Tbet promotes CXCR6 expression in immature natural killer cells and natural killer cell egress from the bone marrow.
ABSTRACT: Tbet-deficient mice have reduced natural killer (NK) cells in blood and spleen, but increased NK cells in bone marrow and lymph nodes, a phenotype that is thought to be the result of defective migration. Here, we revisit the role of Tbet in NK cell bone marrow egress. We definitively show that the accumulation of NK cells in the bone marrow of Tbet-deficient Tbx21-/- animals occurs because of a migration defect and identify a module of genes, co-ordinated by Tbet, which affects the localization of NK cells in the bone marrow. Cxcr6 is approximately 125-fold underexpressed in Tbx21-/- , compared with wild-type, immature NK cells. Immature NK cells accumulate in the bone marrow of CXCR6-deficient mice, and CXCR6-deficient progenitors are less able to reconstitute the peripheral NK cell compartment than their wild-type counterparts. However, the CXCR6 phenotype is largely confined to immature NK cells, whereas the Tbet phenotype is present in both immature and mature NK cells, suggesting that genes identified as being more differentially expressed in mature NK cells, such as S1pr5, Cx3cr1, Sell and Cd69, may be the major drivers of the phenotype.
Project description:Using scRNAseq, we identified five distinct NK cell clusters and define their relative developmental maturity in the murine bone marrow of WT mice. Transcriptome-based machine-learning classifiers revealed that half of the mTORC2-deficient NK cells belongs to the least mature NK cluster. Mechanistically, loss of mTORC2 results in an increased expression of signature genes representing immature NK cells. We further characterized the T-bet-deficient NK cells and found an augmented immature transcriptomic signature. Moreover, deletion of Foxo1 restores the expression of T-bet and corrects the abnormal expression of immature NK genes in Rictor-deficient NK cells. Overall design: Single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis of NK cells from bone marrow of WT, Rictor cKO, Rptor cKO, and Tbet KO mice
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cell maturation is a tightly controlled process that endows NK cells with functional competence and the capacity to recognize target cells. Here, we found that the transcription factor (TF) Zeb2 was the most highly induced TF during NK cell maturation. Zeb2 is known to control epithelial to mesenchymal transition, but its role in immune cells is mostly undefined. Targeted deletion of Zeb2 resulted in impaired NK cell maturation, survival, and exit from the bone marrow. NK cell function was preserved, but mice lacking Zeb2 in NK cells were more susceptible to B16 melanoma lung metastases. Reciprocally, ectopic expression of Zeb2 resulted in a higher frequency of mature NK cells in all organs. Moreover, the immature phenotype of Zeb2(-/-) NK cells closely resembled that of Tbx21(-/-) NK cells. This was caused by both a dependence of Zeb2 expression on T-bet and a probable cooperation of these factors in gene regulation. Transgenic expression of Zeb2 in Tbx21(-/-) NK cells partially restored a normal maturation, establishing that timely induction of Zeb2 by T-bet is an essential event during NK cell differentiation. Finally, this novel transcriptional cascade could also operate in human as T-bet and Zeb2 are similarly regulated in mouse and human NK cells.
Project description:CD4+ T-helper subsets drive autoimmune chronic graft-versus-host disease, a major complication after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. However, it remains unclear how specific T-helper subsets contribute to chronic graft-versus-host disease. T-helper type 1 cells are one of the major disease-mediating T-cell subsets and require interferon-γ signaling and Tbet expression for their function. Regulatory T cells on the other hand can inhibit T-helper type 1 cell-mediated responses. Using an established murine model that isolates the autoimmune component of graft-versus-host disease, we hypothesized that T-helper type 1 cells would restrict FoxP3-driven regulatory T cells. Upon transfer into immune-deficient syngeneic hosts, alloreactive Tbx21-/-CD4+ T cells led to marked increases in FoxP3+ cells and reduced clinical evidence of autoimmunity. To evaluate whether peripheral induction contributed to regulatory T-cell predominance, we adoptively transferred Tbx21-/- T cells that consisted of fate mapping for FoxP3: recipients of flow-purified effector cells that were Foxp3- and Tbx21-/- had enhanced T-regulatory-cell predominance during autoimmune graft-versus-host disease. These data directly demonstrated that peripheral T-regulatory-cell induction was inhibited by Tbet. Finally, Tbx21-/- T-regulatory cells cross-regulated autoimmune wild-type T-effector-cell cytokine production in vivo The Tbet pathway therefore directly impairs T-regulatory-cell reconstitution and is consequently a feasible target in efforts to prevent autoimmune graft-versus-host disease.
