Functional MAIT Cells Are Associated With Reduced Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection.
ABSTRACT: Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are recently characterized as a novel subset of innate-like T cells that recognize microbial metabolites as presented by the MHC-1b-related protein MR1. The significance of MAIT cells in anti-bacterial defense is well-understood but not clear in viral infections such as SIV/HIV infection. Here we studied the phenotype, distribution, and function of MAIT cells and their association with plasma viral levels during chronic SHIV infection in rhesus macaques (RM). Two groups of healthy and chronic SHIV-infected macaques were characterized for MAIT cells in blood and mucosal tissues. Similar to human, we found a significant fraction of macaque T cells co-expressing MAIT cell markers CD161 and TCRV?-7.2 that correlated directly with macaque MR1 tetramer. These cells displayed memory phenotype and expressed high levels of IL-18R, CCR6, CD28, and CD95. During chronic infection, the frequency of MAIT cells are enriched in the blood but unaltered in the rectum; both blood and rectal MAIT cells displayed higher proliferative and cytotoxic phenotype post-SHIV infection. The frequency of MAIT cells in blood and rectum correlated inversely with plasma viral RNA levels and correlated directly with total CD4 T cells. MAIT cells respond to microbial products during chronic SHIV infection and correlated positively with serum immunoreactivity to flagellin levels. Tissue distribution analysis of MAIT cells during chronic infection showed significant enrichment in the non-lymphoid tissues (lung, rectum, and liver) compared to lymphoid tissues (spleen and LN), with higher levels of tissue-resident markers CD69 and CD103. Exogenous in vitro cytokine treatments during chronic SHIV infection revealed that IL-7 is important for the proliferation of MAIT cells, but IL-12 and IL-18 are important for their cytolytic function. Overall our results demonstrated that MAIT cells are enriched in blood but unaltered in the rectum during chronic SHIV infection, which displayed proliferative and functional phenotype that inversely correlated with SHIV plasma viral RNA levels. Treatment such as combined cytokine treatments could be beneficial for enhancing functional MAIT cells during chronic HIV infection in vivo.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells represent a large innate-like evolutionarily conserved antimicrobial T-cell subset in humans. MAIT cells recognize microbial riboflavin metabolites from a range of microbes presented by MR1 molecules. MAIT cells are impaired in several chronic diseases including HIV-1 infection, where they show signs of exhaustion and decline numerically. Here, we examined the broader effector functions of MAIT cells in this context and strategies to rescue their functions. Residual MAIT cells from HIV-infected patients displayed aberrant baseline levels of cytolytic proteins, and failed to mobilize cytolytic molecules in response to bacterial antigen. In particular, the induction of granzyme B (GrzB) expression was profoundly defective. The functionally impaired MAIT cell population exhibited abnormal T-bet and Eomes expression patterns that correlated with the deficiency in cytotoxic capacity and cytokine production. Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) did not fully restore these aberrations. Interestingly, IL-7 was capable of arming resting MAIT cells from healthy donors into cytotoxic GrzB+ effector T cells capable of killing bacteria-infected cells and producing high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in an MR1-dependent fashion. Furthermore, IL-7 treatment enhanced the sensitivity of MAIT cells to detect low levels of bacteria. In HIV-infected patients, plasma IL-7 levels were positively correlated with MAIT cell numbers and function, and IL-7 treatment in vitro significantly restored MAIT cell effector functions even in the absence of ART. These results indicate that the cytolytic capacity in MAIT cells is severely defective in HIV-1 infected patients, and that the broad-based functional defect in these cells is associated with deficiency in critical transcription factors. Furthermore, IL-7 induces the arming of effector functions and enhances the sensitivity of MAIT cells, and may be considered in immunotherapeutic approaches to restore MAIT cells.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are "innate" T cells that express an invariant T-cell receptor ?