Adoptive transfer of T cells engineered to express a hepatitis B virus–specific (HBV-specific) T cell receptor (TCR) may supplement HBV-specific immune responses in chronic HBV patients and facilitate HBV control. However, the risk of triggering unrestrained proliferation of permanently engineered T cells raises safety concerns that have hampered testing of this approach in patients. The aim of the present study was to generate T cells that transiently express HBV-specific TCRs using mRNA electroporation and to assess their antiviral and pathogenetic activity in vitro and in HBV-infected human liver chimeric mice. We assessed virological and gene-expression changes using quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR), immunofluorescence, and Luminex technology. HBV-specific T cells lysed HBV-producing hepatoma cells in vitro. In vivo, 3 injections of HBV-specific T cells caused progressive viremia reduction within 12 days of treatment in animals reconstituted with haplotype-matched hepatocytes, whereas viremia remained stable in mice receiving irrelevant T cells redirected toward hepatitis C virus–specific TCRs. Notably, increases in alanine aminotransferase levels, apoptotic markers, and human inflammatory cytokines returned to pretreatment levels within 9 days after the last injection. T cell transfer did not trigger inflammation in uninfected mice. These data support the feasibility of using mRNA electroporation to engineer HBV TCR–redirected T cells in patients with chronic HBV infection.
Janine Kah, Sarene Koh, Tassilo Volz, Erica Ceccarello, Lena Allweiss, Marc Lütgehetmann, Antonio Bertoletti, Maura Dandri
BACKGROUND. The tumor immune response is increasingly associated with better clinical outcomes in breast and other cancers. However, the evaluation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) relies on histopathological measurements with limited accuracy and reproducibility. Here, we profiled DNA methylation markers to identify a methylation of TIL (MeTIL) signature that recapitulates TIL evaluations and their prognostic value for long-term outcomes in breast cancer (BC). METHODS. MeTIL signature scores were correlated with clinical endpoints reflecting overall or disease-free survival and a pathologic complete response to preoperative anthracycline therapy in 3 BC cohorts from the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels and in other cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas. RESULTS. The MeTIL signature measured TIL distributions in a sensitive manner and predicted survival and response to chemotherapy in BC better than did histopathological assessment of TILs or gene expression–based immune markers, respectively. The MeTIL signature also improved the prediction of survival in other malignancies, including melanoma and lung cancer. Furthermore, the MeTIL signature predicted differences in survival for malignancies in which TILs were not known to have a prognostic value. Finally, we showed that MeTIL markers can be determined by bisulfite pyrosequencing of small amounts of DNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor tissue, supporting clinical applications for this methodology. CONCLUSIONS. This study highlights the power of DNA methylation to evaluate tumor immune responses and the potential of this approach to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast and other cancers. FUNDING. This work was funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) and Télévie, the INNOVIRIS Brussels Region BRUBREAST Project, the IUAP P7/03 program, the Belgian “Foundation against Cancer,” the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), and the Fonds Gaston Ithier.
Jana Jeschke, Martin Bizet, Christine Desmedt, Emilie Calonne, Sarah Dedeurwaerder, Soizic Garaud, Alexander Koch, Denis Larsimont, Roberto Salgado, Gert Van den Eynden, Karen Willard Gallo, Gianluca Bontempi, Matthieu Defrance, Christos Sotiriou, François Fuks
Angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (AITL) represents a distinct, aggressive form of peripheral T cell lymphoma with a dismal prognosis. Recent exome sequencing in patients with AITL has revealed the frequent coexistence of somatic mutations in the Rho GTPase RhoA (RhoAG17V) and loss-of-function mutations in the 5-methylcytosine oxidase TET2. Here, we have demonstrated that TET2 loss and RhoAG17V expression in mature murine T cells cooperatively cause abnormal CD4+ T cell proliferation and differentiation by perturbing FoxO1 gene expression, phosphorylation, and subcellular localization, an abnormality that is also detected in human primary AITL tumor samples. Reexpression of FoxO1 attenuated aberrant immune responses induced in mouse models adoptively transferred with T cells and bearing genetic lesions in both TET2 and RhoA. Our findings suggest a mutational cooperativity between epigenetic factors and GTPases in adult CD4+ T cells that may account for immunoinflammatory responses associated with AITL patients.
Shengbing Zang, Jia Li, Haiyan Yang, Hongxiang Zeng, Wei Han, Jixiang Zhang, Minjung Lee, Margie Moczygemba, Sevinj Isgandarova, Yaling Yang, Yubin Zhou, Anjana Rao, M. James You, Deqiang Sun, Yun Huang
Non-muscle–invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) is a highly recurrent tumor despite intravesical immunotherapy instillation with the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. In a prospective longitudinal study, we took advantage of BCG instillations, which increase local immune infiltration, to characterize immune cell populations in the urine of patients with NMIBC as a surrogate for the bladder tumor microenvironment. We observed an infiltration of neutrophils, T cells, monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (M-MDSCs), and group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2). Notably, patients with a T cell–to-MDSC ratio of less than 1 showed dramatically lower recurrence-free survival than did patients with a ratio of greater than 1. Analysis of early and later time points indicated that this patient dichotomy existed prior to BCG treatment. ILC2 frequency was associated with detectable IL-13 in the urine and correlated with the level of recruited M-MDSCs, which highly expressed IL-13 receptor α1. In vitro, ILC2 were increased and potently expressed IL-13 in the presence of BCG or tumor cells. IL-13 induced the preferential recruitment and suppressive function of monocytes. Thus, the T cell–to-MDSC balance, associated with a skewing toward type 2 immunity, may predict bladder tumor recurrence and influence the mortality of patients with muscle-invasive cancer. Moreover, these results underline the ILC2/IL-13 axis as a targetable pathway to curtail the M-MDSC compartment and improve bladder cancer treatment.