Project description:Murine hepatic NK cells exhibit adaptive features, with liver-specific adhesion molecules CXCR6 and CD49a acting as surface markers.We investigated human liver-resident CXCR6+ and CD49a+ NK cells using RNA sequencing, flow cytometry, and functional analysis. We further assessed the role of cytokines in generating NK cells with these phenotypes from the peripheral blood.Hepatic CD49a+ NK cells could be induced using cytokines and produce high quantities of IFN? and TNF?, in contrast to hepatic CXCR6+ NK cells. RNA sequencing of liver-resident CXCR6+ NK cells confirmed a tolerant immature phenotype with reduced expression of markers associated with maturity and cytotoxicity. Liver-resident double-positive CXCR6?+?CD49a+ hepatic NK cells are immature but maintain high expression of Th1 cytokines as observed for single-positive CD49a+ NK cells. We show that stimulation with activating cytokines can readily induce upregulation of both CD49a and CXCR6 on NK cells in the peripheral blood. In particular, IL-12 and IL-15 can generate CXCR6?+?CD49a+ NK cells in vitro from NK cells isolated from the peripheral blood, with comparable phenotypic and functional features to liver-resident CD49a+ NK cells, including enhanced IFN? and NKG2C expression.IL-12 and IL-15 may be key for generating NK cells with a tissue-homing phenotype and strong Th1 cytokine profile in the blood, and links peripheral activation of NK cells with tissue-homing. These findings may have important therapeutic implications for immunotherapy of chronic liver disease.
Project description:Tissue-resident Natural Killer (NK) cells vary in phenotype according to tissue origin, but are typically CD56bright, CXCR6+, and CD69+. NK cells appear very early in fetal development, but little is known about when markers of tissue residency appear during gestation and whether the expression of these markers, most notably the chemokine receptor CXCR6, are associated with differences in functional capability. Using multi-parametric flow cytometry, we interrogated fetal liver and spleen NK cells for the expression of a multitude of extracellular markers associated with NK cell maturation, differentiation, and migration. We analyzed total NK cells from fetal liver and spleen and compared them to their adult liver and spleen counterparts, and peripheral blood (PB) NK. We found that fetal NK cells resemble each other and their adult counterparts more than PB NK. Maturity markers including CD16, CD57, and KIR are lower in fetal NK cells than PB, and markers associated with an immature phenotype are higher in fetal liver and spleen NK cells (NKG2A, CD94, and CD27). However, T-bet/EOMES transcription factor profiles are similar amongst fetal and adult liver and spleen NK cells (T-bet-/EOMES+) but differ from PB NK cells (T-bet+EOMES-). Further, donor-matched fetal liver and spleen NK cells share similar patterns of expression for most markers as a function of gestational age. We also performed functional studies including degranulation, cytotoxicity, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) assays. Fetal liver and spleen NK cells displayed limited cytotoxic effector function in chromium release assays but produced copious amounts of TNF? and IFN?, and degranulated efficiently in response to stimulation with PMA/ionomycin. Further, CXCR6+ NK cells in fetal liver and spleen produce more cytokines and degranulate more robustly than their CXCR6- counterparts, even though CXCR6+ NK cells in fetal liver and spleen possess an immature phenotype. Major differences between CXCR6- and + NK cell subsets appear to occur later in development, as a distinct CXCR6+ NK cell phenotype is much more clearly defined in PB. In conclusion, fetal liver and spleen NK cells share similar phenotypes, resemble their adult counterparts, and already possess a distinct CXCR6+ NK cell population with discrete functional capabilities.
Project description:Activation of metabolic signalling by IL-15 is required for natural killer (NK) cell development. Here we show that Tsc1, a repressor of mTOR, is dispensable for the terminal maturation, survival and function of NK cells but is critical to restrict exhaustive proliferation of immature NK cells and activation downstream of IL-15 during NK cell development. Tsc1 is expressed in immature NK cells and is upregulated by IL-15. Haematopoietic-specific deletion of Tsc1 causes a marked decrease in the number of NK cells and compromises rejection of 'missing-self' haematopoietic tumours and allogeneic bone marrow. The residual Tsc1-null NK cells display activated, pro-apoptotic phenotype and elevated mTORC1 activity. Deletion of Raptor, a component of mTORC1, largely reverses these defects. Tsc1-deficient NK cells express increased levels of T-bet and downregulate Eomes and CD122, a subunit of IL-15 receptor. These results reveal a role for Tsc1-dependent inhibition of mTORC1 activation during immature NK cell development.
