News & Comment

  • Research Highlight |

    Two new studies identify the discrete stromal cell subtypes that produce IL-33 in adipose tissue to support the immune cells that maintain adipose tissue homeostasis.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Research Highlight |

    An intestinal mucus-dwelling bacterial species can trigger spontaneous colitis in mice lacking genes associated with Crohn’s disease.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    This study shows that circular RNAs that contain double-stranded regions can modulate innate immunity by inhibiting the pattern recognition receptor protein kinase R (PKR).

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Research Highlight |

    A new study describes how mechanical skin injury caused by scratching can promote food anaphylaxis by increasing the number of mast cells in the gut through a keratinocyte–ILC2–tuft cell pathway.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    Computational modelling predicts a co-stimulatory role for Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) in naive CD4+ T cell activation.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    To maintain homeostasis and minimize unnecessary, potentially damaging inflammatory responses, tissue-resident macrophages cloak small tissue lesions to prevent neutrophil activation.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Research Highlight |

    Two new studies show that the inflammasome protein NLRP1B becomes activated in response to pathogen-induced proteasomal degradation of its N-terminal fragment, thereby acting as a sensor of its own stability.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Research Highlight |

    This study identifies a role for group 3 innate lymphoid cells in IL-2 production in the small intestine to maintain intestinal homeostasis through effects on regulatory T cells.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    During inflammation, IL-17 rewires metabolic processes in lymph node fibroblastic reticular cells, thereby supporting their survival and population expansion.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    Liver macrophages produce the non-inflammatory factor IGFBP7, which has direct effects on liver metabolism in metabolic disease without requiring a switch to a pro-inflammatory phenotype.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    A new study shows that immune activation after infection involves competition for energy with physiological programmes such as maintaining a normal body temperature. This trade-off favours immune tolerance as a strategy for host defence.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Journal Club |

    Doreen Cantrell describes a 2005 paper by Graham Hardie and colleagues showing that Ca2+–calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinases could phosphorylate and activate AMPK, which suggested a biochemical link between T cell receptor signalling and ATP production.

    • Doreen A. Cantrell
  • Comment |

    Lifestyle-associated pathologies have reached epidemic proportions and urgent action is needed to protect the public from unhealthy diets. Here, the authors describe how the Western diet has long-lasting effects on the immune system that promote chronic metabolic inflammatory diseases.

    • Anette Christ
    •  & Eicke Latz
  • Research Highlight |

    Failure of anticancer immune responses is often due to T cell dysfunction, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this are incompletely understood. Two papers in Nature now identify NR4A transcription factors as key drivers of T cell dysfunction.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Journal Club |

    Mala Maini describes a 1996 paper by Frank Chisari and colleagues that showed CD8+ T cells can exert potent antiviral efficacy against hepatitis B virus without lysing infected cells, through the production of antiviral cytokines.

    • Mala K. Maini
  • Research Highlight |

    Tissue damage in the lungs can lead to the outgrowth of commensal bacterial species that promote fibrotic responses.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells induce macrophage production of pyrimidines that mediate tumour cell resistance to chemotherapy.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    The ABC family member ABCF1 has E2 ubiquitin-conjugating activity and regulates Toll-like receptor signalling and macrophage polarization to protect against lethal septic shock.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Research Highlight |

    This study describes a mechanism of tumour immune evasion through post-translational chemokine modification by dipeptidyl peptidase 4, which inhibits eosinophil-mediated antitumour responses.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    Stefan Feske and colleagues show that calcium signalling in TH17 cells promotes a pathogenic phenotype by regulating mitochondrial function and the antioxidant response.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    Natural killer cells can promote degeneration of injured axons and reduce post-injury hypersensitivity following peripheral nerve injury.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    A new study in Science identifies nemuri (nur) as encoding a secreted factor in Drosophila that has both antimicrobial and sleep-inducing properties, thus providing a direct link between sleep homeostasis and the response to infection.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    Having a fever helps T cells reach the site of infection, thanks to thermal sensing by heat shock proteins and induction of integrin-mediated T cell migration.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Research Highlight |

    The short-chain fatty acid butyrate, derived from commensal bacteria in the gut, is shown to be a specific inducer of intestinal macrophage microbicidal functions.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Research Highlight |

    Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes regulate systemic metabolism by limiting the bioavailability of GLP1.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    A mix of 11 strains of commensal bacteria is shown to specifically induce potent antimicrobial and antitumour IFNγ-producing CD8+ T cells in mice.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Journal Club |

    Ricardo Gazzinelli describes studies from the late 1980s and early 1990s that looked at the polarization of the recently described TH1 cell and TH2 cell subsets in the context of parasite infection.

