Epigenetic signature of PD-1+ TCF1+ CD8 T cells that act as resource cells during chronic viral infection and respond to PD-1 blockade.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Defects in Antiviral T Cell Responses Inflicted by Aging-Associated miR-181a Deficiency.
2019; 29 (8): 2202–16.e5
We have recently defined a novel population of PD-1 (programmed cell death 1)+ TCF1 (T cell factor 1)+ virus-specific CD8 T cells that function as resource cells during chronic LCMV infection and provide the proliferative burst seen after PD-1 blockade. Such CD8 T cells have been found in other chronic infections and also in cancer in mice and humans. These CD8 T cells exhibit stem-like properties undergoing self-renewal and also differentiating into the terminally exhausted CD8 T cells. Here we compared the epigenetic signature of stem-like CD8 T cells with exhausted CD8 T cells. ATAC-seq analysis showed that stem-like CD8 T cells had a unique signature implicating activity of HMG (TCF) and RHD (NF-kappaB) transcription factor family members in contrast to higher accessibility to ETS and RUNX motifs in exhausted CD8 T cells. In addition, regulatory regions of the transcription factors Tcf7 and Id3 were more accessible in stem-like cells whereas Prdm1 and Id2 were more accessible in exhausted CD8 T cells. We also compared the epigenetic signatures of the 2 CD8 T cell subsets from chronically infected mice with effector and memory CD8 T cells generated after an acute LCMV infection. Both CD8 T cell subsets generated during chronic infection were strikingly different from CD8 T cell subsets from acute infection. Interestingly, the stem-like CD8 T cell subset from chronic infection, despite sharing key functional properties with memory CD8 T cells, had a very distinct epigenetic program. These results show that the chronic stem-like CD8 T cell program represents a specific adaptation of the T cell response to persistent antigenic stimulation.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1903520116
View details for PubMedID 31227606
Activation of miR-21-Regulated Pathways in Immune Aging Selects against Signatures Characteristic of Memory T Cells.
2018; 25 (8): 2148
Generation of protective immunity to infections and vaccinations declines with age. Studies in healthy individuals have implicated reduced miR-181a expression in T cells as contributing to this defect. To understand the impact of miR-181a expression on antiviral responses, we examined LCMV infection in mice with miR-181ab1-deficient T cells. We found that miR-181a deficiency delays viral clearance, thereby biasing the immune response in favor of CD4 over CD8 T cells. Antigen-specific CD4 T cells in mice with miR-181a-deficient T cells expand more and have a broader TCR repertoire with preferential expansion of high-affinity T cells than in wild-type mice. Importantly, generation of antigen-specific miR-181a-deficient CD8 effector T cells is particularly impaired, resulting in lower frequencies of CD8 T cells in the liver even at time points when the infection has been cleared. Consistent with the mouse model, CD4 memory T cells in individuals infected with West Nile virus at older ages tend to be more frequent and of higher affinity.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.10.044
View details for PubMedID 31747595
Regulation of miR-181a expression in T cell aging.
2018; 9 (1): 3060
Induction of protective vaccine responses, governed by the successful generation of antigen-specific antibodies and long-lived memory Tcells, is increasingly impaired with age. Regulation of the Tcell proteome by a dynamic network of microRNAs is crucial to Tcell responses. Here, we show that activation-induced upregulation of miR-21 biases the transcriptome of differentiating Tcells away from memory Tcells and toward inflammatory effector Tcells. Such a transcriptome bias is also characteristic of Tcell responses in older individuals who have increased miR-21 expression and is reversed by antagonizing miR-21. miR-21 targets negative feedback circuits in several signaling pathways. The concerted, sustained activity of these signaling pathways in miR-21high Tcells disfavors the induction of transcription factor networks involved in memory cell differentiation. Our data suggest that curbing miR-21 upregulation or activity in older individuals may improve their ability to mount effective vaccine responses.
View details for PubMedID 30463012
Epigenetics of Tcell aging.
Journal of leukocyte biology
MicroRNAs have emerged as key regulators in T cell development, activation, and differentiation, with miR-181a having a prominent function. By targeting several signaling pathways, miR-181a is an important rheostat controlling T cell receptor (TCR) activation thresholds in thymic selection as well as peripheral T cell responses. A decline in miR-181a expression, due to reduced transcription of pri-miR-181a, accounts for T cell activation defects that occur with older age. Here we examine the transcriptional regulation of miR-181a expression and find a putative pri-miR-181a enhancer around position 198,904,300 on chromosome 1, which is regulated by a transcription factor complex including YY1. The decline in miR-181a expression correlates with reduced transcription of YY1 in older individuals. Partial silencing of YY1 in T cells from young individuals reproduces the signaling defects seen in older T cells. In conclusion, YY1 controls TCR signaling by upregulating miR-181a and dampening negative feedback loops mediated by miR-181a targets.
