(2022) Cell reports (Cambridge). 39, 5, 110778. Abstract
Antibody-mediated immunity is initiated by B cell differentiation into multiple cell subsets, including plasmablast, memory, and germinal center (GC) cells. B cell differentiation trajectories are determined by transcription factors, yet very few mechanisms that specifically determine early B cell fates have been described. Here, we report a post-transcriptional mechanism that suppresses the plasmablast genetic program and promotes GC B cell fate commitment. Single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis reveals that antigen-specific B cell precursors at the pre-GC stage upregulate YTHDF2, which enhances the decay of methylated transcripts. Ythdf2-deficient B cells exhibit intact proliferation and activation, whereas differentiation into GC B cells is blocked. Mechanistically, B cells require YTHDF2 to attenuate the plasmablast genetic program during GC seeding, and transcripts of key plasmablast-regulating genes are methylated and bound by YTHDF2. Collectively, this study reveals how post-transcriptional suppression of gene expression directs appropriate B cell fate commitment during initiation of the adaptive immune response.
(2022) Scientific Reports. 12, 1, 5758. Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causal agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 274 million individuals have suffered from COVID-19 and over five million people have died from this disease so far. Therefore, there is an urgent need for therapeutic drugs. Repurposing FDA approved drugs should be favored since evaluation of safety and efficacy of de-novo drug design are both costly and time consuming. We report that imatinib, an Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor, robustly decreases SARS-CoV-2 infection and uncover a mechanism of action. We show that imatinib inhibits the infection of SARS-CoV-2 and its surrogate lentivector pseudotype. In latter, imatinib inhibited both routes of viral entry, endocytosis and membrane-fusion. We utilized a system to quantify in real-time cell-cell membrane fusion mediated by the SARS-CoV-2 surface protein, Spike, and its receptor, hACE2, to demonstrate that imatinib inhibits this process in an Abl1 and Abl2 independent manner. Furthermore, cellular thermal shift assay revealed a direct imatinib-Spike interaction that affects Spike susceptibility to trypsin digest. Collectively, our data suggest that imatinib inhibits Spike mediated viral entry by an off-target mechanism. These findings mark imatinib as a promising therapeutic drug in inhibiting the early steps of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Bacterial infection disrupts established germinal center reactions through monocyte recruitment and impaired metabolic adaptation(2022) Immunity. 55, p. 1-17 Abstract[All authors]
Consecutive exposures to different pathogens are highly prevalent and often alter the host immune response. However, it remains unknown how a secondary bacterial infection affects an ongoing adaptive immune response elicited against primary invading pathogens. We demonstrated that recruitment of Sca-1+ monocytes into lymphoid organs during Salmonella Typhimurium (STm) infection disrupted pre-existing germinal center (GC) reactions. GC responses induced by influenza, plasmodium, or commensals deteriorated following STm infection. GC disruption was independent of the direct bacterial interactions with B cells and instead was induced through recruitment of CCR2-dependent Sca-1+ monocytes into the lymphoid organs. GC collapse was associated with impaired cellular respiration and was dependent on TNFα and IFNγ, the latter of which was essential for Sca-1+ monocyte differentiation. Monocyte recruitment and GC disruption also occurred during LPS-supplemented vaccination and Listeria monocytogenes infection. Thus, systemic activation of the innate immune response upon severe bacterial infection is induced at the expense of antibody-mediated immunity.
(2022) Cell. Abstract[All authors]
The tumor microenvironment hosts antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) associated with a favorable prognosis in several types of cancer. Patient-derived antibodies have diagnostic and therapeutic potential; yet, it remains unclear how antibodies gain autoreactivity and target tumors. Here, we found that somatic hypermutations (SHMs) promote antibody antitumor reactivity against surface autoantigens in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC). Patient-derived tumor cells were frequently coated with IgGs. Intratumoral ASCs in HGSOC were both mutated and clonally expanded and produced tumor-reactive antibodies that targeted MMP14, which is abundantly expressed on the tumor cell surface. The reversion of monoclonal antibodies to their germline configuration revealed two types of classes: one dependent on SHMs for tumor binding and a second with germline-encoded autoreactivity. Thus, tumor-reactive autoantibodies are either naturally occurring or evolve through an antigen-driven selection process. These findings highlight the origin and potential applicability of autoantibodies directed at surface antigens for tumor targeting in cancer patients.
(2022) Current Opinion in Immunology. 74, p. 100-105 Abstract
Effective long-lasting immunity depends on the generation of protective antibodies that restrict the invasion of harmful pathogens. The germinal center (GC) is a microanatomical site at which B cells acquire random somatic mutations in their immunoglobulin genes followed by affinity-based selection. Whereas this process was extensively studied in lymph nodes and spleen, less is known about GCs located in mucosal tissues lymphoid organs, such as the Peyer’s patches (PPs). These lymphoid organs have a special structure and host a unique niche known as the subepithelial dome (SED), where B cell activation and class switch recombination to IgA take place before GC seeding. As opposed to typical lymph-nodes, the PPs host chronic GC reactions that are driven by gut-bacteria. Direct evidence for antibody affinity maturation in PPs, and competition between B cells for T cell help was recently obtained. Here, we discuss these findings and how they complement each other.
(2021) Journal of the American Chemical Society. Abstract
Chemical modifications of native proteins can affect their stability, activity, interactions, localization, and more. However, there are few nongenetic methods for the installation of chemical modifications at a specific protein site in cells. Here we report a covalent ligand directed release (CoLDR) site-specific labeling strategy, which enables the installation of a variety of functional tags on a target protein while releasing the directing ligand. Using this approach, we were able to label various proteins such as BTK, K-RasG12C, and SARS-CoV-2 PLpro with different tags. For BTK we have shown selective labeling in cells of both alkyne and fluorophores tags. Protein labeling by traditional affinity methods often inhibits protein activity since the directing ligand permanently occupies the target binding pocket. We have shown that using CoLDR chemistry, modification of BTK by these probes in cells preserves its activity. We demonstrated several applications for this approach including determining the half-life of BTK in its native environment with minimal perturbation, as well as quantification of BTK degradation by a noncovalent proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) by in-gel fluorescence. Using an environment-sensitive “turn-on” fluorescent probe, we were able to monitor ligand binding to the active site of BTK. Finally, we have demonstrated efficient CoLDR-based BTK PROTACs (DC50 < 100 nM), which installed a CRBN binder onto BTK. This approach joins very few available labeling strategies that maintain the target protein activity and thus makes an important addition to the toolbox of chemical biology.
Complete Visualization of T Follicular Helper Cells in Germinal Centers by Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy(2021) T-Follicular Helper Cells. p. 3-13 Abstract
Long-lasting immunity depends on generation of antibody forming cells in germinal centers (GCs). Conventional methods such as immunohistology and intravital live imaging have been used extensively to investigate the location of cellular assemblies within tissues as well as their dynamic motility and cellular interactions. Two photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM) intravital imaging allows scanning of large areas within tissues and reveals multiple immune cell niches. Nonetheless, this type of imaging is limited by the depth of penetration and cannot capture effectively all of the GC niches within lymphoid organs. Here we describe a method to visualize antigen-specific T and B cells in multiple microanatomical locations and niches at the level of a whole organ. This large-scale imaging approach can greatly increase our understanding of the spatial distribution of immune cells and help obtain detailed 3D maps of their locations and quantities.
