Publications

Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

The adjuvant GLA-SE promotes human Tfh cell expansion and emergence of public TCRβ clonotypes.
Hill DL, Pierson W, Bolland DJ, Mkindi C, Carr EJ, Wang J, Houard S, Wingett SW, Audran R, Wallin EF, Jongo SA, Kamaka K, Zand M, Spertini F, Daubenberger C, Corcoran AE, Linterman MA

The generation of protective humoral immunity after vaccination relies on the productive interaction between antigen-specific B cells and T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. Despite the central role of Tfh cells in vaccine responses, there is currently no validated way to enhance their differentiation in humans. From paired human lymph node and blood samples, we identify a population of circulating Tfh cells that are transcriptionally and clonally similar to germinal center Tfh cells. In a clinical trial of vaccine formulations, circulating Tfh cells were expanded in Tanzanian volunteers when an experimental malaria vaccine was adjuvanted in GLA-SE but not when formulated in Alum. The GLA-SE-formulated peptide was associated with an increase in the extrafollicular antibody response, long-lived antibody production, and the emergence of public TCRβ clonotypes in circulating Tfh cells. We demonstrate that altering vaccine adjuvants is a rational approach for enhancing Tfh cells in humans, thereby supporting the long-lived humoral immunity that is required for effective vaccines.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, , 1540-9538, , 2019

PMID:31175140

Open Access

Heterochronic faecal transplantation boosts gut germinal centres in aged mice.
Stebegg M, Silva-Cayetano A, Innocentin S, Jenkins TP, Cantacessi C, Gilbert C, Linterman MA

Ageing is a complex multifactorial process associated with a plethora of disorders, which contribute significantly to morbidity worldwide. One of the organs significantly affected by age is the gut. Age-dependent changes of the gut-associated microbiome have been linked to increased frailty and systemic inflammation. This change in microbial composition with age occurs in parallel with a decline in function of the gut immune system; however, it is not clear whether there is a causal link between the two. Here we report that the defective germinal centre reaction in Peyer's patches of aged mice can be rescued by faecal transfers from younger adults into aged mice and by immunisations with cholera toxin, without affecting germinal centre reactions in peripheral lymph nodes. This demonstrates that the poor germinal centre reaction in aged animals is not irreversible, and that it is possible to improve this response in older individuals by providing appropriate stimuli.

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Nature communications, 10, 2041-1723, , 2019

PMID:31164642

Open Access

FcγRIIb differentially regulates pre-immune and germinal center B cell tolerance in mouse and human.
Espéli M, Bashford-Rogers R, Sowerby JM, Alouche N, Wong L, Denton AE, Linterman MA, Smith KGC

Several tolerance checkpoints exist throughout B cell development to control autoreactive B cells and prevent the generation of pathogenic autoantibodies. FcγRIIb is an Fc receptor that inhibits B cell activation and, if defective, is associated with autoimmune disease, yet its impact on specific B cell tolerance checkpoints is unknown. Here we show that reduced expression of FcγRIIb enhances the deletion and anergy of autoreactive immature B cells, but in contrast promotes autoreactive B cell expansion in the germinal center and serum autoantibody production, even in response to exogenous, non-self antigens. Our data thus show that FcγRIIb has opposing effects on pre-immune and post-immune tolerance checkpoints, and suggest that B cell tolerance requires the control of bystander germinal center B cells with low or no affinity for the immunizing antigen.

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Nature communications, 10, 2041-1723, , 2019

PMID:31036800

Relative Frequencies of Alloantigen-Specific Helper CD4 T Cells and B Cells Determine Mode of Antibody-Mediated Allograft Rejection.
Alsughayyir J, Chhabra M, Qureshi MS, Mallik M, Ali JM, Gamper I, Moseley EL, Peacock S, Kosmoliaptsis V, Goddard MJ, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

Humoral alloimmunity is now recognized as a major determinant of transplant outcome. MHC glycoprotein is considered a typical T-dependent antigen, but the nature of the T cell alloresponse that underpins alloantibody generation remains poorly understood. Here, we examine how the relative frequencies of alloantigen-specific B cells and helper CD4 T cells influence the humoral alloimmune response and how this relates to antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). An MHC-mismatched murine model of cardiac AMR was developed, in which T cell help for alloantibody responses in T cell deficient () C57BL/6 recipients against donor H-2K MHC class I alloantigen was provided by adoptively transferred "TCR75" CD4 T cells that recognize processed H-2K allopeptide via the indirect-pathway. Transfer of large numbers (5 × 10) of TCR75 CD4 T cells was associated with rapid development of robust class-switched anti-H-2K humoral alloimmunity and BALB/c heart grafts were rejected promptly (MST 9 days). Grafts were not rejected in T and B cell deficient recipients that were reconstituted with TCR75 CD4 T cells or in control (non-reconstituted) recipients, suggesting that the transferred TCR75 CD4 T cells were mediating graft rejection principally by providing help for effector alloantibody responses. In support, acutely rejecting BALB/c heart grafts exhibited hallmark features of acute AMR, with widespread complement C4d deposition, whereas cellular rejection was not evident. In addition, passive transfer of immune serum from rejecting mice to recipients resulted in eventual BALB/c heart allograft rejection (MST 20 days). Despite being long-lived, the alloantibody responses observed at rejection of the BALB/c heart grafts were predominantly generated by extrafollicular foci: splenic germinal center (GC) activity had not yet developed; IgG secreting cells were confined to the splenic red pulp and bridging channels; and, most convincingly, rapid graft rejection still occurred when recipients were reconstituted with similar numbers of TCR75 CD4 T cells that are genetically incapable of providing T follicular helper cell function for generating GC alloimmunity. Similarly, alloantibody responses generated in recipients reconstituted with smaller number of wild-type TCR75 CD4 T cells (10), although long-lasting, did not have a discernible extrafollicular component, and grafts were rejected much more slowly (MST 50 days). By modeling antibody responses to Hen Egg Lysozyme protein, we confirm that a high ratio of antigen-specific helper T cells to B cells favors development of the extrafollicular response, whereas GC activity is favored by a relatively high ratio of B cells. In summary, a relative abundance of helper CD4 T cells favors development of strong extrafollicular alloantibody responses that mediate acute humoral rejection, without requirement for GC activity. This work is composed of two parts, of which this is Part I. Please read also Part II: Chhabra et al., 2019.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, , 2018

PMID:30740108

Open Access

Germinal Center Alloantibody Responses Mediate Progression of Chronic Allograft Injury.
Chhabra M, Alsughayyir J, Qureshi MS, Mallik M, Ali JM, Gamper I, Moseley EL, Peacock S, Kosmoliaptsis V, Goddard MJ, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

