Combination of Synthetic Long Peptides and XCL1 Fusion Proteins Results in Superior Tumor Control.
ABSTRACT: Cross-presenting Xcr1+CD8? DCs are attractive APCs to target for therapeutic cancer vaccines, as they are able to take up and process antigen from dying tumor cells for their MHCI-restricted presentation to CD8 T cells. To this aim, we developed fusion proteins made of the Xcr1 ligand Xcl1 fused to an OVA synthetic long peptide (SLP) and IgG1 Fc fragment. We demonstrated the specific binding and uptake of the Xcl1 fusion proteins by Xcr1+ DCs. Most importantly, their potent adjuvant effect on the H-2Kb/OVA specific T cell response was associated with a sustained tumor control even against the poorly immunogenic B16-OVA melanoma tumor. The increased tumor protection correlated with higher tumor infiltration of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, increased IFN? production and degranulation potential. Altogether, these results demonstrate that therapeutic cancer vaccines may be greatly improved by the combination of SLP antigen and Xcl1 fusion proteins.
Project description:Targeting antigen to surface receptors on dendritic cells (DCs) can improve antibody response against subunit vaccines. We have previously observed that human XCL1-fusion vaccines target murine Xcr1+ DCs without actively inducing endocytosis of the antigen, resulting in enhanced antibody responses in mice. However, the use of foreign chemokines for targeting is undesirable when translating this observation to human or veterinary medicine due to potential cross-reactive responses against the endogenous chemokine. Here we have identified a mutant version of murine Xcl1, labeled Xcl1(?1) owing to removal of a conserved valine in position 1 of the mature chemokine, that retains specific binding to Xcr1+ DCs without inducing endocytosis of the receptor. DNA immunization with Xcl1(?1) conjugated to influenza hemagglutinin (HA) induced improved antibody responses, with higher end point titers of IgG compared to WT Xcl1-HA. The Xcl1(?1) fusion vaccine also resulted in an increased number of HA reactive germinal center B cells with higher avidity toward the antigen, and serum transfer experiments show that Xcl1(?1)-HA induced antibody responses provided better protection against influenza infection as compared to WT Xcl1-HA. In summary, our observations indicate that targeting antigen to Xcr1+ DCs in an endocytosis deficient manner enhances antibody responses. This effect was obtained by introducing a single mutation to Xcl1, suggesting our strategy may easily be translated to human or veterinary vaccine settings.
Project description:The chemokine (C motif) receptor 1 (XCR1) and its ligandXCL1 have been intensively studied in the mouse and human immune systems. Here, we determined the molecular characteristics of cattle XCR1 and XCL1 and their distribution among peripheral blood cells. Cattle XCR1 mRNA expression was mainly restricted to CD26+CADM1+CD205+MHCII+CD11b- cells in blood that were otherwise lineage marker negative (lin-); these represented a subset of classic dendritic cells (DCs), not plasmacytoid DCs. Some of these DCs expressed CD11a, CD44, CD80 and CD86, but they did not express CD4, CD8, CD163 or CD172a. Cattle XCL1 was expressed in quiescent NK cells and in activated CD8+ T cells. Cattle XCR1+ DCs migrated chemotactically in response to mouse, but not to human, XCL1. The distribution characters of cattle XCR1 and XCL1 suggested a vital role in regulation of acquired immune responses and indicated a potential for a DC targeted veterinary vaccine in cattle using XCL1 fused antigens.
Project description:Intestinal immune homeostasis requires dynamic crosstalk between innate and adaptive immune cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) exist as multiple phenotypically and functionally distinct sub-populations within tissues, where they initiate immune responses and promote homeostasis. In the gut, there exists a minor DC subset defined as CD103(+)CD11b(-) that also expresses the chemokine receptor XCR1. In other tissues, XCR1(+) DCs cross-present antigen and contribute to immunity against viruses and cancer, however the roles of XCR1(+) DCs and XCR1 in the intestine are unknown. We showed that mice lacking XCR1(+) DCs are specifically deficient in intraepithelial and lamina propria (LP) T cell populations, with remaining T cells exhibiting an atypical phenotype and being prone to death, and are also more susceptible to chemically-induced colitis. Mice deficient in either XCR1 or its ligand, XCL1, similarly possess diminished intestinal T cell populations, and an accumulation of XCR1(+) DCs in the gut. Combined with transcriptome and surface marker expression analysis, these observations lead us to hypothesise that T cell-derived XCL1 facilitates intestinal XCR1(+) DC activation and migration, and that XCR1(+) DCs in turn provide support for T cell survival and function. Thus XCR1(+) DCs and the XCR1/XCL1 chemokine axis have previously-unappreciated roles in intestinal immune homeostasis.
