Genomic programming of IRF4-expressing human Langerhans cells.
ABSTRACT: Langerhans cells (LC) can prime tolerogenic as well as immunogenic responses in skin, but the genomic states and transcription factors (TF) regulating these context-specific responses are unclear. Bulk and single-cell transcriptional profiling demonstrates that human migratory LCs are robustly programmed for MHC-I and MHC-II antigen presentation. Chromatin analysis reveals enrichment of ETS-IRF and AP1-IRF composite regulatory elements in antigen-presentation genes, coinciding with expression of the TFs, PU.1, IRF4 and BATF3 but not IRF8. Migration of LCs from the epidermis is accompanied by upregulation of IRF4, antigen processing components and co-stimulatory molecules. TNF stimulation augments LC cross-presentation while attenuating IRF4 expression. CRISPR-mediated editing reveals IRF4 to positively regulate the LC activation programme, but repress NF2EL2 and NF-kB pathway genes that promote responsiveness to oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines. Thus, IRF4-dependent genomic programming of human migratory LCs appears to enable LC maturation while attenuating excessive inflammatory and immunogenic responses in the epidermis.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DC) efficiently cross-present exogenous antigen on MHC class I molecules to CD8+ T cells. However, little is known about cross-presentation by Langerhans cells (LC), the DCs of the epidermis. Therefore, we investigated this issue in detail. Isolated murine LCs were able to cross-present soluble ovalbumin protein on MHC-class I molecules to antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, albeit less potently than the CD8+ DC subsets from spleen. Furthermore, LCs cross-presented cell-associated ovalbumin peptide and protein expressed by neighboring keratinocytes. Use of transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP-1)-deficient mice suggested a TAP-dependent pathway. Similar observations were made with migratory LC. Antigen expressed in the epidermis was ingested by LCs during migration from the epidermis and presented to antigen-specific T cells in vitro. Cross-presentation of ovalbumin protein by LCs induced IFN-gamma production and cytotoxicity in antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Additionally, epicutaneous application of ovalbumin protein induced in vivo proliferation of OT-I T cells in the draining lymph nodes; this was markedly enhanced when antigen was applied to inflamed, barrier-disrupted skin. Thus, LCs cross-present exogenous antigen to CD8+ T cells and induce effector functions, like cytokine production and cytotoxicity, and may thereby critically contribute in epicutaneous vaccination approaches.
Project description:Langerhans cells (LCs) are the unique dendritic cells found in the epidermis. While a great deal of attention has focused on defining the developmental origins of LCs, reports addressing the transcriptional network ruling their differentiation remain sparse. We addressed the function of a group of key DC transcription factors-PU.1, ID2, IRF4, and IRF8-in the establishment of the LC network. We show that although steady-state LC homeostasis depends on PU.1 and ID2, the latter is dispensable for bone marrow-derived LCs. PU.1 controls LC differentiation by regulating the expression of the critical TGF-? responsive transcription factor RUNX3. PU.1 directly binds to the Runx3 regulatory elements in a TGF-?-dependent manner, whereas ectopic expression of RUNX3 rescued LC differentiation in the absence of PU.1 and promoted LC differentiation from PU.1-sufficient progenitors. These findings highlight the dual molecular network underlying LC differentiation, and show the central role of PU.1 in these processes.
Project description:Langerhans cells (LCs) are antigen-presenting cells in the epidermis whose roles in antigen-specific immune regulation remain incompletely understood. Desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) is a keratinocyte cell-cell adhesion molecule critical for epidermal integrity and an autoantigen in the autoimmune blistering disease pemphigus. Although antibody-mediated disease mechanisms in pemphigus are extensively characterized, the T cell aspect of this autoimmune disease still remains poorly understood. Herein, we utilized a mouse model of CD4+ T cell-mediated autoimmunity against Dsg3 to show that acquisition of Dsg3 and subsequent presentation to T cells by LCs depended on the C-type lectin langerin. The lack of LCs led to enhanced autoimmunity with impaired Dsg3-specific regulatory T cell expansion. LCs expressed the IL-2 receptor complex and the disruption of IL-2 signaling in LCs attenuated LC-mediated regulatory T cell expansion in vitro, demonstrating that direct IL-2 signaling shapes LC function. These data establish that LCs mediate peripheral tolerance against an epidermal autoantigen and point to langerin and IL-2 signaling pathways as attractive targets for achieving tolerogenic responses particularly in autoimmune blistering diseases such as pemphigus.