Different profiles of alloantibody responses are observed in the clinic, with those that persist, often despite targeted treatment, associated with poorer long-term transplant outcomes. Although such responses would suggest an underlying germinal center (GC) response, the relationship to cellular events within the allospecific B cell population is unclear. Here we examine the contribution of germinal center (GC) humoral alloimmunity to chronic antibody mediated rejection (AMR). A murine model of chronic AMR was developed in which T cell deficient () C57BL/6 recipients were challenged with MHC-mismatched BALB/c heart allografts and T cell help provided by reconstituting with 10 "TCR75" CD4 T cells that recognize self-restricted allopeptide derived from the H-2K MHC class I alloantigen. Reconstituted recipients developed Ig-switched anti-K alloantibody responses that were slow to develop, but long-lived, with confocal immunofluorescence and flow cytometric characterization of responding H-2K-allospecific B cells confirming persistent splenic GC activity. This was associated with T follicular helper (T) cell differentiation of the transferred TCR75 CD4 T cells. Heart grafts developed progressive allograft vasculopathy, and were rejected chronically (MST 50 days), with explanted allografts displaying features of humoral vascular rejection. Critically, late alloantibody responses were abolished, and heart grafts survived indefinitely, in recipients reconstituted with TCR75 CD4 T cells that were genetically incapable of providing T cell function. The GC response was associated with affinity maturation of the anti-K alloantibody response, and its contribution to progression of allograft vasculopathy related principally to secretion of alloantibody, rather than to enhanced alloreactive T cell priming, because grafts survived long-term when B cells could present alloantigen, but not secrete alloantibody. Similarly, sera sampled at late time points from chronically-rejecting recipients induced more vigorous donor endothelial responses than sera sampled earlier after transplantation. In summary, our results suggest that chronic AMR and progression of allograft vasculopathy is dependent upon allospecific GC activity, with critical help provided by T cells. Clinical strategies that target the T cell subset may hold therapeutic potential. This work is composed of two parts, of which this is Part II. Please read also Part I: Alsughayyir et al., 2019.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, , 2018

PMID:30728823

Open Access

Type I interferon induces CXCL13 to support ectopic germinal center formation.
Denton AE, Innocentin S, Carr EJ, Bradford BM, Lafouresse F, Mabbott NA, Mörbe U, Ludewig B, Groom JR, Good-Jacobson KL, Linterman MA

Ectopic lymphoid structures form in a wide range of inflammatory conditions, including infection, autoimmune disease, and cancer. In the context of infection, this response can be beneficial for the host: influenza A virus infection-induced pulmonary ectopic germinal centers give rise to more broadly cross-reactive antibody responses, thereby generating cross-strain protection. However, despite the ubiquity of ectopic lymphoid structures and their role in both health and disease, little is known about the mechanisms by which inflammation is able to convert a peripheral tissue into one that resembles a secondary lymphoid organ. Here, we show that type I IFN produced after viral infection can induce CXCL13 expression in a phenotypically distinct population of lung fibroblasts, driving CXCR5-dependent recruitment of B cells and initiating ectopic germinal center formation. This identifies type I IFN as a novel inducer of CXCL13, which, in combination with other stimuli, can promote lung remodeling, converting a nonlymphoid tissue into one permissive to functional tertiary lymphoid structure formation.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, , 1540-9538, , 2019

PMID:30723095

Open Access

Data regarding transplant induced germinal center humoral autoimmunity.
Qureshi MS, Alsughayyir J, Chhabra M, Ali JM, Goddard MJ, Devine C, Conlon TM, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

This data is related to the research article entitled "Germinal center humoral autoimmunity independently mediates progression of allograft vasculopathy" (Harper et al., 2016) [2]. The data presented here focuses on the humoral autoimmune response triggered by transferred allogeneic CD4 T cells and includes details on: (a) the recipient splenic germinal center (GC) response; (b) augmentation of humoral autoimmunity and accelerated heart allograft rejection following transplantation from donors primed against recipient; (c) flow cytometric analysis of donor and recipient CD4 T cells for signature markers of T follicular helper cell differentiation; (d) donor endothelial cell migration in response to column purified autoantibody from recipient sera; (e) analysis of development of humoral responses in recipients following adoptive transfer of donor CD4 T cells and; (f) the development of humoral autoimmunity in mixed haematopoietic chimeric mice.

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Data in brief, 22, 2352-3409, , 2019

PMID:30671513

Open Access

Germinal center humoral autoimmunity independently mediates progression of allograft vasculopathy.
Qureshi MS, Alsughayyir J, Chhabra M, Ali JM, Goddard MJ, Devine C, Conlon TM, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

The development of humoral autoimmunity following organ transplantation is increasingly recognised, but of uncertain significance. We examine whether autoimmunity contributes independently to allograft rejection. In a MHC class II-mismatched murine model of chronic humoral rejection, we report that effector antinuclear autoantibody responses were initiated upon graft-versus-host allorecognition of recipient B cells by donor CD4 T-cells transferred within heart allografts. Consequently, grafts were rejected more rapidly, and with markedly augmented autoantibody responses, upon transplantation of hearts from donors previously primed against recipient. Nevertheless, rejection was dependent upon recipient T follicular helper (T) cell differentiation and provision of cognate (peptide-specific) help for maintenance as long-lived GC reactions, which diversified to encompass responses against vimentin autoantigen. Heart grafts transplanted into stable donor/recipient mixed haematopoietic chimeras, or from parental strain donors into F1 recipients (neither of which can trigger host adaptive alloimmune responses), nevertheless provoked GC autoimmunity and were rejected chronically, with rejection similarly dependent upon host T cell differentiation. Thus, autoantibody responses contribute independently of host adaptive alloimmunity to graft rejection, but require host T cell differentiation to maintain long-lived GC responses. The demonstration that one population of helper CD4 T-cells initiates humoral autoimmunity, but that a second population of T cells is required for its maintenance as a GC reaction, has important implications for how autoimmune-related phenomena manifest.

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Journal of autoimmunity, , 1095-9157, , 2018

PMID:30528910

Regulation of the Germinal Center Response.
Stebegg M, Kumar SD, Silva-Cayetano A, Fonseca VR, Linterman MA, Graca L

The germinal center (GC) is a specialized microstructure that forms in secondary lymphoid tissues, producing long-lived antibody secreting plasma cells and memory B cells, which can provide protection against reinfection. Within the GC, B cells undergo somatic mutation of the genes encoding their B cell receptors which, following successful selection, can lead to the emergence of B cell clones that bind antigen with high affinity. However, this mutation process can also be dangerous, as it can create autoreactive clones that can cause autoimmunity. Because of this, regulation of GC reactions is critical to ensure high affinity antibody production and to enforce self-tolerance by avoiding emergence of autoreactive B cell clones. A productive GC response requires the collaboration of multiple cell types. The stromal cell network orchestrates GC cell dynamics by controlling antigen delivery and cell trafficking. T follicular helper (Tfh) cells provide specialized help to GC B cells through cognate T-B cell interactions while Foxp3 T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells are key mediators of GC regulation. However, regulation of GC responses is not a simple outcome of Tfh/Tfr balance, but also involves the contribution of other cell types to modulate the GC microenvironment and to avoid autoimmunity. Thus, the regulation of the GC is complex, and occurs at multiple levels. In this review we outline recent developments in the biology of cell subsets involved in the regulation of GC reactions, in both secondary lymphoid tissues, and Peyer's patches (PPs). We discuss the mechanisms which enable the generation of potent protective humoral immunity whilst GC-derived autoimmunity is avoided.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, , 2018

PMID:30410492

Open Access

Mice Deficient in Nucleoporin Nup210 Develop Peripheral T Cell Alterations.
van Nieuwenhuijze A, Burton O, Lemaitre P, Denton AE, Cascalho A, Goodchild RE, Malengier-Devlies B, Cauwe B, Linterman MA, Humblet-Baron S, Liston A

The nucleopore is an essential structure of the eukaryotic cell, regulating passage between the nucleus and cytoplasm. While individual functions of core nucleopore proteins have been identified, the role of other components, such as Nup210, are poorly defined. Here, through the use of an unbiased ENU mutagenesis screen for mutations effecting the peripheral T cell compartment, we identified a Nup210 mutation in a mouse strain with altered CD4/CD8 T cell ratios. Through the generation of Nup210 knockout mice we identified Nup210 as having a T cell-intrinsic function in the peripheral homeostasis of T cells. Remarkably, despite the deep evolutionary conservation of this key nucleopore complex member, no other major phenotypes developed, with viable and healthy knockout mice. These results identify Nup210 as an important nucleopore complex component for peripheral T cells, and raise further questions of why this nucleopore component shows deep evolutionary conservation despite seemingly redundant functions in most cell types.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, , 2018

