Engineering release kinetics with polyelectrolyte multilayers to modulate TLR signaling and promote immune tolerance.
ABSTRACT: Autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, occur when immune cells fail to recognize "self" molecules. Recently, studies have revealed aberrant inflammatory signaling through pathogen sensing pathways, such as toll-like receptors (TLRs), during autoimmune disease. Therapeutic inhibition of these pathways might attenuate disease development, skewing disease-causing inflammatory cells towards cell types that promote tolerance. Delivering antagonistic ligands to a TLR upstream of an inflammatory signaling cascade, TLR9, has demonstrated exciting potential in a mouse model of MS; however, strategies that enable sustained delivery could reduce the need for repeated administration or enhance therapeutic efficacy. We hypothesized that GpG - an oligonucleotide TLR9 antagonist - which is inherently anionic, could be self-assembled into polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) with a cationic, degradable poly(?-amino ester) (Poly1). We hypothesized that degradable Poly1/GpG PEMs could promote sustained release of GpG and modulate inflammatory immune cell functions. Here we demonstrate layer-by-layer assembly of degradable PEMs, as well as subsequent degradation and release of GpG. Following assembly and release, GpG maintains the ability to reduce dendritic cell activation and inflammatory cytokine secretion, restrain TLR9 signaling, and polarize myelin specific T cells towards regulatory phenotypes and functions in primarily immune cells. These results indicate that degradable PEMs may be able to promote tolerogenic immune function in the context of autoimmunity.
Project description:Recent studies demonstrate that excess signaling through inflammatory pathways (e.g., toll-like receptors, TLRs) contributes to the pathogenesis of human autoimmune diseases, including lupus, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS). We hypothesized that codelivery of a regulatory ligand of TLR9, GpG oligonucleotide, along with myelin-the "self" molecule attacked in MS-might restrain the pro-inflammatory signaling typically present during myelin presentation, redirecting T cell differentiation away from inflammatory populations and toward tolerogenic phenotypes such as regulatory T cells. Here we show that myelin peptide and GpG can be used as modular building blocks for co-assembly into immune polyelectrolyte multilayers (iPEMs). These nanostructured capsules mimic attractive features of biomaterials, including tunable cargo loading and codelivery, but eliminate all carriers and synthetic polymers, components that often exhibit intrinsic inflammatory properties that could exacerbate autoimmune disease. In vitro, iPEMs assembled from myelin and GpG oligonucleotide, but not myelin and a control oligonucleotide, restrain TLR9 signaling, reduce dendritic cell activation, and polarize myelin-specific T cells toward tolerogenic phenotype and function. In mice, iPEMs blunt myelin-triggered inflammatory responses, expand regulatory T cells, and eliminate disease in a common model of MS. Finally, in samples from human MS patients, iPEMs bias myelin-triggered immune cell function toward tolerance. This work represents a unique opportunity to use PEMs to regulate immune function and promote tolerance, supporting iPEMs as a carrier-free platform to alter TLR function to reduce inflammation and combat autoimmunity.
Project description:Endosomal TLRs play an important role in systemic autoimmune diseases, such as systemic erythematosus lupus, in which DNA- and RNA-associated autoantigens activate autoreactive B cells through TLR9- and TLR7-dependent pathways. Nevertheless, TLR9-deficient autoimmune-prone mice develop more severe clinical disease, whereas TLR7-deficient and TLR7/9-double deficient autoimmune-prone mice develop less severe disease. To determine whether the regulatory activity of TLR9 is B cell intrinsic, we directly compared the functional properties of autoantigen-activated wild-type, TLR9-deficient, and TLR7-deficient B cells in an experimental system in which proliferation depends on BCR/TLR coengagement. In vitro, TLR9-deficient cells are less dependent on survival factors for a sustained proliferative response than are either wild-type or TLR7-deficient cells. The TLR9-deficient cells also preferentially differentiate toward the plasma cell lineage, as indicated by expression of CD138, sustained expression of IRF4, and other molecular markers of plasma cells. In vivo, autoantigen-activated TLR9-deficient cells give rise to greater numbers of autoantibody-producing cells. Our results identify distinct roles for TLR7 and TLR9 in the differentiation of autoreactive B cells that explain the capacity of TLR9 to limit, as well as TLR7 to promote, the clinical features of systemic erythematosus lupus.
