• Type I Interferon Receptor Signaling in Astrocytes Regulates Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity and Cognitive Function of the Healthy CNS.

      Hosseini, Shirin; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Grigoryan, Gayane; Chhatbar, Chintan; Kalinke, Ulrich; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      Type I interferon receptor (IFNAR) signaling is a hallmark of viral control and host protection. Here, we show that, in the hippocampus of healthy IFNAR-deficient mice, synapse number and synaptic plasticity, as well as spatial learning, are impaired. This is also the case for IFN-β-deficient animals. Moreover, antibody-mediated IFNAR blocking acutely interferes with neuronal plasticity, whereas a low-dose application of IFN-β has a positive effect on dendritic spine structure. Interfering with IFNAR signaling in different cell types shows a role for cognitive function and synaptic plasticity specifically mediated by astrocytes. Intriguingly, levels of the astrocytic glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST) are reduced significantly upon IFN-β treatment and increase following inhibition of IFNAR signaling. These results indicate that, besides the prominent role for host defense, IFNAR is important for synaptic plasticity as well as cognitive function. Astrocytes are at the center stage of this so-far-unknown signaling cascade.
    • Patient iPSC-Derived Macrophages to Study Inborn Errors of the IFN-γ Responsive Pathway.

      Haake, Kathrin; Neehus, Anna-Lena; Buchegger, Theresa; Kühnel, Mark Philipp; Blank, Patrick; Philipp, Friederike; Oleaga-Quintas, Carmen; Schulz, Ansgar; Grimley, Michael; Goethe, Ralph; et al. (MDPI, 2020-02-19)
      nterferon γ (IFN-γ) was shown to be a macrophage activating factor already in 1984. Consistently, inborn errors of IFN-γ immunity underlie Mendelian Susceptibility to Mycobacterial Disease (MSMD). MSMD is characterized by genetic predisposition to disease caused by weakly virulent mycobacterial species. Paradoxically, macrophages from patients with MSMD were little tested. Here, we report a disease modeling platform for studying IFN-γ related pathologies using macrophages derived from patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We used iPSCs from patients with autosomal recessive complete- and partial IFN-γR2 deficiency, partial IFN-γR1 deficiency and complete STAT1 deficiency. Macrophages from all patient iPSCs showed normal morphology and IFN-γ-independent functionality like phagocytic uptake of bioparticles and internalization of cytokines. For the IFN-γ-dependent functionalities, we observed that the deficiencies played out at various stages of the IFN-γ pathway, with the complete IFN-γR2 and complete STAT1 deficient cells showing the most severe phenotypes, in terms of upregulation of surface markers and induction of downstream targets. Although iPSC-derived macrophages with partial IFN-γR1 and IFN-γR2 deficiency still showed residual induction of downstream targets, they did not reduce the mycobacterial growth when challenged with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin. Taken together, we report a disease modeling platform to study the role of macrophages in patients with inborn errors of IFN-γ immunity.
    • Selective reconstitution of IFN‑γ gene function in Ncr1+ NK cells is sufficient to control systemic vaccinia virus infection.

