CRISPR/Cas9 Immunoengineering of Hoxb8-Immortalized Progenitor Cells for Revealing CCR7-Mediated Dendritic Cell Signaling and Migration Mechanisms in vivo.
ABSTRACT: To present antigens to cognate T cells, dendritic cells (DCs) exploit the chemokine receptor CCR7 to travel from peripheral tissue via afferent lymphatic vessels to directly enter draining lymph nodes through the floor of the subcapsular sinus. Here, we combined unlimited proliferative capacity of conditionally Hoxb8-immortalized hematopoietic progenitor cells with CRISPR/Cas9 technology to create a powerful experimental system to investigate DC migration and function. Hematopoietic progenitor cells from the bone marrow of Cas9-transgenic mice were conditionally immortalized by lentiviral transduction introducing a doxycycline-regulated form of the transcription factor Hoxb8 (Cas9-Hoxb8 cells). These cells could be stably cultured for weeks in the presence of doxycycline and puromycin, allowing us to introduce additional genetic modifications applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Importantly, modified Cas9-Hoxb8 cells retained their potential to differentiate in vitro into myeloid cells, and GM-CSF-differentiated Cas9-Hoxb8 cells showed the classical phenotype of GM-CSF-differentiated bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. Following intralymphatic delivery Cas9-Hoxb8 DCs entered the lymph node in a CCR7-dependent manner. Finally, we used two-photon microscopy and imaged Cas9-Hoxb8 DCs that expressed the genetic Ca2+ sensor GCaMP6S to visualize in real-time chemokine-induced Ca2+ signaling of lymph-derived DCs entering the LN parenchyma. Altogether, our study not only allows mechanistic insights in DC migration in vivo, but also provides a platform for the immunoengineering of DCs that, in combination with two-photon imaging, can be exploited to further dissect DC dynamics in vivo.
Project description:T cells play a vital role in eliminating pathogenic infections. To activate, naïve T cells search lymph nodes (LNs) for dendritic cells (DCs). Positioning and movement of T cells in LNs is influenced by chemokines including CCL21 as well as multiple cell types and structures in the LNs. Previous studies have suggested that T cell positioning facilitates DC colocalization leading to T:DC interaction. Despite the influence chemical signals, cells, and structures can have on naïve T cell positioning, relatively few studies have used quantitative measures to directly compare T cell interactions with key cell types. Here, we use Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) and normalized mutual information (NMI) to quantify the extent to which naïve T cells spatially associate with DCs, fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs), and blood vessels in LNs. We measure spatial associations in physiologically relevant regions. We find that T cells are more spatially associated with FRCs than with their ultimate targets, DCs. We also investigated the role of a key motility chemokine receptor, CCR7, on T cell colocalization with DCs. We find that CCR7 deficiency does not decrease naïve T cell association with DCs, in fact, CCR7<sup>-/-</sup> T cells show slightly higher DC association compared with wild type T cells. By revealing these associations, we gain insights into factors that drive T cell localization, potentially affecting the timing of productive T:DC interactions and T cell activation.
Project description:Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) is an inflammatory mediator often used to increase CCR7 expression in the dendritic cells (DCs) used as cancer vaccines and to enhance their responsiveness to lymph node-associated chemokines. Here, we show that high surface expression of CCR7 on PGE(2)-matured DCs is associated with their suppressed production of the endogenous CCR7 ligand, CCL19, and is reversible by exogenous CCL19. In contrast to the PGE(2)-matured DCs, DCs matured in the presence of toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands and interferons produce high levels of both CCL19 and CCR7 mRNA/protein, but show selectively reduced expression of surface CCR7, which is compensated after DC removal from the CCL19-rich maturation environment. In accordance with these findings, PGE(2)-matured DCs show significantly higher in vitro migratory responsiveness to lymph node-associated chemokines directly after DC generation, but not after additional short-term culture in vitro, nor in vivo in patients injected with (111)indium-labeled DCs. The differences in CCL19-producing ability imprinted during DC maturation result in their different abilities to attract CCR7(+) naive T cells. Our data help to explain the impact of PGE(2) on CCR7 expression in maturing DCs and demonstrate a novel mechanism of regulatory activity of PGE(2), mediated by the inhibition of DCs ability to attract naive T cells.