-chain restricted by the nonclassical MHC class I molecule MHC-related protein 1 (MR1). A recent discovery that MR1 presents vitamin B metabolites, presumably from pathogenic and/or commensal bacteria, distinguishes MAIT cells from peptide- or lipid-recognizing ?? T cells in the immune system. MAIT cells are activated by a wide variety of bacterial strains in vitro, but their role in defense against infectious assaults in vivo remains largely unknown. To investigate how MAIT cells contribute to mucosal immunity in vivo, we used a murine model of pulmonary infection by using the live vaccine strain (LVS) of Francisella tularensis. In the early acute phase of infection, MAIT cells expanded robustly in the lungs, where they preferentially accumulated after reaching their peak expansion in the late phase of infection. Throughout the course of infection, MAIT cells produced the critical cytokines IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-17A. Mechanistic studies showed that MAIT cells required both MR1 and IL-12 40 kDa subunit (IL-12p40) signals from infected antigen presenting cells to control F. tularensis LVS intracellular growth. Importantly, pulmonary F. tularensis LVS infection of MR1-deficient (MR1(-/-)) mice, which lack MAIT cells, revealed defects in early mucosal cytokine production, timely recruitment of IFN-?-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells to the infected lungs, and control of pulmonary F. tularensis LVS growth. This study provides in vivo evidence demonstrating that MAIT cells are an important T-cell subset with activities that influence the innate and adaptive phases of mucosal immunity.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells have a semi-invariant TCR V?-chain, and their optimal development is dependent upon commensal flora and expression of the nonpolymorphic MHC class I-like molecule MR1. MAIT cells are activated in an MR1-restricted manner by diverse strains of bacteria and yeast, suggesting a widely shared Ag. Recently, human and mouse MR1 were found to bind bacterial riboflavin metabolites (ribityllumazine [RL] Ags) capable of activating MAIT cells. In this study, we used MR1/RL tetramers to study MR1 dependency, subset heterogeneity, and protective effector functions important for tuberculosis immunity. Although tetramer(+) cells were detected in both MR1(+/+) and MR1(-/-) TCR V?19i-transgenic (Tg) mice, MR1 expression resulted in significantly increased tetramer(+) cells coexpressing TCR V?6/8, NK1.1, CD44, and CD69 that displayed more robust in vitro responses to IL-12 plus IL-18 and RL Ag, indicating that MR1 is necessary for the optimal development of the classic murine MAIT cell memory/effector subset. In addition, tetramer(+) MAIT cells expressing CD4, CD8, or neither developing in MR1(+/+) V?19i-Tg mice had disparate cytokine profiles in response to RL Ag. Therefore, murine MAIT cells are considerably more heterogeneous than previously thought. Most notably, after mycobacterial pulmonary infection, heterogeneous subsets of tetramer(+) V?19i-Tg MAIT cells expressing CXCR3 and ?4?1 were recruited into the lungs and afforded early protection. In addition, V?19iC?(-/-)MR(+/+) mice were significantly better protected than were V?19iC?(-/-)MR1(-/-), wild-type, and MR1(-/-) non-Tg mice. Overall, we demonstrate considerable functional diversity of MAIT cell responses, as well as that MR1-restricted MAIT cells are important for tuberculosis protective immunity.
Project description:Mucosal-Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate-like T cells characterised by the invariant TCR-chain, V?7.2-J?33, and are restricted by MR1, which presents bacterial vitamin B metabolites. They are important for antibacterial immunity at mucosal sites; however, detailed characteristics of liver-infiltrating MAIT (LI-MAIT) and their role in biliary immune surveillance remain unexplored.The phenotype and intrahepatic localisation of human LI-MAIT cells was examined in diseased and normal livers. MAIT cell activation in response to E. coli-exposed macrophages, biliary epithelial cells (BEC) and liver B cells was assessed with/without anti-MR1.Intrahepatic MAIT cells predominantly localised to bile ducts in the portal tracts. Consistent with this distribution, they expressed biliary tropic chemokine receptors CCR6, CXCR6, and integrin ?E?7. LI-MAIT cells were also present in the hepatic sinusoids and possessed tissue-homing chemokine receptor CXCR3 and integrins LFA-1 and VLA-4, suggesting their recruitment via hepatic sinusoids. LI-MAIT cells were enriched in the parenchyma of acute liver failure livers compared to chronic diseased livers. LI-MAIT cells had an activated, effector memory phenotype, expressed ?4?7 and receptors for IL-12, IL-18, and IL-23. Importantly, in response to E. coli-exposed macrophages, liver B cells and BEC, MAIT cells upregulated IFN-? and CD40 Ligand and degranulated in an MR1-dependent, cytokine-independent manner. In addition, diseased liver MAIT cells expressed T-bet and ROR?t and the cytokines IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-17.Our findings provide the first evidence of an immune surveillance effector response for MAIT cells towards BEC in human liver; thus they could be manipulated for treatment of biliary disease in the future.
