Irving Weissman, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
The lymphatic system in teleost fish has genetic and developmental origins similar to those of the mammalian lymphatic system, which is involved in immune response and fluid homeostasis. Here, we show that the lymphatic system of tunas functions in swimming hydrodynamics. Specifically, a musculo-vascular complex, consisting of fin muscles, bones, and lymphatic vessels, is involved in the hydraulic control of median fins. This specialization of the lymphatic system is associated with fish in the family Scombridae and may have evolved in response to the demand for swimming and maneuvering control in these high-performance species.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aak9607
View details for PubMedID 28729512
In a primitive chordate model of natural chimerism, one chimeric partner is often eliminated in a process of allogeneic resorption. Here, we identify the cellular framework underlying loss of tolerance to one partner within a natural Botryllus schlosseri chimera. We show that the principal cell type mediating chimeric partner elimination is a cytotoxic morula cell (MC). Proinflammatory, developmental cell death programs render MCs cytotoxic and, in collaboration with activated phagocytes, eliminate chimeric partners during the "takeover" phase of blastogenic development. Among these genes, the proinflammatory cytokine IL-17 enhances cytotoxicity in allorecognition assays. Cellular transfer of FACS-purified MCs from allogeneic donors into recipients shows that the resorption response can be adoptively acquired. Transfer of 1 × 10(5) allogeneic MCs eliminated 33 of 78 (42%) recipient primary buds and 20 of 76 (20.5%) adult parental adult organisms (zooids) by 14 d whereas transfer of allogeneic cell populations lacking MCs had only minimal effects on recipient colonies. Furthermore, reactivity of transferred cells coincided with the onset of developmental-regulated cell death programs and disproportionately affected developing tissues within a chimera. Among chimeric partner "losers," severe developmental defects were observed in asexually propagating tissues, reflecting a pathologic switch in gene expression in developmental programs. These studies provide evidence that elimination of one partner in a chimera is an immune cell-based rejection that operates within histocompatible pairs and that maximal allogeneic responses involve the coordination of both phagocytic programs and the "arming" of cytotoxic cells.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1606276113
View details for Web of Science ID 000377155400052
View details for PubMedID 27217570
Generalized methods for understanding the cell biology of non-model species are quite rare, yet very much needed. In order to address this issue, we have modified a technique traditionally used in the biomedical field for ecological and evolutionary research. Fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) is often used for sorting and identifying cell populations. In this study, we developed a method to identify and isolate different cell populations in corals and other cnidarians.Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), coral cell suspension were sorted into different cellular populations using fluorescent cell markers that are non-species specific. Over 30 different cell markers were tested. Additionally, cell suspension from Aiptasia pallida was also tested, and a phagocytosis test was done as a downstream functional assay.We found that 24 of the screened markers positively labeled coral cells and 16 differentiated cell sub-populations. We identified 12 different cellular sub-populations using three markers, and found that each sub-population is primarily homogeneous. Lastly, we verified this technique in a sea anemone, Aiptasia pallida, and found that with minor modifications, a similar gating strategy can be successfully applied. Additionally, within A. pallida, we show elevated phagocytosis of sorted cells based on an immune associated marker.In this study, we successfully adapted FACS for isolating coral cell populations and conclude that this technique is translatable for future use in other species. This technique has the potential to be used for different types of studies on the cellular stress response and other immunological studies.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12860-017-0146-8
View details for PubMedID 28851289
