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Tumor-infiltrating CD8 T cells were found to frequently express the inhibitory receptor NKG2A, particularly in immune-reactive environments and after therapeutic cancer vaccination. High-dimensional cluster analysis demonstrated that NKG2A marks a unique immune effector subset preferentially co-expressing the tissue-resident CD103 molecule, but not immune checkpoint inhibitors. To examine whether NKG2A represented an adaptive resistance mechanism to cancer vaccination, we blocked the receptor with an antibody and knocked out its ligand Qa-1, the conserved ortholog of HLA-E, in four mouse tumor models. The impact of therapeutic vaccines was greatly potentiated by disruption of the NKG2A/Qa-1 axis even in a PD-1 refractory mouse model. NKG2A blockade therapy operated through CD8 T cells, but not NK cells. These findings indicate that NKG2A-blocking antibodies might improve clinical responses to therapeutic cancer vaccines.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Immunotherapy has emerged as a key pillar of cancer treatment. To build upon the recent successes of immunotherapy, intense research efforts are aimed at a molecular understanding of antitumor immune responses, identification of biomarkers of immunotherapy response and resistance, and novel strategies to circumvent resistance. These studies are revealing new insight into the intricacies of tumor cell recognition by the immune system, in large part through MHCs. Although tumor cells widely express MHC-I, a subset of tumors originating from a variety of tissues also express MHC-II, an antigen-presenting complex traditionally associated with professional antigen-presenting cells. MHC-II is critical for antigen presentation to CD4 T lymphocytes, whose role in antitumor immunity is becoming increasingly appreciated. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that tumor-specific MHC-II associates with favorable outcomes in patients with cancer, including those treated with immunotherapies, and with tumor rejection in murine models. Herein, we will review current research regarding tumor-enriched MHC-II expression and regulation in a range of human tumors and murine models, and the possible therapeutic applications of tumor-specific MHC-II.
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
Disruption of the non-classical Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Ib molecule Qa-1 impairs CD8 Treg and natural killer (NK) cell function and promotes a lupus-like autoimmune disease. This immune perturbation would be expected to enhance anti-transplant responses and impair tolerance induction, but the effect of Qa-1 deficiency on the transplant response has not been previously reported. Qa-1 deficiency enhanced CD4 TFH and germinal center (GC) B cell numbers in naïve mice and hastened islet allograft rejection. Despite enhanced immunity in B6.Qa-1 mice, these mice did not generate an excessive primary CD4 TFH cell response nor an enhanced alloantibody reaction. Both CD8 Tregs and NK cells, which often regulate other cells through host Qa-1 expression, were targets of anti-CD45RB therapy that had not been previously recognized. However, B6.Qa-1 mice remained susceptible to anti-CD45RB mediated suppression of the alloantibody response and transplant tolerance induction to mismatched islet allografts. Overall, despite enhanced immunity as demonstrated by augmented CD4 TFH/GC B cell numbers and hastened islet allograft rejection in naïve 12-week old Qa-1 deficient mice, the CD8 Treg/NK cell restriction element Qa-1 does not regulate the primary cellular or humoral alloresponse and is not required for long-term transplant tolerance.
Genes of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system encode cell-surface proteins involved in regulation of immune responses, and the way drugs interact with the HLA peptide binding groove is important in the immunopathogenesis of T-cell mediated drug hypersensitivity syndromes. Nevirapine (NVP), is an HIV-1 antiretroviral with treatment-limiting hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) associated with multiple class I and II HLA alleles. Here we utilize a novel analytical approach to explore these multi-allelic associations by systematically examining HLA molecules for similarities in peptide binding specificities and binding pocket structure. We demonstrate that primary predisposition to cutaneous NVP HSR, seen across ancestral groups, can be attributed to a cluster of HLA-C alleles sharing a common binding groove F pocket with HLA-C*04:01. An independent association with a group of class II alleles which share the HLA-DRB1-P4 pocket is also observed. In contrast, NVP HSR protection is afforded by a cluster of HLA-B alleles defined by a characteristic peptide binding groove B pocket. The results suggest drug-specific interactions within the antigen binding cleft can be shared across HLA molecules with similar binding pockets. We thereby provide an explanation for multiple HLA associations with cutaneous NVP HSR and advance insight into its pathogenic mechanisms.
The class III PI3K Vacuolar protein sorting 34 (Vps34) plays a role in both canonical and noncanonical autophagy, key processes that control the presentation of antigens by dendritic cells (DCs) to naive T lymphocytes. We generated DC-specific -deficient mice to assess the contribution of Vps34 to DC functions. We found that DCs from these animals have a partially activated phenotype, spontaneously produce cytokines, and exhibit enhanced activity of the classic MHC class I and class II antigen-presentation pathways. Surprisingly, these animals displayed a defect in the homeostatic maintenance of splenic CD8α DCs and in the capacity of these cells to cross-present cell corpse-associated antigens to MHC class I-restricted T cells, a property that was associated with defective expression of the T-cell Ig mucin (TIM)-4 receptor. Importantly, mice deficient in the Vps34-associated protein Rubicon, which is critical for a noncanonical form of autophagy called "Light-chain 3 (LC3)-associated phagocytosis" (LAP), lacked such defects. Finally, consistent with their defect in the cross-presentation of apoptotic cells, DC-specific -deficient animals developed increased metastases in response to challenge with B16 melanoma cells. Collectively, our studies have revealed a critical role of Vps34 in the regulation of CD8α DC homeostasis and in the capacity of these cells to process and present antigens associated with apoptotic cells to MHC class I-restricted T cells. Our findings also have important implications for the development of small-molecule inhibitors of Vps34 for therapeutic purposes.
