CD1d expression in glioblastoma is a promising target for NKT cell-based cancer immunotherapy.
ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive type of brain tumor with high recurrence and fatality rates. Although various therapeutic strategies have been explored, there is currently no effective treatment for glioblastoma. Recently, the number of immunotherapeutic strategies has been tested for malignant brain tumors. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells play an important role in anti-tumor immunity. To address if iNKT cells can target glioblastoma to exert anti-tumor activity, we assessed the expression of CD1d, an antigen-presenting molecule for iNKT cells, on glioblastoma cells. Glioblastoma cells from 10 of 15 patients expressed CD1d, and CD1d-positive glioblastoma cells pulsed with glycolipid ligand induced iNKT cell-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro. Although CD1d expression was low on glioblastoma stem-like cells, retinoic acid, which is the most common differentiating agent, upregulated CD1d expression in these cells and induced iNKT cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Moreover, intracranial administration of human iNKT cells induced tumor regression of CD1d-positive glioblastoma in orthotopic xenografts in NOD/Shi-scid IL-2RγKO (NOG) mice. Thus, CD1d expression represents a novel target for NKT cell-based immunotherapy for glioblastoma patients.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor anti-CD19 (CAR19)-T cell immunotherapy-induced clinical remissions in CD19+ B cell lymphomas are often short lived. We tested whether CAR19-engineering of the CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells would result in enhanced anti-lymphoma activity. CAR19-iNKT cells co-operatively activated by CD1d- and CAR19-CD19-dependent interactions are more effective than CAR19-T cells against CD1d-expressing lymphomas in vitro and in vivo. The swifter in vivo anti-lymphoma activity of CAR19-iNKT cells and their enhanced ability to eradicate brain lymphomas underpinned an improved tumor-free and overall survival. CD1D transcriptional de-repression by all-trans retinoic acid results in further enhanced cytotoxicity of CAR19-iNKT cells against CD19+ chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Thus, iNKT cells are a highly efficient platform for CAR-based immunotherapy of lymphomas and possibly other CD1d-expressing cancers.
Project description:Numerical and functional defects of invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT) have been documented in human and mouse cancers, resulting in a defect in IFN production in several malignancies. iNKT cells recognize glycolipids presented on CD1d molecules by dendritic and related cells, leading to their activation and thereby regulating immune reactions. Activated iNKT cells cytokine secretion and cytotoxicity can inhibit existing and spontaneous tumor growth, progression, and metastasis. We have identified functional iNKT cell defects in the murine TRAMP prostate cancer model. We found that iNKT cells show the ability to migrate into TRAMP prostate tumors. This infiltration was mediated through CCL2: CCR5 chemokine: receptor interaction. Prostate tumor cells expressing CD1d partially activated iNKT cells, as appreciated by up-regulation of CD25, PD-1 and the IL-12R. However, despite inducing up-regulation of these activation markers and, hence, delivering positive signals, prostate tumor cells inhibited the IL-12-induced STAT4 phosphorylation in a cell-cell contact dependent but CD1d-independent manner. Consequently, tumor cells did not induce secretion of IFNgamma by iNKT cells. Blocking the inhibitory Ly49 receptor on iNKT cells in the presence of alpha-GalCer restored their IFNgamma production in vivo and in vitro. However, Ly49 blockade alone was not sufficient. Importantly, this defect could be also be reversed into vigorous secretion of IFNgamma by the addition of both IL-12 and the exogenous CD1d ligand alpha-galactosylceramide, but not by IL-12 alone, both in vivo and in vitro. These data underscore the potential to optimize iNKT-based therapeutic approaches.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells comprise a unique lineage of CD1d-restricted lipid-reactive T lymphocytes that potently kill tumor cells and exhibit robust immunostimulatory functions. Optimal tumor-directed iNKT cell responses often require expression of the antigen-presenting molecule CD1d on tumors; however, many tumor cells downregulate CD1d and thus evade iNKT cell recognition. We generated a soluble bispecific fusion protein designed to direct iNKT cells to the site of B-cell cancers in a tumor antigen-specific but CD1d-independent manner. This fusion protein is composed of a human CD1d molecule joined to a single chain antibody FV fragment specific for CD19, an antigen widely expressed on B-cell cancers. The CD1d-CD19 fusion protein binds specifically to CD19-expressing, but not CD19-negative cells. Once loaded with the iNKT cell lipid agonist ?-galactosyl ceramide (?GC), the CD1d-CD19 fusion induces robust in vitro activation of and cytokine production by human iNKT cells. iNKT cells stimulated by the ?GC-loaded CD1d-CD19 fusion also strongly transactivate T-, B-, and NK-cell responses and promote dendritic cell maturation. Importantly, the ?GC-loaded fusion induces robust lysis of CD19<sup>+</sup>CD1d<sup>-</sup> Epstein-Barr virus immortalized human B-lymphoblastoid cell lines that are otherwise resistant to iNKT cell killing. Consistent with these findings; administration of the ?GC-loaded fusion protein controlled the growth of CD19<sup>+</sup>CD1d<sup>-</sup> tumors in vivo, suggesting that it can "link" iNKT cells and CD19<sup>+</sup>CD1d<sup>-</sup> targets in a therapeutically beneficial manner. Taken together, these preclinical studies demonstrate that this B cell-directed fusion protein can be used to effectively induce iNKT cell antitumor responses in vitro and in vivo<i>.</i>