PMID:30323813

Open Access

Genetic regulation of antibody responsiveness to immunization in substrains of BALB/c mice.
Poyntz HC, Jones A, Jauregui R, Young W, Gestin A, Mooney A, Lamiable O, Altermann E, Schmidt A, Gasser O, Weyrich L, Jolly CJ, Linterman MA, Le Gros G, Hawkins ED, Forbes-Blom E

Antibody-mediated immunity is highly protective against disease. The majority of current vaccines confer protection through humoral immunity, but there is high variability in responsiveness across populations. Identifying immune mechanisms that mediate low antibody responsiveness may provide potential strategies to boost vaccine efficacy. Here, we report diverse antibody responsiveness to unadjuvanted as well as adjuvanted immunization in substrains of BALB/c mice, resulting in high and low antibody response phenotypes. Furthermore, these antibody phenotypes were not affected by changes in environmental factors such as the gut microbiota composition. Antigen-specific B cells following immunization had a marked difference in capability to class-switch, resulting in perturbed IgG isotype antibody production. In vitro, a B cell intrinsic defect in the regulation of class-switch recombination was identified in mice with low IgG antibody production. Whole genome sequencing identified polymorphisms associated with the magnitude of antibody produced, and we propose candidate genes that may regulate isotype class-switching capability. This study highlights that mice sourced from different vendors can have significantly altered humoral immune response profiles, and provides a resource to interrogate genetic regulators of antibody responsiveness. Together these results further our understanding of immune heterogeneity and suggest additional research on the genetic influences of adjuvanted vaccine strategies is warranted for enhancing vaccine efficacy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Immunology and cell biology, , 1440-1711, , 2018

PMID:30152893

The Calcineurin Inhibitor Tacrolimus Specifically Suppresses Human T Follicular Helper Cells.
Wallin EF, Hill DL, Linterman MA, Wood KJ

T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are key players in the production of antibody-producing B cells the germinal center reaction. Therapeutic strategies targeting Tfh cells are important where antibody formation is implicated in disease, such as transplant rejection and autoimmune diseases. We investigated the impact of the immunosuppressive agent tacrolimus on human Tfh cell differentiation and function in transplant recipients.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, , 2018

PMID:29904381

Open Access

TFR cells trump autoimmune antibody responses to limit sedition.
Linterman MA, Toellner KM

Nature immunology, 18, 1529-2916, , 2017

PMID:29044242

Human blood Tfr cells are indicators of ongoing humoral activity not fully licensed with suppressive function.
Fonseca VR, Agua-Doce A, Maceiras AR, Pierson W, Ribeiro F, Romão VC, Pires AR, da Silva SL, Fonseca JE, Sousa AE, Linterman MA, Graca L

Germinal center (GC) responses are controlled by T follicular helper (Tfh) and T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells and are crucial for the generation of high-affinity antibodies. Although the biology of human circulating and tissue Tfh cells has been established, the relationship between blood and tissue Tfr cells defined as CXCR5(+)Foxp3(+) T cells remains elusive. We found that blood Tfr cells are increased in Sjögren syndrome, an autoimmune disease with ongoing GC reactions, especially in patients with high autoantibody titers, as well as in healthy individuals upon influenza vaccination. Although blood Tfr cells correlated with humoral responses, they lack full B cell-suppressive capacity, despite being able to suppress T cell proliferation. Blood Tfr cells have a naïve-like phenotype, although they are absent from human thymus or cord blood. We found that these cells were generated in peripheral lymphoid tissues before T-B interaction, as they are maintained in B cell-deficient patients. Therefore, blood CXCR5(+)Foxp3(+) T cells in human pathology indicate ongoing humoral activity but are not fully competent circulating Tfr cells.

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Science immunology, 2, 2470-9468, , 2017

PMID:28802258

Signals that drive T follicular helper cell formation.
Webb LMC, Linterman MA

T follicular helper (TFH) cells are a distinct type of CD4+ T cell specialized in providing help to B cells during the germinal center (GC) reaction. As such, they are critical determinants of the quality of an antibody response following antigen challenge. Excessive production of TFH cells can result in autoimmunity whilst too few can result in inadequate protection from infection. Hence, their differentiation and maintenance must be tightly regulated to ensure appropriate, but limited, help to B cells. Unlike the majority of other CD4+ T cell subsets, TFH cell differentiation occurs in three phases defined by their anatomical location. During each phase of differentiation the emerging TFH cells express distinct patterns of coreceptors which work together with the T cell receptor (TCR) to drive TFH differentiation. These signals provided by both TCR and coreceptors during TFH differentiation alter proliferation, survival, metabolism, cytokine production and transcription factor expression. This review will discuss how engagement of TCR and coreceptors work together to shape the formation and function of TFH cells. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Immunology, , 1365-2567, , 2017

PMID:28628194

Identifying Follicular Regulatory T Cells by Confocal Microscopy.
Vanderleyden I, Linterman MA

Follicular regulatory T cells are a subset of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells that migrate into the B cell follicle after infection or immunization and modulate the germinal center response. The anatomical positioning of follicular regulatory T cells within the germinal center is a defining characteristic of this subset of regulatory T cells; because of this, it is critical that studies of follicular regulatory T cells are able to identify them in situ. In this chapter we describe an immunofluorescence staining method to visualize follicular regulatory T cells in frozen secondary lymphoid tissue sections by confocal imaging.

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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1623, 1940-6029, , 2017

PMID:28589349

No Functional Role for microRNA-342 in a Mouse Model of Pancreatic Acinar Carcinoma.
Dooley J, Lagou V, Pasciuto E, Linterman MA, Prosser HM, Himmelreich U, Liston A

The intronic microRNA (miR)-342 has been proposed as a potent tumor-suppressor gene. miR-342 is found to be downregulated or epigenetically silenced in multiple different tumor sites, and this loss of expression permits the upregulation of several key oncogenic pathways. In several different cell lines, lower miR-342 expression results in enhanced proliferation and metastasis potential, both in vitro and in xenogenic transplant conditions. Here, we sought to determine the function of miR-342 in an in vivo spontaneous cancer model, using the Ela1-TAg transgenic model of pancreatic acinar carcinoma. Through longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging monitoring of Ela1-TAg transgenic mice, either wild-type or knockout for miR-342, we found no role for miR-342 in the development, growth rate, or pathogenicity of pancreatic acinar carcinoma. These results indicate the importance of assessing miR function in the complex physiology of in vivo model systems and indicate that further functional testing of miR-342 is required before concluding it is a bona fide tumor-suppressor-miR.

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Frontiers in oncology, 7, , , 2017

PMID:28573106

Open Access

Escherichia coli Heat-Labile Enterotoxin B Limits T Cells Activation by Promoting Immature Dendritic Cells and Enhancing Regulatory T Cell Function.
Bignon A, Watt AP, Linterman MA

Treatments to limit T cell activation are essential for managing autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The B subunit of Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (EtxB) is known to ameliorate inflammatory disease in vivo but the mechanism by which this is mediated is not well understood. Here, we show that following intranasal administration, EtxB acts on two key cellular regulators of T cell activation: regulatory T cells and dendritic cells (DCs). EtxB enhances the proliferation of lung regulatory T cells and doubles their suppressive function, likely through an increase in expression of the Treg effector molecule CTLA-4. EtxB supports the generation of interleukin-10-producing DCs that are unable to activate T cells. These data show, for the first time, that mucosal EtxB treatment limits T cells activation by acting jointly on two distinct types of immune cells.