(2021) Frontiers in Immunology. 12, 705848. Abstract
Activation and differentiation of B cells depend on extensive rewiring of gene expression networks through changes in chromatin structure and accessibility. The chromatin remodeling complex BAF with its catalytic subunit Brg1 was previously identified as an essential regulator of early B cell development, however, how Brg1 orchestrates gene expression during mature B cell activation is less clear. Here, we find that Brg1 is required for B cell proliferation and germinal center formation through selective interactions with enhancers. Brg1 recruitment to enhancers following B cell activation was associated with increased chromatin accessibility and transcriptional activation of their coupled promoters, thereby regulating the expression of cell cycle-associated genes. Accordingly, Brg1-deficient B cells were unable to mount germinal center reactions and support the formation of class-switched plasma cells. Our findings show that changes in B cell transcriptomes that support B cell proliferation and GC formation depend on enhancer activation by Brg1. Thus, the BAF complex plays a critical role during the onset of the humoral immune response.
(2021) Nature Chemical Biology. 17, 9, p. 954-963 Abstract[All authors]
The peptidyl-prolyl isomerase, Pin1, is exploited in cancer to activate oncogenes and inactivate tumor suppressors. However, despite considerable efforts, Pin1 has remained an elusive drug target. Here, we screened an electrophilic fragment library to identify covalent inhibitors targeting Pin1's active site Cys113, leading to the development of Sulfopin, a nanomolar Pin1 inhibitor. Sulfopin is highly selective, as validated by two independent chemoproteomics methods, achieves potent cellular and in vivo target engagement and phenocopies Pin1 genetic knockout. Pin1 inhibition had only a modest effect on cancer cell line viability. Nevertheless, Sulfopin induced downregulation of c-Myc target genes, reduced tumor progression and conferred survival benefit in murine and zebrafish models of MYCN-driven neuroblastoma, and in a murine model of pancreatic cancer. Our results demonstrate that Sulfopin is a chemical probe suitable for assessment of Pin1-dependent pharmacology in cells and in vivo, and that Pin1 warrants further investigation as a potential cancer drug target.
Cross-reactive antibodies against human coronaviruses and the animal coronavirome suggest diagnostics for future zoonotic spillovers(2021) Science immunology. 6, 61, eabe9950. Abstract[All authors]
The spillover of animal coronaviruses (aCoVs) to humans has caused SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Although antibody responses displaying cross-reactivity between SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal/common cold human coronaviruses (hCoVs) have been reported, potential cross-reactivity with aCoVs and the diagnostic implications are incompletely understood. Here, we probed for antibody binding against all 7 hCoVs and 49 aCoVs represented as 12,924 peptides within a phage-displayed antigen library. Antibody repertoires of 269 recovered patients with COVID-19 showed distinct changes compared with 260 unexposed prepandemic controls, not limited to binding of SARS-CoV-2 antigens but including binding to antigens from hCoVs and aCoVs with shared motifs to SARS-CoV-2. We isolated broadly reactive monoclonal antibodies from recovered patients with COVID-19 who bind a shared motif of SARS-CoV-2, hCoV-OC43, hCoV-HKU1, and several aCoVs, demonstrating that interspecies cross-reactivity can be mediated by a single immunoglobulin. Using antibody binding data against the entire CoV antigen library allowed accurate discrimination of recovered patients with COVID-19 from unexposed individuals by machine learning. Leaving out SARS-CoV-2 antigens and relying solely on antibody binding to other hCoVs and aCoVs achieved equally accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection without knowledge of its unique antigens solely from cross-reactive antibody responses against other hCoVs and aCoVs suggests a potential diagnostic strategy for the early stage of future pandemics. Creating regularly updated antigen libraries representing the animal coronavirome can provide the basis for a serological assay already poised to identify infected individuals after a future zoonotic transmission event.
(2021) Science immunology. 6, 60, eabi9749. Abstract
In this issue of Science Immunology, Gallman et al. reveal how S-geranylgeranyl-l-glutathione cleavage and transport support P2RY8-driven B cell confinement to the germinal centers and its role in lymphocyte homing to the bone marrow.
Efficient maternal to neonatal transfer of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine(2021) The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 131, 13, p. 1-9 150319. Abstract[All authors]
BACKGROUND. The significant risks posed to mothers and fetuses by COVID-19 in pregnancy have sparked a worldwide debate surrounding the pros and cons of antenatal SARS-CoV-2 inoculation, as we lack sufficient evidence regarding vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women and their offspring. We aimed to provide substantial evidence for the effect of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine versus native infection on maternal humoral, as well as transplacentally acquired fetal immune response, potentially providing newborn protection. METHODS. A multicenter study where parturients presenting for delivery were recruited at 8 medical centers across Israel and assigned to 3 study groups: vaccinated (n = 86); PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infected during pregnancy (n = 65), and unvaccinated noninfected controls (n = 62). Maternal and fetal blood samples were collected from parturients prior to delivery and from the umbilical cord following delivery, respectively. Sera IgG and IgM titers were measured using the Milliplex MAP SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Panel (for S1, S2, RBD, and N). RESULTS. The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine elicits strong maternal humoral IgG response (anti-S and RBD) that crosses the placenta barrier and approaches maternal titers in the fetus within 15 days following the first dose. Maternal to neonatal antiCOVID-19 antibodies ratio did not differ when comparing sensitization (vaccine vs. infection). IgG transfer ratio at birth was significantly lower for third-trimester as compared with second trimester infection. Lastly, fetal IgM response was detected in 5 neonates, all in the infected group. CONCLUSION. Antenatal BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination induces a robust maternal humoral response that effectively transfers to the fetus, supporting the role of vaccination during pregnancy.
(2021) Journal of the American Chemical Society. 143, 13, p. 4979-4992 Abstract[All authors]
Targeted covalent inhibitors are an important class of drugs and chemical probes. However, relatively few electrophiles meet the criteria for successful covalent inhibitor design. Here we describe α-substituted methacrylamides as a new class of electrophiles suitable for targeted covalent inhibitors. While typically α-substitutions inactivate acrylamides, we show that hetero α-substituted methacrylamides have higher thiol reactivity and undergo a conjugated addition–elimination reaction ultimately releasing the substituent. Their reactivity toward thiols is tunable and correlates with the pKa/pKb of the leaving group. In the context of the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib, these electrophiles showed lower intrinsic thiol reactivity than the unsubstituted ibrutinib acrylamide. This translated to comparable potency in protein labeling, in vitro kinase assays, and functional cellular assays, with improved selectivity. The conjugate addition–elimination reaction upon covalent binding to their target cysteine allows functionalizing α-substituted methacrylamides as turn-on probes. To demonstrate this, we prepared covalent ligand directed release (CoLDR) turn-on fluorescent probes for BTK, EGFR, and K-RasG12C. We further demonstrate a BTK CoLDR chemiluminescent probe that enabled a high-throughput screen for BTK inhibitors. Altogether we show that α-substituted methacrylamides represent a new and versatile addition to the toolbox of targeted covalent inhibitor design.
