Project description:Lymphocytes provide optimal responses against pathogens with minimal inflammatory pathology. However, the intrinsic mechanisms regulating these responses are unknown. Here, we report that deletion of both transcription factors Egr2 and Egr3 in lymphocytes resulted in a lethal autoimmune syndrome with excessive serum proinflammatory cytokines but also impaired antigen receptor-induced proliferation of B and T cells. Egr2- and Egr3-defective B and T cells had hyperactive signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT1) and STAT3 while antigen receptor-induced activation of transcription factor AP-1 was severely impaired. We discovered that Egr2 and/or Egr3 directly induced expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1) and SOCS3, inhibitors of STAT1 and STAT3, and also blocked the function of Batf, an AP-1 inhibitor, in B and T cells. Thus, Egr2 and Egr3 regulate B and T cell function in adaptive immune responses and homeostasis by promoting antigen receptor signaling and controlling inflammation.
Project description:Egr2 and 3 are important for maintaining immune homeostasis. Here we define a fundamental function of Egr2 and 3 operating as a checkpoint that controls the transition between clonal expansion and differentiation of effector T cells. Egr2 and 3 deficiency resulted in defective clonal expansion but hyperactivation and excessive differentiation of T cells in response to viral infection. Conversely, sustained Egr2 expression enhanced expansion but severely impaired effector differentiation. Egr2 bound to and controlled the expression of genes regulating proliferation (Myc and Myb) and differentiation repressors (Bcl6, Id3), while repressing transcription factors required for effector function (Zeb2, RORa, RORc, and Bhlhe40). Egr2 and 3 expression in T cells was regulated reciprocally by antigen and IFNγ, providing a mechanism for adjusting proliferation and differentiation of individual T cells. Thus, Egr2 and 3 are upstream regulators of effector CD4 and CD8 T cells that are essential for optimal responses with limited immunopathology.
Project description:Blocking Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) can reinvigorate exhausted CD8 T cells (TEX) and improve control of chronic infections and cancer. However, whether blocking PD-1 can reprogram TEX into durable memory T cells (TMEM) is unclear. We found that reinvigoration of TEX in mice by PD-L1 blockade caused minimal memory development. After blockade, reinvigorated TEX became reexhausted if antigen concentration remained high and failed to become TMEM upon antigen clearance. TEX acquired an epigenetic profile distinct from that of effector T cells (TEFF) and TMEM cells that was minimally remodeled after PD-L1 blockade. This finding suggests that TEX are a distinct lineage of CD8 T cells. Nevertheless, PD-1 pathway blockade resulted in transcriptional rewiring and reengagement of effector circuitry in the TEX epigenetic landscape. These data indicate that epigenetic fate inflexibility may limit current immunotherapies.
Project description:Although the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) indicates an endogenous antitumor response, immune regulatory pathways can subvert the effector phase and enable tumor escape. Negative regulatory pathways include extrinsic suppression mechanisms, but also a T cell-intrinsic dysfunctional state. A more detailed study has been hampered by a lack of cell surface markers defining tumor-specific dysfunctional TILs, and PD-1 alone is not sufficient. Recently, we identified the transcription factor Egr2 as a critical component in controlling the anergic state in vitro. In this study, we show that the Egr2-driven cell surface proteins LAG-3 and 4-1BB can identify dysfunctional tumor antigen-specific CD8+ TIL. Co-expression of 4-1BB and LAG-3 was seen on a majority of CD8+ TILs, but not in lymphoid organs. Functional analysis revealed defective IL-2 and TNF production yet retained expression of IFN-? and regulatory T cell-recruiting chemokines. Transcriptional and phenotypic characterization revealed coexpression of multiple additional co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory receptors. Administration of anti-LAG-3 plus anti-4-1BB mAbs was therapeutic against tumors in vivo, which correlated with phenotypic normalization. Our results indicate that coexpression of LAG-3 and 4-1BB characterize dysfunctional T cells within tumors, and that targeting these receptors has therapeutic utility.