Project description:CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are considered an attractive target for cancer immunotherapy. Upon their activation by glycolipid antigen and/or cytokines, iNKT cells can induce direct lysis of tumor cells but can also induce an antitumor immune response via their rapid production of proinflammatory cytokines that trigger the cytotoxic machinery of other components of the innate and adaptive immune system. Here, we provide an overview of various therapeutic approaches that have been evaluated or that are currently being developed and/or explored. These include administration of ?-GalCer or alternative (glyco) lipid antigens, glycolipid-loaded antigen-presenting cells and liposomes, strategies that enhance CD1d expression levels or are based on ligation of CD1d, adoptive transfer of iNKT cells or chimeric antigen receptor iNKT cells, and tumor targeting of iNKT cells.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are a major subset of NKT cells that recognize foreign and endogenous lipid antigens presented by CD1d. Although iNKT cells are characteristically autoreactive to self-antigens, the role of iNKT cells in the regulation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) has been elucidated using ?-galactosylceramide (?-GalCer), a strong synthetic glycolipid that is presented by professional antigen presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells. Despite the well-known effects of ?-GalCer and dendritic cells on lipid antigen presentation, the physiological role of endogenous antigens presented by CTLs during crosstalk with iNKT cells has not yet been addressed. In this study, we found that antigen-primed CTLs with transient CD1d upregulation could present lipid self-antigens to activate the iNKT cell production of IFN-?. CTL-mediated iNKT cell activation in turn enhanced IFN-? production and the proliferation and cytotoxicity of CTLs. We also found that the direct interaction of iNKT cells and CTLs enhanced the antitumor immune responses of CTLs. This partially explains the functional role of iNKT cells in CTL-mediated antitumor immunity. Our findings suggest that in the absence of exogenous iNKT cell ligands, iNKT cells enhanced the CTL production of IFN-? and CTL proliferation and cytotoxicity via direct interaction with CD1d expressed on T cells without interacting with APCs.
Project description:Immunotherapies that target CD1d-restricted invariant NKT (iNKT) cells can prevent tumor growth in murine models but trials in humans have shown limited clinical efficacy. Here, we show that iNKT cells are depleted from blood and bronchial lavage samples from patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) suggesting a role for these cells in immunity against NSCLC. We interrogated the Lung Cancer Explorer and Kaplan-Meier Plotter databases of NSCLC patients and found that pulmonary CD1d expression is reduced in patients with NSCLC and that low expression of CD1d mRNA is significantly associated with poor patient survival. We hypothesized that CD1d expression in NSCLC is epigenetically regulated and can be modulated using epigenetic targeting therapies. Treatment of the CD1d-negative NSCLC cell lines, A549 and SK-MES-1, with DNA methyltransferase inhibitors and histone deacetylase inhibitors resulted in a dose-dependent induction of CD1d mRNA and protein expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that this induction of CD1d expression directly involved chromatin remodelling. Induction of CD1d expression by A549 and SK-MES-1 cells using therapeutic low doses of DNA methyltransferase inhibitors and histone deacetylase inhibitors made them targets for iNKT cell-mediated cytolytic degranulation. Thus, epigenetic manipulation of CD1d expression may augment the efficacy of iNKT cell-based immunotherapies for NSCLC.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells play critical roles in autoimmune, anti-tumor, and anti-microbial immune responses, and are activated by glycolipids presented by the MHC class I-like molecule, CD1d. How the activation of signaling pathways impacts antigen (Ag)-dependent iNKT cell activation is not well-known. In the current study, we found that the MAPK JNK2 not only negatively regulates CD1d-mediated Ag presentation in APCs, but also contributes to CD1d-independent iNKT cell activation. A deficiency in the JNK2 (but not JNK1) isoform enhanced Ag presentation by CD1d. Using a vaccinia virus (VV) infection model known to cause a loss in iNKT cells in a CD1d-independent, but IL-12-dependent manner, we found the virus-induced loss of iNKT cells in JNK2 KO mice was substantially lower than that observed in JNK1 KO or wild-type (WT) mice. Importantly, compared to WT mice, JNK2 KO mouse iNKT cells were found to express less surface IL-12 receptors. As with a VV infection, an IL-12 injection also resulted in a smaller decrease in JNK2 KO iNKT cells as compared to WT mice. Overall, our work strongly suggests JNK2 is a negative regulator of CD1d-mediated Ag presentation and contributes to IL-12-induced iNKT cell activation and loss during viral infections.