      Borst, Katharina; Flindt, Sven; Blank, Patrick; Larsen, Pia-Katharina; Chhatbar, Chintan; Skerra, Jennifer; Spanier, Julia; Hirche, Christoph; König, Martin; Alanentalo, Tomas; et al. (PLOS, 2020-02-01)
      IFN-γ is an enigmatic cytokine that shows direct anti-viral effects, confers upregulation of MHC-II and other components relevant for antigen presentation, and that adjusts the composition and balance of complex cytokine responses. It is produced during immune responses by innate as well as adaptive immune cells and can critically affect the course and outcome of infectious diseases, autoimmunity, and cancer. To selectively analyze the function of innate immune cell-derived IFN-γ, we generated conditional IFN-γOFF mice, in which endogenous IFN-γ expression is disrupted by a loxP flanked gene trap cassette inserted into the first intron of the IFN-γ gene. IFN-γOFF mice were intercrossed with Ncr1-Cre or CD4-Cre mice that express Cre mainly in NK cells (IFN-γNcr1-ON mice) or T cells (IFN-γCD4-ON mice), respectively. Rosa26RFP reporter mice intercrossed with Ncr1-Cre mice showed selective RFP expression in more than 80% of the NK cells, while upon intercrossing with CD4-Cre mice abundant RFP expression was detected in T cells, but also to a minor extent in other immune cell subsets. Previous studies showed that IFN-γ expression is needed to promote survival of vaccinia virus (VACV) infection. Interestingly, during VACV infection of wild type and IFN-γCD4-ON mice two waves of serum IFN-γ were induced that peaked on day 1 and day 3/4 after infection. Similarly, VACV infected IFN-γNcr1-ON mice mounted two waves of IFN-γ responses, of which the first one was moderately and the second one profoundly reduced when compared with WT mice. Furthermore, IFN-γNcr1-ON as well as IFN-γCD4-ON mice survived VACV infection, whereas IFN-γOFF mice did not. As expected, ex vivo analysis of splenocytes derived from VACV infected IFN-γNcr1-ON mice showed IFN-γ expression in NK cells, but not T cells, whereas IFN-γOFF mice showed IFN-γ expression neither in NK cells nor T cells. VACV infected IFN-γNcr1-ON mice mounted normal cytokine responses, restored neutrophil accumulation, and showed normal myeloid cell distribution in blood and spleen. Additionally, in these mice normal MHC-II expression was detected on peripheral macrophages, whereas IFN-γOFF mice did not show MHC-II expression on such cells. In conclusion, upon VACV infection Ncr1 positive cells including NK cells mount two waves of early IFN-γ responses that are sufficient to promote the induction of protective anti-viral immunity.
    • IL-7 derived from lymph node fibroblastic reticular cells is dispensable for naive T cell homeostasis but crucial for central memory T cell survival.

      Knop, Laura; Deiser, Katrin; Bank, Ute; Witte, Amelie; Mohr, Juliane; Philipsen, Lars; Fehling, Hans J; Müller, Andreas J; Kalinke, Ulrich; Schüler, Thomas; et al. (Wiley Online Open, 2020-02-11)
      The survival of peripheral T cells is dependent on their access to peripheral lymph nodes (pLNs) and stimulation by Interleukin-7 (IL-7). In pLNs fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) produce IL-7 suggesting their contribution to the IL-7-dependent survival of T cells. However, IL-7 production is detectable in multiple organs and is not restricted to pLNs. This raises the question whether pLN-derived IL-7 is required for the maintenance of peripheral T cell homeostasis. Here, we show that numbers of naive T cells (TN ) remain unaffected in pLNs and spleen of mice lacking Il7 gene activity in pLN FRCs, LECs or both. In contrast, frequencies of central memory T cells (TCM ) are reduced in FRC-specific IL-7 knockout mice. Thus, steady state IL-7 production by pLN FRCs is critical for the maintenance of TCM , but not TN , indicating that both T cell subsets colonize different ecological niches in vivo. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    • The deubiquitinase OTUB1 augments NF-κB-dependent immune responses in dendritic cells in infection and inflammation by stabilizing UBC13.

      Mulas, Floriana; Wang, Xu; Song, Shanshan; Nishanth, Gopala; Yi, Wenjing; Brunn, Anna; Larsen, Pia-Katharina; Isermann, Berend; Kalinke, Ulrich; Barragan, Antonio; et al. (Springer Nature, 2020-02-05)
      Dendritic cells (DCs) are indispensable for defense against pathogens but may also contribute to immunopathology. Activation of DCs upon the sensing of pathogens by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) is largely mediated by pattern recognition receptor/nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling and depends on the appropriate ubiquitination of the respective signaling molecules. However, the ubiquitinating and deubiquitinating enzymes involved and their interactions are only incompletely understood. Here, we reveal that the deubiquitinase OTU domain, ubiquitin aldehyde binding 1 (OTUB1) is upregulated in DCs upon murine Toxoplasma gondii infection and lipopolysaccharide challenge. Stimulation of DCs with the TLR11/12 ligand T. gondii profilin and the TLR4 ligand lipopolysaccharide induced an increase in NF-κB activation in OTUB1-competent cells, resulting in elevated interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production, which was also observed upon the specific stimulation of TLR2, TLR3, TLR7, and TLR9. Mechanistically, OTUB1 promoted NF-κB activity in DCs by K48-linked deubiquitination and stabilization of the E2-conjugating enzyme UBC13, resulting in increased K63-linked ubiquitination of IRAK1 (IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 1) and TRAF6 (TNF receptor-associated factor 6). Consequently, DC-specific deletion of OTUB1 impaired the production of cytokines, in particular IL-12, by DCs over the first 2 days of T. gondii infection, resulting in the diminished production of protective interferon-γ (IFN-γ) by natural killer cells, impaired control of parasite replication, and, finally, death from chronic T. encephalitis, all of which could be prevented by low-dose IL-12 treatment in the first 3 days of infection. In contrast, impaired OTUB1-deficient DC activation and cytokine production by OTUB1-deficient DCs protected mice from lipopolysaccharide-induced immunopathology. Collectively, these findings identify OTUB1 as a potent novel regulator of DCs during infectious and inflammatory diseases.
    • Obstetric Ultrasonography to Detect Fetal Abnormalities in a Mouse Model for Zika Virus Infection.