Exciting progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy has renewed the urgency of the need for basic studies of immunoregulation in both adaptive cell lineages and innate cell lineages. Here we found a central role for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I in controlling the phagocytic function of macrophages. Our results demonstrated that expression of the common MHC class I component β2-microglobulin (β2M) by cancer cells directly protected them from phagocytosis. We further showed that this protection was mediated by the inhibitory receptor LILRB1, whose expression was upregulated on the surface of macrophages, including tumor-associated macrophages. Disruption of either MHC class I or LILRB1 potentiated phagocytosis of tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo, which defines the MHC class I-LILRB1 signaling axis as an important regulator of the effector function of innate immune cells, a potential biomarker for therapeutic response to agents directed against the signal-regulatory protein CD47 and a potential target of anti-cancer immunotherapy.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41590-017-0004-z
View details for PubMedID 29180808
NKp44 and NKp30 splice variant profiles have been shown to promote diverse cellular functions. Moreover, microenvironment factors such as TGF-β, IL-15 and IL-18 are able to influence both NKp44 and NKp30 splice variant profiles, leading to cytokine-associated profiles. Placenta and cancerous tissues have many similarities; both are immunologically privileged sites and both share immune tolerance mechanisms to support tissue development. Therefore, we studied the profiles of NKp44 and NKp30 splice variants in these states by comparing (i) decidua from pregnancy disorder and healthy gestation and (ii) matched normal and cancer tissue. Decidua samples had high incidence of both NKp44 and NKp30. In cancerous state it was different; while NKp30 expression was evident in most cancerous and matched normal tissues, NKp44 incidence was lower and was mostly associated with the cancerous tissues. A NKp44-1dominant inhibitory profile predominated in healthy pregnancy gestation. Interestingly, the NKp44-2/3 activation profile becomes the leading profile in spontaneous abortions, whereas balanced NKp44 profiles were observed in preeclampsia. In contrast, a clear preference for the NKp30a/b profile was evident in the 1st trimester decidua, yet no significant differences were observed for NKp30 profiles between healthy gestation and spontaneous abortions/preeclampsia. Both cancerous and matched normal tissues manifested balanced NKp30c inhibitory and NKp30a/b activation profiles with a NKp44-1dominant profile. However, a shift in NKp30 profiles between matched normal and cancer tissue was observed in half of the cases. To summarize, NKp44 and NKp30 splice variants profiles are tissue/condition specific and demonstrate similarity between placenta and cancerous tissues.
View details for DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.12292
View details for PubMedID 27765926
NKp44 is a receptor encoded by the NCR2 gene, which is expressed by cytokine-activated natural killer (NK) cells that are involved in anti-AML immunity. NKp44 has three splice variants corresponding to NKp44ITIM+ (NKp44-1) and NKp44ITIM- (NKp44-2, and NKp44-3) isoforms. RNAseq data of AML patients revealed similar survival of NKp46+NKp44+ and NKp46+NKp44- patients. However, if grouped according to the NKp44 splice variant profile, NKp44-1 expression was significantly associated with poor survival of AML patients. Moreover, activation of PBMC from healthy controls showed co-dominant expression of NKp44-1 and NKp44-3, while primary NK clones show more diverse NKp44 splice variant profiles. Cultured primary NK cells resulted in NKp44-1 dominance and impaired function associated with PCNA over-expression by target cells. This impaired functional phenotype could be rescued by blocking of NKp44 receptor. Human NK cell lines revealed co-dominant expression of NKp44-1 and NKp44-3 and showed a functional phenotype that was not inhibited by PCNA over-expression. Furthermore, transfection-based overexpression of NKp44-1, but not NKp44-2/NKp44-3, reversed the endogenous resistance of NK-92 cells to PCNA-mediated inhibition, and resulted in poor formation of stable lytic immune synapses. This research contributes to the understanding of AML prognosis by shedding new light on the functional implications of differential splicing of NKp44.