(2021) Nature Immunology. 22, p. 402-403 Abstract
The eradication of pathogens and establishment of immunological memory depend on the generation of both effector and long-lived memory cells within specialized immune niches. Whole-organ imaging demonstrates that, during viral infection, the fate of CD8+ T cells in lymph nodes is coupled to chemotactic signals controlling their distribution within different microanatomical sites.
Lactate released by inflammatory bone marrow neutrophils induces their mobilization via endothelial GPR81 signaling(2020) Nature Communications. 11, 1, 3547. Abstract[All authors]
Neutrophils provide first line of host defense against bacterial infections utilizing glycolysis for their effector functions. How glycolysis and its major byproduct lactate are triggered in bone marrow (BM) neutrophils and their contribution to neutrophil mobilization in acute inflammation is not clear. Here we report that bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) or Salmonella Typhimurium triggers lactate release by increasing glycolysis, NADPH-oxidase-mediated reactive oxygen species and HIF-1α levels in BM neutrophils. Increased release of BM lactate preferentially promotes neutrophil mobilization by reducing endothelial VE-Cadherin expression, increasing BM vascular permeability via endothelial lactate-receptor GPR81 signaling. GPR81-/- mice mobilize reduced levels of neutrophils in response to LPS, unless rescued by VE-Cadherin disrupting antibodies. Lactate administration also induces release of the BM neutrophil mobilizers G-CSF, CXCL1 and CXCL2, indicating that this metabolite drives neutrophil mobilization via multiple pathways. Our study reveals a metabolic crosstalk between lactate-producing neutrophils and BM endothelium, which controls neutrophil mobilization under bacterial infection.
T cell help to B cells: Cognate and atypical interactions in peripheral and intestinal lymphoid tissues(2020) Immunological Reviews. 296, 1, p. 36-47 Abstract
Enduring immunity against harmful pathogens depends on the generation of immunological memory. Serum immunoglobulins are constantly secreted by long-lived antibody-producing cells, which provide extended protection from recurrent exposures. These cells originate mainly from germinal center structures, wherein B cells introduce mutations to their immunoglobulin genes followed by affinity-based selection. Generation of high-affinity antibodies relies on physical contacts between T and B cells, a process that facilitates the delivery of fate decision signals. T-B cellular engagements are mediated through interactions between the T cell receptor and its cognate peptide presented on B cell major histocompatibility class II molecules. Here, we describe the cellular and molecular aspects of these cognate T-B interactions, and highlight exceptional cases, especially those arising at intestinal lymphoid organs, at which T cells provide help to B cells in an atypical manner, independent of T cell specificity.
(2020) Journal of the American Chemical Society. 142, 27, p. 11734-11742 Abstract[All authors]
PROteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) represent an exciting inhibitory modality with many advantages, including sub-stoichiometric degradation of targets. Their scope, though, is still limited to-date by the requirement for a sufficiently potent target binder. A solution that proved useful in tackling challenging targets is the use of electrophiles to allow irreversible binding to the target. However, such binding will negate the catalytic nature of PROTACs. Reversible covalent PROTACs potentially offer the best of both worlds. They possess the potency and selectivity associated with the formation of the covalent bond, while being able to dissociate and regenerate once the protein target is degraded. Using Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) as a clinically relevant model system, we show efficient covalent degradation by non-covalent, irreversible covalent and reversible covalent PROTACs, with <10 nM DC50’s and >85% degradation. Our data suggests that part of the degradation by our irreversible covalent PROTACs is driven by reversible binding prior to covalent bond formation, while the reversible covalent PROTACs drive degradation primarily by covalent engagement. The PROTACs showed enhanced inhibition of B cell activation compared to Ibrutinib, and exhibit potent degradation of BTK in patients-derived primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. The most potent reversible covalent PROTAC, RC-3, exhibited enhanced selectivity towards BTK compared to non-covalent and irreversible covalent PROTACs. These compounds may pave the way for the design of covalent PROTACs for a wide variety of challenging targets.
(2020) Bio-Protocol. 10, 9, e3602. Abstract
Generation of antibodies is crucial for establishing enduring protection from invading pathogens, as well as for maintaining homeostasis with commensal bacteria at mucosal surfaces. Chronic exposure to microbiota- and dietary- derived antigens results in continuous production of antibody producing cells within the Peyer’s patch germinal center structures. Recently, we have shown that B cells responding to gut-derived antigens colonize the subepithelial dome (SED) in Peyer’s patches and rapidly proliferate independently of their relative BCR affinity. To evaluate B cell proliferation within different niches in Peyer’s patches, we applied in vivo EdU incorporation assay as described in this protocol.
(2020) Nature Immunology. 21, 5, p. 501-512 Abstract
The RNA modification N-6-methyladenosine (m(6)A) plays an essential role in the regulation of immunity. Here, Shulman and Stern-Ginossar review the roles of m(6)A in controlling immune recognition, activation of innate and adaptive immune responses, and cell fate decisions.Protection from harmful pathogens depends on activation of the immune system, which relies on tight regulation of gene expression. Recently, the RNA modification N-6-methyladenosine (m(6)A) has been found to play an essential role in such regulation. Here, we summarize newly discovered functions of m(6)A in controlling various aspects of immunity, including immune recognition, activation of innate and adaptive immune responses, and cell fate decisions. We then discuss some of the current challenges in the field and describe future directions for uncovering the immunological functions of m(6)A and its mechanisms of action.
(2020) Journal of Experimental Medicine. 217, 3, 20191043. Abstract
Germinal centers (GCs) are sites at which B cells proliferate and mutate their antibody-encoding genes in the dark zone (DZ), followed by affinity-based selection in the light zone (LZ). B cell antigen receptor (BCR) signals induce Syk activation followed by rapid phosphatase-mediated desensitization; however, how degradation events regulate BCR functions in GCs is unclear. Here, we found that Syk degradation restrains plasma cell (PC) formation in GCs and promotes B cell LZ to DZ transition. Using a mouse model defective in Cbl-mediated Syk degradation, we demonstrate that this machinery attenuates BCR signaling intensity by mitigating the Kras/Erk and PI3K/Foxo1 pathways, and restricting the expression of PC transcription factors in GC B cells. Inhibition of Syk degradation perturbed gene expression, specifically in the LZ, and enhanced the generation of PCs without affecting B cell proliferation. These findings reveal how long-lasting attenuation of signal transduction by degradation events regulates cell fate within specialized microanatomical sites.