      Forster, Dominik; Schwarz, Jan Hendrik; Brosinski, Katrin; Kalinke, Ulrich; Sutter, Gerd; Volz, Asisa; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-01-07)
      In 2015 Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged for the first time in South America. The following ZIKV epidemic resulted in the appearance of a clinical phenotype with microcephaly and other severe malformations in newborns. So far, mechanisms of ZIKV induced damage to the fetus are not completely understood. Previous data suggest that ZIKV may bypass the placenta to reach the fetus. Thus, animal models for ZIKV infection are important to facilitate studies about ZIKV infection during pregnancy. Here, we used ultrasound based imaging (USI) to characterize ZIKV induced pathogenesis in the pregnant Type I interferon receptor-deficient (IFNAR-/-) mouse model. Based on USI we suggest the placenta to be a primary target organ of ZIKV infection enabling ZIKV spreading to the fetus. Moreover, in addition to direct infection of the fetus, the placental ZIKV infection may cause an indirect damage to the fetus through reduced uteroplacental perfusion leading to intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and fetal complications as early as embryonic day (ED) 12.5. Our data confirmed the capability of USI to characterize ZIKV induced modifications in mouse fetuses. Data from further studies using USI to monitor ZIKV infections will contribute to a better understanding of ZIKV infection in pregnant IFNAR-/- mice.
    • A dual role for hepatocyte-intrinsic canonical NF-κB signaling in virus control.

      Namineni, Sukumar; O'Connor, Tracy; Faure-Dupuy, Suzanne; Johansen, Pål; Riedl, Tobias; Liu, Kaijing; Xu, Haifeng; Singh, Indrabahadur; Shinde, Prashant; Li, Fanghui; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-01-15)
      Using lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) as a model of liver infection, we first assessed the role of myeloid cells by depletion prior to infection. We investigated the role of hepatocyte-intrinsic innate immune signaling by infecting mice lacking canonical NF-κB signaling (IKKβΔHep) specifically in hepatocytes. In addition, mice lacking hepatocyte-specific interferon-α/β signaling-(IFNARΔHep), or interferon-α/β signaling in myeloid cells-(IFNARΔMyel) were infected.
    • Control of Nipah Virus Infection in Mice by the Host Adaptors Mitochondrial Antiviral Signaling Protein (MAVS) and Myeloid Differentiation Primary Response 88 (MyD88).

      Iampietro, Mathieu; Aurine, Noemie; Dhondt, Kevin P; Dumont, Claire; Pelissier, Rodolphe; Spanier, Julia; Vallve, Audrey; Raoul, Herve; Kalinke, Ulrich; Horvat, Branka; et al. (Oxford Academic, 2019-12-19)
      Interferon (IFN) type I plays a critical role in the protection of mice from lethal Nipah virus (NiV) infection, but mechanisms responsible for IFN-I induction remain unknown. In the current study, we demonstrated the critical role of the mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein signaling pathway in IFN-I production and NiV replication in murine embryonic fibroblasts in vitro, and the redundant but essential roles of both mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein and myeloid differentiation primary response 88 adaptors, but not TRIF (Toll/Interleukin-1 receptor/Resistance [TIR] domain-containing adaptor-inducing IFN-β), in the control of NiV infection in mice. These results reveal potential novel targets for antiviral intervention and help in understanding NiV immunopathogenesis.
    • A Soluble Version of Nipah Virus Glycoprotein G Delivered by Vaccinia Virus MVA Activates Specific CD8 and CD4 T Cells in Mice.

