High-dimensional Characterization of the Systemic Immune Landscape Informs on Synergism between Radiotherapy and Immune Checkpoint Blockade

Improved anti-tumor responses have been observed in patients following combination radiotherapy (RT) and immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). Whether these clinical responses are linked to the host systemic immune system has not been elucidated.

Chua et al | Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys . 2020

Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells Upregulate PVRL1, Stabilizing PVR and Inhibiting the Cytotoxic T-cell Response via TIGIT to Mediate Tumor Resistance to PD1 Inhibitors in Mice

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are effective in treatment of some hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs), but these tumors do not always respond to inhibitors of programmed cell death 1 (PDCD1, also called PD1). We investigated mechanisms of resistance of liver tumors in mice to infiltrating T cells.

Chiu et al | Gastroenterology 2020

Human Tumor-Infiltrating MAIT Cells Display Hallmarks of Bacterial Antigen Recognition in Colorectal Cancer

Growing evidence indicates a role for the gut microbiota in modulating anti-tumor treatment efficacy in human cancer. Here we study mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells to look for evidence of bacterial antigen recognition in human colon, lung, and kidney carcinomas. Using mass cytometry and single-cell mRNA sequencing, we identify a tumor-infiltrating MAIT cell subset expressing CD4 and Foxp3 and observe high expression of CD39 on MAIT cells from colorectal cancer (CRC) only, which we show in vitro to be expressed specifically after TCR stimulation. We further reveal that these cells are phenotypically and functionally exhausted. Sequencing data show high bacterial infiltration in CRC tumors and highlight an enriched species, Fusobacteria nucleatum, with capability to activate MAIT cells in a TCR-dependent way. Our results provide evidence of a MAIT cell response to microbial antigens in CRC and could pave the way for manipulating MAIT cells or the microbiome for cancer therapy.

Li S et al. | Cell Reports Medicine 2020

Large-Scale HLA Tetramer Tracking of T Cells during Dengue Infection Reveals Broad Acute Activation and Differentiation into Two Memory Cell Fates

T cells play important multifaceted roles during dengue infection, and understanding their responses is important for defining correlates of protective immunity and identifying effective vaccine antigens. Using mass cytometry and a highly multiplexed peptide-HLA (human leukocyte antigen) tetramer staining strategy, we probed T cells from dengue patients-a total of 430 dengue and control candidate epitopes-together with key markers of activation, trafficking, and differentiation. During acute disease, dengue-specific CD8+ T cells expressed a distinct profile of activation and trafficking receptors that distinguished them from non-dengue-specific T cells. During convalescence, dengue-specific T cells differentiated into two major cell fates, CD57+ CD127-resembling terminally differentiated senescent memory cells and CD127+ CD57-resembling proliferation-capable memory cells. Validation in an independent cohort showed that these subsets remained at elevated frequencies up to one year after infection. These analyses aid our understanding of the generation of T cell memory in dengue infection or vaccination.

Chng et al. | Immunity 2019

Multifactorial heterogeneity of virus-specific T cells and association with the progression of human chronic hepatitis B infection

Associations between chronic antigen stimulation, T cell dysfunction, and the expression of various inhibitory receptors are well characterized in several mouse and human systems. During chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (CHB), T cell responses are blunted with low frequencies of virus-specific T cells observed, making these parameters difficult to study. Here, using mass cytometry and a highly multiplexed combinatorial peptide–major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) tetramer strategy that allows for the detection of rare antigen-specific T cells, we simultaneously probed 484 unique HLA-A*1101–restricted epitopes spanning the entire HBV genome on T cells from patients at various stages of CHB. Numerous HBV-specific T cell populations were detected, validated, and profiled. T cells specific for two epitopes (HBVpol387 and HBVcore169) displayed differing and complex heterogeneities that were associated with the disease progression, and the expression of inhibitory receptors on these cells was not linearly related with their extent of T cell dysfunction. For HBVcore169-specific CD8+ T cells, we found cellular markers associated with long-term memory, polyfunctionality, and the presence of several previously unidentified public TCR clones that correlated with viral control. Using high-dimensional trajectory analysis of these cellular phenotypes, a pseudo-time metric was constructed that fit with the status of viral infection in corresponding patients. This was validated in a longitudinal cohort of patients undergoing antiviral therapy. Our study uncovers complex relationships of inhibitory receptors between the profiles of antigen-specific T cells and the status of CHB with implications for new strategies of therapeutic intervention.

Cheng et al. | Science Immunology 2019