Human Tumor-Infiltrating MAIT Cells Display Hallmarks of Bacterial Antigen Recognition in Colorectal Cancer.
ABSTRACT: Growing evidence indicates a role for the gut microbiota in modulating anti-tumor treatment efficacy in human cancer. Here we study mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells to look for evidence of bacterial antigen recognition in human colon, lung, and kidney carcinomas. Using mass cytometry and single-cell mRNA sequencing, we identify a tumor-infiltrating MAIT cell subset expressing CD4 and Foxp3 and observe high expression of CD39 on MAIT cells from colorectal cancer (CRC) only, which we show in vitro to be expressed specifically after TCR stimulation. We further reveal that these cells are phenotypically and functionally exhausted. Sequencing data show high bacterial infiltration in CRC tumors and highlight an enriched species, Fusobacteria nucleatum, with capability to activate MAIT cells in a TCR-dependent way. Our results provide evidence of a MAIT cell response to microbial antigens in CRC and could pave the way for manipulating MAIT cells or the microbiome for cancer therapy.
Project description:Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are important for immune defense against infectious pathogens and regulate the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases. However, their roles in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) are still unclear. This study examined the phenotype, distribution, clinical relevance and potential function of MAIT cells in CRC patients. We found that the percentages of circulating memory CD8(+) MAIT cells were significantly reduced while tumor infiltrating MAIT cells were increased, especially in patients with advanced CRC. The serum CEA levels were positively correlated with the percentages of tumor infiltrating MAIT cells in CRC patients, but negatively correlated with the percentages of circulating MAIT in advanced CRC patients. Activated circulating MAIT cells from CRC patients produced lower IFN-?, but higher IL-17. Furthermore, higher levels of V?7.2-J?33, IFN-? and IL-17A were expressed in the CRC tissues. Co-culture of activated MAIT cells with HCT116 cells enhanced IL-17 expression and induced HCT116 cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase in a contact- and dose-dependent manner, which was abrogated by treatment with anti-MR1. Therefore, MAIT cells preferably infiltrate into the solid tumor in CRC patients and may participate in the immune surveillance of CRC.
Project description:Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are striking in their abundance and their strict conservation across 150 million years of mammalian evolution, implying they must fulfill critical immunological function(s). MAIT cells are defined by their expression of a semi-invariant ?? TCR which recognizes biosynthetic derivatives of riboflavin synthesis presented on MR1. Initial studies focused on their role in detecting predominantly intracellular bacterial and mycobacterial infections. However, it is now recognized that there are several modes of MAIT cell activation and these are related to activation of distinct transcriptional programmes, each associated with distinct functional roles. In this minireview, we summarize current knowledge from human and animal studies of MAIT cell activation induced (1) in an MR1-TCR dependent manner in the context of inflammatory danger signals and associated with antibacterial host defense; (2) in an MR1-TCR independent manner by the cytokines interleukin(IL)-12/-15/-18 and type I interferon, which is associated with antiviral responses; and (3) a recently-described TCR-dependent "tissue repair" programme which is associated with accelerated wound healing in the context of commensal microbiota. Because of this capability for diverse functional responses in diverse immunological contexts, these intriguing cells now appear to be multifunctional effectors central to the interface of innate and adaptive immunity.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are abundant in humans and recognize bacterial ligands. Here, we demonstrate that MAIT cells are also activated during human viral infections in vivo. MAIT cells activation was observed during infection with dengue virus, hepatitis C virus and influenza virus. This activation-driving cytokine release and Granzyme B upregulation-is TCR-independent but dependent on IL-18 in synergy with IL-12, IL-15 and/or interferon-?/?. IL-18 levels and MAIT cell activation correlate with disease severity in acute dengue infection. Furthermore, HCV treatment with interferon-? leads to specific MAIT cell activation in vivo in parallel with an enhanced therapeutic response. Moreover, TCR-independent activation of MAIT cells leads to a reduction of HCV replication in vitro mediated by IFN-?. Together these data demonstrate MAIT cells are activated following viral infections, and suggest a potential role in both host defence and immunopathology.