Project description:Monocytes are innate immune cells that interact with their environment through the expression of pattern recognition receptors, including Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Both monocytes and TLRs are implicated in driving persistent inflammation in autoimmune diseases. However, cell-intrinsic mechanisms to control inflammation, including TLR tolerance, are thought to limit inflammatory responses in the face of repeated TLR activation, leaving it unclear how chronic TLR-mediated inflammation is maintained in vivo. Herein, we used a well-characterized model of systemic inflammation to determine the mechanisms allowing sustained TLR9 responses to develop in vivo. Monocytes were identified as the main TLR9-responsive cell and accumulated in peripherally inflamed tissues during TLR9-driven inflammation. Intriguingly, canonical mechanisms controlling monocyte production and localization were altered during the systemic inflammatory response, as accumulation of monocytes in the liver and spleen developed in the absence of dramatic increases in bone marrow monocyte progenitors and was independent of chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (Ccr2). Instead, TLR9-driven inflammation induced a Ccr2-independent expansion of functionally enhanced extramedullary myeloid progenitors that correlated with the peripheral accumulation of monocytes in both wild-type and Ccr2(-/-) mice. Our data implicate inflammation-induced extramedullary monocytopoiesis as a peripheral source of newly produced TLR9 responsive monocytes capable of sustaining chronic TLR9 responses in vivo. These findings help to explain how chronic TLR-mediated inflammation may be perpetuated in autoimmune diseases and increase our understanding of how monocytes are produced and positioned during systemic inflammatory responses.
Project description:Endosomal Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play an important role in the etiology of systemic autoimmune diseases such as SLE, where DNA- and RNA-associated autoantigens activate autoreactive B cells through TLR9- and TLR7-dependent pathways, respectively. Nevertheless, TLR9-deficient autoimmune prone mice develop more severe clinical disease, while TLR7-deficient and TLR7/9-double deficient autoimmune-prone mice develop less severe disease. To determine whether the regulatory activity of TLR9 is B cell intrinsic, we have now directly compared the functional properties of autoantigen activated WT, TLR9-deficient and TLR7-deficient B cells, in an experimental system where proliferation depends on BCR/TLR co-engagement. In vitro, TLR9-deficient cells are less dependent on survival factors for a sustained proliferative response than either WT or TLR7-deficient cells. The TLR9-deficient cells also preferentially differentiate toward the plasma cell lineage, as indicated by expression of CD138, sustained expression of IRF4, and other molecular markers of plasma cells. In vivo, autoantigen-activated TLR9-deficient cells give rise to greater numbers of autoantibody producing cells. Our results identify distinct roles for TLR7 and TLR9 in the differentiation of autoreactive B cells that explain the capacity of TLR9 to limit, and TLR7 to promote, the clinical features of SLE. AM14 WT, Tlr7-/-, Tlr9-/- and Tlr7/9-/- B cells were stimulated with PL2-3 for 0, 6, 24, and 42 hours, for a total of 16 samples.
Project description:We report an approach to the rapid release of DNA based on the application of electrochemical potentials to surfaces coated with polyelectrolyte-based thin films. We fabricated multilayered polyelectrolyte films (or "polyelectrolyte multilayers", PEMs) using plasmid DNA and a model hydrolytically degradable cationic poly(?-amino ester) (polymer 1) on stainless steel substrates using a layer-by-layer approach. The application of continuous reduction potentials in the range of -1.1 to -0.7 V (vs a Ag/AgCl electrode) to film-coated electrodes in PBS at 37 °C resulted in the complete release of DNA over a period of 1-2 min. Film-coated electrodes incubated under identical conditions in the absence of applied potentials required 1-2 days for complete release. Control over the magnitude of the applied potential provided control over the rate at which DNA was released. The results of these and additional physical characterization experiments are consistent with a mechanism of film disruption that is promoted by local increases in pH at the film/electrode interface (resulting from electrochemical reduction of water or dissolved oxygen) that disrupt ionic interactions in these materials. The results of cell-based experiments demonstrated that DNA was released in a form that remains intact and able to promote transgene expression in mammalian cells. Finally, we demonstrate that short-term (i.e., non-continuous) electrochemical treatments can also be used to promote faster film erosion (e.g., over 1-2 h) once the potential is removed. Past studies demonstrate that PEMs fabricated using polymer 1 can promote surface-mediated transfection of cells and tissues in vitro and in vivo. With further development, the electrochemical approaches reported here could thus provide new methods for the rapid, triggered, or spatially patterned transfer of DNA (or other agents) from surfaces of interest in a variety of fundamental and applied contexts.
Project description:We report the synthesis of a fluorescently end-labeled analog of a synthetic and degradable cationic poly(?-amino ester) (PBAE; polymer 1) used in past studies for the delivery of DNA and the layer-by-layer assembly of erodible polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs). The synthesis of an analog of polymer 1 having acrylate functionalized end groups provided a platform for the introduction of fluorescent labels by post-polymerization conjugate addition of amine-functionalized fluorophores. This approach enabled the synthesis of fluorescently end-labeled polymer (polymer 1(FL)) with molecular weights and polydispersities (M(n) = 18,000; PDI ~1.8) similar to those used in past studies for the fabrication of PEMs using polymer 1. Layer-by-layer assembly of PEMs using polymer 1(FL) and poly(styrene sulfonate) enabled characterization of film erosion and, for the first time, direct observation of the release of cationic polymer from these assemblies using fluorescence microscopy and fluorometry. Our results shed new light on the behaviors of the cationic components of these PEMs and could prove useful for the design of thin films for a range of different controlled release applications. Our results also provide new fluorescent cationic polymer probes that could be useful for characterization of the behaviors of PBAEs in other fundamental or applied biotechnological contexts.