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Frontiers in immunology, 8, , , 2017

PMID:28555139

Open Access

BACH2 immunodeficiency illustrates an association between super-enhancers and haploinsufficiency.
Afzali B, Grönholm J, Vandrovcova J, O'Brien C, Sun HW, Vanderleyden I, Davis FP, Khoder A, Zhang Y, Hegazy AN, Villarino AV, Palmer IW, Kaufman J, Watts NR, Kazemian M, Kamenyeva O, Keith J, Sayed A, Kasperaviciute D, Mueller M, Hughes JD, Fuss IJ, Sadiyah MF, Montgomery-Recht K, McElwee J, Restifo NP, Strober W, Linterman MA, Wingfield PT, Uhlig HH, Roychoudhuri R, Aitman TJ, Kelleher P, Lenardo MJ, O'Shea JJ, Cooper N, Laurence ADJ

The transcriptional programs that guide lymphocyte differentiation depend on the precise expression and timing of transcription factors (TFs). The TF BACH2 is essential for T and B lymphocytes and is associated with an archetypal super-enhancer (SE). Single-nucleotide variants in the BACH2 locus are associated with several autoimmune diseases, but BACH2 mutations that cause Mendelian monogenic primary immunodeficiency have not previously been identified. Here we describe a syndrome of BACH2-related immunodeficiency and autoimmunity (BRIDA) that results from BACH2 haploinsufficiency. Affected subjects had lymphocyte-maturation defects that caused immunoglobulin deficiency and intestinal inflammation. The mutations disrupted protein stability by interfering with homodimerization or by causing aggregation. We observed analogous lymphocyte defects in Bach2-heterozygous mice. More generally, we observed that genes that cause monogenic haploinsufficient diseases were substantially enriched for TFs and SE architecture. These findings reveal a previously unrecognized feature of SE architecture in Mendelian diseases of immunity: heterozygous mutations in SE-regulated genes identified by whole-exome/genome sequencing may have greater significance than previously recognized.

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Nature immunology, , 1529-2916, , 2017

PMID:28530713

Stromal networking: cellular connections in the germinal centre.
Denton AE, Linterman MA

Secondary lymphoid organs are organized into distinct zones, governed by different types of mesenchymal stromal cells. These stromal cell subsets are critical for the generation of protective humoral immunity because they direct the migration of, and interaction between, multiple immune cell types to form the germinal centre. The germinal centre response generates long-lived antibody-secreting plasma cells and memory B cells which can provide long-term protection against re-infection. Stromal cell subsets mediate this response through control of immune cell trafficking, activation, localization and antigen access within the secondary lymphoid organ. Further, distinct populations of stromal cells underpin the delicate spatial organization of immune cells within the germinal centre. Because of this, the interactions between immune cells and stromal cells in secondary lymphoid organs are fundamental to the germinal centre response. Herein we review how this unique relationship leads to effective germinal centre responses.

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Current opinion in immunology, 45, 1879-0372, , 2017

PMID:28319729

Defective germinal center B-cell response and reduced arthritic pathology in microRNA-29a-deficient mice.
van Nieuwenhuijze A, Dooley J, Humblet-Baron S, Sreenivasan J, Koenders M, Schlenner SM, Linterman M, Liston A

MicroRNA (miR) are short non-coding RNA sequences of 19-24 nucleotides that regulate gene expression by binding to mRNA target sequences. The miR-29 family of miR (miR-29a, b-1, b-2 and c) is a key player in T-cell differentiation and effector function, with deficiency causing thymic involution and a more inflammatory T-cell profile. However, the relative roles of different miR-29 family members in these processes have not been dissected. We studied the immunological role of the individual members of the miR-29 family using mice deficient for miR-29a/b-1 or miR-29b-2/c in homeostasis and during collagen-induced arthritis. We found a definitive hierarchy of immunological function, with the strong phenotype of miR-29a-deficiency in thymic involution and T-cell activation being reduced or absent in miR-29c-deficient mice. Strikingly, despite elevating the Th1 and Th17 responses, loss of miR-29a conferred near-complete protection from collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), with profound defects in B-cell proliferation and antibody production. Our results identify the hierarchical structure of the miR-29 family in T-cell biology, and identify miR-29a in B cells as a potential therapeutic target in arthritis.

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Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS, , 1420-9071, , 2017

PMID:28124096

Shaping Variation in the Human Immune System.
Liston A, Carr EJ, Linterman MA

Immune responses demonstrate a high level of intra-species variation, compensating for the specialization capacity of pathogens. The recent advent of in-depth immune phenotyping projects in large-scale cohorts has allowed a first look into the factors that shape the inter-individual diversity of the human immune system. Genetic approaches have identified genetic diversity as drivers of 20-40% of the variation between the immune systems of individuals. The remaining 60-80% is shaped by intrinsic factors, with age being the predominant factor, as well as by environmental influences, where cohabitation and chronic viral infections were identified as key mediators. We review and integrate the recent in-depth large-scale studies on human immune diversity and its potential impact on health. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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Trends in immunology, , 1471-4981, , 2016

PMID:27693120

Shaping Variation in the Human Immune System.
Liston A, Carr EJ, Linterman MA

Immune responses demonstrate a high level of intra-species variation, compensating for the specialization capacity of pathogens. The recent advent of in-depth immune phenotyping projects in large-scale cohorts has allowed a first look into the factors that shape the inter-individual diversity of the human immune system. Genetic approaches have identified genetic diversity as drivers of 20-40% of the variation between the immune systems of individuals. The remaining 60-80% is shaped by intrinsic factors, with age being the predominant factor, as well as by environmental influences, where cohabitation and chronic viral infections were identified as key mediators. We review and integrate the recent in-depth large-scale studies on human immune diversity and its potential impact on health. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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Trends in immunology, 37, 1471-4981, , 2016

PMID:27692231

Genetic predisposition for beta cell fragility underlies type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Dooley J, Tian L, Schonefeldt S, Delghingaro-Augusto V, Garcia-Perez JE, Pasciuto E, Di Marino D, Carr EJ, Oskolkov N, Lyssenko V, Franckaert D, Lagou V, Overbergh L, Vandenbussche J, Allemeersch J, Chabot-Roy G, Dahlstrom JE, Laybutt DR, Petrovsky N, Socha L, Gevaert K, Jetten AM, Lambrechts D, Linterman MA, Goodnow CC, Nolan CJ, Lesage S, Schlenner SM, Liston A

Type 1 (T1D) and type 2 (T2D) diabetes share pathophysiological characteristics, yet mechanistic links have remained elusive. T1D results from autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, whereas beta cell failure in T2D is delayed and progressive. Here we find a new genetic component of diabetes susceptibility in T1D non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, identifying immune-independent beta cell fragility. Genetic variation in Xrcc4 and Glis3 alters the response of NOD beta cells to unfolded protein stress, enhancing the apoptotic and senescent fates. The same transcriptional relationships were observed in human islets, demonstrating the role of beta cell fragility in genetic predisposition to diabetes.

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Nature genetics, 48, 1546-1718, , 2016

PMID:26998692

Open Access

Can follicular helper T cells be targeted to improve vaccine efficacy?
Linterman MA, Hill DL

The success of most vaccines relies on the generation of antibodies to provide protection against subsequent infection; this in turn depends on a robust germinal centre (GC) response that culminates in the production of long-lived antibody-secreting plasma cells. The size and quality of the GC response are directed by a specialised subset of CD4 (+) T cells: T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. Tfh cells provide growth and differentiation signals to GC B cells and mediate positive selection of high-affinity B cell clones in the GC, thereby determining which B cells exit the GC as plasma cells and memory B cells. Because of their central role in the production of long-lasting humoral immunity, Tfh cells represent an interesting target for rational vaccine design.