      Kalodimou, Georgia; Veit, Svenja; Jany, Sylvia; Kalinke, Ulrich; Broder, Christopher C; Sutter, Gerd; Volz, Asisa; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI, 2019-12-24)
      Nipah virus (NiV) is an emerging zoonotic virus that is transmitted by bats to humans and to pigs, causing severe respiratory disease and often fatal encephalitis. Antibodies directed against the NiV-glycoprotein (G) protein are known to play a major role in clearing NiV infection and in providing vaccine-induced protective immunity. More recently, T cells have been also shown to be involved in recovery from NiV infection. So far, relatively little is known about the role of T cell responses and the antigenic targets of NiV-G that are recognized by CD8 T cells. In this study, NiV-G protein served as the target immunogen to activate NiV-specific cellular immune responses. Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a safety-tested strain of vaccinia virus for preclinical and clinical vaccine research, was used for the generation of MVA-NiV-G candidate vaccines expressing different versions of recombinant NiV-G. Overlapping peptides covering the entire NiV-G protein were used to identify major histocompatibility complex class I/II-restricted T cell responses in type I interferon receptor-deficient (IFNAR-/-) mice after vaccination with the MVA-NiV-G candidate vaccines. We have identified an H2-b-restricted nonamer peptide epitope with CD8 T cell antigenicity and a H2-b 15mer with CD4 T cell antigenicity in the NiV-G protein. The identification of this epitope and the availability of the MVA-NiV-G candidate vaccines will help to evaluate NiV-G-specific immune responses and the potential immune correlates of vaccine-mediated protection in the appropriate murine models of NiV-G infection. Of note, a soluble version of NiV-G was advantageous in activating NiV-G-specific cellular immune responses using these peptides
    • Type I Interferon Signaling Disrupts the Hepatic Urea Cycle and Alters Systemic Metabolism to Suppress T Cell Function.

      Lercher, Alexander; Bhattacharya, Anannya; Popa, Alexandra M; Caldera, Michael; Schlapansky, Moritz F; Baazim, Hatoon; Agerer, Benedikt; Gürtl, Bettina; Kosack, Lindsay; Májek, Peter; et al. (Elsevier/ Cel Press, 2019-12-17)
      Infections induce complex host responses linked to antiviral defense, inflammation, and tissue damage and repair. We hypothesized that the liver, as a central metabolic hub, may orchestrate systemic metabolic changes during infection. We infected mice with chronic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), performed RNA sequencing and proteomics of liver tissue, and integrated these data with serum metabolomics at different infection phases. Widespread reprogramming of liver metabolism occurred early after infection, correlating with type I interferon (IFN-I) responses. Viral infection induced metabolic alterations of the liver that depended on the interferon alpha/beta receptor (IFNAR1). Hepatocyte-intrinsic IFNAR1 repressed the transcription of metabolic genes, including Otc and Ass1, which encode urea cycle enzymes. This led to decreased arginine and increased ornithine concentrations in the circulation, resulting in suppressed virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses and ameliorated liver pathology. These findings establish IFN-I-induced modulation of hepatic metabolism and the urea cycle as an endogenous mechanism of immunoregulation. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
    • HSV-1 triggers paracrine fibroblast growth factor response from cortical brain cells via immediate-early protein ICP0.