Project description:The mechanism by which immunity to Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is initiated is not completely defined. HSV initially infects mucosal epidermis prior to entering nerve endings. In mice, epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs) are the first dendritic cells (DCs) to encounter HSV, but it is CD103(+) dermal DCs that carry viral antigen to lymph nodes for antigen presentation, suggesting DC cross-talk in skin. In this study, we compared topically HSV-1 infected human foreskin explants with biopsies of initial human genital herpes lesions to show LCs are initially infected then emigrate into the dermis. Here, LCs bearing markers of maturation and apoptosis formed large cell clusters with BDCA3(+) dermal DCs (thought to be equivalent to murine CD103(+) dermal DCs) and DC-SIGN(+) DCs/macrophages. HSV-expressing LC fragments were observed inside the dermal DCs/macrophages and the BDCA3(+) dermal DCs had up-regulated a damaged cell uptake receptor CLEC9A. No other infected epidermal cells interacted with dermal DCs. Correspondingly, LCs isolated from human skin and infected with HSV-1 in vitro also underwent apoptosis and were taken up by similarly isolated BDCA3(+) dermal DCs and DC-SIGN(+) cells. Thus, we conclude a viral antigen relay takes place where HSV infected LCs undergo apoptosis and are taken up by dermal DCs for subsequent antigen presentation. This provides a rationale for targeting these cells with mucosal or perhaps intradermal HSV immunization.
Project description:We compared the efficacy of human Langerhans cells (LC) as tumor immunogens in vivo with monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDC) and investigated how interleukin 15 (IL15) supports optimal DC-stimulated antitumor immunity.American Joint Committee on Cancer stage III/IV melanoma patients participated in this first clinical trial comparing melanoma peptide-pulsed LC with moDC vaccines (NCT00700167, www.ClinicalTrials.gov). Correlative studies evaluated mechanisms mediating IL15 support of DC-stimulated antitumor immunity.Both DC vaccines were safe and immunogenic for melanoma antigens. LC-based vaccines stimulated significantly greater tyrosinase-HLA-A*0201 tetramer reactivity than the moDC-based vaccines. The two DC subtypes were otherwise statistically comparable, in contrast to extensive prior data in vitro showing LC superiority. LCs synthesize much more IL15 than moDCs and stimulate significantly more antigen-specific lymphocytes with a cytolytic IFN-? profile even without exogenous IL15. When supplemented by low-dose IL15, instead of IL2, moDCs stimulate 5 to 6 logs more tumor antigen-specific effector memory T cells (T(EMRA)) over 3 to 4 weeks in vitro. IL2 and IL15 can be synergistic in moDC stimulation of cytolytic T cells. IL15 promotes T-cell expression of the antiapoptotic bcl-2 and inhibits candidate regulatory T-cell (Treg) expansion after DC stimulation, countering two effects of IL2 that do not foster tumor immunity.MoDC-based vaccines will require exogenous IL15 to achieve clinical efficacy. Alternatively, LCs can couple the endogenous production of IL15 with potent T-cell stimulatory activity. Optimization of full-length tumor antigen expression for processing into multiple immunogenic peptides for presentation by both class I and II MHC therefore merits emphasis to support more effective antitumor immunity stimulated by LCs.
Project description:Antigen-dependent interactions between T lymphocytes and dendritic cells (DCs) can produce two distinct outcomes: tolerance and immunity. It is generally considered that all DC subsets are capable of supporting both tolerogenic and immunogenic responses, depending on their exposure to activating signals. Here, we tested whether epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs) can support immunogenic responses in vivo in the absence of antigen presentation by other DC subsets. CD4 T cells responding to antigen presentation by activated LCs initially proliferated but then failed to differentiate into effector/memory cells or to survive long term. The tolerogenic function of LCs was maintained after exposure to potent adjuvants and occurred despite up-regulation of the costimulatory molecules CD80, CD86, and IL-12, but was consistent with their failure to translocate the NF-?B family member RelB from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Commitment of LCs to tolerogenic function may explain why commensal microorganisms expressing Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands but confined to the skin epithelium are tolerated, whereas invading pathogens that breach the epithelial basement membrane and activate dermal DCs stimulate a strong immune response.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs) promote either tolerogenic or immunogenic T cell responses, the latter upon sensing microbes. Using an in vitro system, we analyzed transcriptional determinants that enable mature DCs to direct these opposing T cell outcomes. In the absence of microbial products, the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) promotes regulatory T cell (Treg) generation by enhancing expression of genes required for antigen presentation along with those for T cell tolerance. IRF4-deficient DCs were impaired for Treg generation in vivo. When exposed to microbial stimuli, DCs activated nuclear factor (NF)-κB, which induced expression of a proinflammatory cytokine module that, along with the antigen presentation module, promoted the generation of effector T cells. NF-κB was, however, dispensable for Treg development. Chromatin profiling revealed transcriptional motifs associated with the divergent DC programs. Thus, DCs modulate their ability to prime tolerogenic or immunogenic T cells by expressing a core antigen presentation module that is overlaid by distinctive regulatory modules to promote either tolerance or immunity.