View details for DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.8782
View details for Web of Science ID 000377748500102
View details for PubMedID 27102296
Capsule: We observed that first trimester pregnancy loss is associated with an altered expression profile of the three isoforms of the NK receptor NKp30 expressed by NKs in PBMC and placental tissue. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether first trimester pregnancy loss is associated with differences in expression of NKp30 splice variants (isoforms) in maternal peripheral blood or placental tissue. We conducted a prospective case-control study; a total of 33 women undergoing dilation and curettage due to first trimester pregnancy loss were further subdivided into groups with sporadic or recurrent pregnancy loss. The control group comprises women undergoing elective termination of pregnancy. The qPCR approach was employed to assess the relative expression of NKp30 isoforms as well as the total expression of NKp30 and NKp46 receptors between the selected groups. Results show that in both PBMC and placental tissue, NKp46 and NKp30 expressions were mildly elevated in the pregnancy loss groups compared with the elective group. In particular, NKp46 elevation was significant. Moreover, expression analysis of NKp30 isoforms manifested a different profile between PBMC and the placenta. NKp30-a and NKp30-b isoforms in the placental tissue, but not in PBMC, showed a significant increase in the pregnancy loss groups compared with the elective group. Placental expression of NKp30 activating isoforms-a and -b in the pregnancy loss groups was negatively correlated with PLGF expression. By contrast, placental expression of these isoforms in the elective group was positively correlated with TNFα, IL-10, and VEGF-A expression. The altered expression of NKp30 activating isoforms in placental tissue from patients with pregnancy loss compared to the elective group and the different correlations with cytokine expression point to the involvement of NKp30-mediated function in pregnancy loss.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00189
View details for Web of Science ID 000357153500001
View details for PubMedID 26082773
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4450658
View details for DOI 10.14785/lpsn-2015-0007
The Ral (Ras-like) GTP-binding proteins (RalA and RalB), as effectors of the proto-oncogene Natural killer (NK) cells are an important component of the anti-tumor response. Tumor recognition by NK cells was found to be partly triggered by molecules termed natural cytotoxic receptors (NCRs). Adoptive transfer of genetically-engineered tumor-reactive T-lymphocytes can mediate remarkable tumor regressions mostly in melanoma and leukemia patients. Yet, the application of such treatments to other cancers is needed and dependent on the isolation of receptors that could facilitate efficient recognition of these malignancies. Herein, we aimed at combining NK tumor recognition capability with the genetic modification of T-cells to provide the latter with a means to recognize several tumors in a non-MHC restricted way. Consequently, we generated and evaluated several chimeric receptors based on the extracellular domain of NCR1 (NKp46) fused to multiple signaling moieties and assess their antitumor activity when retrovirally expressed in T-cells. Following co-culture with different tumors, primary human T-lymphocytes expressing a chimeric NCR1 molecule recognized target cells derived from lung, cervical carcinoma, leukemia and pancreatic cancer. In addition, this receptor mediated an upregulation of surface activation markers and significant antitumor cytotoxicity both in vitro and in vivo. These results have meaningful implications for the immunotherapeutic treatment of cancer using gene-modified T-cells.
View details for Web of Science ID 000348036900055
View details for PubMedID 25431955