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F1000Research, 5, 2046-1402, , 2016

PMID:26989476

Open Access

Follicular Helper T Cells.
Vinuesa CG, Linterman MA, Yu D, MacLennan IC

Although T cell help for B cells was described several decades ago, it was the identification of CXCR5 expression by B follicular helper T (Tfh) cells and the subsequent discovery of their dependence on BCL6, that led to the recognition of Tfh cells as an independent helper subset and accelerated the pace of discovery. More than 20 transcription factors, together with RNAbinding proteins and microRNAs, control the expression of chemotactic receptors and molecules important for the function and homeostasis of Tfh cells. Tfh cells prime B cells to initiate extrafollicular and germinal center antibody responses and are crucial for affinity maturation and maintenance of humoral memory. In addition to the roles that Tfh cells have in antimicrobial defense, cancer, and as HIV reservoirs, regulation of these cells is critical to prevent autoimmunity. The realization that follicular T cells are heterogeneous, comprising helper and regulatory subsets, has raised questions regarding a possible division of labor in germinal center B cell selection and elimination. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Immunology Volume 34 is May 20, 2016. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.

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Annual review of immunology, , 1545-3278, , 2016

PMID:26907215

The cellular composition of the human immune system is shaped by age and cohabitation.
Carr EJ, Dooley J, Garcia-Perez JE, Lagou V, Lee JC, Wouters C, Meyts I, Goris A, Boeckxstaens G, Linterman MA, Liston A

Detailed population-level description of the human immune system has recently become achievable. We used a 'systems-level' approach to establish a resource of cellular immune profiles of 670 healthy individuals. We report a high level of interindividual variation, with low longitudinal variation, at the level of cellular subset composition of the immune system. Despite the profound effects of antigen exposure on individual antigen-specific clones, the cellular subset structure proved highly elastic, with transient vaccination-induced changes followed by a return to the individual's unique baseline. Notably, the largest influence on immunological variation identified was cohabitation, with 50% less immunological variation between individuals who share an environment (as parents) than between people in the wider population. These results identify local environmental conditions as a key factor in shaping the human immune system.

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Nature immunology, , 1529-2916, , 2016

PMID:26878114

Open Access

Follicular regulatory T cells can be specific for the immunizing antigen and derive from naive T cells.
Aloulou M, Carr EJ, Gador M, Bignon A, Liblau RS, Fazilleau N, Linterman MA

T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells are a subset of Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells that form in response to immunization or infection, which localize to the germinal centre where they control the magnitude of the response. Despite an increased interest in the role of Tfr cells in humoral immunity, many fundamental aspects of their biology remain unknown, including whether they recognize self- or foreign antigen. Here we show that Tfr cells can be specific for the immunizing antigen, irrespective of whether it is a self- or foreign antigen. We show that, in addition to developing from thymic derived Treg cells, Tfr cells can also arise from Foxp3(-) precursors in a PD-L1-dependent manner, if the adjuvant used is one that supports T-cell plasticity. These findings have important implications for Tfr cell biology and for improving vaccine efficacy by formulating vaccines that modify the Tfr:Tfh cell ratio.

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Nature communications, 7, 2041-1723, , 2016

PMID:26818004

Open Access

Premature thymic involution is independent of structural plasticity of the thymic stroma.
Franckaert D, Schlenner SM, Heirman N, Gill J, Skogberg G, Ekwall O, Put K, Linterman MA, Dooley J, Liston A

The thymus is the organ devoted to T-cell production. The thymus undergoes multiple rounds of atrophy and redevelopment before degenerating with age in a process known as involution. This process is poorly understood, despite the influence the phenomenon has on peripheral T-cell numbers. Here we have investigated the FVB/N mouse strain, which displays premature thymic involution. We find multiple architectural and cellular features that precede thymic involution, including disruption of the epithelial-endothelial relationship and a progressive loss of pro-T cells. The architectural features, reminiscent of the human thymus, are intrinsic to the non-hematopoietic compartment and are neither necessary nor sufficient for thymic involution. By contrast, the loss of pro-T cells is intrinsic to the hematopoietic compartment, and is sufficient to drive premature involution. These results identify pro-T-cell loss as the main driver of premature thymic involution, and highlight the plasticity of the thymic stroma, capable of maintaining function across diverse inter-strain architectures. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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European journal of immunology, , 1521-4141, , 2015

PMID:25627671

Open Access

Regulatory T cells and control of the germinal centre response.
Vanderleyden I, Linterman MA, Smith KG

Germinal centres (GCs) are specialised lymphoid microenvironments that form in secondary B-cell follicles upon exposure to T-dependent antigens. In the GC, clonal expansion, selection and differentiation of GC B cells result in the production of high-affinity plasma cells and memory B cells that provide protection against subsequent infection. The GC is carefully regulated to fulfil its critical role in defence against infection and to ensure that immunological tolerance is not broken in the process. The GC response can be controlled by a number of mechanisms, one of which is by forkhead box p3 expressing regulatory T (Treg) cells, a suppressive population of CD4+ T cells. A specialised subset of Treg cells - follicular regulatory T (Tfr) cells - form after immunisation and are able to access the GC, where they control the size and output of the response. Our knowledge of Treg cell control of the GC is expanding. In this review we will discuss recent advances in the field, with a particular emphasis on the differentiation and function of Tfr cells in the GC.

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Arthritis research & therapy, 16, 1478-6362, , 2014

PMID:25606598

Open Access

Promiscuous Foxp3-cre activity reveals a differential requirement for CD28 in Foxp3(+) and Foxp3(-) T cells.
Franckaert D, Dooley J, Roos E, Floess S, Huehn J, Luche H, Fehling HJ, Liston A, Linterman MA, Schlenner SM

Costimulatory signals by CD28 are critical for thymic regulatory T-cell (Treg) development. To determine the functional relevance of CD28 for peripheral Treg post thymic selection, we crossed the widely used Forkhead box protein 3 (Foxp3)-CreYFP mice to mice bearing a conditional Cd28 allele. Treg-specific CD28 deficiency provoked a severe autoimmune syndrome as a result of a strong disadvantage in competitive fitness and proliferation of CD28-deficient Tregs. By contrast, Treg survival and lineage integrity were not affected by the lack of CD28. This data demonstrate that, even after the initial induction requirement, Treg maintain a higher dependency on CD28 signalling than conventional T cells for homeostasis. In addition, we found the Foxp3-CreYFP allele to be a hypomorph, with reduced Foxp3 protein levels. Furthermore, we report here the stochastic activity of the Foxp3-CreYFP allele in non-Tregs, sufficient to recombine some conditional alleles (including Cd28) but not others (including R26-RFP). This hypomorphism and 'leaky' expression of the Foxp3-CreYFP allele should be considered when analysing the conditionally mutated Treg.Immunology and Cell Biology advance online publication, 23 December 2014; doi:10.1038/icb.2014.108.

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Immunology and cell biology, , 1440-1711, , 2014

PMID:25533288

Open Access

Treg cells and CTLA-4: the ball and chain of the germinal center response.
Linterman MA, Denton AE

The mechanism by which regulatory T cells control the germinal center response is unknown. In this issue of Immunity, Wing et al. (2014) and Sage et al. (2014) demonstrate that CTLA-4 is a critical effector molecule used by regulatory T cells to control the germinal center.

