Staphylococcal and Streptococcal Superantigens Trigger B7/CD28 Costimulatory Receptor Engagement to Hyperinduce Inflammatory Cytokines.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcal and streptococcal superantigens are virulence factors that cause toxic shock by hyperinducing inflammatory cytokines. Effective T-cell activation requires interaction between the principal costimulatory receptor CD28 and its two coligands, B7-1 (CD80) and B7-2 (CD86). To elicit an inflammatory cytokine storm, bacterial superantigens must bind directly into the homodimer interfaces of CD28 and B7-2. Recent evidence revealed that by engaging CD28 and B7-2 directly at their dimer interface, staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) potently enhances intercellular synapse formation mediated by B7-2 and CD28, resulting in T-cell hyperactivation. Here, we addressed the question, whether diverse bacterial superantigens share the property of triggering B7-2/CD28 receptor engagement and if so, whether they are capable of enhancing also the interaction between B7-1 and CD28, which occurs with an order-of-magnitude higher affinity. To this end, we compared the ability of distinct staphylococcal and streptococcal superantigens to enhance intercellular B7-2/CD28 engagement. Each of these diverse superantigens promoted B7-2/CD28 engagement to a comparable extent. Moreover, they were capable of triggering the intercellular B7-1/CD28 interaction, analyzed by flow cytometry of co-cultured cell populations transfected separately to express human CD28 or B7-1. Streptococcal mitogenic exotoxin Z (SMEZ), the most potent superantigen known, was as sensitive as SEB, SEA and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) to inhibition of inflammatory cytokine induction by CD28 and B7-2 dimer interface mimetic peptides. Thus, superantigens act not only by mediating unconventional interaction between MHC-II molecule and T-cell receptor but especially, by strongly promoting engagement of CD28 by its B7-2 and B7-1 coligands, a critical immune checkpoint, forcing the principal costimulatory axis to signal excessively. Our results show that the diverse superantigens use a common mechanism to subvert the inflammatory response, strongly enhancing B7-1/CD28 and B7-2/CD28 costimulatory receptor engagement.
Project description:Formation of the costimulatory axis between the B7-2 and CD28 coreceptors is critical for T-cell activation. Superantigens, Gram-positive bacterial virulence factors, cause toxic shock and sepsis by hyperinducing inflammatory cytokines. We report a novel role for costimulatory receptors CD28 and B7-2 as obligatory receptors for superantigens, rendering them therapeutic targets. We show that by engaging not only CD28 but also its coligand B7-2 directly, superantigens potently enhance the interaction between B7-2 and CD28, inducing thereby T-cell hyperactivation. Using a conserved twelve amino-acid domain, superantigens engage both B7-2 and CD28 at their homodimer interfaces, sites far removed from where these receptors interact, implying that inflammatory signaling can be controlled through the receptor homodimer interfaces. Short B7-2 and CD28 dimer interface mimetic peptides bind diverse superantigens, prevent superantigen binding to cell-surface B7-2 or CD28, attenuate inflammatory cytokine overexpression, and protect mice from lethal superantigen challenge. Thus, superantigens induce a cytokine storm by mediating not only the interaction between MHC-II molecule and T-cell receptor but critically, by promoting B7-2/CD28 coreceptor engagement, forcing the principal costimulatory axis to signal excessively. Our findings highlight the B7/CD28 interaction as a bottleneck in signaling for expression of inflammatory cytokines. B7-2 and CD28 homodimer interface mimetic peptides prevent superantigen lethality by blocking the superantigen-host costimulatory receptor interaction.
Project description:Full T-cell activation requires interaction between the costimulatory receptors B7-2 and CD28. By binding CD28, bacterial superantigens elicit harmful inflammatory cytokine overexpression through an unknown mechanism. We show that, by engaging not only CD28 but also its coligand B7-2 directly, superantigens potently enhance the avidity between B7-2 and CD28, inducing thereby T-cell hyperactivation. Using the same 12-aa ?-strand-hinge-?-helix domain, superantigens engage both B7-2 and CD28 at their homodimer interfaces, areas remote from where these coreceptors interact, implying that inflammatory signaling can be controlled through the receptor homodimer interfaces. Short B7-2 dimer interface mimetic peptides bind diverse superantigens, prevent superantigen binding to cell-surface B7-2 or CD28, attenuate inflammatory cytokine overexpression, and protect mice from lethal superantigen challenge. Thus, superantigens induce a cytokine storm not only by mediating the interaction between MHC-II molecule and T-cell receptor but also, critically, by promoting B7-2/CD28 coreceptor engagement, forcing the principal costimulatory axis to signal excessively. Our results reveal a role for B7-2 as obligatory receptor for superantigens. B7-2 homodimer interface mimotopes prevent superantigen lethality by blocking the superantigen-host costimulatory receptor interaction.