KIR2DL4 (CD158d) is a distinct member of the killer cell Ig-like receptor (KIR) family in human NK cells that can induce cytokine production and cytolytic activity in resting NK cells. Soluble HLA-G, normally expressed only by fetal-derived trophoblast cells, was reported to be a ligand for KIR2DL4; however, KIR2DL4 expression is not restricted to the placenta and can be found in CD56(high) subset of peripheral blood NK cells. We demonstrated that KIR2DL4 can interact with alternative ligand(s), expressed by cells of epithelial or fibroblast origin. A genome-wide high-throughput siRNA screen revealed that KIR2DL4 recognition of cell-surface ligand(s) is directly regulated by heparan sulfate (HS) glucosamine 3-O-sulfotransferase 3B1 (HS3ST3B1). KIR2DL4 was found to directly interact with HS/heparin, and the D0 domain of KIR2DL4 was essential for this interaction. Accordingly, exogenous HS/heparin can regulate cytokine production by KIR2DL4-expressing NK cells and HEK293T cells (HEK293T-2DL4), and induces differential localization of KIR2DL4 to rab5(+) and rab7(+) endosomes, thus leading to downregulation of cytokine production and degradation of the receptor. Furthermore, we showed that intimate interaction of syndecan-4 (SDC4) HS proteoglycan (HSPG) and KIR2DL4 directly affects receptor endocytosis and membrane trafficking.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1302079
View details for Web of Science ID 000326584600039
View details for PubMedID 24127555
The study of the Plasmodium falciparum heavy metal transporter gene pfmdr2 employed radioactive labelled heavy metal. As the use of radioactive isotopes shrank considerably during the last few years, resulting in the cessation of the production of some isotopes, amongst them Cadmium109 which was used for that purpose, a different approach had to be developed. Herein, a dual fluorescent labelling of heavy metals accumulation in the P. falciparum parasite is proposed as an alternative to the use of radioactive labelled heavy metals.Plasmodium falciparum Cd resistant and sensitive strains at the trophozoite stage were used in this study. The cells were cultured at different CdCl2 concentrations and for different time periods followed by staining of the infected red blood cells with Fluo-3/AM for Cd detection and Hoechst 33342 for parasite DNA labelling. The fluorescent analysis was done by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy.The results show that the sensitive strain has a higher Fluo-3/AM fluorescence in a Cd concentration and time dependent manner, whereas in the resistant strain Fluo-3/AM fluorescence levels were negligible and increased only at high concentrations of Cd and at long incubation periods, but to a much lesser extent than the sensitive strain. No Cd uptake is observed in uninfected red blood cells populations originating from cultures infected with either sensitive or resistant strain. In addition, confocal microscopy overlay of Fluo-3/AM and Hoechst staining shows that the Cd metal accumulates in the parasite itself.The dual fluorescent labelling is a valid method for detecting heavy metal accumulation in P. falciparum. Furthermore, in contrast to the use of radioactive labelled heavy metal, the fluorescent labelling enables us to differentiate between the different populations existing in a P. falciparum infected red blood cells cultures and thus actually study a phenomenon at the level of a single cell.
View details for DOI 10.1186/1475-2875-11-371
View details for Web of Science ID 000313866800001
View details for PubMedID 23137170
The matter of the pathogen- and cancer-associated ligands recognized by the Natural Cytotoxicity Receptors (NCRs) has been a subject of intense research ever since the identification of the NCRs more than 12 years ago by Alessandro and Lorenzo Moretta: NKp46 in 1997, NKp44 in 1998, and finally NKp30 in 1999. Expression patterns recognized by NCRs include pathogen-derived, pathogen-induced, and cancer-associated cellular 'self' ligands. Pathogen-exposed cells may exhibit both types of pathogen-associated ligands. Transformed cells, in contrast, exhibit only 'self' ligands which are derived from both the intracellular- and membrane-associated milieu of self molecules. These expression patterns allow for NCR-based NK cell discrimination between healthy and affected cells, in the realms of both pathogenic infection and potential tumorigenesis. The focus of this review is on the current knowledge regarding the identities of NCR ligands and the type of target cells expressing these ligands.