      Hensel, Niko; Raker, Verena; Förthmann, Benjamin; Detering, Nora Tula; Kubinski, Sabrina; Buch, Anna; Katzilieris-Petras, Georgios; Spanier, Julia; Gudi, Viktoria; Wagenknecht, Sylvia; et al. (BMC, 2019-12-02)
      BACKGROUND: Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) infections of the central nervous system (CNS) can result in HSV-1 encephalitis (HSE) which is characterized by severe brain damage and long-term disabilities. Different cell types including neurons and astrocytes become infected in the course of an HSE which leads to an activation of glial cells. Activated glial cells change their neurotrophic factor profile and modulate inflammation and repair. The superfamily of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) is one of the largest family of neurotrophic factors comprising 22 ligands. FGFs induce pro-survival signaling in neurons and an anti-inflammatory answer in glial cells thereby providing a coordinated tissue response which favors repair over inflammation. Here, we hypothesize that FGF expression is altered in HSV-1-infected CNS cells. METHOD: We employed primary murine cortical cultures comprising a mixed cell population of astrocytes, neurons, microglia, and oligodendrocytes. Astrocyte reactivity was morphometrically monitored by an automated image analysis algorithm as well as by analyses of A1/A2 marker expression. Altered FGF expression was detected by quantitative real-time PCR and its paracrine FGF activity. In addition, HSV-1 mutants were employed to characterize viral factors important for FGF responses of infected host cells. RESULTS: Astrocytes in HSV-1-infected cortical cultures were transiently activated and became hypertrophic and expressed both A1- and A2-markers. Consistently, a number of FGFs were transiently upregulated inducing paracrine neurotrophic signaling in neighboring cells. Most prominently, FGF-4, FGF-8, FGF-9, and FGF-15 became upregulated in a switch-on like mechanism. This effect was specific for CNS cells and for a fully functional HSV-1. Moreover, the viral protein ICP0 critically mediated the FGF switch-on mechanism. CONCLUSIONS: HSV-1 uses the viral protein ICP0 for the induction of FGF-expression in CNS cells. Thus, we propose that HSV-1 triggers FGF activity in the CNS for a modulation of tissue response upon infection.
    • OCTN2-mediated acetyl-l-carnitine transport in human pulmonary epithelial cells in vitro

      Salomon, Johanna J.; Gausterer, Julia C.; Selo, Mohammed Ali; Hosoya, Ken Ichi; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus Michael; Ehrhardt, Carsten; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-08-01)
      The carnitine transporter OCTN2 is associated with asthma and other inflammatory diseases. The aims of this work were (i) to determine carnitine uptake into freshly isolated human alveolar type I (ATI)-like epithelial cells in primary culture, (ii) to compare the kinetics of carnitine uptake between respiratory epithelial in vitro cell models, and (iii) to establish whether any cell line was a suitable model for studies of carnitine transport at the air-blood barrier. Levels of time-dependent [3H]-acetyl-l-carnitine uptake were similar in ATI-like, NCl-H441, and Calu-3 epithelial cells, whereas uptake into A549 cells was ~5 times higher. Uptake inhibition was more pronounced by OCTN2 modulators, such as l-Carnitine and verapamil, in ATI-like primary epithelial cells compared to NCl-H441 and Calu-3 epithelial cells. Our findings suggest that OCTN2 is involved in the cellular uptake of acetyl-l-carnitine at the alveolar epithelium and that none of the tested cell lines are optimal surrogates for primary cells.
    • Preferential uptake of chitosan-coated PLGA nanoparticles by primary human antigen presenting cells.

      Durán, Verónica; Yasar, Hanzey; Becker, Jennifer; Thiyagarajan, Durairaj; Loretz, Brigitta; Kalinke, Ulrich; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-07-31)
      Biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles (NP) made from poly (lactid-co-glycolide) acid (PLGA) and chitosan (CS) hold promise as innovative formulations for targeted delivery. Since interactions of such NP with primary human immune cells have not been characterized, yet, here we assessed the effect of PLGA or CS-PLGA NP treatment on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), as well as on monocyte-derived DC (moDC). Amongst PBMC, antigen presenting cells (APC) showed higher uptake of both NP preparations than lymphocytes. Furthermore, moDC internalized CS-PLGA NP more efficiently than PLGA NP, presumably because of receptor-mediated endocytosis. Consequently, CS-PLGA NP were delivered mostly to endosomal compartments, whereas PLGA NP primarily ended up in lysosomes. Thus, CS-PLGA NP confer enhanced delivery to endosomal compartments of APC, offering new therapeutic options to either induce or modulate APC function and to inhibit pathogens that preferentially infect APC.
    • STING induces early IFN-β in the liver and constrains myeloid cell-mediated dissemination of murine cytomegalovirus.

