Microbiology & Immunology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 2639
Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 generates T-cell memory in the absence of a detectable viral infection
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-03-19)
T-cell immunity is important for recovery from COVID-19 and provides heightened immunity for re-infection. However, little is known about the SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell immunity in virus-exposed individuals. Here we report virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell memory in recovered COVID-19 patients and close contacts. We also demonstrate the size and quality of the memory T-cell pool of COVID-19 patients are larger and better than those of close contacts. However, the proliferation capacity, size and quality of T-cell responses in close contacts are readily distinguishable from healthy donors, suggesting close contacts are able to gain T-cell immunity against SARS-CoV-2 despite lacking a detectable infection. Additionally, asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients contain similar levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell memory. Overall, this study demonstrates the versatility and potential of memory T cells from COVID-19 patients and close contacts, which may be important for host protection.
Immunogenicity of prime-boost protein subunit vaccine strategies against SARS-CoV-2 in mice and macaques
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-03-03)
SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are advancing into human clinical trials, with emphasis on eliciting high titres of neutralising antibodies against the viral spike (S). However, the merits of broadly targeting S versus focusing antibody onto the smaller receptor binding domain (RBD) are unclear. Here we assess prototypic S and RBD subunit vaccines in homologous or heterologous prime-boost regimens in mice and non-human primates. We find S is highly immunogenic in mice, while the comparatively poor immunogenicity of RBD is associated with limiting germinal centre and T follicular helper cell activity. Boosting S-primed mice with either S or RBD significantly augments neutralising titres, with RBD-focussing driving moderate improvement in serum neutralisation. In contrast, both S and RBD vaccines are comparably immunogenic in macaques, eliciting serological neutralising activity that generally exceed levels in convalescent humans. These studies confirm recombinant S proteins as promising vaccine candidates and highlight multiple pathways to achieving potent serological neutralisation.
Mitochondrial arginase-2 is essential for IL-10 metabolic reprogramming of inflammatory macrophages.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-03-05)
Mitochondria are important regulators of macrophage polarisation. Here, we show that arginase-2 (Arg2) is a microRNA-155 (miR-155) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) regulated protein localized at the mitochondria in inflammatory macrophages, and is critical for IL-10-induced modulation of mitochondrial dynamics and oxidative respiration. Mechanistically, the catalytic activity and presence of Arg2 at the mitochondria is crucial for oxidative phosphorylation. We further show that Arg2 mediates this process by increasing the activity of complex II (succinate dehydrogenase). Moreover, Arg2 is essential for IL-10-mediated downregulation of the inflammatory mediators succinate, hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and IL-1β in vitro. Accordingly, HIF-1α and IL-1β are highly expressed in an LPS-induced in vivo model of acute inflammation using Arg2-/- mice. These findings shed light on a new arm of IL-10-mediated metabolic regulation, working to resolve the inflammatory status of the cell.
Evolution of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in mild-moderate COVID-19
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-02-19)
The durability of infection-induced SARS-CoV-2 immunity has major implications for reinfection and vaccine development. Here, we show a comprehensive profile of antibody, B cell and T cell dynamics over time in a cohort of patients who have recovered from mild-moderate COVID-19. Binding and neutralising antibody responses, together with individual serum clonotypes, decay over the first 4 months post-infection. A similar decline in Spike-specific CD4+ and circulating T follicular helper frequencies occurs. By contrast, S-specific IgG+ memory B cells consistently accumulate over time, eventually comprising a substantial fraction of circulating the memory B cell pool. Modelling of the concomitant immune kinetics predicts maintenance of serological neutralising activity above a titre of 1:40 in 50% of convalescent participants to 74 days, although there is probably additive protection from B cell and T cell immunity. This study indicates that SARS-CoV-2 immunity after infection might be transiently protective at a population level. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines might require greater immunogenicity and durability than natural infection to drive long-term protection.
B-cell clonogenic activity of HIV-1 p17 variants is driven by PAR1-mediated EGF transactivation
Combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) for HIV-1 dramatically slows disease progression among HIV+ individuals. Currently, lymphoma represents the main cause of death among HIV-1-infected patients. Detection of p17 variants (vp17s) endowed with B-cell clonogenic activity in HIV-1-seropositive patients with lymphoma suggests their possible role in lymphomagenesis. Here, we demonstrate that the clonogenic activity of vp17s is mediated by their binding to PAR1 and to PAR1-mediated EGFR transactivation through Gq protein. The entire vp17s-triggered clonogenic process is MMPs dependent. Moreover, phosphoproteomic and bioinformatic analysis highlighted the crucial role of EGFR/PI3K/Akt pathway in modulating several molecules promoting cancer progression, including RAC1, ABL1, p53, CDK1, NPM, Rb, PTP-1B, and STAT1. Finally, we show that a peptide (F1) corresponding to the vp17s functional epitope is sufficient to trigger the PAR1/EGFR/PI3K/Akt pathway and bind PAR1. Our findings suggest novel potential therapeutic targets to counteract vp17-driven lymphomagenesis in HIV+ patients.