Project description:There is no clinically available cancer immunotherapy that exploits Langerhans cells (LCs), the epidermal precursors of dendritic cells (DCs) that are the natural agent of antigen delivery. We developed a DNA formulation with a polymer and obtained synthetic 'pathogen-like' nanoparticles that preferentially targeted LCs in epidermal cultures. These nanoparticles applied topically under a patch-elicited robust immune responses in human subjects. To demonstrate the mechanism of action of this novel vaccination strategy in live animals, we assembled a high-resolution two-photon laser scanning-microscope. Nanoparticles applied on the native skin poorly penetrated and poorly induced LC motility. The combination of nanoparticle administration and skin treatment was essential both for efficient loading the vaccine into the epidermis and for potent activation of the LCs to migrate into the lymph nodes. LCs in the epidermis picked up nanoparticles and accumulated them in the nuclear region demonstrating an effective nuclear DNA delivery in vivo. Tissue distribution studies revealed that the majority of the DNA was targeted to the lymph nodes. Preclinical toxicity of the LC-targeting DNA vaccine was limited to mild and transient local erythema caused by the skin treatment. This novel, clinically proven LC-targeting DNA vaccine platform technology broadens the options on DC-targeting vaccines to generate therapeutic immunity against cancer.
Project description:Langerhans cells (LCs) are antigen-presenting cells (APCs) residing in the epidermis that play a major role in skin immunity. Our earlier studies showed that when skin is inflamed LCs are replaced by bone marrow-derived progenitor cells, while during steady-state conditions LCs are able to self-renew in the skin. Identification of the LC progenitors in bone marrow would represent a critical step toward identifying the factors that regulate LC generation as well as their trafficking to the skin. To determine LC lineage origin, we reconstituted lethally irradiated CD45.2 mice with rigorously purified lymphoid and myeloid progenitors from CD45.1 congenic mice. Twenty-four hours later, we exposed the mice to UV light to deplete resident LCs and induce their replacement by progenitors. Reconstitution with common myeloid progenitors (CMPs), common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs), granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMPs), or early thymic progenitors led to LC generation within 2 to 3 weeks. CMPs were at least 20 times more efficient at generating LCs than CLPs. LCs from both lineages were derived almost entirely from fetal liver kinase-2+ (Flk-2+) progenitors, displayed typical dendritic-cell (DC) morphology, and showed long-term persistence in the skin. These results indicate that LCs are derived mainly from myeloid progenitors and are dependent on Flt3-ligand for their development.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved small non-coding RNAs that repress target genes at post-transcriptional level. Langerhans cells (LCs) are skin-residential dendritic cells (DCs) with a life cycle distinct from other types of DCs. miRNA deficiency interrupts the homoeostasis and function of epidermal LCs, suggesting the critical roles of miRNAs in LC development and function. However, the roles of individual miRNAs in regulating LC development and function remain completely unknown. MiRNA miR-150 is highly expressed in mature lymphocytes and regulates T- and B-cell development and function. Here, we reported that miR-150 is also expressed in epidermal LCs, and its expression is significantly down-regulated during in vitro LC maturation. Using a miR-150 knockout mouse model, we found that lack of miR-150 reduces the capacity of LCs to cross-present a soluble antigen to antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells, but does not disturb the development, maturation, migration and phagocytic capacity of LCs. Thus, our data indicate that miR-150 is required for LC cross-presentation.