PD-L1 crosslinking as a new strategy of 4-1BB agonism immunotherapy
4-1BB has been considered a promising target in cancer immunotherapy for decades. Nevertheless, early 4-1BB-targeted agent demonstrated significant liver immuno-toxicity. A new wave of 4-1BB-based therapy is being developed to circumvent hepatotoxicity with bispecific molecule that directs 4-1BB agonism to the tumor microenvironment by targeting tumor-associated immune checkpoint molecule, PD-L1.
Platelets contribute to disease severity in COVID-19
OBJECTIVE:Heightened inflammation, dysregulated immunity, and thrombotic events are characteristic of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Given that platelets are key regulators of thrombosis, inflammation, and immunity they represent prime candidates as mediators of COVID-19-associated pathogenesis. The objective of this study was to understand the contribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to the platelet phenotype via phenotypic (activation, aggregation) and transcriptomic characterization. APPROACH AND RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:In a cohort of 3915Â hospitalized COVID-19 patients, we analyzed blood platelet indices collected at hospital admission. Following adjustment for demographics, clinical risk factors, medication, and biomarkers of inflammation and thrombosis, we find platelet count, size, and immaturity are associated with increased critical illness and all-cause mortality. Bone marrow, lung tissue, and blood from COVID-19 patients revealed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions in megakaryocytes and platelets. Characterization of COVID-19 platelets found them to be hyperreactive (increased aggregation, and expression of P-selectin and CD40) and to have a distinct transcriptomic profile characteristic of prothrombotic large and immature platelets. In vitro mechanistic studies highlight that the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with megakaryocytes alters the platelet transcriptome, and its effects are distinct from the coronavirus responsible for the common cold (CoV-OC43). CONCLUSIONS:Platelet count, size, and maturity associate with increased critical illness and all-cause mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Profiling tissues and blood from COVID-19 patients revealed that SARS-CoV-2 virions enter megakaryocytes and platelets and associate with alterations to the platelet transcriptome and activation profile.
Myeloid dysregulation and therapeutic intervention in COVID-19
The dysregulation of myeloid cell responses is increasingly demonstrated to be a major mechanism of pathogenesis for COVID-19. The pathological cellular and cytokine signatures associated with this disease point to a critical role of a hyperactivated innate immune response in driving pathology. Unique immunopathological features of COVID-19 include myeloid-cell dominant inflammation and cytokine release syndrome (CRS) alongside lymphopenia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), all of which correlate with severe disease. Studies suggest a range of causes mediating myeloid hyperactivation, such as aberrant innate sensing, asynchronized immune cellular responses, as well as direct viral protein/host interactions. These include the recent identification of new myeloid cell receptors that bind SARS-CoV-2, which drive myeloid cell hyperinflammatory responses independently of lung epithelial cell infection via the canonical receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The spectrum and nature of myeloid cell dysregulation in COVID-19 also differs from, at least to some extent, what is observed in other infectious diseases involving myeloid cell activation. While much of the therapeutic effort has focused on preventative measures with vaccines or neutralizing antibodies that block viral infection, recent clinical trials have also targeted myeloid cells and the associated cytokines as a means to resolve CRS and severe disease, with promising but thus far modest effects. In this review, we critically examine potential mechanisms driving myeloid cell dysregulation, leading to immunopathology and severe disease, and discuss potential therapeutic strategies targeting myeloid cells as a new paradigm for COVID-19 treatment.