Project description:Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells recognise conserved microbial metabolites from riboflavin synthesis. Striking evolutionary conservation and pulmonary abundance implicate them in antibacterial host defence, yet their functions in protection against clinically important pathogens are unknown. Here we show that mouse Legionella longbeachae infection induces MR1-dependent MAIT cell activation and rapid pulmonary accumulation of MAIT cells associated with immune protection detectable in immunocompetent host animals. MAIT cell protection is more evident in mice lacking CD4+ cells, and adoptive transfer of MAIT cells rescues immunodeficient Rag2-/-?C-/- mice from lethal Legionella infection. Protection is dependent on MR1, IFN-? and GM-CSF, but not IL-17A, TNF or perforin, and enhanced protection is detected earlier after infection of mice antigen-primed to boost MAIT cell numbers before infection. Our findings define a function for MAIT cells in protection against a major human pathogen and indicate a potential role for vaccination to enhance MAIT cell immunity.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a unique population of ?? T cells in mammals that reside preferentially in mucosal tissues and express an invariant V? paired with limited V? T-cell receptor (TCR) chains. Furthermore, MAIT cell development is dependent upon the expression of the evolutionarily conserved major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class Ib molecule MR1. Using in vitro assays, recent studies have shown that mouse and human MAIT cells are activated by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) infected with diverse microbes, including numerous bacterial strains and yeasts, but not viral pathogens. However, whether MAIT cells play an important, and perhaps unique, role in controlling microbial infection has remained unclear. To probe MAIT cell function, we show here that purified polyclonal MAIT cells potently inhibit intracellular bacterial growth of Mycobacterium bovis BCG in macrophages (M?) in coculture assays, and this inhibitory activity was dependent upon MAIT cell selection by MR1, secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-?), and an innate interleukin 12 (IL-12) signal from infected M?. Surprisingly, however, the cognate recognition of MR1 by MAIT cells on the infected M? was found to play only a minor role in MAIT cell effector function. We also report that MAIT cell-deficient mice had higher bacterial loads at early times after infection compared to wild-type (WT) mice, demonstrating that MAIT cells play a unique role among innate lymphocytes in protective immunity against bacterial infection.
Project description:Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are evolutionarily-conserved, innate-like lymphocytes which are abundant in human lungs and can contribute to protection against pulmonary bacterial infection. MAIT cells are also activated during human viral infections, yet it remains unknown whether MAIT cells play a significant protective or even detrimental role during viral infections in vivo. Using murine experimental challenge with two strains of influenza A virus, we show that MAIT cells accumulate and are activated early in infection, with upregulation of CD25, CD69 and Granzyme B, peaking at 5 days post-infection. Activation is modulated via cytokines independently of MR1. MAIT cell-deficient MR1-/- mice show enhanced weight loss and mortality to severe (H1N1) influenza. This is ameliorated by prior adoptive transfer of pulmonary MAIT cells in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient RAG2-/-γC-/- mice. Thus, MAIT cells contribute to protection during respiratory viral infections, and constitute a potential target for therapeutic manipulation.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are an evolutionarily conserved antimicrobial MR1-restricted T-cell subset. MAIT cells are CD161(+), express a V7.2 TCR, are primarily CD8(+) and numerous in blood and mucosal tissues. However, their role in HIV-1 infection is unknown. In this study, we found levels of MAIT cells to be severely reduced in circulation in patients with chronic HIV-1 infection. Residual MAIT cells were highly activated and functionally exhausted. Their decline was associated with time since diagnosis, activation levels, and the concomitant expansion of a subset of functionally impaired CD161(+) V7.2(+) T cells. Such cells were generated in vitro by exposure of MAIT cells to Escherichia coli. Notably, whereas the function of residual MAIT cells was at least partly restored by effective antiretroviral therapy, levels of MAIT cells in peripheral blood were not restored. Interestingly, MAIT cells in rectal mucosa were relatively preserved, although some of the changes seen in blood were recapitulated in the mucosa. These findings are consistent with a model in which the MAIT-cell compartment, possibly as a result of persistent exposure to microbial material, is engaged, activated, exhausted, and progressively and persistently depleted during chronic HIV-1 infection.