      Tegtmeyer, Pia-Katharina; Spanier, Julia; Borst, Katharina; Becker, Jennifer; Riedl, André; Hirche, Christoph; Ghita, Luca; Skerra, Jennifer; Baumann, Kira; Lienenklaus, Stefan; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-06-27)
      Cytomegalovirus is a DNA-encoded β-herpesvirus that induces STING-dependent type 1 interferon responses in macrophages and uses myeloid cells as a vehicle for dissemination. Here we report that STING knockout mice are as resistant to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection as wild-type controls, whereas mice with a combined Toll-like receptor/RIG-I-like receptor/STING signaling deficiency do not mount type 1 interferon responses and succumb to the infection. Although STING alone is dispensable for survival, early IFN-β induction in Kupffer cells is STING-dependent and controls early hepatic virus propagation. Infection experiments with an inducible reporter MCMV show that STING constrains MCMV replication in myeloid cells and limits viral dissemination via these cells. By contrast, restriction of viral dissemination from hepatocytes to other organs is independent of STING. Thus, during MCMV infection STING is involved in early IFN-β induction in Kupffer cells and the restriction of viral dissemination via myeloid cells, whereas it is dispensable for survival.
    • Modulation of TAP-dependent antigen compartmentalization during human monocyte-to-DC differentiation.

      Döring, Marius; Blees, Hanna; Koller, Nicole; Tischer-Zimmermann, Sabine; Müsken, Mathias; Henrich, Frederik; Becker, Jennifer; Grabski, Elena; Wang, Junxi; Janssen, Hans; et al. (American Society of Hematology, 2019-03-26)
      Dendritic cells (DCs) take up antigen in the periphery, migrate to secondary lymphoid organs, and present processed antigen fragments to adaptive immune cells and thus prime antigen-specific immunity. During local inflammation, recirculating monocytes are recruited from blood to the inflamed tissue, where they differentiate to macrophages and DCs. In this study, we found that monocytes showed high transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)–dependent peptide compartmentalization and that after antigen pulsing, they were not able to efficiently stimulate antigen-specific T lymphocytes. Nevertheless, upon in vitro differentiation to monocyte-derived DCs, TAP-dependent peptide compartmentalization as well as surface major histocompatibility complex I turnover decreased and the cells efficiently restimulated T lymphocytes. Although TAP-dependent peptide compartmentalization decreased during DC differentiation, TAP expression levels increased. Furthermore, TAP relocated from early endosomes in monocytes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and lysosomal compartments in DCs. Collectively, these data are compatible with the model that during monocyte-to-DC differentiation, the subcellular relocation of TAP and the regulation of its activity assure spatiotemporal separation of local antigen uptake and processing by monocytes and efficient T-lymphocyte stimulation by DCs.
    • RIG-I activating immunostimulatory RNA boosts the efficacy of anticancer vaccines and synergizes with immune checkpoint blockade.

      Heidegger, Simon; Kreppel, Diana; Bscheider, Michael; Stritzke, Florian; Nedelko, Tatiana; Wintges, Alexander; Bek, Sarah; Fischer, Julius C; Graalmann, Theresa; Kalinke, Ulrich; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-03-06)
      Antibody-mediated targeting of regulatory T cell receptors such as CTLA-4 enhances antitumor immune responses against several cancer entities including malignant melanoma. Yet, therapeutic success in patients remains variable underscoring the need for novel combinatorial approaches. Here we established a vaccination strategy that combines engagement of the nucleic acid-sensing pattern recognition receptor RIG-I, antigen and CTLA-4 blockade. We used in vitro transcribed 5'-triphosphorylated RNA (3pRNA) to therapeutically target the RIG-I pathway. We performed in vitro functional analysis in bone-marrow derived dendritic cells and investigated RIG-I-enhanced vaccines in different murine melanoma models. We found that protein vaccination together with RIG-I ligation via 3pRNA strongly synergizes with CTLA-4 blockade to induce expansion and activation of antigen-specific CD8 Overall, our data demonstrate the potency of a novel combinatorial vaccination strategy combining RIG-I-driven immunization with CTLA-4 blockade to prevent and treat experimental melanoma. FUND: German Research Foundation (SFB 1335, SFB 1371), EMBO, Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation, German Cancer Aid, European Hematology Association, DKMS Foundation for Giving Life, Dres. Carl Maximilian and Carl Manfred Bayer-Foundation.
    • Interferon-γ Receptor Signaling in Dendritic Cells Restrains Spontaneous Proliferation of CD4 T Cells in Chronic Lymphopenic Mice.