Although many phenotypes have been associated with variants in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes, the full phenotypic impact of HLA variants across all diseases is unknown. We imputed HLA genomic variation from two populations of 28,839 and 8431 European ancestry individuals and tested association of HLA variation with 1368 phenotypes. A total of 104 four-digit and 92 two-digit HLA allele phenotype associations were significant in both discovery and replication cohorts, the strongest being and type 1 diabetes. Four previously unidentified associations were identified across the spectrum of disease with two- and four-digit HLA alleles and 10 with nonsynonymous variants. Some conditions associated with multiple HLA variants and stronger associations with more severe disease manifestations were identified. A comprehensive, publicly available catalog of clinical phenotypes associated with HLA variation is provided. Examining HLA variant disease associations in this large data set allows comprehensive definition of disease associations to drive further mechanistic insights.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Fertility traits in humans are heritable, however, little is known about the genes that influence reproductive outcomes or the genetic variants that contribute to differences in these traits between individuals, particularly women. To address this gap in knowledge, we performed an unbiased genome-wide expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping study to identify common regulatory (expression) single nucleotide polymorphisms (eSNPs) in mid-secretory endometrium. We identified 423 cis-eQTLs for 132 genes that were significant at a false discovery rate (FDR) of 1%. After pruning for strong LD (r2 >0.95), we tested for associations between eSNPs and fecundability (the ability to get pregnant), measured as the length of the interval to pregnancy, in 117 women. Two eSNPs were associated with fecundability at a FDR of 5%; both were in the HLA region and were eQTLs for the TAP2 gene (P = 1.3x10-4) and the HLA-F gene (P = 4.0x10-4), respectively. The effects of these SNPs on fecundability were replicated in an independent sample. The two eSNPs reside within or near regulatory elements in decidualized human endometrial stromal cells. Our study integrating eQTL mapping in a primary tissue with association studies of a related phenotype revealed novel genes and associated alleles with independent effects on fecundability, and identified a central role for two HLA region genes in human implantation success.
PURPOSE - MHC class I presentation of peptides allows T cells to survey the cytoplasmic protein milieu of host cells. During infection, presentation of self peptides is, in part, replaced by presentation of microbial peptides. However, little is known about the self peptides presented during infection, despite the fact that microbial infections alter host cell gene expression patterns and protein metabolism.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - The self peptide repertoire presented by HLA-A*01;01, HLA-A*02;01, HLA-B*07;02, HLA-B*35;01, and HLA-B*45;01 (where HLA is human leukocyte antigen) was determined by tandem MS before and after vaccinia virus infection.
RESULTS - We observed a profound alteration in the self peptide repertoire with hundreds of self peptides uniquely presented after infection for which we have coined the term "self peptidome shift." The fraction of novel self peptides presented following infection varied for different HLA class I molecules. A large part (approximately 40%) of the self peptidome shift arose from peptides derived from type I interferon-inducible genes, consistent with cellular responses to viral infection. Interestingly, approximately 12% of self peptides presented after infection showed allelic variation when searched against approximately 300 human genomes.
CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE - Self peptidome shift in a clinical transplant setting could result in alloreactivity by presenting new self peptides in the context of infection-induced inflammation.
© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is a common autosomal-recessive disorder associated with pathogenic HFE variants, most commonly those resulting in p.Cys282Tyr and p.His63Asp. Recommendations on returning incidental findings of HFE variants in individuals undergoing genome-scale sequencing should be informed by penetrance estimates of HH in unselected samples. We used the eMERGE Network, a multicenter cohort with genotype data linked to electronic medical records, to estimate the diagnostic rate and clinical penetrance of HH in 98 individuals homozygous for the variant coding for HFE p.Cys282Tyr and 397 compound heterozygotes with variants resulting in p.[His63Asp];[Cys282Tyr]. The diagnostic rate of HH in males was 24.4% for p.Cys282Tyr homozygotes and 3.5% for compound heterozygotes (p < 0.001); in females, it was 14.0% for p.Cys282Tyr homozygotes and 2.3% for compound heterozygotes (p < 0.001). Only males showed differences across genotypes in transferrin saturation levels (100% of homozygotes versus 37.5% of compound heterozygotes with transferrin saturation > 50%; p = 0.003), serum ferritin levels (77.8% versus 33.3% with serum ferritin > 300 ng/ml; p = 0.006), and diabetes (44.7% versus 28.0%; p = 0.03). No differences were found in the prevalence of heart disease, arthritis, or liver disease, except for the rate of liver biopsy (10.9% versus 1.8% [p = 0.013] in males; 9.1% versus 2% [p = 0.035] in females). Given the higher rate of HH diagnosis than in prior studies, the high penetrance of iron overload, and the frequency of at-risk genotypes, in addition to other suggested actionable adult-onset genetic conditions, opportunistic screening should be considered for p.[Cys282Tyr];[Cys282Tyr] individuals with existing genomic data.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.