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent and versatile professional antigen-presenting cells and central for the induction of adaptive immunity. The ability to migrate and transport peripherally acquired antigens to draining lymph nodes for subsequent cognate T cell priming is a key feature of DCs. Consequently, DC-based immunotherapies are used to elicit tumor-antigen specific T cell responses in cancer patients. Understanding chemokine-guided DC migration is critical to explore DCs as cellular vaccines for immunotherapeutic approaches. Currently, research is hampered by the lack of appropriate human cellular model systems to effectively study spatio-temporal signaling and CCR7-driven migration of human DCs. Here, we report that the previously established human neoplastic cell line CAL-1 expresses the human DC surface antigens CD11c and HLA-DR together with co-stimulatory molecules. Importantly, if exposed for three days to GM-CSF, CAL-1 cells induce the endogenous expression of the chemokine receptor CCR7 upon encountering the clinically approved TLR7/8 agonist Resiquimod R848 and readily migrate along chemokine gradients. Further, we demonstrate that CAL-1 cells can be genetically modified to express fluorescent (GFP)-tagged reporter proteins to study and visualize signaling or can be gene-edited using CRISPR/Cas9. Hence, we herein present the human CAL-1 cell line as versatile and valuable cellular model system to effectively study human DC migration and signaling.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen presenting cells that initiate specific immune responses against tumor cells. Transcription factor RBP-J-mediated Notch signaling regulates DC genesis, but whether this pathway regulates DC function in anti-tumor immunity remains unclear. In the present work we attempted to identify the role of Notch signaling in DC-mediated anti-tumor immune response. RESULTS: When DCs were co-inoculated together with tumor cells, while the control DCs repressed tumor growth, the RBP-J deficient DCs had lost tumor repression activity. This was most likely due to that DCs with the conditionally ablated RBP-J were unable to evoke anti-tumor immune responses in the solid tumors. Indeed, tumors containing the RBP-J deficient DCs had fewer infiltrating T-cells, B-cells and NK-cells. Similarly, the draining lymph nodes of the tumors with RBP-J-/- DCs were smaller in size, and contained fewer cells of the T, B and NK lineages, as compared with the controls. At the molecular level, the RBP-J deficient DCs expressed lower MHC II, CD80, CD86, and CCR7, resulting in inefficient DC migration and T-cell activation in vitro and in vivo. T-cells stimulated by the RBP-J deficient DCs did not possess efficient cytotoxicity against tumor cells, in contrast to the control DCs. CONCLUSION: The RBP-J-mediated Notch signaling is essential for DC-dependent anti-tumor immune responses. The deficiency of RBP-J impairs the DC-based anti-tumor immunity through affecting series of processes including maturation, migration, antigen presentation and T-cell activation. The Notch signaling pathway might be a target for the establishment of the DC-based anti-tumor immunotherapies.
Project description:IFN-beta is an approved therapeutic option for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of IFN-beta in multiple sclerosis are not fully understood. Migration of dendritic cells (DCs) from the inflammatory site to draining lymph nodes for Ag presentation and activation of naive T cells and to the CNS for reactivation of encephalitogenic T cells requires CCR7 and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 expression. This article reports for the first time that IFN-beta inhibits CCR7 expression and MMP-9 production in mature DCs and reduces their migratory capacity. The effect of IFN-beta is mediated through STAT-1. In vivo treatment with IFN-beta results in lower numbers of DCs migrating to the draining lymph node following exposure to FITC and in reduced expression of CCR7 and MMP-9 in splenic CD11c(+) DCs following LPS administration. IFN-beta and IFN-gamma share the same properties in terms of their effects on CCR7, MMP-9, and DC migration, but they have opposite effects on IL-12 production. In addition, IFN-beta-treated DCs have a significantly reduced capacity for activating CD4(+) T cells and generating IFN-gamma-producing Th1 cells. The suppression of mature DC migration through negative regulation of CCR7 and MMP-9 expression represents a novel mechanism for the therapeutic effect of IFN-beta.
Project description:The transcription factor FOXO1 regulates cell function and is expressed in dendritic cells (DCs). We investigated the role of FOXO1 in activating DCs to stimulate a lymphocyte response to bacteria. We show that bacteria induce FOXO1 nuclear localization through the MAPK pathway and demonstrate that FOXO1 is needed for DC activation of lymphocytes in vivo. This occurs through FOXO1 regulation of DC phagocytosis, chemotaxis, and DC-lymphocyte binding. FOXO1 induces DC activity by regulating ICAM-1 and CCR7. FOXO1 binds to the CCR7 and ICAM-1 promoters, stimulates CCR7 and ICAM-1 transcriptional activity, and regulates their expression. This is functionally important because transfection of DCs from FOXO1-deleted CD11c.Cre(+)FOXO1(L/L) mice with an ICAM-1-expressing plasmid rescues the negative effect of FOXO1 deletion on DC bacterial phagocytosis and chemotaxis. Rescue with both CCR7 and ICAM-1 reverses impaired DC homing to lymph nodes in vivo when FOXO1 is deleted. Moreover, Ab production following injection of bacteria is significantly reduced with lineage-specific FOXO1 ablation. Thus, FOXO1 coordinates upregulation of DC activity through key downstream target genes that are needed for DCs to stimulate T and B lymphocytes and generate an Ab defense to bacteria.