      Knop, Laura; Frommer, Charlotte; Stoycheva, Diana; Deiser, Katrin; Kalinke, Ulrich; Blankenstein, Thomas; Kammertoens, Thomas; Dunay, Ildiko Rita; Schüler, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str.7,30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      In lymphopenic mice, T cells become activated and undergo lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP). However, not all T cells are equally sensitive to lymphopenia. Several lymphopenia-insensitive T cell clones were described and their non-responsiveness was mainly attributed to clone-specific properties. Here, we provide evidence for an additional, host-dependent mechanism restraining LIP of lymphopenia-insensitive CD4+ T cells. We show that such cells undergo LIP in lymphopenic mice lacking IFN-γ receptor (IFN-γR) expression, a process, which is promoted by the autocrine action of T cell-derived IFN-γ. Additionally, LIP of lymphopenia-insensitive CD4+ T cells requires an intact microflora and is accompanied by the massive accumulation of IL-6 and dendritic cells (DCs). Consistent with these results, IL-6 neutralization and the DC-specific restoration of IFN-γR expression are both sufficient to restrict LIP. Hence, the insensitivity of CD4+ T cells to lymphopenia relies on cell-intrinsic properties and a complex interplay between the commensal microflora, IL-6, IFN-γR+ DCs, and T cell-derived IFN-γ.
    • Myeloid Cells Restrict MCMV and Drive Stress-Induced Extramedullary Hematopoiesis through STAT1.

      Gawish, Riem; Bulat, Tanja; Biaggio, Mario; Lassnig, Caroline; Bago-Horvath, Zsuzsanna; Macho-Maschler, Sabine; Poelzl, Andrea; Simonović, Natalija; Prchal-Murphy, Michaela; Rom, Rita; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-02-26)
      Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has a high prevalence worldwide, is often fatal for immunocompromised patients, and causes bone marrow suppression. Deficiency of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) results in severely impaired antiviral immunity. We have used cell-type restricted deletion of Stat1 to determine the importance of myeloid cell activity for the defense against murine CMV (MCMV). We show that myeloid STAT1 limits MCMV burden and infection-associated pathology in the spleen but does not affect ultimate clearance of infection. Unexpectedly, we found an essential role of myeloid STAT1 in the induction of extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH). The EMH-promoting function of STAT1 was not restricted to MCMV infection but was also observed during CpG oligodeoxynucleotide-induced sterile inflammation. Collectively, we provide genetic evidence that signaling through STAT1 in myeloid cells is required to restrict MCMV at early time points post-infection and to induce compensatory hematopoiesis in the spleen.
    • Cell therapy products: focus on issues with manufacturing and quality control of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies

      Eyles, Jim E; Vessillier, Sandrine; Jones, Anika; Stacey, Glyn; Schneider, Christian K; Price, Jack; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
      Recent accelerated approvals of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T‐cell (CAR‐T) therapies targeting refractory haematological malignancies underscore the potential for this novel technology platform to provide new therapeutic options for oncology areas with high unmet medical needs. However, these powerful ‘living drugs’ are markedly different to conventional small molecule and biologic therapies on several levels. The highly complex nature and varied composition of CAR‐T based products still requires considerable investigation to resolve the best approaches to ensure reproducible and cost‐effective manufacture, clinical development, and application. This review will focus on key issues for manufacturing and quality control of these exciting new therapeutic modalities, preceded by a brief description of CAR principals and clinical development considerations. © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.
    • Microglia have a protective role in viral encephalitis-induced seizure development and hippocampal damage.

      Waltl, Inken; Käufer, Christopher; Gerhauser, Ingo; Chhatbar, Chintan; Ghita, Luca; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-11-01)
      In the central nervous system (CNS), innate immune surveillance is mainly coordinated by microglia. These CNS resident myeloid cells are assumed to help orchestrate the immune response against infections of the brain. However, their specific role in this process and their interactions with CNS infiltrating immune cells, such as blood-borne monocytes and T cells are only incompletely understood. The recent development of PLX5622, a specific inhibitor of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor that depletes microglia, allows studying the role of microglia in conditions of brain injury such as viral encephalitis, the most common form of brain infection. Here we used this inhibitor in a model of viral infection-induced epilepsy, in which C57BL/6 mice are infected by a picornavirus (Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus) and display seizures and hippocampal damage. Our results show that microglia are required early after infection to limit virus distribution and persistence, most likely by modulating T cell activation. Microglia depletion accelerated the occurrence of seizures, exacerbated hippocampal damage, and led to neurodegeneration in the spinal cord, which is normally not observed in this mouse strain. This study enhances our understanding of the role of microglia in viral encephalitis and adds to the concept of microglia-T cell crosstalk.