Characterization of Immunological Niches within Peyer’s Patches by ex vivo Photoactivation and Flow Cytometry Analysis(2020) Bio-Protocol. 10, 6, e3562. Abstract
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells regulate B cell selection for entry into the germinal center (GC) reaction or for differentiation into antibody forming cells. This process takes place at the border between the T and B zones in lymphoid organs and involves physical contacts between T and B cells. During these interactions, T cells endow the B cells with selection signals that promote GC seeding or plasmablast differentiation based on their B cell receptor affinity. In Peyer’s patches (PPs), T cells promote B cell colonization of the subepithelial dome (SED) without effective affinity-based clonal selection. To specifically characterize the T cell population that resides within the SED niche, we performed ex vivo photoactivation of the SED compartment followed by flow cytometry analysis of the labeled cells, as described in this protocol. This technique integrates both spatial and cellular information in studies of immunological niches and can be adapted to various experimental systems.
B Cell Diversification Is Uncoupled from SAP-Mediated Selection Forces in Chronic Germinal Centers within Peyer's Patches(2020) Cell Reports. 30, 6, p. 1910-1922 Abstract
Antibodies secreted within the intestinal tract provide protection from the invasion of microbes into the host tissues. Germinal center (GC) formation in lymph nodes and spleen strictly requires SLAM-associated protein (SAP)-mediated T cell functions; however, it is not known whether this mechanism plays a similar role in mucosal-associated lymphoid tissues. Here, we find that in Peyer's patches (PPs), SAP-mediated T cell help is required for promoting B cell selection in GCs, but not for clonal diversification. PPs of SAP-deficient mice host chronic GCs that are absent in T cell-deficient mice. GC B cells in SAP-deficient mice express AID and Bcl6 and generate plasma cells in proportion to the GC size. Single-cell IgA sequencing analysis reveals that these mice host few diversified clones that were subjected to mild selection forces. These findings demonstrate that T cell-derived help to B cells in PPs includes SAP-dependent and SAP-independent functions.
Stable contacts of naive CD4 T cells with migratory dendritic cells are ICAM-1-dependent but dispensable for proliferation in vivo(2019) Cell Adhesion & Migration. 13, 1, p. 315-321 Abstract
It is unclear if naive T cells require dendritic cell ICAMs to proliferate inside lymph nodes. To check if and when CD4 lymphocytes use ICAMs on migratory DCs, wild-type and ICAM-1 and 2 double knock out bone marrow-derived DCs pulsed with saturating levels of an OT-II transgene-specific ovalbumin-derived peptide were co-transferred into skin-draining lymph nodes. Intravital imaging of OT-II lymphocytes entering these lymph nodes revealed that ICAM-1 and -2 deficient migratory DCs formed fewer stable conjugates with OT-II lymphocytes but promoted normal T cell proliferation. DC ICAMs were also not required for unstable TCR-dependent lymphocyte arrests on antigen presenting migratory DCs. Thus, rare antigen-stimulated ICAM-stabilized T-DC conjugates are dispensable for CD4 lymphocyte proliferation inside lymph nodes.
(2019) Journal of Experimental Medicine. 216, 11, p. 2515-2530 Abstract
Germinal centers (GCs) are sites wherein B cells proliferate and mutate their immunoglobulins in the dark zone (DZ), followed by affinity-based selection in the light zone (LZ). Here, we mapped the location of single B cells in the context of intact lymph nodes (LNs) throughout the GC response, and examined the role of BCR affinity in dictating their position. Imaging of entire GC structures and proximal single cells by light-sheet fluorescence microscopy revealed that individual B cells that previously expressed AID are located within the LN cortex, in an area close to the GC LZ. Using in situ photoactivation, we demonstrated that B cells migrate from the LZ toward the GC outskirts, while DZ B cells are confined to the GC. B cells expressing very-low-affinity BCRs formed GCs but were unable to efficiently disperse within the follicles. Our findings reveal that BCR affinity regulates B cell positioning during the GC response.
(2019) Nature Communications. 10, 2423. Abstract[All authors]
The germinal center (GC) reaction in Peyer's patches (PP) requires continuous access to antigens, but how this is achieved is not known. Here we show that activated antigen-specific CCR6(+)CCR1(+)GL7(-) B cells make close contact with M cells in the subepithelial dome (SED). Using in situ photoactivation analysis of antigen-specific SED B cells, we find migration of cells towards the GC. Following antigen injection into ligated intestinal loops containing PPs, 40% of antigen-specific SED B cells bind antigen within 2 h, whereas unspecifc cells do not, indicating B cell-receptor involvment. Antigen-loading is not observed in M cell-deficient mice, but is unperturbed in mice depleted of classical dendritic cells (DC). Thus, we report a M cell-B cell antigen-specific transporting pathway in PP that is independent of DC. We propose that this antigen transporting pathway has a critical role in gut IgA responses, and should be taken into account when developing mucosal vaccines.
BCR affinity differentially regulates colonization of the subepithelial dome and infiltration into germinal centers within Peyer's patches(2019) Nature Immunology. 20, 4, p. 482-492 Abstract[All authors]
Gut-derived antigens trigger immunoglobulin A (IgA) immune responses that are initiated by cognate B cells in Peyer's patches (PPs). These cells colonize the subepithelial domes (SEDs) of the PPs and subsequently infiltrate pre-existing germinal centers (GCs). Here we defined the pre-GC events and the micro-anatomical site at which affinity-based B cell selection occurred in PPs. Using whole-organ imaging, we showed that the affinity of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) regulated the infiltration of antigen-specific B cells into GCs but not clonal competition in the SED. Follicular helper-like T cells resided in the SED and promoted its B cell colonization, independently of the magnitude of BCR affinity. Imaging and immunoglobulin sequencing indicated that selective clonal expansion ensued during infiltration into GCs. Thus, in contrast to the events in draining lymph nodes and spleen, in PPs, T cells promoted mainly the population expansion of B cells without clonal selection during pre-GC events. These findings have major implications for the design of oral vaccines.
(2019) Immunological Reviews. 288, 1, p. 37-48 Abstract
Establishment of effective immunity against invading microbes depends on continuous generation of antibodies that facilitate pathogen clearance. Long-lived plasma cells with the capacity to produce high affinity antibodies evolve in germinal centers (GCs), where B cells undergo somatic hypermutation and are subjected to affinity-based selection. Here, we focus on the cellular interactions that take place early in the antibody immune response during GC colonization. Clones bearing B-cell receptors with different affinities and specificities compete for entry to the GC, at the boundary between the B-cell and T-cell zones in lymphoid organs. During this process, B cells compete for interactions with T follicular helper cells, which provide selection signals required for differentiation into GC cells and antibody secreting cells. These cellular engagements are long-lasting and depend on activation of adhesion molecules that support persistent interactions and promote transmission of signals between the cells. Here, we discuss how interactions between cognate T and B cells are primarily maintained by three types of molecular interactions: homophilic signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM) interactions, T-cell receptor: peptide-loaded major histocompatibility class II (pMHCII), and LFA-1:ICAMs. These essential components support a three-step process that controls clonal selection for entry into the antibody affinity maturation response in the GC, and establishment of long-lasting antibody-mediated immunity.