Project description:Human BDCA3+ dendritic cells (DCs) were suggested to be homologous to mouse CD8alpha+ DCs. We demonstrate that human BDCA3+ DCs are more efficient than their BDCA1+ counterparts or plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in cross-presenting antigen and activating CD8+ T cells, which is similar to mouse CD8alpha+ DCs as compared with CD11b+ DCs or pDCs, although with more moderate differences between human DC subsets. Yet, no specific marker was known to be shared between homologous DC subsets across species. We found that XC chemokine receptor 1 (XCR1) is specifically expressed and active in mouse CD8alpha+, human BDCA3+, and sheep CD26+ DCs and is conserved across species. The mRNA encoding the XCR1 ligand chemokine (C motif) ligand 1 (XCL1) is selectively expressed in natural killer (NK) and CD8+ T lymphocytes at steady-state and is enhanced upon activation. Moreover, the Xcl1 mRNA is selectively expressed at high levels in central memory compared with naive CD8+ T lymphocytes. Finally, XCR1-/- mice have decreased early CD8+ T cell responses to Listeria monocytogenes infection, which is associated with higher bacterial loads early in infection. Therefore, XCR1 constitutes the first conserved specific marker for cell subsets homologous to mouse CD8alpha+ DCs in higher vertebrates and promotes their ability to activate early CD8+ T cell defenses against an intracellular pathogenic bacteria.
Project description:Chemokines are known to have a role in the nervous system, influencing a range of processes including the development of chronic pain. To date there are very few studies describing the functions of the chemokine lymphotactin (XCL1) or its receptor (XCR1) in the nervous system. We investigated the role of the XCL1-XCR1 axis in nociceptive processing, using a combination of immunohistochemical, pharmacological and electrophysiological techniques. Expression of XCR1 in the rat mental nerve was elevated 3?days following chronic constriction injury (CCI), compared with 11?days post-CCI and sham controls. XCR1 co-existed with neuronal marker PGP9.5, leukocyte common antigen CD45 and Schwann cell marker S-100. In the trigeminal root and white matter of the brainstem, XCR1-positive cells co-expressed the oligodendrocyte marker Olig2. In trigeminal subnucleus caudalis (Vc), XCR1 immunoreactivity was present in the outer laminae and was colocalized with vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGlut2), but not calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) or isolectin B4 (IB4). Incubation of brainstem slices with XCL1 induced activation of c-Fos, ERK and p38 in the superficial layers of Vc, and enhanced levels of intrinsic excitability. These effects were blocked by the XCR1 antagonist viral CC chemokine macrophage inhibitory protein-II (vMIP-II). This study has identified for the first time a role for XCL1-XCR1 in nociceptive processing, demonstrating upregulation of XCR1 at nerve injury sites and identifying XCL1 as a modulator of central excitability and signaling via XCR1 in Vc, a key area for modulation of orofacial pain, thus indicating XCR1 as a potential target for novel analgesics.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cancer peptide vaccines show only marginal effects against cancers. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) show significant curative effects in certain types of cancers, but the response rate is still limited. In this study, we aim to improve cancer peptide vaccination by targeting Ag peptides selectively to a dendritic cell (DC) subset, XCR1-expressing DCs (XCR1+ DCs), with high ability to support CD8+ T-cell responses. METHODS:We have generated a fusion protein, consisting of an Ag peptide presented with MHC class I, and an XCR1 ligand, XCL1, and examined its effects on antitumour immunity in mice. RESULTS:The fusion protein was delivered to XCR1+ DCs in an XCR1-dependent manner. Immunisation with the fusion protein plus an immune adjuvant, polyinosinic:polycytidylic acids (poly(I:C)), more potently induced Ag-specific CD8+ T-cell responses through XCR1 than the Ag peptide plus poly(I:C) or the Ag protein plus poly(I:C). The fusion protein plus poly(I:C) inhibited the tumour growth efficiently in the prophylactic and therapeutic tumour models. Furthermore, the fusion protein plus poly(I:C) showed suppressive effects on tumour growth in synergy with anti-PD-1 Ab. CONCLUSIONS:Cancer Ag targeting to XCR1+ DCs should be a promising procedure as a combination anticancer therapy with immune checkpoint blockade.
Project description:Adaptive cellular immunity is initiated by antigen-specific interactions between T lymphocytes and dendritic cells (DCs). Plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) support antiviral immunity by linking innate and adaptive immune responses. Here we examined pDC spatiotemporal dynamics during viral infection to uncover when, where, and how they exert their functions. We found that pDCs accumulated at sites of CD8+ T cell antigen-driven activation in a CCR5-dependent fashion. Furthermore, activated CD8+ T cells orchestrated the local recruitment of lymph node-resident XCR1 chemokine receptor-expressing DCs via secretion of the XCL1 chemokine. Functionally, this CD8+ T cell-mediated reorganization of the local DC network allowed for the interaction and cooperation of pDCs and XCR1+ DCs, thereby optimizing XCR1+ DC maturation and cross-presentation. These data support a model in which CD8+ T cells upon activation create their own optimal priming microenvironment by recruiting additional DC subsets to the site of initial antigen recognition.