Project description:Polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) fabricated from cationic polymers and DNA have been investigated broadly as materials for surface-mediated DNA delivery. One attractive aspect of this "multilayered" approach is the potential to exploit the presence of cationic polymer "layers" in these films to deliver DNA to cells more effectively. Past studies demonstrate that these films can promote transgene expression in vitro and in vivo, but significant questions remain regarding roles that the cationic polymers could play in promoting the internalization and processing of DNA. Here, we report physicochemical and in vitro cell-based characterization of DNA-containing PEMs fabricated using fluorescently end-labeled derivatives of a degradable polycation (polymer 1) used in past studies of surface-mediated transfection. This approach permitted simultaneous characterization of polymer and DNA in solution and in cells using fluorescence-based techniques, and provided information about the locations and behaviors of polymer 1 that could not be obtained using other methods. LSCM and flow cytometry experiments revealed that polymer 1 and DNA released from film-coated objects were both internalized extensively by cells and that they were colocalized to a significant extent inside cells (e.g., ~58% of DNA was colocalized with polymer). Fluorescence anisotropy measurements of solutions containing partially eroded films were also consistent with the presence of aggregates of polymer 1 and DNA in solution (e.g., after release from surfaces, but prior to internalization by cells). Our results support the view that polymer 1, which is incorporated into these materials as "layers" rather than as part of optimized, preformed "polyplexes", can act to promote or enhance surface-mediated DNA delivery. More broadly, our results suggest opportunities to improve the delivery properties of DNA-containing PEMs by incorporation of additional "layers" of other conventional cationic polymers designed to address specific intracellular barriers to transfection, such as endosomal escape, more effectively.
Project description:We report an approach to the design of degradable polyelectrolyte-based films for the controlled release of siRNA from surfaces. Our approach is based on stepwise, layer-by-layer assembly of multilayered polyelectrolyte films (or "polyelectrolyte multilayers", PEMs) using siRNA and a hydrolytically degradable poly(?-amino ester) (polymer 1). Fabrication of films using siRNA sequences for green fluorescent protein (GFP) or firefly luciferase resulted in linear growth of ultrathin films (?50 nm thick) that promoted the surface-mediated release of siRNA upon incubation in physiologically relevant media. Physicochemical characterization of these siRNA-containing films revealed large differences in film growth profiles, physical erosion profiles, and siRNA release profiles as compared to PEMs fabricated using polymer 1 and larger plasmid DNA constructs. For example, whereas films fabricated using plasmid DNA erode gradually and release DNA over a period of ?48 h, films fabricated using siRNA released ?65% of incorporated siRNA within the first hour of incubation, prior to the onset of any observed film erosion. This initial burst of release was followed by a second, slower phase of release (accompanied by gradual film erosion) over the next 23 h. These differences in release profiles and other behaviors likely result, at least in part, from large differences in the sizes of siRNA and plasmid DNA. Finally, we demonstrate that the siRNA in these films is released in a form that remains intact, functional, and able to silence targeted protein expression upon administration to mammalian cells in vitro. The results of this investigation provide a platform for the design of thin films and coatings that could be used to localize the release of siRNA from surfaces in a variety of fundamental and applied contexts (e.g., for development of new research tools or approaches to delivery from film-coated implants and other devices).
Project description:Growing evidence suggests that damage-associated molecule patterns (DAMPs) and their receptors, pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), are associated with the progression of cardiometabolic disorders, including obesity-related insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Cardiometabolic disorders share sterile chronic inflammation as a major cause; however, the exact mechanisms are still obscure. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), one of the nucleic acid-sensing TLRs, recognizes DNA fragments derived from pathogens and contributes to self-defense by activation of the innate immune system. In addition, previous studies demonstrated that TLR9 recognizes DNA fragments released from host cells, accelerating sterile inflammation, which is associated with inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune diseases. In obese adipose tissue and atherosclerotic vascular tissue, various stresses release DNA fragments and/or nuclear proteins as DAMPs from degenerated adipocytes and vascular cells. Recent studies indicated that the activation of TLR9 in immune cells including macrophages and dendritic cells by recognition of these DAMPs promotes inflammation in these tissues, which causes cardiometabolic disorders. This review discusses recent advances in understanding the role of sterile inflammation associated with TLR9 and its endogenous ligands in cardiometabolic disorders. New insights into innate immunity may provide better understanding of cardiometabolic disorders and new therapeutic options for these major health threats in recent decades.
Project description:TLR3, TLR7, and TLR9 stimulation induces many mouse inflammatory and autoimmune cytokines or immune receptors DRGN were cultures 5 days prior to a 16 hour stimulation - Three separate studies were analyzed for inflammatory response