Mathieu F. Chevalier, Sara Trabanelli, Julien Racle, Bérengère Salomé, Valérie Cesson, Dalila Gharbi, Perrine Bohner, Sonia Domingos-Pereira, Florence Dartiguenave, Anne-Sophie Fritschi, Daniel E. Speiser, Cyrill A. Rentsch, David Gfeller, Patrice Jichlinski, Denise Nardelli-Haefliger, Camilla Jandus, Laurent Derré
Programmed death-1–directed (PD-1–directed) immune checkpoint blockade results in durable antitumor activity in many advanced malignancies. Recent studies suggest that IFN-γ is a critical driver of programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression in cancer and host cells, and baseline intratumoral T cell infiltration may improve response likelihood to anti–PD-1 therapies, including pembrolizumab. However, whether quantifying T cell–inflamed microenvironment is a useful pan-tumor determinant of PD-1–directed therapy response has not been rigorously evaluated. Here, we analyzed gene expression profiles (GEPs) using RNA from baseline tumor samples of pembrolizumab-treated patients. We identified immune-related signatures correlating with clinical benefit using a learn-and-confirm paradigm based on data from different clinical studies of pembrolizumab, starting with a small pilot of 19 melanoma patients and eventually defining a pan-tumor T cell–inflamed GEP in 220 patients with 9 cancers. Predictive value was independently confirmed and compared with that of PD-L1 immunohistochemistry in 96 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The T cell–inflamed GEP contained IFN-γ–responsive genes related to antigen presentation, chemokine expression, cytotoxic activity, and adaptive immune resistance, and these features were necessary, but not always sufficient, for clinical benefit. The T cell–inflamed GEP has been developed into a clinical-grade assay that is currently being evaluated in ongoing pembrolizumab trials.
Mark Ayers, Jared Lunceford, Michael Nebozhyn, Erin Murphy, Andrey Loboda, David R. Kaufman, Andrew Albright, Jonathan D. Cheng, S. Peter Kang, Veena Shankaran, Sarina A. Piha-Paul, Jennifer Yearley, Tanguy Y. Seiwert, Antoni Ribas, Terrill K. McClanahan
Preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) is a cancer-testis antigen that is expressed in many cancers and leukemias. In healthy tissue, PRAME expression is limited to the testes and ovaries, making it a highly attractive cancer target. PRAME is an intracellular protein that cannot currently be drugged. After proteasomal processing, the PRAME300–309 peptide ALYVDSLFFL (ALY) is presented in the context of human leukocyte antigen HLA-A*02:01 molecules for recognition by the T cell receptor (TCR) of cytotoxic T cells. Here, we have described Pr20, a TCR mimic (TCRm) human IgG1 antibody that recognizes the cell-surface ALY peptide/HLA-A2 complex. Pr20 is an immunological tool and potential therapeutic agent. Pr20 bound to PRAME+HLA-A2+ cancers. An afucosylated Fc form (Pr20M) directed antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity against PRAME+HLA-A2+ leukemia cells and was therapeutically effective against mouse xenograft models of human leukemia. In some tumors, Pr20 binding markedly increased upon IFN-γ treatment, mediated by induction of the immunoproteasome catalytic subunit β5i. The immunoproteasome reduced internal destructive cleavages within the ALY epitope compared with the constitutive proteasome. The data provide rationale for developing TCRm antibodies as therapeutic agents for cancer, offer mechanistic insight on proteasomal regulation of tumor-associated peptide/HLA antigen complexes, and yield possible therapeutic solutions to target antigens with ultra-low surface presentation.