Project description:The transcriptional activation and repression during NK cell ontology are poorly understood. Here, using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we reveal a novel role for T-bet in suppressing the immature gene signature during murine NK cell development. Based on transcriptome, we identified five distinct NK cell clusters and define their relative developmental maturity in the bone marrow. Transcriptome-based machine-learning classifiers revealed that half of the mTORC2-deficient NK cells belongs to the least mature NK cluster. Mechanistically, loss of mTORC2 results in an increased expression of signature genes representing immature NK cells. Since mTORC2 regulates the expression of T-bet through AktS473-FoxO1 axis, we further characterized the T-bet-deficient NK cells and found an augmented immature transcriptomic signature. Moreover, deletion of Foxo1 restores the expression of T-bet and corrects the abnormal expression of immature NK genes. Collectively, our study reveals a novel role for mTORC2-AktS473-FoxO1-T-bet axis in suppressing the transcriptional signature of immature NK cells.
Project description:Little is known about the role of negative regulators in controlling natural killer (NK) cell development and effector functions. Foxo1 is a multifunctional transcription factor of the forkhead family. Using a mouse model of conditional deletion in NK cells, we found that Foxo1 negatively controlled NK cell differentiation and function. Immature NK cells expressed abundant Foxo1 and little Tbx21 relative to mature NK cells, but these two transcription factors reversed their expression as NK cells proceeded through development. Foxo1 promoted NK cell homing to lymph nodes by upregulating CD62L expression and inhibited late-stage maturation and effector functions by repressing Tbx21 expression. Loss of Foxo1 rescued the defect in late-stage NK cell maturation in heterozygous Tbx21(+/-) mice. Collectively, our data reveal a regulatory pathway by which the negative regulator Foxo1 and the positive regulator Tbx21 play opposing roles in controlling NK cell development and effector functions.
Project description:GATA binding protein 2 (GATA2) deficiency is a rare disorder of hematopoiesis, lymphatics, and immunity caused by spontaneous or autosomal dominant mutations in the GATA2 gene. Clinical manifestations range from neutropenia, lymphedema, deafness, to severe viral and mycobacterial infections, bone marrow failure, and acute myeloid leukemia. Patients also present with monocytopenia, dendritic cell, B- and natural killer (NK)-cell deficiency. We studied the T-cell and NK-cell compartments of four GATA2-deficient patients to assess if changes in these lymphocyte populations could be correlated with clinical phenotype. Patients with more severe clinical complications demonstrated a senescent T-cell phenotype whereas patients with lower clinical score had undetectable changes relative to controls. In contrast, patients' NK-cells demonstrated an immature/activated phenotype that did not correlate with clinical score, suggesting an intrinsic NK-cell defect. These studies will help us to determine the contribution of T- and NK-cell dysregulation to the clinical phenotype of GATA2 patients, and may help to establish the most accurate therapeutic options for these patients. Asymptomatic patients may be taken into consideration for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation when dysregulation of T-cell and NK-cell compartment is present.
Project description:NK cells develop in the bone marrow and complete their maturation in peripheral organs, but the molecular events controlling maturation are incompletely understood. The miR-15/16 family of microRNA regulates key cellular processes and is abundantly expressed in NK cells. In this study, we identify a critical role for miR-15/16 in the normal maturation of NK cells using a mouse model of NK-specific deletion, in which immature NK cells accumulate in the absence of miR-15/16. The transcription factor c-Myb (Myb) is expressed preferentially by immature NK cells, is a direct target of miR-15/16, and is increased in 15a/16-1 floxed knockout NK cells. Importantly, maturation of 15a/16-1 floxed knockout NK cells was rescued by Myb knockdown. Moreover, Myb overexpression in wild-type NK cells caused a defective NK cell maturation phenotype similar to deletion of miR-15/16, and Myb overexpression enforces an immature NK cell transcriptional profile. Thus, miR-15/16 regulation of Myb controls the NK cell maturation program.