Immunology


Protocols in Current Issue
0 Q&A 39 Views Feb 5, 2023

Macrophages are at the center of innate immunity and are the main target cells of the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. The production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) is the host’s early response to invading microbes, as oxidative stress is highly toxic for bacteria. Adequate ROS/RNS production in infected macrophages is critical for the clearance of intracellular pathogens; this is achieved by several enzymes, including inducible NADPH phagocyte oxidase (NOX) and nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), respectively. The pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon gamma (IFNγ), primarily produced by activated natural killer cells and T-helper cells type 1, is a potent inducer of iNOS. Therefore, it is crucial for infection control through oxidative microbicidal activity.


To characterize the early oxidative stress response via ROS formation, which is critical for the reduction of Salmonella proliferation within macrophages, we established an in vitro model of murine macrophages infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S.tm). This serovar induces a systemic infection in mice that is frequently used as a model for typhoid fever, which, in human subjects, is caused by Salmonella Typhi.


We generated bone marrow–derived macrophages (BMDM) from C57BL/6N wildtype mice using macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) stimulation for six days. Thereafter, we infected BMDM with S.tm for one hour. Shortly before infection, cells were stained with CellROXTM Deep Red reagent. In its reduced form, CellROXTM is non-fluorescent. As a result of oxidation by ROS, this reagent exhibits strong fluorescence and persists within the cells. Subsequently, changes as a result of the oxidative stress response can be measured with a TECAN Spark microplate reader over time.


We designed this protocol to measure oxidative stress in macrophages through the course of an infection with an intracellular bacterium. The protocol has several advantages over established techniques. First, it allows to continuously monitor and quantify ROS production in living cells from the very start of the infection to the final clearance of the intracellular pathogen. Second, this protocol enables efficient ROS detection without stressing the cells by detaching or staining procedures.


Graphical abstract


Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 160 Views Jan 5, 2023

Accessible chromatin regions modulate gene expression by acting as cis-regulatory elements. Understanding the epigenetic landscape by mapping accessible regions of DNA is therefore imperative to decipher mechanisms of gene regulation under specific biological contexts of interest. The assay for transposase-accessible chromatin sequencing (ATAC-seq) has been widely used to detect accessible chromatin and the recent introduction of single-cell technology has increased resolution to the single-cell level. In a recent study, we used droplet-based, single-cell ATAC-seq technology (scATAC-seq) to reveal the epigenetic profile of the transit-amplifying subset of thymic epithelial cells (TECs), which was identified previously using single-cell RNA-sequencing technology (scRNA-seq). This protocol allows the preparation of nuclei from TECs in order to perform droplet-based scATAC-seq and its integrative analysis with scRNA-seq data obtained from the same cell population. Integrative analysis has the advantage of identifying cell types in scATAC-seq data based on cell cluster annotations in scRNA-seq analysis.

0 Q&A 444 Views Jan 5, 2023

Traditional drug safety assessments often fail to predict complications in humans, especially when the drug targets the immune system. Rodent-based preclinical animal models are often ill-suited for predicting immunotherapy-mediated adverse events in humans, in part because of the fundamental differences in immunological responses between species and the human relevant expression profile of the target antigen, if it is expected to be present in normal, healthy tissue. While human-relevant cell-based models of tissues and organs promise to bridge this gap, conventional in vitro two-dimensional models fail to provide the complexity required to model the biological mechanisms of immunotherapeutic effects. Also, like animal models, they fail to recapitulate physiologically relevant levels and patterns of organ-specific proteins, crucial for capturing pharmacology and safety liabilities. Organ-on-Chip models aim to overcome these limitations by combining micro-engineering with cultured primary human cells to recreate the complex multifactorial microenvironment and functions of native tissues and organs. In this protocol, we show the unprecedented capability of two human Organs-on-Chip models to evaluate the safety profile of T cell–bispecific antibodies (TCBs) targeting tumor antigens. These novel tools broaden the research options available for a mechanistic understanding of engineered therapeutic antibodies and for assessing safety in tissues susceptible to adverse events.