Project description:Every adaptive immune response requires costimulation through the B7/CD28 axis, with CD28 on T-cells functioning as principal costimulatory receptor. Staphylococcal and streptococcal superantigen toxins hyperstimulate the T-cell-mediated immune response by orders of magnitude, inducing a lethal cytokine storm. We show that to elicit an inflammatory cytokine storm and lethality, superantigens must bind directly to CD28. Blocking access of the superantigen to its CD28 receptor with peptides mimicking the contact domains in either toxin or CD28 suffices to protect mice effectively from lethal shock. Our finding that CD28 is a direct receptor of superantigen toxins broadens the scope of microbial pathogen recognition mechanisms.
Project description:The inflammatory activity of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) relies on its capacity to trigger polyclonal T-cell activation by binding both T-cell receptor (TCR) and costimulatory receptor CD28 on T cells and MHC class II and B7 molecules on antigen presenting cells (APC). Previous studies highlighted that SEB may bind TCR and CD28 molecules independently of MHC class II, yet the relative contribution of these interactions to the pro-inflammatory function of SEB remained unclear. Here, we show that binding to MHC class II is dispensable for the inflammatory activity of SEB, whereas binding to TCR, CD28 and B7 molecules is pivotal, in both human primary T cells and Jurkat T cell lines. In particular, our finding is that binding of SEB to B7 molecules suffices to trigger both TCR- and CD28-mediated inflammatory signalling. We also provide evidence that, by strengthening the interaction between CD28 and B7, SEB favours the recruitment of the TCR into the immunological synapse, thus inducing lethal inflammatory signalling.
Project description:Bacterial superantigens, a diverse family of toxins, induce an inflammatory cytokine storm that can lead to lethal shock. CD28 is a homodimer expressed on T cells that functions as the principal costimulatory ligand in the immune response through an interaction with its B7 coligands, yet we show here that to elicit inflammatory cytokine gene expression and toxicity, superantigens must bind directly into the dimer interface of CD28. Preventing access of the superantigen to CD28 suffices to block its lethality. Mice were protected from lethal superantigen challenge by short peptide mimetics of the CD28 dimer interface and by peptides selected to compete with the superantigen for its binding site in CD28. Superantigens use a conserved ?-strand/hinge/?-helix domain of hitherto unknown function to engage CD28. Mutation of this superantigen domain abolished inflammatory cytokine gene induction and lethality. Structural analysis showed that when a superantigen binds to the T cell receptor on the T cell and major histocompatibility class II molecule on the antigen-presenting cell, CD28 can be accommodated readily as third superantigen receptor in the quaternary complex, with the CD28 dimer interface oriented towards the ?-strand/hinge/?-helix domain in the superantigen. Our findings identify the CD28 homodimer interface as a critical receptor target for superantigens. The novel role of CD28 as receptor for a class of microbial pathogens, the superantigen toxins, broadens the scope of pathogen recognition mechanisms.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes secrete exotoxins that act as superantigens, proteins that cause hyperimmune reactions by binding the variable domain of the T-cell receptor beta chain (V?), leading to stimulation of a large fraction of the T-cell repertoire. To develop potential neutralizing agents, we engineered V? mutants with high affinity for the superantigens staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), SEC3, and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A (SpeA). Unexpectedly, the high-affinity V? mutants generated against SEB cross-reacted with SpeA to a greater extent than they did with SEC3, despite greater sequence similarity between SEB and SEC3. Likewise, the V? mutants generated against SpeA cross-reacted with SEB to a greater extent than with SEC3. The structural basis of the high affinity and cross-reactivity was examined by single-site mutational analyses. The cross-reactivity seems to involve only one or two toxin residues. Soluble forms of the cross-reactive V? regions neutralized both SEB and SpeA in vivo, suggesting structure-based strategies for generating high-affinity neutralizing agents that can cross-react with multiple exotoxins.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes are significant human pathogens, causing infections at multiple body sites, including across the skin. Both are organisms that cause human diseases and secrete superantigens, including toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1), staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs), and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins (SPEs). On the skin, human keratinocytes represent the first cell type to encounter these superantigens. We employed transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to evaluate the human primary keratinocyte response to both TSST-1 and staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) in triplicate analyses. Both superantigens caused large numbers of genes to be up- and downregulated. The genes that exhibited 2-fold differential gene expression compared to vehicle-treated cells, whether up- or downregulated, totaled 5,773 for TSST-1 and 4,320 for SEB. Of these, 4,482 were significantly upregulated by exposure of keratinocytes to TSST-1, whereas 1,291 were downregulated. For SEB, expression levels of 3,785 genes were upregulated, whereas those of 535 were downregulated. There was the expected high overlap in both upregulation (3,412 genes) and downregulation (400 genes). Significantly upregulated genes included those associated with chemokine production, with the possibility of stimulation of inflammation. We also tested an immortalized human keratinocyte line, from a different donor, for chemokine response to four superantigens. TSST-1 and SEB caused production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), MIP-3?, and IL-33. SPEA and SPEC were evaluated for stimulation of expression of IL-8 as a representative chemokine; both stimulated production of IL-8.IMPORTANCE Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes are common human pathogens, causing infections that include the skin. Both pathogens produce a family of secreted toxins called superantigens, which have been shown to be important in human diseases. The first cell types encountered by superantigens on skin are keratinocytes. Our studies demonstrated, that the human keratinocyte pathway, among other pathways, responds to superantigens with production of chemokines, setting off inflammation. This inflammatory response may be harmful, facilitating opening of the skin barrier.