Aaron Y. Chang, Tao Dao, Ron S. Gejman, Casey A. Jarvis, Andrew Scott, Leonid Dubrovsky, Melissa D. Mathias, Tatyana Korontsvit, Victoriya Zakhaleva, Michael Curcio, Ronald C. Hendrickson, Cheng Liu, David A. Scheinberg
The graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) is potent against chronic phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (CP-CML), but blast crisis CML (BC-CML) and acute myeloid leukemias (AML) are GVL resistant. To understand GVL resistance, we studied GVL against mouse models of CP-CML, BC-CML, and AML generated by the transduction of mouse BM with fusion cDNAs derived from human leukemias. Prior work has shown that CD4+ T cell–mediated GVL against CP-CML and BC-CML required intact leukemia MHCII; however, stem cells from both leukemias were MHCII negative. Here, we show that CP-CML, BC-CML, and AML stem cells upregulate MHCII in alloSCT recipients. Using gene-deficient leukemias, we determined that BC-CML and AML MHC upregulation required IFN-γ stimulation, whereas CP-CML MHC upregulation was independent of both the IFN-γ receptor (IFN-γR) and the IFN-γ/γ receptor IFNAR1. Importantly, IFN-γR–deficient BC-CML and AML were completely resistant to CD4- and CD8-mediated GVL, whereas IFN-γR/IFNAR1 double-deficient CP-CML was fully GVL sensitive. Mouse AML and BC-CML stem cells were MHCI+ without IFN-γ stimulation, suggesting that IFN-γ sensitizes these leukemias to T cell killing by mechanisms other than MHC upregulation. Our studies identify the requirement of IFN-γ stimulation as a mechanism for BC-CML and AML GVL resistance, whereas independence from IFN-γ renders CP-CML more GVL sensitive, even with a lower-level alloimmune response.
Catherine Matte-Martone, Jinling Liu, Meng Zhou, Maria Chikina, Douglas R. Green, John T. Harty, Warren D. Shlomchik
Patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) are at high risk for reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) and development of herpes zoster (HZ). Here, we found that macrophages from patients with CAD actively suppress T cell activation and expansion, leading to defective VZV-specific T cell immunity. Monocyte-derived and plaque-infiltrating macrophages from patients with CAD spontaneously expressed high surface density of the immunoinhibitory ligand programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), thereby providing negative signals to programmed death-1+ (PD-1+) T cells. We determined that aberrant PD-L1 expression in patient-derived macrophages was metabolically controlled. Oversupply of the glycolytic intermediate pyruvate in mitochondria from CAD macrophages promoted expression of PD-L1 via induction of the bone morphogenetic protein 4/phosphorylated SMAD1/5/IFN regulatory factor 1 (BMP4/p-SMAD1/5/IRF1) signaling pathway. Thus, CAD macrophages respond to nutrient excess by activating the immunoinhibitory PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint, leading to impaired T cell immunity. This finding indicates that metabolite-based immunotherapy may be a potential strategy for restoring adaptive immunity in CAD.
Ryu Watanabe, Tsuyoshi Shirai, Hong Namkoong, Hui Zhang, Gerald J. Berry, Barbara B. Wallis, Benedikt Schaefgen, David G. Harrison, Jennifer A. Tremmel, John C. Giacomini, Jörg J. Goronzy, Cornelia M. Weyand
Design of efficacious Treg-based therapies and establishment of clinical tolerance in autoimmune diseases have proven to be challenging. The clinical implementation of Treg immunotherapy has been hampered by various impediments related to the stability and isolation procedures of Tregs as well as the specific in vivo targets of Treg modalities. Herein, we have demonstrated that Foxp3+ Tregs potently suppress autoimmune responses in vivo through inhibition of the autophagic machinery in DCs in a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4–dependent (CTLA4-dependent) manner. Autophagy-deficient DCs exhibited reduced immunogenic potential and failed to prime autoantigen-specific CD4+ T cells to mediate autoimmunity. Mechanistically, CTLA4 binding promoted activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis and FoxO1 nuclear exclusion in DCs, leading to decreased transcription of the autophagy component microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3β (Lc3b). Human DCs treated with CTLA4-Ig, a fusion protein composed of the Fc region of IgG1 and the extracellular domain of CTLA4 (also known as abatacept, marketed as Orencia), demonstrated reduced levels of autophagosome formation, while DCs from CTLA4-Ig–treated rheumatoid arthritis patients displayed diminished LC3B transcripts. Collectively, our data identify the canonical autophagy pathway in DCs as a molecular target of Foxp3+ Treg–mediated suppression that leads to amelioration of autoimmune responses. These findings may pave the way for the development of therapeutic protocols that exploit Tregs for the treatment of autoimmunity as well as diseases in which disturbed tolerance is a common denominator.
Themis Alissafi, Aggelos Banos, Louis Boon, Tim Sparwasser, Alessandra Ghigo, Kajsa Wing, Dimitrios Vassilopoulos, Dimitrios Boumpas, Triantafyllos Chavakis, Ken Cadwell, Panayotis Verginis
NK cells are highly efficient at preventing cancer metastasis but are infrequently found in the core of primary tumors. Here, have we demonstrated that freshly isolated mouse and human NK cells express low levels of the endo-β-D-glucuronidase heparanase that increase upon NK cell activation. Heparanase deficiency did not affect development, differentiation, or tissue localization of NK cells under steady-state conditions. However, mice lacking heparanase specifically in NK cells (
Eva M. Putz, Alyce J. Mayfosh, Kevin Kos, Deborah S. Barkauskas, Kyohei Nakamura, Liam Town, Katharine J. Goodall, Dean Y. Yee, Ivan K.H. Poon, Nikola Baschuk, Fernando Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes, Mark D. Hulett, Mark J. Smyth