Graphical abstract



Figure 1. Graphical representation of the major steps in target-dependent T cell–bispecific antibodies engagement and immunomodulation, as performed in the Colon Intestine-Chip

0 Q&A 331 Views Dec 5, 2022

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a significant complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In order to develop new therapeutic approaches, there is a need to recapitulate GvHD effects in pre-clinical, in vivo systems, such as mouse and humanized mouse models. In humanized mouse models of GvHD, mice are reconstituted with human immune cells, which become activated by xenogeneic (xeno) stimuli, causing a multi-system disorder known as xenoGvHD. Testing the ability of new therapies to prevent or delay the development of xenoGvHD is often used as pre-clinical, proof-of-concept data, creating the need for standardized methodology to induce, monitor, and report xenoGvHD. Here, we describe detailed methods for how to induce xenoGvHD by injecting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells into immunodeficient NOD SCID gamma mice. We provide comprehensive details on methods for human T cell preparation and injection, mouse monitoring, data collection, interpretation, and reporting. Additionally, we provide an example of the potential utility of the xenoGvHD model to assess the biological activity of a regulatory T-cell therapy. Use of this protocol will allow better standardization of this model and comparison of datasets across different studies.


Graphical abstract




0 Q&A 307 Views Dec 5, 2022

Macrophages are a heterogeneous class of innate immune cells that offer a primary line of defense to the body by phagocytizing pathogens, digesting them, and presenting the antigens to T and B cells to initiate adaptive immunity. Through specialized pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory activities, macrophages also directly contribute to the clearance of infections and the repair of tissue injury. Macrophages are distributed throughout the body and largely carry out tissue-specific functions. In skeletal muscle, macrophages regulate tissue repair and regeneration; however, the characteristics of these macrophages are not yet fully understood, and their involvement in skeletal muscle aging remains to be elucidated. To investigate these functions, it is critical to efficiently isolate macrophages from skeletal muscle with sufficient purity and yield for various downstream analyses. However, methods to prepare enriched skeletal muscle macrophages are scarce. Here, we describe in detail an optimized method to isolate skeletal muscle macrophages from mice. This method has allowed the isolation of CD45+/CD11b+ macrophage-enriched cells from young and old mice, which can be further used for flow cytometric analysis, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), and single-cell RNA sequencing.

0 Q&A 260 Views Dec 5, 2022

Immunoglobulins are proteins produced by the immune system, which bind specifically to the antigen that induced their formation and target it for destruction. Highly purified human immunoglobulins are commonly used in research laboratories for several applications, such as in vitro to obtain hybridomas and in vivo animal immunisation. Several affinity purification methods are used to purify immunoglobulins from human serum, such as protein A/G Sepharose beads, polyethylene glycol, and caprylic acid ammonium sulphate precipitation. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for purification of high-quality IgG from human serum, using affinity chromatography with protein G. The protocol is divided into four main steps (column preparation, serum running, wash, and elution) for IgG purification, and two extra steps (protein dialysis and sucrose concentration) that should be performed when buffer exchange and protein concentration are required. Several IgG affinity purification methods using protein A or G are available in the literature, but protein A has a higher affinity for rabbit, pig, dog, and cat IgG, while protein G has a higher affinity for mouse and human IgG. This affinity-based purification protocol uses protein G for a highly specific purification of human IgG for animal immunization, and it is particularly useful to purify large amounts of human IgG.


Graphical abstract




IgG purification protocol.
The IgG purification protocol consists of four main steps (column preparation, serum running, wash, and elution) and two extra steps (protein dialysis and concentration). a. Diluted serum is added to the protein G beads and IgG binds to the Fc receptors on protein G beads. b. Beads are washed in Hartman’s solution to fully remove the complex protein mixture (multicolour shapes, as depicted in the graphical abstract). c. IgG (orange triangles, as depicted in the graphical abstract) are removed from protein G with glycine and collected in Tris buffer. d. The IgG is transferred into a semi-permeable membrane (‘snake skin’) and allowed to dialyse overnight for buffer exchange with a physiological solution (Hartmann’s).


0 Q&A 554 Views Nov 5, 2022

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and pulmonary hypertension associated with BPD (BPD-PH) are of multifactorial origin and share common risk factors. Most murine models of BPD expose newborn pups to only one of these risk factors—more commonly postnatal hyperoxia—thereby mimicking the vital increased fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) that preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units often require. To improve representation of the multifactorial origins of BPD and BPD-PH, we established a double hit model, combining antenatal systemic inflammation followed by postnatal hyperoxia. On embryonic day 14, pups are exposed to systemic maternal inflammation via a single intraperitoneal injection of 150 µg/kg of lipopolysaccharide to the dam. Within 24 h after birth, pups and dams are randomized and exposed to gas with either an FiO2 of 0.21 (room air) or 0.65 (hyperoxia 65%). In our BPD and BPD-PH double hit model, we can obtain multiple readouts from individual pups that include echocardiography, lung histology and immunohistochemistry, ex vivo X-ray micro computed tomography, and pulmonary and plasmatic immunity by RNA, protein, or flow cytometry.