(2019) Cell Chemical Biology. 26, 1, p. 98 - 108 Abstract[All authors]
The c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway is central to the cell response to stress, inflammatory signals, and toxins. While selective inhibitors are known for JNKs and for various upstream MAP3Ks, no selective inhibitor is reported for MKK7––one of two direct MAP2Ks that activate JNK. Here, using covalent virtual screening, we identify selective MKK7 covalent inhibitors. We optimized these compounds to low-micromolar inhibitors of JNK phosphorylation in cells. The crystal structure of a lead compound bound to MKK7 demonstrated that the binding mode was correctly predicted by docking. We asserted the selectivity of our inhibitors on a proteomic level and against a panel of 76 kinases, and validated an on-target effect using knockout cell lines. Lastly, we show that the inhibitors block activation of primary mouse B cells by lipopolysaccharide. These MKK7 tool compounds will enable better investigation of JNK signaling and may serve as starting points for therapeutics.
ICAMs Are Not Obligatory for Functional Immune Synapses between Naive CD4 T Cells and Lymph Node DCs(2018) Cell Reports. 22, 4, p. 849-859 Abstract[All authors]
Protective immune responses depend on the formation of immune synapses between T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The two main LFA-1 ligands, ICAM-1 and ICAM-2, are co-expressed on many cell types, including APCs and blood vessels. Although these molecules were suggested to be key players in immune synapses studied in vitro, their contribution to helper T cell priming in vivo is unclear. Here, we used transgenic mice and intravital imaging to examine the role of dendritic cell (DC) ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 in naive CD4 T cell priming and differentiation in skin-draining lymph nodes. Surprisingly, ICAM deficiency on endogenous CD40-stimulated lymph node DCs did not impair their ability to arrest and prime CD4 lymphocyte activation and differentiation into Th1 and Tfh effectors. Thus, functional T cell receptor (TCR)-specific helper T cell synapses with antigen-presenting DCs and subsequent proliferation and early differentiation into T effectors do not require LFA-1-mediated T cell adhesiveness to DC ICAMs.
(2017) Science. 358, 6370, p. 1622-1626 Abstract[All authors]
Cellular functions are strongly dependent on surrounding cells and environmental factors. Current technologies are limited in their ability to characterize the spatial location and gene programs of cells in poorly structured and dynamic niches. We developed a method, NICHE-seq, that combines photoactivatable fluorescent reporters, two-photon microscopy, and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to infer the cellular and molecular composition of niches. We applied NICHE-seq to examine the high-order assembly of immune cell networks. NICHE-seq is highly reproducible in spatial tissue reconstruction, enabling identification of rare niche-specific immune subpopulations and gene programs, including natural killer cells within infected B cell follicles and distinct myeloid states in the spleen and tumor. This study establishes NICHE-seq as a broadly applicable method for elucidating high-order spatial organization of cell types and their molecular pathways.
(2017) Journal of Experimental Medicine. 214, 11, p. 3435-3448 Abstract
The germinal center (GC) reaction begins with a diverse and expanded group of B cell clones bearing a wide range of antibody affinities. During GC colonization, B cells engage in long-lasting interactions with T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, a process that depends on antigen uptake and antigen presentation to the Tfh cells. How long-lasting T-B interactions and B cell clonal expansion are regulated by antigen presentation remains unclear. Here, we use in vivo B cell competition models and intravital imaging to examine the adhesive mechanisms governing B cell selection for GC colonization. We find that intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and ICAM-2 on B cells are essential for long-lasting cognate Tfh-B cell interactions and efficient selection of low-affinity B cell clones for proliferative clonal expansion. Thus, B cell ICAMs promote efficient antibody immune response by enhancement of T cell help to cognate B cells.
Independent Roles of Switching and Hypermutation in the Development and Persistence of B Lymphocyte Memory(2016) Immunity. 44, 4, p. 769-781 Abstract
Somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class-switch recombination (CSR) increase the affinity and diversify the effector functions of antibodies during immune responses. Although SHM and CSR are fundamentally different, their independent roles in regulating B cell fate have been difficult to uncouple because a single enzyme, activation-induced cytidine deaminase (encoded by Aicda), initiates both reactions. Here, we used a combination of Aicda and antibody mutant alleles that separate the effects of CSR and SHM on polyclonal immune responses. We found that class-switching to IgG1 biased the fate choice made by B cells, favoring the plasma cell over memory cell fate without significantly affecting clonal expansion in the germinal center (GC). In contrast, SHM reduced the longevity of memory B cells by creating polyreactive specificities that were selected against over time. Our data define the independent contributions of SHM and CSR to the generation and persistence of memory in the antibody system.
(2015) Science. 349, 6248, p. 643-646 Abstract
The germinal center (GC) is a microanatomical compartment wherein high-affinity antibody-producing B cells are selectively expanded. B cells proliferate and mutate their antibody genes in the dark zone (DZ) of the GC and are then selected by T cells in the light zone (LZ) on the basis of affinity. Here, we show that T cell help regulates the speed of cell cycle phase transitions and DNA replication of GC B cells. Genome sequencing and single-molecule analyses revealed that T cell help shortens S phase by regulating replication fork progression, while preserving the relative order of replication origin activation. Thus, high-affinity GC B cells are selected by a mechanism that involves prolonged dwell time in the DZ where selected cells undergo accelerated cell cycles.
Synaptojanin 2 is a druggable mediator of metastasis and the gene is overexpressed and amplified in breast cancer(2015) Science Signaling. 8, 360, ra7. Abstract[All authors]
Amplified HER2, which encodes a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family, is a target of effective therapies against breast cancer. In search for similarly targetable genomic aberrations, we identified copy number gains in SYNJ2, which encodes the 5'-inositol lipid phosphatase synaptojanin 2, as well as overexpression in a small fraction of human breast tumors. Copy gain and overexpression correlated with shorter patient survival and a low abundance of the tumor suppressor microRNA miR-31. SYNJ2 promoted cell migration and invasion in culture and lung metastasis of breast tumor xenografts in mice. Knocking down SYNJ2 impaired the endocytic recycling of EGFR and the formation of cellular lamellipodia and invadopodia. Screening compound libraries identified SYNJ2-specific inhibitors that prevented cell migration but did not affect the related neural protein SYNJ1, suggesting that SYNJ2 is a potentially druggable target to block cancer cell migration.
(2014) Science. 345, 6200, p. 1058-1062 Abstract
T follicular helper (T-FH) cells select high-affinity, antibody-producing B cells for clonal expansion in germinal centers (GCs), but the nature of their interaction is not well defined. Using intravital imaging, we found that selection is mediated by large but transient contacts between T-FH and GC B cells presenting the highest levels of cognate peptide bound to major histocompatibility complex II. These interactions elicited transient and sustained increases in T-FH intracellular free calcium (Ca2+) that were associated with T-FH cell coexpression of the cytokines interleukin-4 and -21. However, increased intracellular Ca2+ did not arrest T-FH cell migration. Instead, T-FH cells remained motile and continually scanned the surface of many GC B cells, forming short-lived contacts that induced selection through further repeated transient elevations in intracellular Ca2+.