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Immunity, 41, 1097-4180, , 2014

PMID:25526300

CD28 expression is required after T cell priming for helper T cell responses and protective immunity to infection.
Linterman MA,Denton AE,Divekar DP,Zvetkova I,Kane L,Ferreira C,Veldhoen M,Clare S,Dougan G,Espeli M,Smith KG

The co-stimulatory molecule CD28 is essential for activation of helper T cells. Despite this critical role, it is not known whether CD28 has functions in maintaining T cell responses following activation. To determine the role for CD28 after T cell priming, we generated a strain of mice where CD28 is removed from CD4(+) T cells after priming. We show that continued CD28 expression is important for effector CD4(+) T cells following infection; maintained CD28 is required for the expansion of T helper type 1 cells, and for the differentiation and maintenance of T follicular helper cells during viral infection. Persistent CD28 is also required for clearance of the bacterium Citrobacter rodentium from the gastrointestinal tract. Together, this study demonstrates that CD28 persistence is required for helper T cell polarization in response to infection, describing a novel function for CD28 that is distinct from its role in T cell priming.

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eLife, 3, 2050-084X, , 2014

PMID:25347065

Open Access

Cellular Plasticity of CD4+ T Cells in the Intestine.
V Brucklacher-Waldert, EJ Carr, MA Linterman, M Veldhoen

Barrier sites such as the gastrointestinal tract are in constant contact with the environment, which contains both beneficial and harmful components. The immune system at the epithelia must make the distinction between these components to balance tolerance, protection, and immunopathology. This is achieved via multifaceted immune recognition, highly organized lymphoid structures, and the interaction of many types of immune cells. The adaptive immune response in the gut is orchestrated by CD4(+) helper T (Th) cells, which are integral to gut immunity. In recent years, it has become apparent that the functional identity of these Th cells is not as fixed as initially thought. Plasticity in differentiated T cell subsets has now been firmly established, in both health and disease. The gut, in particular, utilizes CD4(+) T cell plasticity to mold CD4(+) T cell phenotypes to maintain its finely poised balance of tolerance and inflammation and to encourage biodiversity within the enteric microbiome. In this review, we will discuss intestinal helper T cell plasticity and our current understanding of its mechanisms, including our growing knowledge of an evolutionarily ancient symbiosis between microbiota and malleable CD4(+) T cell effectors.

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Frontiers in immunology, 5, 1664-3224, , 2014

PMID:25339956

Open Access

Human T-follicular helper and T-follicular regulatory cell maintenance is independent of germinal centers.
Wallin EF, Jolly EC, Suchánek O, Bradley JA, Espéli M, Jayne DR, Linterman MA, Smith KG

The monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (RTX) depletes B cells in the treatment of lymphoma and autoimmune disease, and contributes to alloantibody reduction in transplantation across immunologic barriers. The effects of RTX on T cells are less well described. T-follicular helper (Tfh) cells provide growth and differentiation signals to germinal center (GC) B cells to support antibody production, and suppressive T-follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells regulate this response. In mice, both Tfh and Tfr are absolutely dependent on B cells for their formation and on the GC for their maintenance. In this study, we demonstrate that RTX treatment results in a lack of GC B cells in human lymph nodes without affecting the Tfh or Tfr cell populations. These data demonstrate that human Tfh and Tfr do not require an ongoing GC response for their maintenance. The persistence of Tfh and Tfr following RTX treatment may permit rapid reconstitution of the pathological GC response once the B-cell pool begins to recover. Strategies for maintaining remission after RTX therapy will need to take this persistence of Tfh into account.

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Blood, 124, 1528-0020, , 2014

PMID:25224411

Open Access

Fibroblastic reticular cells of the lymph node are required for retention of resting but not activated CD8+ T cells.
Denton AE, Roberts EW, Linterman MA, Fearon DT

Fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs), through their expression of CC chemokine ligand (CCL)19 and CCL21, attract and retain T cells in lymph nodes (LNs), but whether this function applies to both resting and activated T cells has not been examined. Here we describe a model for conditionally depleting FRCs from LNs based on their expression of the diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) directed by the gene encoding fibroblast activation protein-α (FAP). As expected, depleting FAP(+) FRCs causes the loss of naïve T cells, B cells, and dendritic cells from LNs, and this loss decreases the magnitude of the B- and T-cell responses to a subsequent infection with influenza A virus. In contrast, depleting FAP(+) FRCs during an ongoing influenza infection does not diminish the number or continued response of activated T and B cells in the draining LNs, despite still resulting in the loss of naïve T cells. Therefore, different rules govern the LN trafficking of resting and activated T cells; once a T cell is engaged in antigen-specific clonal expansion, its retention no longer depends on FRCs or their chemokines, CCL19 and CCL21. Our findings suggest that activated T cells remain in the LN because they down-regulate the expression of the sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor-1, which mediates the exit of lymphocytes from secondary lymphoid organs. Therefore, LN retention of naïve lymphocytes and the initiation of an immune response depend on FRCs, but is an FRC independent and possibly cell-autonomous response of activated T cells, which allows the magnitude of clonal expansion to determine LN egress.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 1091-6490, , 2014

PMID:25092322

Open Access

How T follicular helper cells and the germinal centre response change with age.
Linterman MA

Normal ageing is accompanied by a decline in the function of the immune system that causes an increased susceptibility to infections and an impaired response to vaccination in older individuals. This results in an increased disease burden in the aged population, even with good immunisation programmes in place. The decreased response to vaccination is partly due to the diminution of the germinal centre response with age, caused by impaired T-cell help to B cells. Within the germinal centre, T-cell help is provided by a specialised subset of CD4(+) T cells; T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. Tfh cells provide survival and selection signals to germinal centre B cells, allowing them to egress from the germinal centre and become long-live plasma cells or memory B cells, and provide life-long protection against subsequent infection. This review will discuss the cellular and molecular changes in both Tfh cells and germinal centre B cells that occur with advancing age, which result in a smaller germinal centre response and a less effective response to immunisation.

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Immunology and cell biology, 92, 1440-1711, , 2014

PMID:24217812

Human SNP links differential outcomes in inflammatory and infectious disease to a FOXO3-regulated pathway.
Lee JC, Espéli M, Anderson CA, Linterman MA, Pocock JM, Williams NJ, Roberts R, Viatte S, Fu B, Peshu N, Hien TT, Phu NH, Wesley E, Edwards C, Ahmad T, Mansfield JC, Gearry R, Dunstan S, Williams TN, Barton A, Vinuesa CG, , Parkes M, Lyons PA, Smith KG

The clinical course and eventual outcome, or prognosis, of complex diseases varies enormously between affected individuals. This variability critically determines the impact a disease has on a patient's life but is very poorly understood. Here, we exploit existing genome-wide association study data to gain insight into the role of genetics in prognosis. We identify a noncoding polymorphism in FOXO3A (rs12212067: T > G) at which the minor (G) allele, despite not being associated with disease susceptibility, is associated with a milder course of Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis and with increased risk of severe malaria. Minor allele carriage is shown to limit inflammatory responses in monocytes via a FOXO3-driven pathway, which through TGFβ1 reduces production of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNFα, and increases production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-10. Thus, we uncover a shared genetic contribution to prognosis in distinct diseases that operates via a FOXO3-driven pathway modulating inflammatory responses.