Project description:Chemokines interact with their G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) through a two-step, two-site mechanism and, through this interaction, mediate various homeostatic and immune response mechanisms. Upon initial recognition of the chemokine by the receptor, the amino terminus of the chemokine inserts into the orthosteric pocket of the GPCR, causing conformational changes that trigger intracellular signaling. There is considerable structural and functional evidence to suggest that the amino acid composition and length of the chemokine amino terminus is critical for GPCR activation, complementing the size and amino acid composition of the orthosteric pocket. However, very few structures of a native chemokine-receptor complex have been solved. Here, we used a hybrid approach that combines structure-function data with Rosetta modeling to describe key contacts within a chemokine-GPCR interface. We found that the extreme amino-terminal residues of the chemokine XCL1 (Val1, Gly2, Ser3, and Glu4) contribute a large fraction of the binding energy to its receptor XCR1, whereas residues near the disulfide bond-forming residue Cys11 modulate XCR1 activation. Alterations in the XCL1 amino terminus changed XCR1 activation, as determined by assessing inositol triphosphate accumulation, intracellular calcium release, and directed cell migration. Computational analysis of XCL1-XCR1 interactions revealed functional contacts involving Glu4 of XCL1 and Tyr117 and Arg273 of XCR1. Subsequent mutation of Tyr117 and Arg273 led to diminished binding and activation of XCR1 by XCL1. These findings demonstrate the utility of a hybrid approach, using biological data and homology modeling, to study chemokine-GPCR interactions.
Project description:CD8+ T cells play a key role in the in vivo control of HIV-1 replication via their cytolytic activity as well as their ability to secrete non-lytic soluble suppressive factors. Although the chemokines that naturally bind CCR5 (CCL3/MIP-1?, CCL4/MIP- 1?, CCL5/RANTES) are major components of the CD8-derived anti-HIV activity, evidence indicates the existence of additional, still undefined, CD8-derived HIV-suppressive factors. Here, we report the characterization of a novel anti-HIV chemokine, XCL1/lymphotactin, a member of the C-chemokine family that is produced primarily by activated CD8+ T cells and behaves as a metamorphic protein, interconverting between two structurally distinct conformations (classic and alternative). We found that XCL1 inhibits a broad spectrum of HIV-1 isolates, irrespective of their coreceptor-usage phenotype. Experiments with stabilized variants of XCL1 demonstrated that HIV-1 inhibition requires access to the alternative, all-? conformation, which interacts with proteoglycans but does not bind/activate the specific XCR1 receptor, while the classic XCL1 conformation is inactive. HIV-1 inhibition by XCL1 was shown to occur at an early stage of infection, via blockade of viral attachment and entry into host cells. Analogous to the recently described anti-HIV effect of the CXC chemokine CXCL4/PF4, XCL1-mediated inhibition is associated with direct interaction of the chemokine with the HIV-1 envelope. These results may open new perspectives for understanding the mechanisms of HIV-1 control and reveal new molecular targets for the design of effective therapeutic and preventive strategies against HIV-1.
Project description:Fusing antigens to chemokines to target antigen presenting cells (APC) is a promising method for enhancing immunogenicity of DNA vaccines. However, it is unclear how different chemokines compare in terms of immune potentiating effects. Here we compare Ccl3- and Xcl1-fusion vaccines containing hemagglutinin (HA) from influenza A delivered by intramuscular (i.m.) or intradermal (i.d.) DNA vaccination. Xcl1 fusion vaccines target cDC1s, and enhance proliferation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in vitro. In contrast, Ccl3 target both cDC1 and cDC2, but only enhance CD4+ T cell proliferation in combination with cDC2. When Ccl3- or Xcl1-HA fusion vaccines were administered by i.m. DNA immunization, both vaccines induced Th1-polarized immune responses with antibodies of the IgG2a/IgG2b subclass and IFN?-secreting T cells. After i.d. DNA vaccination, however, only Xcl1-HA maintained a Th1 polarized response and induced even higher numbers of IFN?-secreting T cells. Consequently, Xcl1-HA induced superior protection against influenza infection compared to Ccl3-HA after i.d. immunization. Interestingly, i.m. immunization with Ccl3-HA induced the strongest overall in vivo cytotoxicity, despite not inducing OT-I proliferation in vitro. In summary, our results highlight important differences between Ccl3- and Xcl1- targeted DNA vaccines suggesting that chemokine fusion vaccines can be tailor-made for different diseases.