Graphical abstract:



Figure 1. Murine double hit model of cardiopulmonary disease.
On embryonic day (E)14, pups are exposed to systemic maternal inflammation via a single intraperitoneal injection of 150 µg/kg lipopolysaccharide to the dam. Within 24 h after birth, pups and dams are randomized to be exposed to gas with either a fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) of 0.21 (air; 21% O2) or 0.65 (hyperoxia; 65% O2) for a maximum of 28 days. According to the murine stage of lung development (Schittny, 2017), experimental endpoints include postnatal day (D)3, D5, D14, D28, and D60.


0 Q&A 1018 Views Oct 5, 2022

The sirtuin 6 has emerged as a regulator of acute and chronic immune responses. Recent findings show that SIRT6 is necessary for mounting an active inflammatory response in macrophages. In vitro studies revealed that SIRT6 is stabilized in the cytoplasm to promote tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) secretion. Notably, SIRT6 also promotes TNFα secretion by resident peritoneal macrophages upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation in vivo. Although many studies have investigated SIRT6 function in the immune response through different genetic and pharmacological approaches, direct measurements of in vivo SIRT6 expression in immune cells by flow cytometry have not yet been performed. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for peritoneal fluid extraction, isolation, and preparation of peritoneal cavity cells, intracellular SIRT6 staining, and flow cytometry analysis to measure SIRT6 levels in mice peritoneal macrophages. By providing a robust method to quantify SIRT6 levels in different populations of macrophages, this method will contribute to deepening our understanding of the role of SIRT6 in immunity, as well as in other cellular processes regulated by SIRT6.


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0 Q&A 772 Views Sep 5, 2022

Type 1 regulatory T (Tr1) cells are an immunoregulatory CD4+ Foxp3- IL-10high T cell subset with therapeutic potential for various inflammatory diseases. Retroviral (RV) transduction has been a valuable tool in defining the signaling pathways and transcription factors that regulate Tr1 differentiation and suppressive function. This protocol describes a method for RV transduction of naïve CD4+ T cells differentiating under Tr1 conditions, without the use of reagents such as polybrene or RetroNectin. A major advantage of this protocol over others is that it allows for the role of genes of interest on both differentiation and function of Tr1 cells to be interrogated. This is due to the high efficiency of RV transduction combined with the use of an IL10GFP/Foxp3RFP dual reporter mouse model, which enables successfully transduced Tr1 cells to be identified and sorted for functional assays. In addition, this protocol may be utilized for dual/multiple transduction approaches and transduction of other lymphocyte populations, such as CD8+ T cells.

0 Q&A 1290 Views Aug 20, 2022

Abdominal surgeries are frequently associated with the development of post-surgical adhesions. These are irreversible fibrotic scar bands that appear between abdominal organs and the abdominal wall. Patients suffering from adhesions are at risk of severe complications, such as small bowel obstruction, chronic pelvic pain, or infertility. To date, no cure exists, and the understanding of underlying molecular mechanisms of adhesion formation is incomplete. The current paradigm largely relies on sterile injury mouse models. However, abdominal surgeries in human patients are rarely completely sterile procedures. Here, we describe a modular surgical procedure for simultaneous or separate induction of sterile injury and microbial contamination. Combined, these insults synergistically lead to adhesion formation in the mouse peritoneal cavity. Surgical trauma is confined to a localized sterile injury of the peritoneum. Microbial contamination of the peritoneal cavity is induced by a limited perforation of the microbe-rich large intestine or by injection of fecal content. The presented protocol extends previous injury-based adhesion models by an additional insult through microbial contamination, which may more adequately model the clinical context of abdominal surgery.


Graphical abstract:




0 Q&A 1359 Views Aug 5, 2022

Genome-editing technologies, especially CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeats)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9), endows researchers the ability to make efficient, simple, and precise genomic DNA changes in many eukaryotic cell types. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated efficient gene knockout holds huge potential to improve the efficacy and safety of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell-based immunotherapies. Here, we describe an optimized approach for a complete loss of endogenous T cell receptor (TCR) protein expression, by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated TCR α constant (TRAC) and TCR β constant (TRBC) gene knockout, followed by subsequent CD3 negative selection in engineered human orthoCAR19 T cells. We believe this method can be expanded beyond CAR T cell application, and target other cell surface receptors.


Graphical abstract:



Schematic overview of the two-step process of endogenous TCR depletion in engineered human orthoCAR19 T cells using (1) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout followed by (2) CD3 negative selection.





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