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Cell, 155, 1097-4172, , 2013

PMID:24035192

Open Access

MicroRNA regulation of T-cell development.
Dooley J, Linterman MA, Liston A

MicroRNAs are short, 19-24 nucleotide long, RNA molecules capable of regulating the longevity and, to a lesser extent, translation of messenger RNA (mRNA) species. The function of the microRNA network, and indeed, even that of individual microRNA species, can have profoundly different roles in even a single cell type as the microRNA/mRNA composition evolves. As the role of microRNA within T cells has come under increasing scrutiny, several distinct checkpoints have been demonstrated to have a particular reliance on microRNA regulation. MicroRNAs are arguably most important in T cells during the earliest and last stages in T-cell biology. The first stages of early thymic differentiation have a crucial reliance on the microRNA network, while later stages and peripheral homeostasis are largely, although not completely, microRNA-independent. The most profound effects on T cells are in the activation of effector and regulatory functions of conventional and regulatory T cells, where microRNA deficiency results in a near-complete loss of function. In this review, we focus on integrating the research on individual microRNA into a more global understanding of the function of the microRNA regulatory network in T cells.

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Immunological reviews, 253, 1600-065X, , 2013

PMID:23550638

T-follicular helper cell differentiation and the co-option of this pathway by non-helper cells.
Linterman MA, Liston A, Vinuesa CG

Human and mouse studies performed over the last decade have established that follicular helper T (Tfh) cells are a CD4(+) helper subset specialized in the provision of help to B cells. Tfh differentiation is driven by expression of the transcriptional repressor B-cell lymphoma-6 (Bcl-6), which turns on a program that guides T cells close to B-cell areas where Tfh cells first provide help to B cells. Sustained Bcl-6 expression promotes the entry of Tfh cells into follicles and modulates their cytokine expression profile so they can support and select germinal center B cells that have acquired affinity-enhancing mutations in their immunoglobulin genes. Forkhead box 3 protein (Foxp3)(+) regulatory T cells and invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells can also co-opt the Bcl-6-dependent follicular differentiation pathway to migrate into B-cell follicles and regulate antibody responses. The resulting NKT follicular helper cells drive a distinctive type of T-dependent B-cell response to lipid-containing antigens, whereas FoxP3(+) follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells exert a suppressive function on germinal centers. Elucidating how Tfr cells are functionally and numerically regulated and the factors that control the balance between Tfh and Tfr cells is likely to be critical for improved understanding of the pathogenesis and progression of autoimmunity and lymphomas of germinal center origin, and generation of effective vaccines.

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Immunological reviews, 247, 1600-065X, , 2012

PMID:22500838

The thymic epithelial microRNA network elevates the threshold for infection-associated thymic involution via miR-29a mediated suppression of the IFN-α receptor.
Papadopoulou AS, Dooley J, Linterman MA, Pierson W, Ucar O, Kyewski B, Zuklys S, Hollander GA, Matthys P, Gray DH, De Strooper B, Liston A

Thymic output is a dynamic process, with high activity at birth punctuated by transient periods of involution during infection. Interferon-α (IFN-α) is a critical molecular mediator of pathogen-induced thymic involution, yet despite the importance of thymic involution, relatively little is known about the molecular integrators that establish sensitivity. Here we found that the microRNA network dependent on the endoribonuclease Dicer, and specifically microRNA miR-29a, was critical for diminishing the sensitivity of the thymic epithelium to simulated infection signals, protecting the thymus against inappropriate involution. In the absence of Dicer or the miR-29a cluster in the thymic epithelium, expression of the IFN-α receptor by the thymic epithelium was higher, which allowed suboptimal signals to trigger rapid loss of thymic cellularity.

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Nature immunology, 13, 1529-2916, , 2012

PMID:22179202

Open Access

Foxp3+ follicular regulatory T cells control the germinal center response.
Linterman MA, Pierson W, Lee SK, Kallies A, Kawamoto S, Rayner TF, Srivastava M, Divekar DP, Beaton L, Hogan JJ, Fagarasan S, Liston A, Smith KG, Vinuesa CG

Follicular helper (T(FH)) cells provide crucial signals to germinal center B cells undergoing somatic hypermutation and selection that results in affinity maturation. Tight control of T(FH) numbers maintains self tolerance. We describe a population of Foxp3(+)Blimp-1(+)CD4(+) T cells constituting 10-25% of the CXCR5(high)PD-1(high)CD4(+) T cells found in the germinal center after immunization with protein antigens. These follicular regulatory T (T(FR)) cells share phenotypic characteristics with T(FH) and conventional Foxp3(+) regulatory T (T(reg)) cells yet are distinct from both. Similar to T(FH) cells, T(FR) cell development depends on Bcl-6, SLAM-associated protein (SAP), CD28 and B cells; however, T(FR) cells originate from thymic-derived Foxp3(+) precursors, not naive or T(FH) cells. T(FR) cells are suppressive in vitro and limit T(FH) cell and germinal center B cell numbers in vivo. In the absence of T(FR) cells, an outgrowth of non-antigen-specific B cells in germinal centers leads to fewer antigen-specific cells. Thus, the T(FH) differentiation pathway is co-opted by T(reg) cells to control the germinal center response.

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Nature medicine, 17, 1546-170X, , 2011

PMID:21785433

Open Access

T follicular helper cells during immunity and tolerance.
Linterman MA, Vinuesa CG

Helper T cells are required for the generation of a potent immune response to foreign antigens. Amongst them, T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are specialized in promoting protective, long-lived antibody responses that arise from germinal centers. Within these structures, the specificity of B cell receptors may change, due to the process of random somatic hypermutation aimed at increasing the overall affinity of the antibody response. The danger of emerging self-reactive specificities is offset by a stringent selection mechanism delegated in great part to Tfh cells. Only those B cells receiving survival signals from Tfh cells can exit the germinal centers to join the long-lived pools of memory B cells and bone marrow-homing plasma cells. Thus, a crucial immune tolerance checkpoint to prevent long-term autoantibody production lies in the ability to tolerize Tfh cells and to control positive and negative selection signals delivered by this subset. This review tackles the known mechanisms that ensure Tfh tolerance, many of them shared by other T helper subsets during thymic development and priming, but others unique to Tfh cells. Amongst the latter are checkpoints at the stages of Tfh differentiation, follicular migration, growth, longevity, and quality control of selection signals. Finally, we also discuss the consequences of a breakdown in Tfh tolerance.

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Progress in molecular biology and translational science, 92, 1877-1173, , 2010

PMID:20800823

T cells and follicular dendritic cells in germinal center B-cell formation and selection.
Vinuesa CG, Linterman MA, Goodnow CC, Randall KL

Germinal centers (GCs) are specialized microenvironments formed after infection where activated B cells can mutate their B-cell receptors to undergo affinity maturation. A stringent process of selection allows high affinity, non-self-reactive B cells to become long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells. While the precise mechanism of selection is still poorly understood, the last decade has advanced our understanding of the role of T cells and follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) in GC B-cell formation and selection. T cells and non-T-cell-derived CD40 ligands on FDCs are essential for T-dependent (TD) and T-independent GC formation, respectively. TD-GC formation requires Bcl-6-expressing T cells capable of signaling through SAP, which promotes formation of stable T:B conjugates. By contrast, differentiation of B blasts along the extrafollicular pathway is less dependent on SAP. T-follicular helper (Tfh) cell-derived CD40L, interleukin-21, and interleukin-4 play important roles in GC B-cell proliferation, survival, and affinity maturation. A role for FDC-derived integrin signals has also emerged: GC B cells capable of forming an immune synapse with FDCs have a survival advantage. This emerges as a powerful mechanism to ensure death of B cells that bind self-reactive antigen, which would not normally be presented on FDCs.