    • Ricardo Gazzinelli
  • Research Highlight |

    Zika virus infection of neurons triggers a cell death-independent pathway through the necroptotic kinases RIPK1 and RIPK3 that alters cellular metabolism to suppress viral replication.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Research Highlight |

    TRM cells promote a melanoma–immune equilibrium that contains melanoma cells in the epidermis and prevents cancer progression.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Year in Review |

    The field of immunometabolism (both on the cellular as well as on the organismal level) is advancing rapidly. This article highlights several studies from 2018 that examine how immune cells can regulate systemic metabolism, as well as studies of the impact of organismal metabolism on the immune system in conditions such as obesity and cancer.

    • Diane Mathis
  • Year in Review |

    Several clinical studies in 2018 documented the potency of therapies based on T cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CAR T cells), but also revealed mechanisms of resistance. These insights may facilitate the design of improved CAR T cell therapies for B cell malignancies and beyond.

    • Christine E. Brown
    •  & Crystal L. Mackall
  • Journal Club |

    Cristina Tato describes a 2013 study that used mass cytometry to investigate the receptor repertoire of natural killer (NK) cells, bringing to light new questions regarding NK cell maturation, functionality and memory potential.

    • Cristina M. Tato
  • Year in Review |

    Recent research in mucosal immunology has uncovered novel lines of communication between the mucosal immune system and other cellular and metabolic pathways. Given the complexity of these networks, new precision approaches are being developed to dissect the contribution of specific pathways or selected microorganisms.

    • Gregory F. Sonnenberg
    •  & David Artis
  • Research Highlight |

    Commensal-specific T cells in the skin have built-in flexibility. They are pre-committed to a type 17 programme but are poised to produce type 2 cytokines following exposure to inflammatory mediators or tissue injury.

    • Lucy Bird
  • Year in Review |

    After many years of being largely neglected in neurodegenerative disease, the past few years have seen a turning point in the field’s view on the impact of microglia in neurological disorders.

    • Michael T. Heneka
  • Research Highlight |

    Infant NEC is associated with high mortality and brain injury. This study sheds light on the connections between gut and brain pathology and shows that microglia-targeted dendrimers, coupled to antioxidants, can protect from brain injury in a NEC mouse model.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Year in Review |

    Our knowledge of how the immune system changes with age has benefitted from a growing appreciation of the importance of systems-level analyses in humans. We are now beginning to uncover the global patterns of immune system development and decline in the young and the elderly.

    • Petter Brodin
  • Research Highlight |

    NLRP3 activators cause disassembly of the trans-Golgi network, and the dispersed trans-Golgi network serves as a scaffold for NLRP3 inflammasome assembly and activation.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Year in Review |

    The study of B cell biology is a mature field, but highlights from the past year remind us that there are still many exciting and unexpected things to be discovered in terms of B cell responses to antigen, germinal centres and plasma cells.

    • David Tarlinton
  • Year in Review |

    The field of innate immunity has been rapidly evolving and expanding its horizons during the past few years. 2018 was no exception, with the publication of several ground-breaking studies that bring into light new activators, regulators and signalling networks that drive innate immune responses and inflammation.

    • Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti
  • Research Highlight |

    The mechanism of epigenetic modification of primed immune genes during β-glucan-induced trained immunity is shown to involve the function of the long non-coding RNA UMLILO within topologically associating domains of chromosome loops.

    • Kirsty Minton
  • Year in Review |

    The generation of an HIV vaccine remains the holy grail for eliminating HIV infection worldwide. Major advances in 2018 centred on sequential multi-immunogen strategies that are designed to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies, identifying new targets and defining new approaches to immunogen evaluation.

    • Dennis R. Burton
  • Research Highlight |

    Probiotic microorganisms such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus can protect from bone loss by enhancing levels of butyrate, which leads to the expansion of regulatory T cells. These stimulate CD8+ T cells to secrete WNT10b, a bone anabolic factor.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • Research Highlight |

    A combination of radiotherapy and anti-CTLA4 checkpoint blockade in anti-CTLA4 unresponsive patients with non-small-cell lung cancer induced systemic T cell responses in some patients, likely through radiotherapy-induced upregulation of neoantigens.

    • Jordan Hindson
  • Research Highlight |

    Targeting GM-CSF in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation could prevent graft-versus-host disease while maintaining graft-versus-leukaemia responses.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    The ESCRT machinery is recruited to gasdermin D pores following inflammasome activation and repairs damaged membrane areas to prevent cell death.

    • Yvonne Bordon
  • Research Highlight |

    Uptake of apoptotic cell corpses by phagocytes requires the coordinated activity of SLC family membrane transporters to meet the metabolic demands of anti-inflammatory dead cell clearance.

    • Lucy Bird