Molecularly distinct memory CD4+ T cells are induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and mRNA vaccination
UNLABELLED:Adaptive immune responses are induced by vaccination and infection, yet little is known about how CD4+ T cell memory differs between these two contexts. Notable differences in humoral and cellular immune responses to primary mRNA vaccination were observed and associated with prior COVID-19 history, including in the establishment and recall of Spike-specific CD4+ T cells. It was unclear whether CD4+ T cell memory established by infection or mRNA vaccination as the first exposure to Spike was qualitatively similar. To assess whether the mechanism of initial memory T cell priming affected subsequent responses to Spike protein, 14 people who were receiving a third mRNA vaccination, referenced here as the booster, were stratified based on whether the first exposure to Spike protein was by viral infection or immunization (infection-primed or vaccine-primed). Using multimodal scRNA-seq of activation-induced marker (AIM)-reactive Spike-specific CD4+ T cells, we identified 220 differentially expressed genes between infection- and vaccine-primed patients at the post-booster time point. Infection-primed participants had greater expression of genes related to cytotoxicity and interferon signaling. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) revealed enrichment for Interferon Alpha, Interferon Gamma, and Inflammatory response gene sets in Spike-specific CD4+ T cells from infection-primed individuals, whereas Spike-specific CD4+ T cells from vaccine-primed individuals had strong enrichment for proliferative pathways by GSEA. Finally, SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection in vaccine-primed participants resulted in subtle changes in the transcriptional landscape of Spike-specific memory CD4+ T cells relative to pre-breakthrough samples but did not recapitulate the transcriptional profile of infection-primed Spike-specific CD4+ T cells. Together, these data suggest that CD4+ T cell memory is durably imprinted by the inflammatory context of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which has implications for personalization of vaccination based on prior infection history. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY/UNASSIGNED:SARS-CoV-2 infection and mRNA vaccination prime transcriptionally distinct CD4+ T cell memory landscapes which are sustained with subsequent doses of vaccine.
Discrete immune response signature to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination versus infection
Both SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination elicit potent immune responses. A number of studies have described immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, beyond antibody production, immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines remain largely uncharacterized. Here, we performed multimodal single-cell sequencing on peripheral blood of patients with acute COVID-19 and healthy volunteers before and after receiving the SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine to compare the immune responses elicited by the virus and by this vaccine. Phenotypic and transcriptional profiling of immune cells, coupled with reconstruction of the B and T cell antigen receptor rearrangement of individual lymphocytes, enabled us to characterize and compare the host responses to the virus and to defined viral antigens. While both infection and vaccination induced robust innate and adaptive immune responses, our analysis revealed significant qualitative differences between the two types of immune challenges. In COVID-19 patients, immune responses were characterized by a highly augmented interferon response which was largely absent in vaccine recipients. Increased interferon signaling likely contributed to the observed dramatic upregulation of cytotoxic genes in the peripheral T cells and innate-like lymphocytes in patients but not in immunized subjects. Analysis of B and T cell receptor repertoires revealed that while the majority of clonal B and T cells in COVID-19 patients were effector cells, in vaccine recipients clonally expanded cells were primarily circulating memory cells. Importantly, the divergence in immune subsets engaged, the transcriptional differences in key immune populations, and the differences in maturation of adaptive immune cells revealed by our analysis have far-ranging implications for immunity to this novel pathogen.
Improving oligo-conjugated antibody signal in multimodal single-cell analysis
Simultaneous measurement of surface proteins and gene expression within single cells using oligo-conjugated antibodies offers high-resolution snapshots of complex cell populations. Signal from oligo-conjugated antibodies is quantified by high-throughput sequencing and is highly scalable and sensitive. We investigated the response of oligo-conjugated antibodies towards four variables: concentration, staining volume, cell number at staining, and tissue. We find that staining with recommended antibody concentrations causes unnecessarily high background and amount of antibody used can be drastically reduced without loss of biological information. Reducing staining volume only affects antibodies targeting abundant epitopes used at low concentrations and is counteracted by reducing cell numbers. Adjusting concentrations increases signal, lowers background, and reduces costs. Background signal can account for a major fraction of total sequencing and is primarily derived from antibodies used at high concentrations. This study provides new insight into titration response and background of oligo-conjugated antibodies and offers concrete guidelines to improve such panels.