Project description:The cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been implicated in the initiation and progression of allergic inflammation through its ability to activate dendritic cells (DCs). However, the identity of the DC subset that responds to TSLP is not known. In this study we use a CCL17 reporter strain to identify the TSLP-responsive DC subset. In vitro, TSLP induced CD11b(high) DCs to express CCL17, to increase CCR7-mediated migration activity, and to drive Th2 differentiation of naive CD4 T cells. In vivo, following skin sensitization, we found that a subset of Ag-bearing CCL17(+)CD11b(high) migratory DCs, but not Ag-bearing CCL17(-) migratory DCs, in skin lymph nodes were capable of driving Th2 differentiation and were dramatically reduced in TSLPR-deficient mice. Taken together, these results demonstrate that TSLP activated a subset of CD11b(+) DCs in the skin to produce CCL17, upregulate CCR7, and migrate to the draining lymph node to initiate Th2 differentiation.
Project description:Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) play key roles in the differentiation of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). We examined the effect of treatment with M-CSF-containing macrophage medium or GM-CSF-containing DC medium upon the phenotype of murine bone marrow-derived macrophages and DCs. Culture of macrophages for 5 days in DC medium reduced F4/80 expression and increased CD11c expression with cells effectively stimulating T cell proliferation in a mixed lymphocyte reaction. DC medium treatment of macrophages significantly reduced phagocytosis of both apoptotic cells and latex beads and strongly induced the expression of the chemokine receptor CCR7 known to be involved in DC trafficking to lymph nodes. Lysates of obstructed murine kidneys expressed both M-CSF and GM-CSF though M-CSF expression was dominant (M-CSF:GM-CSF ratio ?30:1). However, combination treatment with both M-CSF and GM-CSF (ratio 30:1) indicated that small amounts of GM-CSF skewed macrophages towards a DC-like phenotype. To determine whether macrophage phenotype might be modulated in vivo we tracked CD45.1<sup>+</sup> bone marrow-derived macrophages intravenously administered to CD45.2<sup>+</sup> mice with unilateral ureteric obstruction. Flow cytometry of enzyme dissociated kidneys harvested 3 days later indicated CD11c and MHC Class II upregulation by adoptively transferred CD45.1<sup>+</sup> cells with CD45.1<sup>+</sup> cells evident in draining renal lymph nodes. Our data suggests that GM-CSF modulates mononuclear phagocyte plasticity, which likely promotes resolution of injury and healing in the injured kidney.
Project description:Antibodies are critical for defense against a variety of microbes, but they may also be pathogenic in some autoimmune diseases. Many effector functions of antibodies are mediated by Fc? receptors (Fc?Rs), which are found on most immune cells, including dendritic cells (DCs)-important antigen-presenting cells that play a central role in inducing antigen-specific tolerance or immunity. Following antigen acquisition in peripheral tissues, DCs migrate to draining lymph nodes via the lymphatics to present antigen to T cells. Here we demonstrate that Fc?R engagement by IgG immune complexes (ICs) stimulates DC migration from peripheral tissues to the paracortex of draining lymph nodes. In vitro, IC-stimulated mouse and human DCs showed greater directional migration in a chemokine (C-C) ligand 19 (CCL19) gradient and increased chemokine (C-C) receptor 7 (CCR7) expression. Using intravital two-photon microscopy, we observed that local administration of IC resulted in dermal DC mobilization. We confirmed that dermal DC migration to lymph nodes depended on CCR7 and increased in the absence of the inhibitory receptor Fc?RIIB. These observations have relevance to autoimmunity because autoantibody-containing serum from humans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and from a mouse model of SLE also increased dermal DC migration in vivo, suggesting that this process may occur in lupus, potentially driving the inappropriate localization of autoantigen-bearing DCs.
Project description:The migration of mature dendritic cells (DCs) into the draining lymph node (dLN) is thought to depend solely on the chemokine receptor CCR7. CD301b+ DCs migrate into the dLN after cutaneous allergen exposure and are required for T helper 2 (Th2) differentiation. We found that CD301b+ DCs poorly upregulated CCR7 expression after allergen exposure and required a second chemokine signal, mediated by CCR8 on CD301b+ DCs and its ligand CCL8, to exit the subcapsular sinus (SCS) and enter the lymph node (LN) parenchyma. After allergen exposure, CD169+SIGN-R1+ macrophages in interfollicular regions produced CCL8, which synergized with CCL21 in a Src-kinase-dependent manner to promote CD301b+ DC migration. In CCR8-deficient mice, CD301b+ DCs remained in the SCS and were unable to enter the LN parenchyma, resulting in defective Th2 differentiation. We have defined a CCR8-dependent stepwise mechanism of DC-subset-specific migration through which LN CD169+SIGN-R1+ macrophages control the polarization of the adaptive immune response.