Project description:Staphylococcal and streptococcal exotoxins, also known as superantigens, mediate a range of diseases including toxic shock syndrome, and they exacerbate skin, pulmonary and systemic infections caused by these organisms. When present in food sources they can cause enteric effects commonly known as food poisoning. A rapid, sensitive assay for the toxins would enable testing of clinical samples and improve surveillance of food sources. Here we developed a bead-based, two-color flow cytometry assay using single protein domains of the beta chain of T cell receptors engineered for high-affinity for staphylococcal (SEA, SEB and TSST-1) and streptococcal (SpeA and SpeC) toxins. Site-directed biotinylated forms of these high-affinity agents were used together with commercial, polyclonal, anti-toxin reagents to enable specific and sensitive detection with SD50 values of 400 pg/ml (SEA), 3 pg/ml (SEB), 25 pg/ml (TSST-1), 6 ng/ml (SpeA), and 100 pg/ml (SpeC). These sensitivities were in the range of 4- to 80-fold higher than achieved with standard ELISAs using the same reagents. A multiplex format of the assay showed reduced sensitivity due to higher noise associated with the use of multiple polyclonal agents, but the sensitivities were still well within the range necessary for detection in food sources or for rapid detection of toxins in culture supernatants. For example, the assay specifically detected toxins in supernatants derived from cultures of Staphylococcus aureus. Thus, these reagents can be used for simultaneous detection of the toxins in food sources or culture supernatants of potential pathogenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Project description:Superantigens are toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus, called staphylococcal enterotoxins (abbreviated SEA to SEU). They can cross-link the T cell receptor (TCR) and major histocompatibility complex class II, triggering a massive T cell activation and hence disease. Due to high stability and toxicity, superantigens are potential agents of bioterrorism. Hence, antagonists may not only be useful in the treatment of disease but also serve as countermeasures to biological warfare. Of particular interest are inhibitors against SEA and SEB. SEA is the main cause of food poisoning, while SEB is a common toxin manufactured as a biological weapon. Here, we present the crystal structures of SEA in complex with TCR and SEE in complex with the same TCR, complemented with computational alanine-scanning mutagenesis of SEA, SEB, SEC3, SEE, and SEH. We have identified two common areas that contribute to the general TCR binding for these superantigens. This paves the way for design of single antagonists directed towards multiple toxins.
Project description:Following occupancy of the T cell receptor by antigen, T cell proliferation and lymphokine production are determined by a second costimulatory signal delivered by a ligand expressed on antigen presenting cells. The human B cell activation antigen B7, which is expressed on antigen presenting cells including activated B cells and gamma interferon treated monocytes, has been shown to deliver such a costimulatory signal upon attachment to its ligand on T cells, CD28. We have cloned and sequenced the murine homologue of the human B7 gene. The predicted murine protein has 44% amino acid identity with human B7. The greatest similarity is in the Ig-V and Ig-C like domains. Murine B7 mRNA was detected in murine hematopoietic cells of B cell but not T cell origin. Cells transfected with murine B7 provided a costimulatory signal to human CD28+ T lymphocytes. These results demonstrate the costimulatory activity of murine B7 and provide evidence that the ligand attachment site is conserved between the two species.