View details for DOI 10.3109/1547691X.2012.675366
View details for Web of Science ID 000307669600006
View details for PubMedID 22524686
NKp46 is a primary activating receptor of NK cells that is involved in lysis of target cells by NK cells. Previous studies showed that the membrane-proximal domain of NKp46 (NKp46D2) retained the binding of NKp46 to its ligands and is involved in lysis. We studied NKp46D2 by using a peptide-based epitope mapping approach and identified an NKp46D2-derived linear epitope that inhibited NKp46-mediated lysis. The epitope, designated as pep4 (aa 136-155), interacted with NKp46, and lysis by NK cells was inhibited by the presence of pep4. Through modeling and mutagenesis, we showed that pep4 could be involved in NKp46 homodimerization. R145 and D147 contribute to the function of pep4, and R145Q mutation in recombinant NKp46 reduced its binding to target cells. At the cellular level, fluorescent resonance energy transfer analysis revealed that pep4 is indeed involved in dimerization of cell membrane-associated NKp46. We suggest that the NKp46-derived pep4 site is part of the dimerization surface of NKp46 and that NKp46 dimerization contributes to NKp46-mediated lysis by NK cells.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1102496
View details for Web of Science ID 000305077900042
View details for PubMedID 22615207
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons. To date, glycosylation patterns of glycoproteins in fluids of ALS patients have not been described. Moreover, the aberrant glycosylation related to the pathogenesis of other neurodegenerative diseases encouraged us to explore the glycome of ALS patient sera. We found high levels of sialylated glycans and low levels of core fucosylated glycans in serum-derived N-glycans of patients with ALS, compared to healthy volunteer sera. Based on these results, we analyzed the IgG Fc N(297)-glycans, as IgG are major serum glycoproteins affected by sialylation or core fucosylation and are found in the motor cortex of ALS patients. The analyses revealed a distinct glycan, A2BG2, in IgG derived from ALS patient sera (ALS-IgG). This glycan increases the affinity of IgG to CD16 on effector cells, consequently enhancing Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC). Therefore, we explore whether the Fc-N(297)-glycans of IgG may be involved in ALS disease. Immunostaining of brain and spinal cord tissues revealed over-expression of CD16 and co-localization of intact ALS-IgG with CD16 and in brain with activated microglia of G93A-SOD1 mice. Intact ALS-IgG enhanced effector cell activation and ADCC reaction in comparison to sugar-depleted or control IgG. ALS-IgG were localized in the synapse between brain microglia and neurons of G93A-SOD1 mice, manifesting a promising in vivo ADCC reaction. Therefore, glycans of ALS-IgG may serve as a biomarker for the disease and may be involved in neuronal damage.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0035772
View details for Web of Science ID 000305353400005
View details for PubMedID 22666317
In recent years, the effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy (CT/RT) regimens as they apply to the immune system have been explored. NK cells represent the main cytotoxic arm of the innate immune system, and their functionality is vital to establishing an effective anti tumor immune response. This review examines current CT/RT interventions in light of their effects on NK cell functionality. The effects of CT/RT on the expression of the various ligands for activating and inhibitory NK cell receptors are discussed. Expression of ligands for the activating NKG2D receptor is enhanced by cell stress; accordingly there are numerous reports of their higher expression in cells exposed to various CT/RT agents. In contrast, some agents have been reported to cause ligand shedding, which can serve to inhibit NK cell activity. Reported effects of CT/RT on tumor expression of ligands for the activating Natural Cytotoxicity Receptors, and of HLA class I ligands for NK cell inhibitory receptors are also noted. Additionally, we describe reports concerning the direct effects of CT/RT on NK cell function. Many treatments adversely affect NK cell function directly, but observations made through in vitro systems may differ from those obtained utilizing clinical samples. The effects of CT/RT on both direct NK cell cytotoxicity and on NK cell-mediated Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity are explored. Taken together, CT/RT affects NK cell anti-tumor immunity from multiple angles. The interplay is complex, and future work is needed to achieve the optimal synergy between CT/RT and innate as well as adaptive immunity in the treatment of cancer.
View details for Web of Science ID 000302789000006
View details for PubMedID 22414084
Unlike many other viruses that downregulate MHC class I expression on infected cell membranes, flaviviruses were reported to upregulate the MHC class I expression. Dengue virus was shown to induce HLA class I expression; however, the precise transcriptional mechanism that is used by the virus remains unclear. This article assessed the findings of a recently published report describing the mechanism used by dengue virus to induce HLA-A2 expression and characterizing the transcription factors that are involved. The study showed that p50/p65 and p65/65 NF-κB dimers bind to the class I regulatory complex within the HLA-A2 promoter. This finding and its significance for the design of possible antiviral therapeutic agents are discussed in this article.
View details for DOI 10.1586/ERI.12.7
View details for Web of Science ID 000303630300014
View details for PubMedID 22397562
We recently reported proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) as a ligand for the NK cell activating receptor, NKp44, which unexpectedly triggers inhibition. The recognition of nuclear proteins such as PCNA, by related NK cell receptors has been reported. Widespread upregulation of PCNA in tumor cells may therefore promote immune evasion.