HUMAN CLEC9A ANTIBODIES DELIVER NY-ESO-1 ANTIGEN TO CD141+DENDRITIC CELLS TO ACTIVATE NAIVE AND MEMORY NY-ESO-1-SPECIFIC CD8+T CELLS
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-11-01)
<jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Dendritic cells (DC) are crucial for the efficacy of cancer vaccines, but current vaccines do not harness the key cDC1 subtype required for effective CD8+ T cell mediated tumor immune responses. Vaccine immunogenicity could be enhanced by specific delivery of immunogenic tumor antigens to CD141+ DC, the human cDC1 equivalent. CD141+ DC exclusively express the C-type-lectin-like receptor CLEC9A, which is important for the regulation of CD8+ T cell responses. This study developed a new vaccine that harnesses a human anti-CLEC9A antibody to specifically deliver the immunogenic tumor antigen, NY-ESO-1 to human CD141+ DC. The ability of the CLEC9A-NY-ESO-1 antibody to activate NY-ESO-1 specific naïve and memory CD8+ T cells was examined and compared to a vaccine comprised of a human DEC-205-NY-ESO-1 antibody that targets all human DC.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>Human anti-CLEC9A, anti-DEC-205 and isotype control IgG4 antibodies were genetically fused to NY-ESO-1 polypeptide. Cross-presentation to NY-ESO-1- epitope specific CD8+ T cells and reactivity of T cell responses in melanoma patients was assessed by IFNγ production following incubation of CD141+ DC and patient peripheral blood mononuclear cells with targeting antibodies. Humanized mice containing human DC subsets and a repertoire of naïve NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ T cells were used to investigate naïve T cell priming. T cell effector function was measured by expression of IFNγ, MIP-1β, TNF and CD107a and by lysis of target tumor cells.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>CLEC9A-NY-ESO-1 Ab were effective at mediating delivery and cross-presentation of multiple NY-ESO-1 epitopes by CD141+ DC for activation of NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ T cells. When benchmarked to NY-ESO-1 conjugated to an untargeted control antibody or to anti-human DEC-205, CLEC9A-NY-ESO-1 was superior at ex vivo reactivation of NY-ESO-1-specific T cell responses in melanoma patients. Moreover, CLEC9A-NY-ESO-1 induced priming of naïve NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ T cells with polyclonal effector function and potent tumor killing capacity in vitro.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>These data advocate human CLEC9A-NY-ESO-1 antibody as an attractive strategy for specific targeting of CD141+ DC to enhance tumour immunogenicity in NY-ESO-1-expressing malignancies.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Ethics Approval</jats:title><jats:p>Written informed consent was obtained for human sample acquisition in line with standards established by the Declaration of Helsinki. Study approval was granted by the Mater Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC13/MHS/83 and HREC13/MHS/86) and The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) Office of Research Protections, Human Research Protection Office (HRPO; A-18738.1, A-18738.2, A-18738.3). All animal experiments were approved by the University of Queensland Animal Ethics Committee and conducted in accordance with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes in addition to the laws of the United States and regulations of the Department of Agriculture.</jats:p></jats:sec>
Lipid droplets and lipid mediators in viral infection and immunity.
(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-01-29)
Lipid Droplets (LDs) contribute to key pathways important for the physiology and pathophysiology of cells. In a homeostatic view, LDs regulate the storage of neutral lipids, protein sequestration, removal of toxic lipids and cellular communication, however, recent advancements in the field show these organelles as essential for various cellular stress response mechanisms, including inflammation and immunity, with LDs acting as hubs that integrate metabolic and inflammatory processes. The accumulation of LDs has become a hallmark of infection, and is often thought to be virally driven, however recent evidence is pointing to a role for the upregulation of LDs in the production of a successful immune response to viral infection. The fatty acids housed in LDs are also gaining interest due to the role that these lipid species play during viral infection, and their link to the synthesis of bioactive lipid mediators which have been found to have a very complex role in viral infection. This review explores the role of LDs and their subsequent lipid mediators during viral infections and poses a paradigm shift in thinking in the field; whereby LDs may play pivotal roles in protecting the host against viral infection.
Clinical relevance of topical antibiotic use in co-selecting for multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Insights from in vitro and ex vivo models.
(American Society for Microbiology, 2021-02-16)
Topical antibiotic preparations, such as fusidic acid (FA) or mupirocin, are used in the prevention and treatment of superficial skin infections caused by staphylococci. Previous genomic epidemiology work has suggested an association between the widespread use of topical antibiotics and the emergence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in some settings. In this study, we provide experimental proof of co-selection for multidrug resistance in S. aureus following exposure to FA or mupirocin. Through targeted mutagenesis and phenotypic analyses, we confirmed that fusC carriage confers resistance to FA, and mupA carriage confers high-level resistance to mupirocin in multiple S. aureus genetic backgrounds. In vitro experiments demonstrated that carriage of fusC and mupA confer a competitive advantage in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of FA and mupirocin, respectively. Further, we used a porcine skin colonisation model to show that clinically relevant concentrations of topical antibiotics can co-select for presence of unrelated antimicrobial resistance determinants, such as mecA, blaZ, and qacA, in fusC or mupA harbouring S. aureus These findings provide valuable insights on the role of acquired FA or mupirocin resistance in co-selecting for broader antibiotic resistance in S. aureus, prompting greater need for judicious use of topical antibiotics.
