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Cell Rep ; 36(8): 109591, 2021 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370154


The relationship between B cells and CD4 T cells has been carefully studied, revealing a collaborative effort in which B cells promote the activation, differentiation, and expansion of CD4 T cells while the so-called "helper" cells provide signals to B cells, influencing their class switching and fate. Interactions between B cells and CD8 T cells are not as well studied, although CD8 T cells exhibit an accelerated contraction after certain infections in B-cell-deficient mice. Here, we find that B cells significantly enhance primary CD8 T cell responses after vaccination. Moreover, memory CD8 numbers and function are impaired in B-cell-deficient animals, leading to increased susceptibility to bacterial challenge. We also show that interleukin-27 production by B cells contributes to their impact on primary, but not memory, CD8 responses. Better understanding of the interactions between CD8 T cells and B cells may aid in the design of more effective future vaccine strategies.

B-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Interleukin-27/immunology , Interleukin-27/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology , Animals , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Lymphocyte Count , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Receptors, Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination
Sci Transl Med ; 13(616): eabj1008, 2021 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518118


Red blood cells (RBCs) are essential for aerobic respiration through delivery of oxygen to distant tissues. However, RBCs are currently considered immunologically inert, and few, if any, secondary functions of RBCs have been identified. Here, we showed that RBCs serve as critical immune sensors through surface expression of the nucleic acid­sensing Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9). Mammalian RBCs expressed TLR9 on their surface and bound CpG-containing DNA derived from bacteria, plasmodia, and mitochondria. RBC-bound mitochondrial DNA was increased during human and murine sepsis and pneumonia. In vivo, CpG-carrying RBCs drove accelerated erythrophagocytosis and innate immune activation characterized by increased interferon signaling. Erythroid-specific deletion of TLR9 abrogated erythrophagocytosis and decreased local and systemic cytokine production during CpG-induced inflammation and polymicrobial sepsis. Thus, detection and capture of nucleic acid by TLR9-expressing RBCs regulated red cell clearance and inflammatory cytokine production, demonstrating that RBCs function as immune sentinels during pathologic states. Consistent with these findings, RBC-bound mitochondrial DNA was elevated in individuals with viral pneumonia and sepsis secondary to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and associated with anemia and severity of disease. These findings uncover a previously unappreciated role of RBCs as critical players in inflammation distinct from their function in gas transport.

Anemia , Immunity, Innate , Toll-Like Receptor 9 , Animals , DNA , Erythrocytes , Humans , Mice
Immunity ; 53(1): 19-25, 2020 07 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-623797


The elevated circulating levels of cytokines associated with a variety of infectious and immune-mediated conditions are frequently termed a cytokine storm. Here, we explain the protective functions of cytokines in "ideal" responses; the multi-factorial origins that can drive these responses to become pathological; and how this ultimately leads to vascular damage, immunopathology, and worsening clinical outcomes.

Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/blood , Cytokine Release Syndrome/pathology , Cytokines/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/blood , Inflammation/pathology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2