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Alcoholic hepatitis (AH) develops in approximately 30% of chronic heavy drinkers. The immune system of patients with AH is hyperactivated, yet ineffective against infectious diseases. Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate-like lymphocytes that are highly enriched in liver, mucosa, and peripheral blood and contribute to antimicrobial immunity. We aimed to determine whether MAIT cells were dysregulated in heavy drinkers with and without AH and the effects of alcohol abstinence on MAIT cell recovery. METHODS:MR1 tetramers loaded with a potent MAIT cell ligand 5-(2-oxopropylideneamino)-6-d-ribitylaminouracil were used in multiparameter flow cytometry to analyze peripheral blood MAIT cells in 59 healthy controls (HC), 56 patients with AH, and 45 heavy drinkers without overt liver disease (HDC) at baseline and 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Multiplex immunoassays were used to quantify plasma levels of cytokines related to MAIT cell activation. Kinetic Turbidimetric Limulus Amebocyte Lysate Assay and ELISA were performed to measure circulating levels of 2 surrogate markers for bacterial translocation (lipopolysaccharide and CD14), respectively. RESULTS:At baseline, patients with AH had a significantly lower frequency of MAIT cells than HDC and HC. HDC also had less MAIT cells than HC (median 0.16% in AH, 0.56% in HDC, and 1.25% in HC). Further, the residual MAIT cells in patients with AH expressed higher levels of activation markers (CD69, CD38, and human leukocyte antigen [HLA]-DR), the effector molecule granzyme B, and the immune exhaustion molecule PD-1. Plasma levels of lipopolysaccharide and CD14 and several cytokines related to MAIT cell activation were elevated in patients with AH (interferon [IFN]-α, interleukin [IL]-7, IL-15, IL-17, IL-18, IL-23, IFN-γ, and tumor necrosis factor α). Decreased MAIT cell frequency and upregulated CD38, CD69, and HLA-DR correlated negatively and positively, respectively, with aspartate aminotransferase level. MAIT cell frequency negatively correlated with IL-18. HLA-DR and CD38 levels correlated with several cytokines. At follow-ups, abstinent patients with AH had increased MAIT cell frequency and decreased MAIT cell activation. However, MAIT cell frequency was not fully normalized in patients with AH (median 0.31%). DISCUSSION:We showed that HDC had a reduction of blood MAIT cells despite showing little evidence of immune activation, whereas patients with AH had a severe depletion of blood MAIT cells and the residual cells were highly activated. Alcohol abstinence partially reversed those abnormalities.
Project description:Human mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell receptors (TCRs) recognize bacterial riboflavin pathway metabolites through the MHC class 1-related molecule MR1. However, it is unclear whether MAIT cells discriminate between many species of the human microbiota. To address this, we developed an in vitro functional assay through human T cells engineered for MAIT-TCRs (eMAIT-TCRs) stimulated by MR1-expressing antigen-presenting cells (APCs). We then screened 47 microbiota-associated bacterial species from different phyla for their eMAIT-TCR stimulatory capacities. Only bacterial species that encoded the riboflavin pathway were stimulatory for MAIT-TCRs. Most species that were high stimulators belonged to Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria phyla, whereas low/non-stimulator species were primarily Actinobacteria or Firmicutes. Activation of MAIT cells by high- vs low-stimulating bacteria also correlated with the level of riboflavin they secreted or after bacterial infection of macrophages. Remarkably, we found that human T-cell subsets can also present riboflavin metabolites to MAIT cells in a MR1-restricted fashion. This T-T cell-mediated signaling also induced IFN?, TNF and granzyme B from MAIT cells, albeit at lower level than professional APC. These findings suggest that MAIT cells can discriminate and categorize complex human microbiota through computation of TCR signals depending on antigen load and presenting cells, and fine-tune their functional responses.