Multi-site assessment of rapid, point-of-care antigen testing for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a low-prevalence setting: A validation and implementation study.
(Elsevier BV, 2021-04)
Background: In Australia, COVID-19 diagnosis relies on RT-PCR testing which is relatively costly and time-consuming. To date, few studies have assessed the performance and implementation of rapid antigen-based SARS-CoV-2 testing in a setting with a low prevalence of COVID-19 infections, such as Australia. Methods: This study recruited participants presenting for COVID-19 testing at three Melbourne metropolitan hospitals during a period of low COVID-19 prevalence. The Abbott PanBioTM COVID-19 Ag point-of-care test was performed alongside RT-PCR. In addition, participants with COVID-19 notified to the Victorian Government were invited to provide additional swabs to aid validation. Implementation challenges were also documented. Findings: The specificity of the Abbott PanBioTM COVID-19 Ag test was 99.96% (95% CI 99.73 - 100%). Sensitivity amongst participants with RT-PCR-confirmed infection was dependent upon the duration of symptoms reported, ranging from 77.3% (duration 1 to 33 days) to 100% in those within seven days of symptom onset. A range of implementation challenges were identified which may inform future COVID-19 testing strategies in a low prevalence setting. Interpretation: Given the high specificity, antigen-based tests may be most useful in rapidly triaging public health and hospital resources while expediting confirmatory RT-PCR testing. Considering the limitations in test sensitivity and the potential for rapid transmission in susceptible populations, particularly in hospital settings, careful consideration is required for implementation of antigen testing in a low prevalence setting. Funding: This work was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. The funder was not involved in data analysis or manuscript preparation.
Proteomic Identification of Coxiella burnetii Effector Proteins Targeted to the Host Cell Mitochondria During Infection.
(Elsevier BV, 2020-12-03)
Modulation of the host cell is integral to the survival and replication of microbial pathogens. Several intracellular bacterial pathogens deliver bacterial proteins, termed "effector proteins" into the host cell during infection by sophisticated protein translocation systems, which manipulate cellular processes and functions. The functional contribution of individual effectors is poorly characterized, particularly in intracellular bacterial pathogens with large effector protein repertoires. Technical caveats have limited the capacity to study these proteins during a native infection, with many effector proteins having only been demonstrated to be translocated during over-expression of tagged versions. Here, we developed a novel strategy to examine effector proteins in the context of infection. We coupled a broad, unbiased proteomics-based screen with organelle purification to study the host-pathogen interactions occurring between the host cell mitochondrion and the Gram-negative, Q fever pathogen Coxiella burnetii. We identify four novel mitochondrially-targeted C. burnetii effector proteins, renamed Mitochondrial Coxiella effector protein (Mce) B to E. Examination of the subcellular localization of ectopically expressed proteins confirmed their mitochondrial localization, demonstrating the robustness of our approach. Subsequent biochemical analysis and affinity enrichment proteomics of one of these effector proteins, MceC, revealed the protein localizes to the inner membrane and can interact with components of the mitochondrial quality control machinery. Our study adapts high-sensitivity proteomics to study intracellular host-pathogen interactions, providing a robust strategy to examine the subcellular localization of effector proteins during native infection. This approach could be applied to a range of pathogens and host cell compartments to provide a rich map of effector dynamics throughout infection.
Open Database Searching Enables the Identification and Comparison of Bacterial Glycoproteomes without Defining Glycan Compositions Prior to Searching
(AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC, 2020-09-01)
Mass spectrometry has become an indispensable tool for the characterization of glycosylation across biological systems. Our ability to generate rich fragmentation of glycopeptides has dramatically improved over the last decade yet our informatic approaches still lag behind. Although glycoproteomic informatics approaches using glycan databases have attracted considerable attention, database independent approaches have not. This has significantly limited high throughput studies of unusual or atypical glycosylation events such as those observed in bacteria. As such, computational approaches to examine bacterial glycosylation and identify chemically diverse glycans are desperately needed. Here we describe the use of wide-tolerance (up to 2000 Da) open searching as a means to rapidly examine bacterial glycoproteomes. We benchmarked this approach using N-linked glycopeptides of Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus as well as O-linked glycopeptides of Acinetobacter baumannii and Burkholderia cenocepacia revealing glycopeptides modified with a range of glycans can be readily identified without defining the glycan masses before database searching. Using this approach, we demonstrate how wide tolerance searching can be used to compare glycan use across bacterial species by examining the glycoproteomes of eight Burkholderia species (B. pseudomallei; B. multivorans; B. dolosa; B. humptydooensis; B. ubonensis, B. anthina; B. diffusa; B. pseudomultivorans). Finally, we demonstrate how open searching enables the identification of low frequency glycoforms based on shared modified peptides sequences. Combined, these results show that open searching is a robust computational approach for the determination of glycan diversity within bacterial proteomes.