(2014) Nature. 509, 7502, p. 637–640 Abstract
During immune responses, B lymphocytes clonally expand and undergo secondary diversification of their immunoglobulin genes in germinal centres (GCs)(1-4). High-affinity B cells are expanded through iterative interzonal cycles of division and hypermutation in the GC dark zone followed by migration to the GC light zone, where they are selected on the basis of affinity to return to the dark zone(5-10). Here we combine a transgenic strategy to measure cell division and a photoactivatable fluorescent reporter to examine whether the extent of clonal expansion and hypermutation are regulated during interzonal GC cycles. We find that both cell division and hypermutation are directly proportional to the amount of antigen captured and presented by GC B cells to follicular helper T cells in the light zone. Our data explain how GC B cells with the highest affinity for antigen are selectively expanded and diversified.
(2013) Science. 341, 6146, p. 673-677 Abstract
T follicular helper (T-FH) cells are a specialized subset of effector T cells that provide help to and thereby select high-affinity B cells in germinal centers (GCs). To examine the dynamic behavior of T-FH cells in GCs in mice, we used two-photon microscopy in combination with a photoactivatable fluorescent reporter. Unlike GC B cells, which are clonally restricted, T-FH cells distributed among all GCs in lymph nodes and continually emigrated into the follicle and neighboring GCs. Moreover, newly activated T-FH cells invaded preexisting GCs, where they contributed to B cell selection and plasmablast differentiation. Our data suggest that the dynamic exchange of T-FH cells between GCs ensures maximal diversification of T cell help and that their ability to enter ongoing GCs accommodates antigenic variation during the immune response.
Transendothelial migration of lymphocytes mediated by intraendothelial vesicle stores rather than by extracellular chemokine depots(2012) Nature Immunology. 13, 1, p. 67–76 Abstract[All authors]
Chemokines presented by the endothelium are critical for integrin-dependent adhesion and transendothelial migration of naive and memory lymphocytes. Here we found that effector lymphocytes of the type 1 helper T cell (T(H)1 cell) and type 1 cytotoxic T cell (T(C)1 cell) subtypes expressed adhesive integrins that bypassed chemokine signals and established firm arrests on variably inflamed endothelial barriers. Nevertheless, the transendothelial migration of these lymphocytes strictly depended on signals from guanine nucleotide-binding proteins of the G(i) type and was promoted by multiple endothelium-derived inflammatory chemokines, even without outer endothelial surface exposure. Instead, transendothelial migration-promoting endothelial chemokines were stored in vesicles docked on actin fibers beneath the plasma membranes and were locally released within tight lymphocyte-endothelial synapses. Thus, effector T lymphocytes can cross inflamed barriers through contact-guided consumption of intraendothelial chemokines without surface-deposited chemokines or extraendothelial chemokine gradients.
Kindlin-3 is required for the stabilization of TCR-stimulated LFA-1: CAM-1 bonds critical for lymphocyte arrest and spreading on dendritic cells(2011) Blood. 117, 26, p. 7042-7052 Abstract[All authors]
Kindlin-3 is a key lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) coactivator deleted in leukocyte adhesion deficiency-III (LAD-III). In the present study, we investigated the involvement of this adaptor in lymphocyte motility and TCR-triggered arrest on ICAM-1 or on dendritic cells (DCs). Kindlin-3-null primary T cells from a LAD-III patient migrated normally on the major lymph node chemokine CCL21 and engaged in normal TCR signaling. However, TCR activation of Kindlin-3-null T lymphocytes failed to trigger the robust LFA-1-mediated T-cell spreading on ICAM-1 and ICAM-1-expressing DCs that is observed in normal lymphocytes. Kindlin-3 was also essential for cytoskeletal anchorage of the LFA-1 heterodimer and for microclustering of LFA-1 within ventral focal dots of TCR-stimulated lymphocytes spread on ICAM-1. Surprisingly, LFA-1 on Kindlin-3-null lymphocytes migrating over CCL21 acquired normal expression of an epitope associated with the conformational activation of the key headpiece domain, beta I. This activated LFA-1 was highly responsive to TCR-triggered ICAM-1-driven stop signals in normal T cells locomoting on CCL21, but not in their Kindlin-3-null T-cell counterparts. We suggest that Kindlin-3 selectively contributes to a final TCR-triggered outside-in stabilization of bonds generated between chemokine-primed LFA-1 molecules and cell-surface ICAM-1. (Blood. 2011;117(26):7042-7052)
Real-Time Analysis of Integrin-Dependent Transendothelial Migration and Integrin-Independent Interstitial Motility of Leukocytes(2011) Integrin And Cell Adhesion Molecules. Shimaoka M.(eds.). p. 31-45 (1Methods in Molecular Biology). Abstract
The role of integrins in leukocyte migration across endothelial barriers is widely accepted. In contrast, the contribution of integrins to interstitial motility of leukocytes is still elusive. Chemokine binding to G-protein-coupled receptors expressed on the surface of leukocytes plays key roles in both of these processes by directly activating integrin conformations favorable for ligand binding and integrin micro-clustering. Chemokines can also serve as weak adhesive ligands and potent inducers of actin cytoskeleton remodeling. Real-time assays utilizing live imaging microscopy have been implemented to dissect these versatile roles of chemokines in different leukocyte migration processes. Here, we review several in vitro assays useful for exploring the contribution of chemokine signals and shear forces to integrin activation and function during various stages of leukocyte transendothelial migration. In addition, we describe a new assay that assesses the contribution of chemokines to integrin-independent interstitial leukocyte motility. These assays can also follow the outcome of specific genetic or biochemical manipulations of either the leukocyte or the endothelial barrier on distinct migratory steps. Following fixation, subcellular changes in the distribution of integrin subsets and of specific integrin-associated adaptors can be further dissected by immunofluorescence tools and by ultrastructural electron microscopic analysis.
CXCL12 secretion by bone marrow stromal cells is dependent on cell contact and mediated by connexin-43 and connexin-45 gap junctions(2011) Nature Immunology. 12, 5, p. 391–398 Abstract[All authors]
The chemokine CXCL12 is essential for the function of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Here we report that secretion of functional CXCL12 from human bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) was a cell contact-dependent event mediated by connexin-43 (Cx43) and Cx45 gap junctions. Inhibition of connexin gap junctions impaired the secretion of CXCL12 and homing of leukocytes to mouse bone marrow. Purified human CD34(+) progenitor cells did not adhere to noncontacting BMSCs, which led to a much smaller pool of immature cells. Calcium conduction activated signaling by cAMP-protein kinase A (PKA) and induced CXCL12 secretion mediated by the GTPase RalA. Cx43 and Cx45 additionally controlled Cxcl12 transcription by regulating the nuclear localization of the transcription factor Sp1. We suggest that BMSCs form a dynamic syncytium via connexin gap junctions that regulates CXC12 secretion and the homeostasis of hematopoietic stem cells.