Author Correction: Mechanical activation of spike fosters SARS-CoV-2 infection
Mechanical activation of spike fosters SARS-CoV-2 viral infection
The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (SARS2) has caused a global COVID-19 pandemic. The spike protein of SARS2 (SARS2-S) recognizes host receptors, including ACE2, to initiate viral entry in a complex biomechanical environment. Here, we reveal that tensile force, generated by bending of the host cell membrane, strengthens spike recognition of ACE2 and accelerates the detachment of spike's S1 subunit from the S2 subunit to rapidly prime the viral fusion machinery. Mechanistically, such mechano-activation is fulfilled by force-induced opening and rotation of spike's receptor-binding domain to prolong the bond lifetime of spike/ACE2 binding, up to 4 times longer than that of SARS-SÂ binding withÂ ACE2Â underÂ 10 pN force application, and subsequently by force-accelerated S1/S2 detachment which is up to ~103 times faster than that in the no-force condition. Interestingly, the SARS2-S D614G mutant, a more infectious variant, shows 3-time stronger force-dependent ACE2 binding and 35-time faster force-induced S1/S2 detachment. We also reveal that an anti-S1/S2 non-RBD-blocking antibody that was derived from convalescent COVID-19 patients with potent neutralizing capability can reduce S1/S2 detachment by 3â€‰Ã—â€‰106 times under force. Our study sheds light on the mechano-chemistry of spike activation and on developing a non-RBD-blocking but S1/S2-locking therapeutic strategy to prevent SARS2 invasion.
A burned-out CD8+ T-cell subset expands in the tumor microenvironment and curbs cancer immunotherapy
Specific mechanisms by which tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) become dysfunctional remain poorly understood. Here, we employed a two-pronged approach using single-cell mass cytometry and tissue imaging technologies to dissect TILs from 25 resectable and 35 advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. We identified a burned-out CD8+ TIL subset (Ebo) that specifically accumulated within the tumor microenvironment (TME), but not in adjacent non-tumoral tissues. Ebo showed the highest expression of proliferation and activation markers, but produced the lowest amount of IFNy and were the most apoptotic CD8+ TIL subset. Using a humanized patient-derived tumor xenograft model, we demonstrated that Ebo expansion occurred within the TME in a PD-1/B7-H1 pathway-dependent manner. Ebo abundance in baseline tumor tissues was associated with resistance to anti-PD therapy in NSCLC patients. Our study identifies a dysfunctional TIL subset, with distinct features from previously described exhausted T cells, and implies strategies to overcome immunotherapy resistance.
SARS-CoV-2 exacerbates proinflammatory responses in myeloid cells through C-type lectin receptors and Tweety family member 2
Despite mounting evidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) engagement with immune cells, most express little, if any, of the canonical receptor of SARS-CoV-2, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Here, using a myeloid cell receptor-focused ectopic expression screen, we identified several C-type lectins (DC-SIGN, L-SIGN, LSECtin, ASGR1, and CLEC10A) and Tweety family member 2 (TTYH2) as glycan-dependent binding partners of the SARS-CoV-2 spike. Except for TTYH2, these molecules primarily interacted with spike via regions outside of the receptor-binding domain. Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of pulmonary cells from individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) indicated predominant expression of these molecules on myeloid cells. Although these receptors do not support active replication of SARS-CoV-2, their engagement with the virus induced robust proinflammatory responses in myeloid cells that correlated with COVID-19 severity. We also generated a bispecific anti-spike nanobody that not only blocked ACE2-mediated infection but also the myeloid receptor-mediated proinflammatory responses. Our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2-myeloid receptor interactions promote immune hyperactivation, which represents potential targets for COVID-19 therapy.
