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A goal of HIV vaccine development is to elicit antibodies with neutralizing breadth. Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to HIV often have unusual sequences with long heavy-chain complementarity-determining region loops, high somatic mutation rates and polyreactivity. A subset of HIV-infected individuals develops such antibodies, but it is unclear whether this reflects systematic differences in their antibody repertoires or is a consequence of rare stochastic events involving individual clones. We sequenced antibody heavy-chain repertoires in a large cohort of HIV-infected individuals with bNAb responses or no neutralization breadth and uninfected controls, identifying consistent features of bNAb repertoires, encompassing thousands of B cell clones per individual, with correlated T cell phenotypes. These repertoire features were not observed during chronic cytomegalovirus infection in an independent cohort. Our data indicate that the development of numerous B cell lineages with antibody features associated with autoreactivity may be a key aspect in the development of HIV neutralizing antibody breadth.
Subordinate Effect of -21M HLA-B Dimorphism on NK Cell Repertoire Diversity and Function in HIV-1 Infected Individuals of African Origin.
Natural Killer (NK) cells play an important role in antiviral defense and their potent effector function identifies them as key candidates for immunotherapeutic interventions in chronic viral infections. Their remarkable functional agility is achieved by virtue of a wide array of germline-encoded inhibitory and activating receptors ensuring a self-tolerant and tunable repertoire. NK cell diversity is generated by a combination of factors including genetic determinants and infections/environmental factors, which together shape the NK cell pool and functional potential. Recently a genetic polymorphism at position -21 of HLA-B, which influences the supply of HLA-E binding peptides and availability of HLA-E for recognition by the inhibitory NK cell receptor NKG2A, was shown to have a marked influence on NK cell functionality in healthy human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) seronegative Caucasian individuals. In this study, -21 methionine (M)-expressing alleles supplying HLA-E binding peptides were largely poor ligands for inhibitory killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), and a bias to NKG2A-mediated education of functionally-potent NK cells was observed. Here, we investigated the effect of this polymorphism on the phenotype and functional capacity of peripheral blood NK cells in a cohort of 36 African individuals with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)/HCMV co-infection. A similarly profound influence of dimorphism at position -21 of HLA-B on NK cells was not evident in these subjects. They predominantly expressed African specific HLA-B and -C alleles that contribute a distinct supply of NKG2A and KIR ligands, and these genetic differences were compounded by the marked effect of HIV-1/HCMV co-infection on NK cell differentiation. Together, these factors resulted in a lack of correlation of the HLA-B -21 polymorphism with surface abundance of HLA-E and loss of the NK cell functional advantage in subjects with -21M HLA-B alleles. Instead, our data suggest that during HIV/HCMV co-infection exposure of NK cells to an environment that displays altered HLA-E ligands drives adaptive NKG2C+ NK cell expansions influencing effector responses. Increased efforts to understand how NK cells are functionally calibrated to self-HLA during chronic viral infections will pave the way to developing targeted therapeutic interventions to overcome the current barriers to enhancing immune-based antiviral control.
© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Accurate segmentation of cellular structures is critical for automating the analysis of microscopy data. Advances in deep learning have facilitated extensive improvements in semantic image segmentation. In particular, U-Net, a model specifically developed for biomedical image data, performs multi-instance segmentation through pixel-based classification. However, approaches based on U-Net tend to merge touching cells in dense cell cultures, resulting in under-segmentation. To address this issue, we propose DeepSplit; a multi-task convolutional neural network architecture where one encoding path splits into two decoding branches. DeepSplit first learns segmentation masks, then explicitly learns the more challenging cell-cell contact regions. We test our approach on a challenging dataset of cells that are highly variable in terms of shape and intensity. DeepSplit achieves 90% cell detection coefficient and 90% Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC) which is a significant improvement on the state-of-the-art U-Net that scored 70% and 84% respectively.