View details for PubMedID 22754791
NK cells play an important role in the early immune response to cancer. The NKp44 activating receptor is the only natural cytotoxicity receptor that is expressed exclusively by primate NK cells, yet its cellular ligands remain largely unknown. Proliferating cell nuclear Ag (PCNA) is overexpressed in cancer cells. In this study, we show that the NKp44 receptor recognizes PCNA. Their interaction inhibits NK cell function through NKp44/ITIM. The physical interaction of NKp44 and PCNA is enabled by recruitment of target cell PCNA to the NK immunological synapse. We demonstrate that PCNA promotes cancer survival by immune evasion through inhibition of NKp44-mediated NK cell attack.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1102267
View details for Web of Science ID 000297450000030
View details for PubMedID 22021614
The use of recombinant receptors as a scientific tool has become widespread in many research fields. Of particular interest are the natural killer (NK) receptors that play a major role in the immune response against tumors and virus-infected cells. We present here (i) a detailed protocol for the production and purification of soluble recombinant NK cell receptors tagged with human IgG1-Fc (thus termed receptor-Fc chimera or receptor-Ig fusion protein) and (ii) a protocol for cell staining with these recombinant receptor-Fc chimeras. As these recombinant proteins are produced in eukaryotic cells, we further discuss the glycosylation pattern of these receptors that might interfere with their ligand-binding phenotype.
View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-60761-362-6_18
View details for PubMedID 20033647
Dengue virus (DV) and West Nile virus (WNV) have become a global concern due to their widespread distribution and their ability to cause a variety of human diseases. Antiviral immune defenses involve NK cells. In the present study, we investigated the interaction between NK cells and these two flaviviruses. We show that the NK-activating receptor NKp44 is involved in virally mediated NK activation through direct interaction with the flavivirus envelope protein. Recombinant NKp44 directly binds to purified DV and WNV envelope proteins and specifically to domain III of WNV envelope protein; it also binds to WNV virus-like particles. These WNV-virus-like particles and WNV-domain III of WNV envelope protein directly bind NK cells expressing high levels of NKp44. Functionally, interaction of NK cells with infective and inactivated WNV results in NKp44-mediated NK degranulation. Finally, WNV infection of cells results in increased binding of rNKp44 that is specifically inhibited by anti-WNV serum. WNV-infected target cells induce IFN-gamma secretion and augmented lysis by NKp44-expressing primary NK cells that are blocked by anti-NKp44 Abs. Our findings show that triggering of NK cells by flavivirus is mediated by interaction of NKp44 with the flavivirus envelope protein.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.0802806
View details for Web of Science ID 000268906500049
View details for PubMedID 19635919
Natural Killer (NK) cells recognize and destroy tumors and virus-infected cells in an antibody-independent manner. The regulation of NK cells is mediated by activating and inhibiting receptors on the NK cell surface. One important family of activating receptors is the natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) which include NKp30, NKp44 and NKp46. The NCRs initiate tumor targeting by recognition of heparan sulfate on cancer cells. This study aims to elucidate heparan sulfate structural motifs that are important for NCR binding. Microarray and surface plasmon resonance experiments with a small library of heparan sulfate/heparin oligosaccharides helped to clarify the binding preferences of the three NCRs. We demonstrate that the NCRs interact with highly charged HS/heparin structures, but differ in preferred modification patterns and chain lengths. The affinity of NKp30 and NKp44 for synthetic HS/heparin is approximately one order of magnitude higher than the affinity of NKp46. We further show the relevance of synthetic HS/heparin for the binding of NCRs to tumor cells and for NCR-mediated activation of natural killer cells. In conclusion, NCRs recognize different microdomains on heparan sulfate with different affinities.
View details for DOI 10.1021/pr800747c
View details for Web of Science ID 000263193300032
View details for PubMedID 19196184