Project description:MR1-restricted mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells represent a subpopulation of ?? T cells with innate-like properties and limited TCR diversity. MAIT cells are of interest because of their reactivity against bacterial and yeast species, suggesting that they play a role in defense against pathogenic microbes. Despite the advances in understanding MAIT cell biology, the molecular and structural basis behind their ability to detect MR1-Ag complexes is unclear. In this study, we present our structural and biochemical characterization of MAIT TCR engagement of MR1 presenting an Escherichia coli-derived stimulatory ligand, rRL-6-CH2OH, previously found in Salmonella typhimurium. We show a clear enhancement of MAIT TCR binding to MR1 due to the presentation of this ligand. Our structure of a MAIT TCR/MR1/rRL-6-CH2OH complex shows an evolutionarily conserved binding orientation, with a clear role for both the CDR3? and CDR3? loops in recognizing the rRL-6-CH2OH stimulatory ligand. We also present two additional xenoreactive MAIT TCR/MR1 complexes that recapitulate the docking orientation documented previously, despite having variation in the CDR2? and CDR3? loop sequences. Our data support a model by which MAIT TCRs engage MR1 in a conserved fashion, with their binding affinities modulated by the nature of the MR1-presented Ag or diversity introduced by alternate V? usage or CDR3? sequences.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T cells are a unique population of T cells that express a semi-invariant ?? TCR and are restricted by the MHC class I-related molecule MR1. MAIT cells recognize uncharacterized ligand(s) presented by MR1 through the cognate interaction between their TCR and MR1. To understand how the MAIT TCR recognizes MR1 at the surface of APCs cultured both with and without bacteria, we undertook extensive mutational analysis of both the MAIT TCR and MR1 molecule. We found differential contribution of particular amino acids to the MAIT TCR-MR1 interaction based upon the presence of bacteria, supporting the hypothesis that the structure of the MR1 molecules with the microbial-derived ligand(s) differs from the one with the endogenous ligand(s). Furthermore, we demonstrate that microbial-derived ligand(s) is resistant to proteinase K digestion and does not extract with common lipids, suggesting an unexpected class of antigen(s) might be recognized by this unique lymphocyte population.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate-like T cells that can detect bacteria-derived metabolites presented on MR1. Here we show, using a controlled infection of humans with live Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A, that MAIT cells are activated during infection, an effect maintained even after antibiotic treatment. At the peak of infection MAIT cell T-cell receptor (TCR)? clonotypes that are over-represented prior to infection transiently contract. Select MAIT cell TCR? clonotypes that expand after infection have stronger TCR-dependent activation than do contracted clonotypes. Our results demonstrate that host exposure to antigen may drive clonal expansion of MAIT cells with increased functional avidity, suggesting a role for specific vaccination strategies to increase the frequency and potency of MAIT cells to optimize effector function.
Project description:Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells acquire effector function in response to proinflammatory signals, which synergize with TCR-mediated signals. We asked if cell-intrinsic regulatory mechanisms exist to curtail MAIT cell effector function akin to the activation-induced expression of inhibitory receptors by conventional T cells. We examined human MAIT cells from blood and oral mucosal tissues by RNA sequencing and found differential expression of immunoregulatory genes, including CTLA-4, by MAIT cells isolated from tissue. Using an ex vivo experimental setup, we demonstrate that inflammatory cytokines were sufficient to induce CTLA-4 expression on the MAIT cell surface in the absence of TCR signals. Even brief exposure to the cytokines IL-12, IL-15, and IL-18 was sufficient for sustained CTLA-4 expression by MAIT cells. These data suggest that control of CTLA-4 expression is fundamentally different between MAIT cells and conventional T cells. We propose that this mechanism serves to limit MAIT cell-mediated tissue damage.
Project description:HIV infection is associated with immune dysfunction, perturbation of immune-cell subsets and opportunistic infections. CD161++ CD8+ T cells are a tissue-infiltrating population that produce IL17A, IL22, IFN, and TNF?, cytokines important in mucosal immunity. In adults they dominantly express the semi-invariant TCR V?7.2, the canonical feature of mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and have been recently implicated in host defense against pathogens. We analyzed the frequency and function of CD161++ /MAIT cells in peripheral blood and tissue from patients with early stage or chronic-stage HIV infection. We show that the CD161++ /MAIT cell population is significantly decreased in early HIV infection and fails to recover despite otherwise successful treatment. We provide evidence that CD161++ /MAIT cells are not preferentially infected but may be depleted through diverse mechanisms including accumulation in tissues and activation-induced cell death. This loss may impact mucosal defense and could be important in susceptibility to specific opportunistic infections in HIV.
Project description:Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell loss in chronic HIV-1 infection is a significant insult to antimicrobial immune defenses. Here we investigate the response of MAIT cells during acute HIV-1 infection utilizing the RV217 cohort with paired longitudinal pre- and post-infection samples. MAIT cells are activated and expand in blood and mucosa coincident with peak HIV-1 viremia, in a manner associated with emerging microbial translocation. This is followed by a phase with elevated function as viral replication is controlled to a set-point level, and later by their functional decline at the onset of chronic infection. Interestingly, enhanced innate-like pathways and characteristics develop progressively in MAIT cells during infection, in parallel with TCR repertoire alterations. These findings delineate the dynamic MAIT cell response to acute HIV-1 infection, and show how the MAIT compartment initially responds and expands with enhanced function, followed by progressive reprogramming away from TCR-dependent antibacterial responses towards innate-like functionality.
Project description:Human mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells express the semi-invariant T-cell receptor (TCR) V?7.2 and are restricted by the major histocompatibility complex-Ib molecule MR1. While MAIT cells share similarities with other innate T cells, the extent to which MAIT cells are innate and their capacity to adapt is unknown. We evaluated the function of V?7.2(+) T cells from the thymus, cord blood, and peripheral blood. Although antigen-inexperienced MAIT cells displayed a naïve phenotype, these had intrinsic effector capacity in response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)-infected cells. V?7.2(+) effector thymocytes contained signal joint TCR gene excision circles (sjTRECs) suggesting limited replication and thymic origin. In evaluating the capacity of Mtb-reactive MAIT cells to adapt, we found that those from the peripheral blood demonstrated a memory phenotype and had undergone substantial expansion, suggesting that they responded to antigenic stimulation. MAIT cells, an evolutionarily conserved T-cell subset that detects a variety of intracellular infections, share features of innate and adaptive immunity.