Male reproductive aging arises via multifaceted mating-dependent sperm and seminal proteome declines, but is postponable inDrosophila
<jats:p>Declining ejaculate performance with male age is taxonomically widespread and has broad fitness consequences. Ejaculate success requires fully functional germline (sperm) and soma (seminal fluid) components. However, some aging theories predict that resources should be preferentially diverted to the germline at the expense of the soma, suggesting differential impacts of aging on sperm and seminal fluid and trade-offs between them or, more broadly, between reproduction and lifespan. While harmful effects of male age on sperm are well known, we do not know how much seminal fluid deteriorates in comparison. Moreover, given the predicted trade-offs, it remains unclear whether systemic lifespan-extending interventions could ameliorate the declining performance of the ejaculate as a whole. Here, we address these problems using<jats:italic>Drosophila melanogaster.</jats:italic>We demonstrate that seminal fluid deterioration contributes to male reproductive decline via mating-dependent mechanisms that include posttranslational modifications to seminal proteins and altered seminal proteome composition and transfer. Additionally, we find that sperm production declines chronologically with age, invariant to mating activity such that older multiply mated males become infertile principally via reduced sperm transfer and viability. Our data, therefore, support the idea that both germline and soma components of the ejaculate contribute to male reproductive aging but reveal a mismatch in their aging patterns. Our data do not generally support the idea that the germline is prioritized over soma, at least, within the ejaculate. Moreover, we find that lifespan-extending systemic down-regulation of insulin signaling results in improved late-life ejaculate performance, indicating simultaneous amelioration of both somatic and reproductive aging.</jats:p>
Interrogating the recognition landscape of a conserved HIV-specific TCR reveals distinct bacterial peptide cross-reactivity
<jats:p>T cell cross-reactivity ensures that diverse pathogen-derived epitopes encountered during a lifetime are recognized by the available TCR repertoire. A feature of cross-reactivity where previous exposure to one microbe can alter immunity to subsequent, non-related pathogens has been mainly explored for viruses. Yet cross-reactivity to additional microbes is important to consider, especially in HIV infection where gut-intestinal barrier dysfunction could facilitate T cell exposure to commensal/pathogenic microbes. Here we evaluated the cross-reactivity of a ‘public’, HIV-specific, CD8 T cell-derived TCR (AGA1 TCR) using MHC class I yeast display technology. Via screening of MHC-restricted libraries comprising ~2×10<jats:sup>8</jats:sup> sequence-diverse peptides, AGA1 TCR specificity was mapped to a central peptide di-motif. Using the top TCR-enriched library peptides to probe the non-redundant protein database, bacterial peptides that elicited functional responses by AGA1-expressing T cells were identified. The possibility that in context-specific settings, MHC class I proteins presenting microbial peptides influence virus-specific T cell populations in vivo is discussed.</jats:p>
<jats:p>Fibrotic diseases remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality, yet there are few effective therapies. The underlying pathology of all fibrotic conditions is the activity of myofibroblasts. Using cells from freshly excised disease tissue from patients with Dupuytren’s disease (DD), a localized fibrotic disorder of the palm, we sought to identify new therapeutic targets for fibrotic disease. We hypothesized that the persistent activity of myofibroblasts in fibrotic diseases might involve epigenetic modifications. Using a validated genetics-led target prioritization algorithm (Pi) of genome wide association studies (GWAS) data and a broad screen of epigenetic inhibitors, we found that the acetyltransferase CREBBP/EP300 is a major regulator of contractility and extracellular matrix production via control of H3K27 acetylation at the profibrotic genes, <jats:italic>ACTA2</jats:italic> and <jats:italic>COL1A1</jats:italic>. Genomic analysis revealed that EP300 is highly enriched at enhancers associated with genes involved in multiple profibrotic pathways, and broad transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of CREBBP/EP300 inhibition by the chemical probe SGC-CBP30 identified collagen VI (Col VI) as a prominent downstream regulator of myofibroblast activity. Targeted Col VI knockdown results in significant decrease in profibrotic functions, including myofibroblast contractile force, extracellular matrix (ECM) production, chemotaxis, and wound healing. Further evidence for Col VI as a major determinant of fibrosis is its abundant expression within Dupuytren’s nodules and also in the fibrotic foci of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Thus, Col VI may represent a tractable therapeutic target across a range of fibrotic disorders.</jats:p>
OBJECTIVES:Central nervous system (CNS) infections are common causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. We aimed to discover protein biomarkers that could rapidly and accurately identify the likely cause of the infections, essential for clinical management and improving outcome. METHODS:We applied liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry on 45 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from a cohort of adults with/without CNS infections to discover potential diagnostic biomarkers. We then validated the diagnostic performance of a selected biomarker candidate in an independent cohort of 364 consecutively treated adults with CNS infections admitted to a referral hospital in Vietnam. RESULTS:In the discovery cohort, we identified lipocalin 2 (LCN2) as a potential biomarker of bacterial meningitis (BM) other than tuberculous meningitis. The analysis of the validation cohort showed that LCN2 could discriminate BM from other CNS infections (including tuberculous meningitis, cryptococcal meningitis and viral/antibody-mediated encephalitis), with the sensitivity: 0.88 (95% confident interval (CI): 0.77-0.94), the specificity: 0.91 (95%CI: 0.88-0.94) and the diagnostic odd ratio: 73.8 (95%CI: 31.8-171.4)). LCN2 outperformed other CSF markers (leukocytes, glucose, protein and lactate) commonly used in routine care worldwide. The combination of LCN2, CSF leukocytes, glucose, protein and lactate resulted in the highest diagnostic performance for BM (area under receiver-operating-characteristic-curve 0.96; 95%CI: 0.93-0.99). CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that LCN2 is a sensitive and specific biomarker for discriminating BM from a broad spectrum of other CNS infections. A prospective study is needed to assess the diagnostic utility of LCN2 in the diagnosis and management of CNS infections.