A comparative analysis of SARS-CoV-2 antivirals characterizes 3CLpro inhibitor PF-00835231 as a potential new treatment for COVID-19
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is a dire need for novel effective antivirals to treat COVID-19, as the only approved direct-acting antiviral to date is remdesivir, targeting the viral polymerase complex. A potential alternate target in the viral life cycle is the main SARS-CoV-2 protease 3CLpro (Mpro). The drug candidate PF-00835231 is the active compound of the first anti-3CLpro regimen in clinical trials. Here, we perform a comparative analysis of PF-00835231, the pre-clinical 3CLpro inhibitor GC-376, and the polymerase inhibitor remdesivir, in alveolar basal epithelial cells modified to express ACE2 (A549+ACE2 cells). We find PF-00835231 with at least similar or higher potency than remdesivir or GC-376. A time-of-drug-addition approach delineates the timing of early SARS-CoV-2 life cycle steps in A549+ACE2 cells and validates PF-00835231's early time of action. In a model of the human polarized airway epithelium, both PF-00835231 and remdesivir potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 at low micromolar concentrations. Finally, we show that the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein, which was previously suggested to diminish PF-00835231's efficacy based on experiments in monkey kidney Vero E6 cells, does not negatively impact PF-00835231 efficacy in either A549+ACE2 cells or human polarized airway epithelial cultures. Thus, our study provides in vitro evidence for the potential of PF-00835231 as an effective SARS-CoV-2 antiviral and addresses concerns that emerged based on prior studies in non-human in vitro models.Importance:The arsenal of SARS-CoV-2 specific antiviral drugs is extremely limited. Only one direct-acting antiviral drug is currently approved, the viral polymerase inhibitor remdesivir, and it has limited efficacy. Thus, there is a substantial need to develop additional antiviral compounds with minimal side effects and alternate viral targets. One such alternate target is its main protease, 3CLpro (Mpro), an essential component of the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle processing the viral polyprotein into the components of the viral polymerase complex. In this study, we characterize a novel antiviral drug, PF-00835231, which is the active component of the first-in-class 3CLpro-targeting regimen in clinical trials. Using 3D in vitro models of the human airway epithelium, we demonstrate the antiviral potential of PF-00835231 for inhibition of SARS-CoV-2.
A comparative analysis of SARS-CoV-2 antivirals in human airway models characterizes 3CLpro inhibitor PF-00835231 as a potential new treatment for COVID-19 [PrePrint]
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There is a dire need for novel effective antivirals to treat COVID-19, as the only approved direct-acting antiviral to date is remdesivir, targeting the viral polymerase complex. A potential alternate target in the viral life cycle is the main SARS-CoV-2 protease 3CLpro (Mpro). The drug candidate PF-00835231 is the active compound of the first anti-3CLpro regimen in clinical trials. Here, we perform a comparative analysis of PF-00835231, the pre-clinical 3CLpro inhibitor GC-376, and the polymerase inhibitor remdesivir, in alveolar basal epithelial cells modified to express ACE2 (A549+ACE2 cells). We find PF-00835231 with at least similar or higher potency than remdesivir or GC-376. A time-of-drug-addition approach delineates the timing of early SARS-CoV-2 life cycle steps in A549+ACE2 cells and validates PF-00835231's early time of action. In a model of the human polarized airway epithelium, both PF-00835231 and remdesivir potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 at low micromolar concentrations. Finally, we show that the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein, which was previously suggested to diminish PF-00835231's efficacy based on experiments in monkey kidney Vero E6 cells, does not negatively impact PF-00835231 efficacy in either A549+ACE2 cells or human polarized airway epithelial cultures. Thus, our study provides in vitro evidence for the potential of PF-00835231 as an effective SARS-CoV-2 antiviral and addresses concerns that emerged based on prior studies in non-human in vitro models.
Calcium Signaling Controls Pathogenic Th17 Cell-Mediated Inflammation by Regulating Mitochondrial Function
Pathogenic Th17 cells play important roles in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Their function depends on TÂ cell receptor (TCR) signaling and cytokines that activate signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). TCR engagement activates stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) and calcium (Ca2+) influx through Ca2+-release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels. Here, we show that abolishing STIM1 and Ca2+ influx in TÂ cells expressing a hyperactive form of STAT3 (STAT3C) attenuates pathogenic Th17 cell function and inflammation associated with STAT3C expression. Deletion of STIM1 in pathogenic Th17 cells reduces the expression of genes required for mitochondrial function andÂ oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) but enhances reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. STIM1 deletion or inhibition of OXPHOS is associated with a non-pathogenic Th17 gene expression signature and impaired pathogenic Th17 cell function. Our findings establish Ca2+ influx as a critical regulator of mitochondrial function and oxidative stress in pathogenic Th17 cell-mediated multiorgan inflammation.