Chemokine triggered integrin activation and actin remodeling events guiding lymphocyte migration across vascular barriers(2011) Experimental Cell Research. 317, 5, p. 632-641 Abstract
Chemokine signals activate leukocyte integrins and actin remodeling machineries critical for leukocyte adhesion and motility across vascular barriers. The arrest of leukocytes at target blood vessel sites depends on rapid conformational activation of their alpha 4 and beta 2 integrins by the binding of endothelial-displayed chemokines to leukocyte Gi-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). A universal regulator of this event is the integrin-actin adaptor, talin1. Chemokine-stimulated GPCRs can transmit within fractions of seconds signals via multiple Rho GTPases, which locally raise plasma membrane levels of the talin activating phosphatidyl inositol, PtdIns(4,5)P2 (PIP2). Additional pools of GPCR stimulated Rac-1 and Rap-1 GTPases together with GPCR stimulated PLC and PI3K family members regulate the turnover of focal contacts of leukocyte integrins, induce the collapse of leukocyte microvilli, and promote polarized leukocyte crawling in search of exit cues. Concomitantly, other leukocyte GTPases trigger invasive protrusions into and between endothelial cells in search of basolateral chemokine exit cues. We will review here major findings and open questions related to these sequential guiding activities of endothelial presented chemokines, focusing mainly on lymphocyte-endothelial interactions as a paradigm for other leukocytes. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Occupancy of Lymphocyte LFA-1 by Surface-Immobilized ICAM-1 Is Critical for TCR- but Not for Chemokine-Triggered LFA-1 Conversion to an Open Headpiece High-Affinity State(2010) Journal of Immunology. 185, 12, p. 7394-7404 Abstract
Lymphocyte arrest and spreading on ICAM-1-expressing APCs require activation of lymphocyte LFA-1 by TCR signals, but the conformational switches of this integrin during these critical processes are still elusive. Using Ab probes that distinguish between different LFA-1 conformations, we found that, unlike strong chemokine signals, potent TCR stimuli were insufficient to trigger LFA-1 extension or headpiece opening in primary human lymphocytes. Nevertheless, LFA-1 in these TCR-stimulated T cells became highly adhesive to both anchored and mobile surface-bound ICAM-1, although it failed to bind soluble ICAM-1 with measurable affinity. Rapid rearrangement of LFA-1 by immobilized ICAM-1 switched the integrin to an open headpiece conformation within numerous scattered submicron focal dots that did not readily collapse into a peripheral LFA-1 ring. Headpiece-activated LFA-1 microclusters were enriched with talin but were devoid of TCR and CD45. Notably, LFA-1 activation by TCR signals as well as subsequent T cell spreading on ICAM-1 took place independently of cytosolic Ca(2+). In contrast to LFA-1-activating chemokine signals, TCR activation of LFA-1 readily took place in the absence of external shear forces. LFA-1 activation by TCR signals also did not require internal myosin II forces but depended on intact actin cytoskeleton. Our results suggest that potent TCR signals fail to trigger LFA-1 headpiece activation unless the integrin first gets stabilized by surface-bound ICAM-1 within evenly scattered actin-dependent LFA-1 focal dots, the quantal units of TCR-stimulated T cell arrest and spreading on ICAM-1. The Journal of Immunology, 2010, 185: 7394-7404.[All authors]
Loss of Kindlin-3 in LAD-III eliminates LFA-1 but not VLA-4 adhesiveness developed under shear flow conditions(2009) Blood. 114, 11, p. 2344-2353 Abstract
Leukocyte adhesion deficiency (LAD)-III is associated with homozygous stop codon mutations in Kindlin-3, the hematopoietic member of the Kindlin family of integrin coactivators. In addition, a subgroup of LAD-III patients has a homozygous splice junction mutation in and reduced expression of the Rap-1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor, CalDAG-GEFI (CDGI). In this study, we compared the adhesive properties of the leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) and very late activation antigen-4 (VLA-4) integrins in both primary and activated leukocytes derived from these 2 LAD-III subgroups. Primary lymphocytes lacking both Kindlin-3 and CDGI lost all firm T-cell receptor-stimulated LFA-1 adhesiveness, in contrast to LAD-III lymphocytes deficient in Kindlin-3 alone. Effector T cells expanded from all tested LAD-III variants expressed normal CDGI, but lacked Kindlin-3. These Kindlin-3-null effector T cells exhibited total loss of inside-out LFA-1 activation by chemokine signals as well as abrogated intrinsic LFA-1 adhesiveness. Surprisingly, VLA-4 in Kindlin-3-null resting or effector lymphocytes retained intrinsic rolling adhesions to vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and exhibited only partial defects in chemokine-stimulated adhesiveness to vascular cell adhesion molecule-1. Deletion of the putative beta(1) Kindlin-3 binding site also retained VLA-4 adhesiveness. Thus, our study provides the first evidence that Kindlin-3 is more critical to LFA-1 than to VLA-4-adhesive functions in human lymphocytes. (Blood. 2009; 114: 2344-2353)[All authors]
Lymphocyte Crawling and Transendothelial Migration Require Chemokine Triggering of High-Affinity LFA-1 Integrin(2009) Immunity. 30, 3, p. 384-396 Abstract[All authors]
Endothelial chemokines are instrumental for integrin-mediated lymphocyte adhesion and transendothelial migration (TEM). By dissecting how chemokines trigger lymphocyte integrins to support shear-resistant motility on and across cytokine-stimulated endothelial barriers, we found a critical role for high-affinity (HA) LFA-1 integrin in lymphocyte crawling on activated endothelium. Endothelial-presented chemokines triggered HA-LFA-1 and adhesive filopodia at numerous submicron dots scattered underneath crawling lymphocytes. Shear forces applied to endothelial-bound lymphocytes dramatically enhanced filopodia density underneath crawling lymphocytes. A fraction of the adhesive filopodia invaded the endothelial cells prior to and during TEM and extended large subluminal leading edge containing dots of HA-LFA-1 occupied by subluminal ICAM-1. Memory T cells generated more frequent invasive filopodia and transmigrated more rapidly than their naive counterparts. We propose that shear forces exerted on HA-LFA-1 trigger adhesive and invasive filopodia at apical endothelial surfaces and thereby promote lymphocyte crawling and probing for TEM sites.