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Infection with SARS-CoV-2 is more likely to lead to poor outcomes in the elderly and those with cardiovascular disease, obesity or metabolic syndrome. Here we consider mechanisms by which dyslipidemia and the use of cholesterol-modifying drugs could influence the virus-host relationship. Cholesterol is essential for the assembly, replication and infectivity of enveloped virus particles; we highlight several cholesterol-modifying drugs with the potential to alter the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle that could be tested in in vitro and in vivo models. Although cholesterol is an essential component of immune cell membranes, excess levels can dysregulate protective immunity and promote exaggerated pulmonary and systemic inflammatory responses. Statins block the production of multiple sterols, oxysterols and isoprenoids, resulting in a pleotropic range of context-dependent effects on virus infectivity, immunity and inflammation. We highlight antiviral, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of cholesterol-modifying drugs that merit further consideration in the management of SARS-CoV-2 infection.</jats:p>
Digital pathology and artificial intelligence will be key to supporting clinical and academic cellular pathology through COVID-19 and future crises: the PathLAKE consortium perspective.
The measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak will likely remain a feature of our working lives until a suitable vaccine or treatment is found. The pandemic has had a substantial impact on clinical services, including cancer pathways. Pathologists are working remotely in many circumstances to protect themselves, colleagues, family members and the delivery of clinical services. The effects of COVID-19 on research and clinical trials have also been significant with changes to protocols, suspensions of studies and redeployment of resources to COVID-19. In this article, we explore the specific impact of COVID-19 on clinical and academic pathology and explore how digital pathology and artificial intelligence can play a key role to safeguarding clinical services and pathology-based research in the current climate and in the future.
Modifying nutritional substrates induces macrovesicular lipid droplet accumulation and metabolic alterations in a cellular model of hepatic steatosis.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) begins with steatosis, where a mixed macrovesicular pattern of large and small lipid droplets (LDs) develops. Since in vitro models recapitulating this are limited, the aims of this study were to develop mixed macrovesicular steatosis in immortalized hepatocytes and investigate effects on intracellular metabolism by altering nutritional substrates. METHODS:Huh7 cells were cultured in 11 mM glucose and 2% human serum (HS) for 7 days before additional sugars and fatty acids (FAs), either with 200 µM FAs (low fat low sugar; LFLS), 5.5 mM fructose + 200 µM FAs (low fat high sugar; LFHS), or 5.5 mM fructose + 800 µM FAs (high fat high sugar; HFHS), were added for 7 days. FA metabolism, lipid droplet characteristics, and transcriptomic signatures were investigated. RESULTS:Between the LFLS and LFHS conditions, there were few notable differences. In the HFHS condition, intracellular triacylglycerol (TAG) was increased and the LD pattern and distribution was similar to that found in primary steatotic hepatocytes. HFHS-treated cells had lower levels of de novo-derived FAs and secreted larger, TAG-rich lipoprotein particles. RNA sequencing and gene set enrichment analysis showed changes in several pathways including those involved in metabolism and cell cycle. CONCLUSIONS:Repeated doses of HFHS treatment resulted in a cellular model of NAFLD with a mixed macrovesicular LD pattern and metabolic dysfunction. Since these nutrients have been implicated in the development of NAFLD in humans, the model provides a good physiological basis for studying NAFLD development or regression in vitro.
Visualization of T Cell Migration in the Spleen Reveals a Network of Perivascular Pathways that Guide Entry into T Zones.
Lymphocyte homeostasis and immune surveillance require that T and B cells continuously recirculate between secondary lymphoid organs. Here, we used intravital microscopy to define lymphocyte trafficking routes within the spleen, an environment of open blood circulation and shear forces unlike other lymphoid organs. Upon release from arterioles into the red pulp sinuses, T cells latched onto perivascular stromal cells in a manner that was independent of the chemokine receptor CCR7 but sensitive to Gi protein-coupled receptor inhibitors. This latching sheltered T cells from blood flow and enabled unidirectional migration to the bridging channels and then to T zones, entry into which required CCR7. Inflammatory responses modified the chemotactic cues along the perivascular homing paths, leading to rapid block of entry. Our findings reveal a role for vascular structures in lymphocyte recirculation through the spleen, indicating the existence of separate entry and exit routes and that of a checkpoint located at the gate to the T zone.