MA 07.12 Short-Term Culture of Patient Derived Tumor Organoids Identify Neratinib/Trastuzumab as an Effective Combination in HER2 Mutant Lung Cancer [Meeting Abstract]
Negative regulation of TCR signaling by ubiquitination of Zap-70 Lys-217
The tyrosine kinase Zap-70 is a key regulator of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling downstream of antigen presentation, with coordinated regulation of Zap-70 kinase activity critical for proper T cell proliferation, differentiation, and effector function during an immune response. Zap-70 is cytosolic in unstimulated T cells, but is rapidly recruited to the TCR complex following receptor stimulation. Its activity is regulated both by binding to subunits of the TCR and by phosphorylation on multiple tyrosine residues. Zap-70 also has been reported to be ubiquitinated following TCR stimulation. Herein, we confirm the ubiquitination of Zap-70 in T cell lines and in primary human and mouse T cells, and report the identification of nine novel Zap-70 ubiquitination sites. Three sites, including Lys-193, Lys-217, and Lys-376, displayed greater than 20-fold increase in modification levels following TCR stimulation. Abrogation of Lys-217 ubiquitination results in increased kinase activation, enhanced activation of downstream signaling pathways, and elevated IL-2 production following TCR stimulation. These data suggest that Zap-70 ubiquitination contributes to the regulation of Zap-70 signaling following TCR stimulation.
Role of Sterylglucosidase 1 (Sgl1) on the pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans: potential applications for vaccine development
Cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii affects a large population and is a cause of significant morbidity and mortality. Despite its public health burden, there are currently no vaccines against cryptococcosis and new strategies against such infections are needed. In this study, we demonstrate that C. neoformans has the biochemical ability to metabolize sterylglucosides (SGs), a class of immunomodulatory glycolipids. Genetic manipulations that eliminate cryptococccal sterylglucosidase lead to the accumulation of SGs and generate a mutant strain (Î”sgl1) that is non-pathogenic in the mouse models of cryptococcosis. Interestingly, this mutant strain acts as a vaccine strain and protects mice against cryptococcosis following infection with C. neoformans or C. gattii. The immunity induced by the Î”sgl1 strain is not CD4(+) T-cells dependent. Immunocompromised mice, which lack CD4(+) T-cells, are able to control the infection by Î”sgl1 and acquire immunity against the challenge by wild-type C. neoformans following vaccination with the Î”sgl1 strain. These findings are particularly important in the context of HIV/AIDS immune deficiency and suggest that the Î”sgl1 strain might provide a potential vaccination strategy against cryptococcosis.
Members of the novel UBASH3/STS/TULA family of cellular regulators suppress T-cell-driven inflammatory responses in vivo
The UBASH3/STS/TULA family consists of two members sharing substantial homology and a similar multi-domain architecture, which includes a C-terminal histidine phosphatase domain capable of dephosphorylating phosphotyrosine-containing substrates. TULA-family proteins act as downregulators of receptor-induced activation in several cell types, including T cells and platelets. Deletion of both family members in mice has been shown to result in hyperresponsiveness of T cells to T-cell receptor (TCR)/CD3 complex engagement, but little is known about the biological consequences of double knockout (dKO) and especially of either single KO (sKO). We elucidated the biological consequences of the lack of TULA-family proteins in dKO and TULA and TULA-2 sKO animals. In order to do so, we examined immune responses in Trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis, a mouse model of human inflammatory bowel disease, which is characterized by the involvement of multiple cell types, of which T cells have a crucial role, in the development of a pathological inflammatory condition. Our data indicate that TNBS treatment upregulates T-cell responses in all KO mice studied to a significantly higher degree than in wild-type mice. Although the lack of either TULA-family member exacerbates inflammation and T-cell responses in a specific fashion, the lack of both TULA and TULA-2 in dKO exerts a higher effect than the lack of a single family member in TULA and TULA-2 sKO. Analysis of T-cell responses and TCR-mediated signaling argues that the proteins investigated affect T-cell signaling by regulating phosphorylation of Zap-70, a key protein tyrosine kinase.