Real‐Time In Vitro Assays For Studying the Role of Chemokines in Lymphocyte Transendothelial Migration Under Physiologic Flow Conditions(2009) Chemokines, Part B. Vol. 461. p. 311-332 (1Methods in Enzymology). Abstract
The mechanisms underlying leukocyte migration across endothelial barriers are still largely elusive. Integrin activation by chemokine signals is a key checkpoint in this process. Most of the current knowledge on transendothelial migration (TEM) of leukocytes has been derived from in vitro modified Boyden-chamber transfilter migration assays. In these assays, leukocyte migration toward chemokine gradients established across an endothelial barrier is measured under shear-free conditions. Consequently, these assays do not address the critical contribution of shear forces to dynamic integrin activation and redistribution at focal lymphocyte-endothelial contacts. Endothelial chemokines are displayed at high levels on blood vessel walls in vivo and play critical roles in both integrin activation and polarization of leukocytes on blood vessels, yet transwell assays do not assess the role of these chemokines in leukocyte TEM. To overcome these two drawbacks, several laboratories, including our group, developed assays based on in vitro live imaging microscopy to follow leukocyte migration across endothelial barriers that display defined compositions of integrin-stimulatory chemokines. These assays not only successfully simulate physiologic TEM processes but also enable the tracking and dissection of leukocyte adhesion, motility, and crossing of endothelial barriers in real time and under physiologic flow conditions. In addition, fluorescent tagging of membranes, adhesion molecules, and cytoskeletal regulatory elements on the endothelial barrier or the leukocyte can provide key spatial and temporal information on the mode of activity of these elements during distinct stages of leukocyte TEM. After fixation, subcellular changes in the redistribution of these key molecules can be further dissected by immunofluorescence tools and by ultrastructural analysis based on scanning and transmission electron microscopy.
A crosstalk between intracellular CXCR7 and CXCR4 involved in rapid CXCL12-triggered integrin activation but not in chemokine-triggered motility of human T lymphocytes and CD34(+) cells(2008) Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 84, 4, p. 1130-1140 Abstract
The chemokine CXCL12 promotes migration of human leukocytes, hematopoietic progenitors, and tumor cells. The binding of CXCL12 to its receptor CXCR4 triggers Gi protein signals for motility and integrin activation in many cell types. CXCR7 is a second, recently identified receptor for CXCL12, but its role as an intrinsic G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) has been debated. We report that CXCR7 fails to support on its own any CXCL12-triggered integrin activation or motility in human T lymphocytes or CD34(+) progenitors. CXCR7 is also scarcely expressed on the surface of both cell types and concentrates right underneath the plasma membrane with partial co-localization in early endosomes. Nevertheless, various specific CXCR7 blockers get access to this pool and attenuate the ability of CXCR4 to properly rearrange by surface-bound CXCL12, a critical step in the ability of the GPCR to trigger optimal CXCL12-mediated stimulation of integrin activation in T lymphocytes as well as in CD34(+) cells. In contrast, CXCL12-triggered CXCR4 signaling to early targets, such as Akt as well as CXCR4-mediated chemotaxis, is insensitive to identical CXCR7 blocking. Our findings suggest that although CXCR7 is not an intrinsic signaling receptor for CXCL12 on lymphocytes or CD34(+) cells, its blocking can be useful for therapeutic interference with CXCR4-mediated activation of integrins.
RhoA is involved in LFA-1 extension triggered by CXCL12 but not in a novel outside-in LFA-1 activation facilitated by CXCL9(2008) Journal of Immunology. 180, 5, p. 2815-2823 Abstract
Chemokines presented on endothelial tissues instantaneously trigger LFA-1-mediated arrest on ICAM-1 via rapid inside-out and outside-in (ligand-driven) LFA-1 activation. The GTPase RhoA was previously implicated in CCL21-triggered LFA-1 affinity triggering in murine T lymphocytes and in LFA-1-dependent adhesion strengthening to ICAM-1 on Peyer's patch high endothelial venules stabilized over periods of at least 10 s. In this study, we show that a specific RhoA 23/40 effector region is vital for the initial LFA-1-dependent adhesions of lymphocytes on high endothelial venules lasting 1-3 s. Blocking the RhoA 23/40 region in human T lymphocytes in vitro also impaired the subsecond CXCL12-triggered LFA-1-mediated T cell arrest on ICAM-1 by eliminating the rapid induction of an extended LFA-1 conformational state. However, the inflammatory chemokine CXCL9 triggered robust LFA-1-mediated T lymphocyte adhesion to ICAM-1 at subsecond contacts independently of the RhoA 23/40 region. CXCL9 did not induce conformational changes in the LFA-1 ectodomain, suggesting that particular chemokines can activate LFA-1 through outside-in post ligand binding stabilization changes. Like CXCL9, the potent diacylglycerol-dependent protein kinase C agonist PMA was found to trigger LFA-1 adhesiveness to ICAM-1 also without inducing integrin extension or an a priori clustering and independently of the RhoA 23/40 region. Our results collectively suggest that the 23/40 region of RhoA regulates chemokine-induced inside-out LFA-1 extension before ligand binding, but is not required for a variety of chemokine and non-chemokine signals that rapidly strengthen LFA-1-ICAM-1 bonds without an a priori induction of high-affinity extended LFA-1 conformations.
Lymph node chemokines promote sustained T lymphocyte motility without triggering stable integrin adhesiveness in the absence of shear forcesm(2007) Nature Immunology. 8, 10, p. 1076-1085 Abstract[All authors]
Lymphocyte motility in lymph nodes is regulated by chemokines, but the contribution of integrins to this motility remains obscure. Here we examined lymphocyte migration over CCR7-binding chemokines that 'decorate' lymph node stroma. In a shear-free environment, surface-bound lymph node chemokines but not their soluble counterparts promoted robust and sustained T lymphocyte motility. The chemokine CCL21 induced compartmentalized clustering of the integrins LFA-1 and VLA-4 in motile lymphocytes, but both integrins remained nonadhesive to ligands on lymphocytes, dendritic cells and stroma. The application of shear stress to lymphocytes interacting with CCL21 and integrin ligands promoted robust integrin-mediated adhesion. Thus, lymph node chemokines that promote motility and strongly activate lymphocyte integrins under shear forces fail to stimulate stable integrin adhesiveness in extravascular shear-free environments.
(2006) Blood. 108, 7, p. 2150-2158 Abstract
Rac GTPases are key regulators of leukocyte motility. In lymphocytes, chemokine-mediated Rac activation depends on the CDM adaptor DOCK2. The present studies addressed the role of DOCK2 in chemokine-triggered lymphocyte adhesion and motility. Rapid chemokine-triggered activation of both LFA-1 and VLA-4 integrins took place normally in DOCK2(-/-) T lymphocytes under various shear flow conditions. Consequently, DOCK2(-/-) T cells arrested normally on TNF alpha-activated endothelial cells in response to integrin stimulatory chemokine signals, and their resistance to detachment was similar to that of wild-type (wt) T lymphocytes. Nevertheless, DOCK2(-/-) T lymphocytes exhibited reduced microvillar collapse and lannellipodium extension in response to chemokine signals, ruling out a role for these events in integrin-mediated adhesion strengthening. Strikingly, arrested DOCK2(-/-) lymphocytes transmigrated through a CCL21-presenting endothelial barrier with similar efficiency and rate as wt lymphocytes but, unlike wt lymphocytes, could not loconnote away from the transmigration site of the basal endothelial side. DOCK2(-/-) lymphocytes also failed to laterally migrate over multiple integrin ligands coimmobilized with chemokines. This is a first indication that T lymphocytes use 2 different chemokine-triggered actin remodeling programs: the first, DOCK2 dependent, to locomote laterally along apical and basal endothelial surfaces; the second, DOCK2 independent, to cross through a chemokine-bearing endothelial barrier.