View details for PubMedID 30076309
Single-Cell RNA-seq Reveals a Subpopulation of Prostate Cancer Cells with Enhanced Cell-Cycle-Related Transcription and Attenuated Androgen Response
2018; 78 (4): 853–64
T cells are a heterogeneous population of cells that differ in their differentiation stages. Functional states are reflected in the epigenome that confers stability in cellular identity and is therefore important for naive as well as memory Tcell function. In many cellular systems, changes in chromatin structure due to alterations in histone expression, histone modifications and DNA methylation are characteristic of the aging process and cause or at least contribute to cellular dysfunction in senescence. Here, we review the epigenetic changes in Tcells that occur with age and discuss them in the context of canonical epigenetic marks in aging model systems as well as recent findings of chromatin accessibility changes in Tcell differentiation. Remarkably, transcription factor networks driving Tcell differentiation account for many of the age-associated modifications in chromatin structures suggesting that loss of quiescence and activation of differentiation pathways are major components of Tcell aging.
View details for PubMedID 29947427
Immune Checkpoint Function of CD85j in CD8 T Cell Differentiation and Aging
FRONTIERS IN IMMUNOLOGY
2017; 8: 692
Increasing evidence suggests the presence of minor cell subpopulations in prostate cancer that are androgen independent and poised for selection as dominant clones after androgen deprivation therapy. In this study, we investigated this phenomenon by stratifying cell subpopulations based on transcriptome profiling of 144 single LNCaP prostate cancer cells treated or untreated with androgen after cell-cycle synchronization. Model-based clustering of 397 differentially expressed genes identified eight potential subpopulations of LNCaP cells, revealing a previously unappreciable level of cellular heterogeneity to androgen stimulation. One subpopulation displayed stem-like features with a slower cell doubling rate, increased sphere formation capability, and resistance to G2-M arrest induced by a mitosis inhibitor. Advanced growth of this subpopulation was associated with enhanced expression of 10 cell-cycle-related genes (CCNB2, DLGAP5, CENPF, CENPE, MKI67, PTTG1, CDC20, PLK1, HMMR, and CCNB1) and decreased dependence upon androgen receptor signaling. In silico analysis of RNA-seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas further demonstrated that concordant upregulation of these genes was linked to recurrent prostate cancers. Analysis of receiver operating characteristic curves implicates aberrant expression of these genes and could be useful for early identification of tumors that subsequently develop biochemical recurrence. Moreover, this single-cell approach provides a better understanding of how prostate cancer cells respond heterogeneously to androgen deprivation therapies and reveals characteristics of subpopulations resistant to this treatment.Significance: Illustrating the challenge in treating cancers with targeted drugs, which by selecting for drug resistance can drive metastatic progression, this study characterized the plasticity and heterogeneity of prostate cancer cells with regard to androgen dependence, defining the character or minor subpopulations of androgen-independent cells that are poised for clonal selection after androgen-deprivation therapy. Cancer Res; 78(4); 853-64. ©2017 AACR.
View details for PubMedID 29233929
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5983359
Aging is associated with an increased susceptibility to infection and a failure to control latent viruses thought to be driven, at least in part, by alterations in CD8 T cell function. The aging T cell repertoire is characterized by an accumulation of effector CD8 T cells, many of which express the negative regulatory receptor CD85j. To define the biological significance of CD85j expression on CD8 T cells and to address the question whether presence of CD85j in older individuals is beneficial or detrimental for immune function, we examined the specific attributes of CD8 T cells expressing CD85j as well as the functional role of CD85j in antigen-specific CD8 T cell responses during immune aging. Here, we show that CD85j is mainly expressed by terminally differentiated effector (TEMRAs) CD8 T cells, which increase with age, in cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and in males. CD85j+ CMV-specific cells demonstrate clonal expansion. However, TCR diversity is similar between CD85j+ and CD85j- compartments, suggesting that CD85j does not directly impact the repertoire of antigen-specific cells. Further phenotypic and functional analyses revealed that CD85j identifies a specific subset of CMV-responsive CD8 T cells that coexpress a marker of senescence (CD57) but retain polyfunctional cytokine production and expression of cytotoxic mediators. Blocking CD85j binding enhanced proliferation of CMV-specific CD8 T cells upon antigen stimulation but did not alter polyfunctional cytokine production. Taken together, these data demonstrate that CD85j characterizes a population of "senescent," but not exhausted antigen-specific effector CD8 T cells and indicates that CD85j is an important checkpoint regulator controlling expansion of virus-specific T cells during aging. Inhibition of CD85j activity may be a mechanism to promote stronger CD8 T cell effector responses during immune aging.
View details for PubMedID 28659925