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Immunological reviews, 237, 1600-065X, , 2010

PMID:20727030

MicroRNA in the adaptive immune system, in sickness and in health.
Liston A, Linterman M, Lu LF

MicroRNA are emerging as key regulators of the development and function of adaptive immunity. These 19-24 nucleotide regulatory RNA molecules have essential roles in multiple faucets of adaptive immunity, from regulating the development of the key cellular players to the activation and function in immune responses.

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Journal of clinical immunology, 30, 1573-2592, , 2010

PMID:20191314

IL-21 acts directly on B cells to regulate Bcl-6 expression and germinal center responses.
Linterman MA, Beaton L, Yu D, Ramiscal RR, Srivastava M, Hogan JJ, Verma NK, Smyth MJ, Rigby RJ, Vinuesa CG

During T cell-dependent responses, B cells can either differentiate extrafollicularly into short-lived plasma cells or enter follicles to form germinal centers (GCs). Interactions with T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are required for GC formation and for selection of somatically mutated GC B cells. Interleukin (IL)-21 has been reported to play a role in Tfh cell formation and in B cell growth, survival, and isotype switching. To date, it is unclear whether the effect of IL-21 on GC formation is predominantly a consequence of this cytokine acting directly on the Tfh cells or if IL-21 directly influences GC B cells. We show that IL-21 acts in a B cell-intrinsic fashion to control GC B cell formation. Mixed bone marrow chimeras identified a significant B cell-autonomous effect of IL-21 receptor (R) signaling throughout all stages of the GC response. IL-21 deficiency profoundly impaired affinity maturation and reduced the proportion of IgG1(+) GC B cells but did not affect formation of early memory B cells. IL-21R was required on GC B cells for maximal expression of Bcl-6. In contrast to the requirement for IL-21 in the follicular response to sheep red blood cells, a purely extrafollicular antibody response to Salmonella dominated by IgG2a was intact in the absence of IL-21.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, 207, 1540-9538, , 2010

PMID:20142429

Open Access

Signals that influence T follicular helper cell differentiation and function.
Linterman MA, Vinuesa CG

Follicular helper T cells have recently emerged as a separate CD4(+) T helper lineage specialised in provision of help to B cells. They develop independently from Th1, Th2 and Th17 cells and are critical for humoral immunity, including the generation of long-lived and high affinity plasma cells and memory cells crucial for long-term protection against infections. A stepwise differentiation programme has emerged in which T cell receptor (TCR) signalling strength, CD28-mediated costimulation, B cell-derived inducible costimulator ligand signals, induction of c-maf and actions of cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-21, lead to upregulation of the transcriptional repressor B cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl-6) that drives T follicular helper (Tfh) cell differentiation. Bcl-6 turns on a repression programme that targets Blimp-1, transcriptional regulators of other helper lineages and microRNAs. Their concerted actions modulate expression of chemokine receptors, surface molecules and cytokines critical for follicular homing and B cell helper functions. Here, we review the nature of Tfh cells providing help to B cells during the two phases of B cell activation that occur in the outer T zone and, for some B cells, in germinal centres (GC). Recent insights into the signalling events that drive terminal differentiation of Tfh cells critical for selecting somatically mutated GC B cells and the consequences of Tfh dysregulation for immunodeficiency and autoimmune pathology are discussed.

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Seminars in immunopathology, 32, 1863-2300, , 2010

PMID:20107805

The transcriptional repressor Bcl-6 directs T follicular helper cell lineage commitment.
Yu D, Rao S, Tsai LM, Lee SK, He Y, Sutcliffe EL, Srivastava M, Linterman M, Zheng L, Simpson N, Ellyard JI, Parish IA, Ma CS, Li QJ, Parish CR, Mackay CR, Vinuesa CG

Follicular helper T (Tfh) cells provide selection signals to germinal center B cells, which is essential for long-lived antibody responses. High CXCR5 and low CCR7 expression facilitates their homing to B cell follicles and distinguishes them from T helper 1 (Th1), Th2, and Th17 cells. Here, we showed that Bcl-6 directs Tfh cell differentiation: Bcl-6-deficient T cells failed to develop into Tfh cells and could not sustain germinal center responses, whereas forced expression of Bcl-6 in CD4(+) T cells promoted expression of the hallmark Tfh cell molecules CXCR5, CXCR4, and PD-1. Bcl-6 bound to the promoters of the Th1 and Th17 cell transcriptional regulators T-bet and RORgammat and repressed IFN-gamma and IL-17 production. Bcl-6 also repressed expression of many microRNAs (miRNAs) predicted to control the Tfh cell signature, including miR-17-92, which repressed CXCR5 expression. Thus, Bcl-6 positively directs Tfh cell differentiation, through combined repression of miRNAs and transcription factors.

+ View Abstract

Immunity, 31, 1097-4180, , 2009

PMID:19631565

Open Access

Follicular helper T cells are required for systemic autoimmunity.
Linterman MA, Rigby RJ, Wong RK, Yu D, Brink R, Cannons JL, Schwartzberg PL, Cook MC, Walters GD, Vinuesa CG

Production of high-affinity pathogenic autoantibodies appears to be central to the pathogenesis of lupus. Because normal high-affinity antibodies arise from germinal centers (GCs), aberrant selection of GC B cells, caused by either failure of negative selection or enhanced positive selection by follicular helper T (T(FH)) cells, is a plausible explanation for these autoantibodies. Mice homozygous for the san allele of Roquin, which encodes a RING-type ubiquitin ligase, develop GCs in the absence of foreign antigen, excessive T(FH) cell numbers, and features of lupus. We postulated a positive selection defect in GCs to account for autoantibodies. We first demonstrate that autoimmunity in Roquin(san/san) (sanroque) mice is GC dependent: deletion of one allele of Bcl6 specifically reduces the number of GC cells, ameliorating pathology. We show that Roquin(san) acts autonomously to cause accumulation of T(FH) cells. Introduction of a null allele of the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule family adaptor Sap into the sanroque background resulted in a substantial and selective reduction in sanroque T(FH) cells, and abrogated formation of GCs, autoantibody formation, and renal pathology. In contrast, adoptive transfer of sanroque T(FH) cells led to spontaneous GC formation. These findings identify T(FH) dysfunction within GCs and aberrant positive selection as a pathway to systemic autoimmunity.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, 206, 1540-9538, , 2009

PMID:19221396

Open Access

Roquin differentiates the specialized functions of duplicated T cell costimulatory receptor genes CD28 and ICOS.
Linterman MA, Rigby RJ, Wong R, Silva D, Withers D, Anderson G, Verma NK, Brink R, Hutloff A, Goodnow CC, Vinuesa CG

During evolutionary adaptation in the immune system, host defense is traded off against autoreactivity. Signals through the costimulatory receptor CD28 enable T cells to respond specifically to pathogens, whereas those through the related costimulatory receptor, ICOS, which arose by gene duplication, are critical for affinity maturation and memory antibody responses. ICOS ligand, unlike the pathogen-inducible CD28 ligands, is widely and constitutively expressed in the immune system. Here, we show that crosstalk between these two pathways provides a mechanism for obviating the normal T cell dependence on CD28. Several CD28-mediated responses-generation of follicular helper T cells, germinal center formation, T helper 1 cell-dependent extrafollicular antibody responses to Salmonella and bacterial clearance, and regulatory T cell homeostasis-became independent of CD28 and dependent on ICOS when the E3 ubiquitin ligase Roquin was mutated. Mechanisms to functionally compartmentalize ICOS and CD28 signals are thus critical for two-signal control of normal immune reactions.

+ View Abstract

Immunity, 30, 1097-4180, , 2009

PMID:19217324

Open Access