8 research outputs found

    TIGIT expressing CD4+T cells represent a tumor-supportive T cell subset in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

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    While research on T cell exhaustion in context of cancer particularly focuses on CD8C cytotoxic T cells, the role of inhibitory receptors on CD4C T-helper cells have remained largely unexplored. TIGIT is a recently identified inhibitory receptor on T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. In this study, we examined TIGIT expression on T cell subsets from CLL patients. While we did not observe any differences in TIGIT expression in CD8C T cells of healthy controls and CLL cells, we found an enrichment of TIGITC T cells in the CD4C T cell compartment in CLL. Intriguingly, CLL patients with an advanced disease stage displayed elevated numbers of CD4C TIGITC T cells compared to low risk patients. Autologous CLL-T cell co-culture assays revealed that depleting CD4C TIGITC expressing T cells from co-cultures significantly decreased CLL viability. Accordingly, a supportive effect of TIGITCCD4C T cells on CLL cells in vitro could be recapitulated by blocking the interaction of TIGIT with its ligands using TIGIT-Fc molecules, which also impeded the T cell specific production of CLL-prosurvival cytokines. Our data reveal that TIGITCCD4CT cells provide a supportive microenvironment for CLL cells, representing a potential therapeutic target for CLL treatment

    Different classes of genomic inserts contribute to human antibody diversity

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    Recombination of antibody genes in B cells can involve distant genomic loci and contribute a foreign antigen-binding element to form hybrid antibodies with broad reactivity for Plasmodium falciparum. So far, antibodies containing the extracellular domain of the LAIR1 and LILRB1 receptors represent unique examples of cross-chromosomal antibody diversification. Here, we devise a technique to profile non-VDJ elements from distant genes in antibody transcripts. Independent of the preexposure of donors to malaria parasites, non-VDJ inserts were detected in 80% of individuals at frequencies of 1 in 10(4) to 10(5) B cells. We detected insertions in heavy, but not in light chain or T cell receptor transcripts. We classify the insertions into four types depending on the insert origin and destination: 1) mitochondrial and 2) nuclear DNA inserts integrated at VDJ junctions; 3) inserts originating from telomere proximal genes; and 4) fragile sites incorporated between J-to-constant junctions. The latter class of inserts was exclusively found in memory and in in vitro activated B cells, while all other classes were already detected in naïve B cells. More than 10% of inserts preserved the reading frame, including transcripts with signs of antigen-driven affinity maturation. Collectively, our study unravels a mechanism of antibody diversification that is layered on the classical V(D)J and switch recombination

    SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccinations fail to elicit humoral and cellular immune responses in patients with multiple sclerosis receiving fingolimod

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    BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination of healthy individuals is highly immunogenic and protective against severe COVID-19. However, there are limited data on how disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) alter SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine immunogenicity in patients with autoimmune diseases. METHODS: As part of a prospective cohort study, we investigated the induction, stability and boosting of vaccine-specific antibodies, B cells and T cells in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) on different DMTs after homologous primary, secondary and booster SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccinations. Of 126 patients with MS analysed, 105 received either anti-CD20-based B cell depletion (aCD20-BCD), fingolimod, interferon-╬▓, dimethyl fumarate, glatiramer acetate, teriflunomide or natalizumab, and 21 were untreated MS patients for comparison. RESULTS: In contrast to all other MS patients, and even after booster, most aCD20-BCD- and fingolimod-treated patients showed no to markedly reduced anti-S1 IgG, serum neutralising activity and a lack of receptor binding domain-specific and S2-specific B cells. Patients receiving fingolimod additionally lacked spike-reactive CD4(+) T cell responses. The duration of fingolimod treatment, rather than peripheral blood B and T cell counts prior to vaccination, determined whether a humoral immune response was elicited. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of immunogenicity under long-term fingolimod treatment demonstrates that functional immune responses require not only immune cells themselves, but also access of these cells to the site of inoculation and their unimpeded movement. The absence of humoral and T cell responses suggests that fingolimod-treated patients with MS are at risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infections despite booster vaccinations, which is highly relevant for clinical decision-making and adapted protective measures, particularly considering additional recently approved sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor antagonists for MS treatment

    Discriminating promiscuous from target-specific autoantibodies in COVID-19

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    Diverse autoantibodies were suggested to contribute to severe outcomes of COVID-19, but their functional implications are largely unclear. ACE2, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor and a key regulator of blood pressure, was described to be one of many targets of autoantibodies in COVID-19. ACE2 in its soluble form (sACE2) is highly elevated in the blood of critically ill patients, raising the question of whether sACE2:spike complexes induce ACE2 reactivity. Screening 247 COVID-19 patients, we observed elevated sACE2 and anti-ACE2 IgG that poorly correlated. Interestingly, levels of IgGs recognizing ACE2, IFN╬▒2, and CD26 strongly correlated in severe COVID-19, with 15% of sera showing polyreactivity versus 4.1% exhibiting target-directed autoimmunity. Promiscuous autoantibodies failed to impair the activity of ACE2 and IFN╬▒2, while only specific anti-IFN╬▒2 IgG compromised cytokine function. Our study suggests that the detection of autoantibodies in COVID-19 is often attributed to a promiscuous reactivity, potentially misinterpreted as target-specific autoimmunity with functional impact

    A design strategy to generate a SARS-CoV-2 RBD vaccine that abrogates ACE2 binding and improves neutralizing antibody responses

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    The structure-based design of antigens holds promise for developing vaccines with higher efficacy and improved safety profiles. We postulate that abrogation of host receptor interaction bears potential for the improvement of vaccines by preventing antigen-induced modification of receptor function as well as the displacement or masking of the immunogen. Antigen modifications may yet destroy epitopes crucial for antibody neutralization. Here, we present a methodology that integrates deep mutational scans to identify and score SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) variants that maintain immunogenicity, but lack interaction with the widely expressed host receptor. Single point mutations were scored in silico, validated in vitro, and applied in vivo. Our top-scoring variant RBD-G502E prevented spike-induced cell-to-cell fusion, receptor internalization, and improved neutralizing antibody responses by 3.3-fold in rabbit immunizations. We name our strategy BIBAX for body-inert, B-cell-activating vaccines, which in the future may be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2 for the improvement of vaccines by design

    Soluble ACE2 correlates with severe COVID-19 and can impair antibody responses

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    Identifying immune modulators that impact neutralizing antibody responses against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is of great relevance. We postulated that high serum concentrations of soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (sACE2) might mask the spike and interfere with antibody maturation toward the SARS-CoV-2-receptor-binding motif (RBM). We tested 717 longitudinal samples from 295 COVID-19 patients and showed a 2- to 10-fold increase of enzymatically active sACE2 (a-sACE2), with up to 1 ╬╝g/mL total sACE2 in moderate and severe patients. Fifty percent of COVID-19 sera inhibited ACE2 activity, in contrast to 1.3% of healthy donors and 4% of non-COVID-19 pneumonia patients. A mild inverse correlation of a-sACE2 with RBM-directed serum antibodies was observed. In silico, we show that sACE2 concentrations measured in COVID-19 sera can disrupt germinal center formation and inhibit timely production of high-affinity antibodies. We suggest that sACE2 is a biomarker for COVID-19 and that soluble receptors may contribute to immune suppression informing vaccine design