymic NKT17 cells at the expense of NKT1 cells, leading to impaired iNKT cell-derived IFN-?, both in vitro and in vivo. Using surface expression of sdc1 to identify NKT17 cells, we confirm differential tissue localization and interstrain variability of NKT17 cells, and reveal that NKT17 cells express high levels of TCR-?, preferentially use V?8, and are more highly sensitive to ?-GalCer than to CD3/CD28 stimulation. These findings provide a novel, noninvasive, simple method for identification, and viable sorting of naïve NKT17 cells from unmanipulated mice, and suggest that sdc1 expression negatively regulates homeostasis in iNKT cells. In addition, these findings lay the groundwork for investigating the mechanisms by which sdc1 regulates NKT17 cells.
Project description:Various subsets of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells with different cytokine productions develop in the mouse thymus, but the factors driving their differentiation remain unclear. Here we show that hypomorphic alleles of Zap70 or chemical inhibition of Zap70 catalysis leads to an increase of IFN-?-producing iNKT cells (NKT1 cells), suggesting that NKT1 cells may require a lower TCR signal threshold. Zap70 mutant mice develop IL-17-dependent arthritis. In a mouse experimental arthritis model, NKT17 cells are increased as the disease progresses, while NKT1 numbers negatively correlates with disease severity, with this protective effect of NKT1 linked to their IFN-? expression. NKT1 cells are also present in the synovial fluid of arthritis patients. Our data therefore suggest that TCR signal strength during thymic differentiation may influence not only IFN-? production, but also the protective function of iNKT cells in arthritis.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells develop into three subsets (NKT1, NKT2, and NKT17) expressing a distinct transcription factor profile, which regulates cytokine secretion upon activation. iNKT cell development in the thymus is modulated by signaling lymphocytic activation molecule family (SLAMF) receptors. In contrast to other SLAMF members, Ly9 (SLAMF3) is a non-redundant negative regulator of iNKT cell development. Here, we show that Ly9 influences iNKT cell lineage differentiation. Ly9-deficient mice on a BALB/c background contained a significantly expanded population of thymic NKT2 cells, while NKT1 cells were nearly absent in BALB/c.Ly9-/- thymus. Conversely, the number of peripheral NKT1 cells in BALB/c.Ly9-/- mice was comparable to that in wild-type mice, indicating that the homeostasis of the different iNKT cell subsets may have distinct requirements depending on their tissue localization. Importantly, Ly9 absence also promoted NKT2 cell differentiation in the NKT1-skewed C57BL/6 background. Furthermore, treatment of wild-type mice with an agonistic monoclonal antibody directed against Ly9 impaired IL-4 and IFN-? production and reduced by half the number of spleen iNKT cells, with a significant decrease in the proportion of NKT2 cells. Thus, anti-Ly9 targeting could represent a novel therapeutic approach to modulate iNKT cell numbers and activation.
Project description:The thymus supports multiple ?? T cell lineages that are functionally distinct, but mechanisms that control this multifaceted development are poorly understood. Here we examine medullary thymic epithelial cell (mTEC) heterogeneity and its influence on CD1d-restricted iNKT cells. We find three distinct mTEClow subsets distinguished by surface, intracellular and secreted molecules, and identify LT?R as a cell-autonomous controller of their development. Importantly, this mTEC heterogeneity enables the thymus to differentially control iNKT sublineages possessing distinct effector properties. mTEC expression of LT?R is essential for the development thymic tuft cells which regulate NKT2 via IL-25, while LT?R controls CD104+CCL21+ mTEClow that are capable of IL-15-transpresentation for regulating NKT1 and NKT17. Finally, mTECs regulate both iNKT-mediated activation of thymic dendritic cells, and iNKT availability in extrathymic sites. In conclusion, mTEC specialization controls intrathymic iNKT cell development and function, and determines iNKT pool size in peripheral tissues.
Project description:Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are a unique lineage with characteristics of both adaptive and innate lymphocytes, and they recognize glycolipids presented by an MHC class I-like CD1d molecule. During thymic development, iNKT cells also differentiate into NKT1, NKT2, and NKT17 functional subsets that preferentially produce cytokines IFN-?, IL-4, and IL-17, respectively, upon activation. Newly selected iNKT cells undergo a burst of proliferation, which is defective in mice with a specific deletion of NKAP in the iNKT cell lineage, leading to severe reductions in thymic and peripheral iNKT cell numbers. The decreased cell number is not due to defective homeostasis or increased apoptosis, and it is not rescued by Bcl-xL overexpression. NKAP is also required for differentiation into NKT17 cells, but NKT1 and NKT2 cell development and function are unaffected. This failure in NKT17 development is rescued by transgenic expression of promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger; however, the promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger transgene does not restore iNKT cell numbers or the block in positive selection into the iNKT cell lineage in CD4-cre NKAP conditional knockout mice. Therefore, NKAP regulates multiple steps in iNKT cell development and differentiation.