Project description:iNKT cells are CD1d-restricted T cells recognizing lipid antigens. The prototypic iNKT cell-agonist ?-galactosylceramide (?-GalCer) alongside compounds with similar structures induces robust proliferation and cytokine production of iNKT cells and protects against cancer in vivo. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that detect CD1d-?-GalCer complexes have provided critical information for understanding of antigen presentation of iNKT cell agonists. Although most iNKT cell agonists with antitumor properties are ?-linked glycosphingolipids that can be detected by anti-CD1d-?-GalCer mAbs, ?-ManCer, a glycolipid with a ?-linkage, induces strong antitumor immunity via mechanisms distinct from those of ?-GalCer. In this study, we unexpectedly discovered that anti-CD1d-?-GalCer mAbs directly recognized ?-ManCer-CD1d complexes and could inhibit ?-ManCer stimulation of iNKT cells. The binding of anti-CD1d-?-GalCer mAb with ?-ManCer-CD1d complexes was also confirmed by plasmon resonance and could not be explained by ?-anomer contamination. The binding of anti-CD1d-?-GalCer mAb was also observed with CD1d loaded with another ?-linked glycosylceramide, ?-GalCer (C26:0). Detection with anti-CD1d-?-GalCer mAbs indicates that the interface of the ?-ManCer-CD1d complex exposed to the iNKT cell TCR can assume a structure like that of CD1d-?-GalCer, despite its disparate carbohydrate structure. These results suggest that certain ?-linked monoglycosylceramides can assume a structural display similar to that of CD1d-?-GalCer and that the data based on anti-CD1d-?-GalCer binding should be interpreted with caution.
Project description:Despite the well-established antitumor activity of CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T lymphocytes (iNKT), their use for cancer therapy has remained challenging. This appears to be due to their strong but short-lived activation followed by long-term anergy after a single administration of the CD1d agonist ligand alpha-galactosylceramide (αGC). As a promising alternative, we obtained sustained mouse iNKT cell responses associated with prolonged antitumor effects through repeated administrations of tumor-targeted recombinant sCD1d-antitumor scFv fusion proteins loaded with αGC. Here, we demonstrate that CD1d fusion proteins bound to tumor cells via the antibody fragment specific for a tumor-associated antigen, efficiently activate human iNKT cell lines leading to potent tumor cell lysis. The importance of CD1d tumor targeting was confirmed in tumor-bearing mice in which only the specific tumor-targeted CD1d fusion protein resulted in tumor inhibition of well-established aggressive tumor grafts. The therapeutic efficacy correlated with the repeated activation of iNKT and natural killer cells marked by their release of TH1 cytokines, despite the up-regulation of the co-inhibitory receptor PD-1. Our results demonstrate the superiority of providing the superagonist αGC loaded on recombinant CD1d proteins and support the use of αGC/sCD1d-antitumor fusion proteins to secure a sustained human and mouse iNKT cell activation, while targeting their cytotoxic activity and cytokine release to the tumor site.
Project description:Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are involved in various autoimmune diseases. Although iNKT cells are arthritogenic, transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ)-treated tolerogenic peritoneal macrophages (Tol-pMφ) from wild-type (WT) mice are more tolerogenic than those from CD1d knock-out iNKT cell-deficient mice in a collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model. The underlying mechanism by which pMφ can act as tolerogenic antigen presenting cells (APCs) is currently unclear. To determine cellular mechanisms underlying CD1d-dependent tolerogenicity of pMφ, in vitro and in vivo characteristics of pMφ were investigated. Unlike dendritic cells or splenic Mφ, pMφ from CD1d+/- mice showed lower expression levels of costimulatory molecule CD86 and produced lower amounts of inflammatory cytokines upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation compared to pMφ from CD1d-deficient mice. In a CIA model of CD1d-deficient mice, adoptively transferred pMφ from WT mice reduced the severity of arthritis. However, pMφ from CD1d-deficient mice were unable to reduce the severity of arthritis. Hence, the tolerogenicity of pMφ is a cell-intrinsic property that is probably conferred by iNKT cells during pMφ development rather than by interactions of pMφ with iNKT cells during antigen presentation to cognate T cells. [BMB Reports 2021; 54(4): 209-214].