Prevalence and associated risk factors of Helicobacter pylori infection in the Wuwei cohort of north-western China
OBJECTIVES:To evaluate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection and risk factors and to serotype the strains in Wuwei, located in north-western China, which has a high incidence of gastric cancer. METHODS:C-urea breath test, and H.Â pylori antibody were detected in 9183 serum samples by latex immunoturbidimetric method. The correlation of H.Â pylori infection with demographic-economic, lifestyle factors and medical history among the participants was determined by questionnaire. The antibodies against H.Â pylori urease, VacA and CagA in serum were determined by dot immunobinding assay. RESULTS:The infection rate of H.Â pylori was 53.0%, and 90.1% of strains were type I strains. The H.Â pylori infection rate was higher among farmers (ORÂ =Â 1.34, 95% CI: 1.19-1.50) and individuals who had a junior high school or higher education level (ORÂ =Â 1.10, 95% CI: 1.06-1.15), and was lower in older individuals (ORÂ =Â 0.86, 95% CI: 0.83-0.90), individuals with high income (ORÂ =Â 0.93, 95% CI: 0.90-0.95), individuals with a habit of eating quickly (ORÂ =Â 0.93, 95% CI: 0.87-0.99) and individuals who consumed more fruit and vegetables (ORÂ =Â 0.90, 95% CI: 0.85-0.95). Individuals with history of cholecystitis/cholecystolithiasis, hypertension and asthma were negatively correlated with H.Â pylori infection (PÂ <Â 0.05). CONCLUSION:The prevalence of H.Â pylori infection is high in Wuwei. The major prevalent strain is type I strain. Age, education, occupation, household income, consumption of fruit and vegetables, and habit of eating quickly are independent risk factors for H.Â pylori infection, which is also associated with individuals with a history of extragastric diseases.
Siglec-15 as an Emerging Target for Next-generation Cancer Immunotherapy
Immunomodulatory agents blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway have shown a new way to treat cancer. The explanation underlying the success of these agents may be the selective expression of PD-L1 with dominant immune-suppressive activities in the tumor microenvironment (TME), supporting a more favorable tumor response-to-toxicity ratio. However, despite the big success of these drugs, most patients with cancer show primary or acquired resistance, calling for the identification of new immune modulators in the TME. Using a genome-scale T-cell activity array in combination with bioinformatic analysis of human cancer databases, we identified Siglec-15 as a critical immune suppressor with broad upregulation on various cancer types and a potential target for cancer immunotherapy. Siglec-15 has unique molecular features compared with many other known checkpoint inhibitory ligands. It shows prominent expression on macrophages and cancer cells and a mutually exclusive expression with PD-L1, suggesting that it may be a critical immune evasion mechanism in PD-L1-negative patients. Interestingly, Siglec-15 has also been identified as a key regulator for osteoclast differentiation and may have potential implications in bone disorders not limited to osteoporosis. Here, we provide an overview of Siglec-15 biology, its role in cancer immune regulation, the preliminary and encouraging clinical data related to the first-in-class Siglec-15 targeting mAb, as well as many unsolved questions in this pathway. As a new player in the cancer immunotherapeutic arena, Siglec-15 may represent a novel class of immune inhibitors with tumor-associated expression and divergent mechanisms of action to PD-L1, with potential implications in anti-PD-1/PD-L1-resistant patients.
The RNA helicase Dhx15 mediates Wnt-induced antimicrobial protein expression in Paneth cells
RNA helicases play roles in various essential biological processes such as RNA splicing and editing. Recent in vitro studies show that RNA helicases are involved in immune responses toward viruses, serving as viral RNA sensors or immune signaling adaptors. However, there is still a lack of in vivo data to support the tissue- or cell-specific function of RNA helicases owing to the lethality of mice with complete knockout of RNA helicases; further, there is a lack of evidence about the antibacterial role of helicases. Here, we investigated the in vivo role of Dhx15 in intestinal antibacterial responses by generating mice that were intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specific deficient for Dhx15 (Dhx15 f/f Villin1-cre, Dhx15Î”IEC). These mice are susceptible to infection with enteric bacteria Citrobacter rodentium (C. rod), owing to impaired Î±-defensin production by Paneth cells. Moreover, mice with Paneth cell-specific depletion of Dhx15 (Dhx15 f/f DefensinÎ±6-cre, Dhx15Î”Paneth) are more susceptible to DSS (dextran sodium sulfate)-induced colitis, which phenocopy Dhx15Î”IEC mice, due to the dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota. In humans, reduced protein levels of Dhx15 are found in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients. Taken together, our findings identify a key regulator of Wnt-induced Î±-defensins in Paneth cells and offer insights into its role in the antimicrobial response as well as intestinal inflammation.