Project description:Functional subsets of iNKT cells, NKT1, NKT2 and NKT17, have been reported to arise during the thymus to peripheral differentiation stages. The key transcription factors for NKT1, NKT2 and NKT17 development in the thymus have been identified as T-bet, Gata3 and Rorγt, respectively. In contrast, these iNKT cell subsets can also undergo further differentiation in the periphery. Eomesodermin (Eomes) is a T-box transcription factor with high homology to T-bet and is expressed by activated CD8+ T cells as well as in resting and activated NK cells. However, its role in invariant (i)NKT cells remains unknown. Here, we show the impact of Eomes on iNKT cells in the thymus and peripheral tissue using conditional knockout (Eomes-cKO) mice. Eomes regulates the differentiation of NKT1 cells in the thymus. In the peripheral tissue, Klrg1+ iNKT1 cells are generated in lung after vaccination with -GalCer-pulsed DCs (DC/Gal) as memory like iNKT cells. In the current study, we found that Eomes also regulates their differentiation into memory-like KLRG1+iNKT cells in the periphery. Overall design: RNA-seq of invariant Natural Killer T cell population in steady state and primed state from 2 genotypes of mice
Project description:Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells recently were classified into NKT1, NKT2, and NKT17 lineages with distinct transcription factor and cytokine profiles, but the mechanisms underlying such fate decisions remain elusive. In this article, we report crucial roles for mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, especially mTORC2, in iNKT cell development and fate determination of NKT17 cells. Loss of Rictor, an obligatory component of mTORC2, decreased thymic and peripheral iNKT cells, which was associated with defective survival. Strikingly, Rictor deficiency selectively abolished the NKT17 lineage, as indicated by a marked reduction in ROR?t and IL-17 expression. Moreover, deletion of phosphatase and tensin homolog (Pten) upregulated mTORC2 activity and enhanced NKT17 generation, but concomitant loss of Rictor reversed the NKT17 dysregulation. In contrast, mTORC1 regulators Raptor and Rheb are dispensable for NKT17 differentiation, despite their importance in iNKT cell thymic development. Our findings establish pivotal and unique roles for mTORC2 signaling, which is reciprocally regulated by Rictor and Pten, in NKT17 lineage determination.
Project description:Eomes regulates the differentiation of CD8+ T cells into effector and memory phases. However, its role in invariant (i)NKT cells remains unknown. Here, we show the impact of Eomes on iNKT cells in the thymus and peripheral tissue using conditional knockout (Eomes-cKO) mice. In the thymus, CD1d-tetramer+CD24+CD44-NK1.1-CD69+stage 0 iNKT cells express higher levels of Eomes than the other iNKT stages. We also found that Eomes regulates NKT1 cell differentiation predominantly. Interestingly, the expression of Eomes in the steady state is low, but can be upregulated after TCR stimulation. We also showed epigenetic changes in the Eomes locus after activation. In addition, vaccination of C57BL/6, but not Eomes-cKO mice with iNKT ligand-loaded dendritic cells generated KLRG1+iNKT cells in lung, characterized as effector memory phenotype by transcriptome profiling. Thus, Eomes regulates not only the differentiation of NKT1 cells in the thymus, but also their differentiation into memory-like KLRG1+iNKT cells in the periphery.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are abundant T cells with unique specificity for microbial metabolites. MAIT conservation along evolution indicates important functions, but their low frequency in mice has hampered their detailed characterization. Here, we performed the first transcriptomic analysis of murine MAIT cells. MAIT1 (ROR?tneg) and MAIT17 (ROR?t+) subsets were markedly distinct from mainstream T cells, but quasi-identical to NKT1 and NKT17 subsets. The expression of similar programs was further supported by strong correlations of MAIT and NKT frequencies in various organs. In both mice and humans, MAIT subsets expressed gene signatures associated with tissue residency. Accordingly, parabiosis experiments demonstrated that MAIT and NKT cells are resident in the spleen, liver, and lungs, with LFA1/ICAM1 interactions controlling MAIT1 and NKT1 retention in spleen and liver. The transcriptional program associated with tissue residency was already expressed in thymus, as confirmed by adoptive transfer experiments. Altogether, shared thymic differentiation processes generate "preset" NKT and MAIT subsets with defined effector functions, associated with specific positioning into tissues.
Project description:Three subsets of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells have been identified, NKT1, NKT2, and NKT17, which produce distinct cytokines when stimulated, but little is known about their localization. Here, we have defined the anatomic localization and systemic distribution of these subsets and measured their cytokine production. Thymic NKT2 cells that produced interleukin-4 (IL-4) at steady state were located in the medulla and conditioned medullary thymocytes. NKT2 cells were abundant in the mesenteric lymph node (LN) of BALB/c mice and produced IL-4 in the T cell zone that conditioned other lymphocytes. Intravenous injection of ?-galactosylceramide activated NKT1 cells with vascular access, but not LN or thymic NKT cells, resulting in systemic interferon-? and IL-4 production, while oral ?-galactosylceramide activated NKT2 cells in the mesenteric LN, resulting in local IL-4 release. These findings indicate that the localization of iNKT cells governs their cytokine response both at steady state and upon activation.