0 Q&A 3291 Views Apr 20, 2024

The advent of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) has enabled in-depth gene expression analysis of several thousand cells isolated from tissues. We recently reported the application of scRNAseq toward the dissection of the tumor-infiltrating T-cell repertoire in human pancreatic cancer samples. In this study, we demonstrated that combined whole transcriptome and T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing provides an effective way to identify tumor-reactive TCR clonotypes on the basis of gene expression signatures. An important aspect in this respect was the experimental validation of TCR-mediated anti-tumor reactivity by means of an in vitro functional assay, which is the subject of the present protocol. This assay involves the transient transfection of mRNA gene constructs encoding TCRα/β pairs into a well-defined human T-cell line, followed by co-cultivation with the tumor cells of interest and detection of T-cell activation by flow cytometry. Due to the high transfectability and the low background reactivity of the mock-transfected T-cell line to a wide variety of tumor cells, this assay offers a highly robust and versatile platform for the functional screening of large numbers of TCR clonotypes as identified in scRNAseq data sets. Whereas the assay was initially developed to test TCRs of human origin, it was more recently also applied successfully for the screening of TCRs of murine origin.

0 Q&A 1214 Views Feb 20, 2024

Biomaterials are designed to interact with biological systems to replace, support, enhance, or monitor their function. However, there are challenges associated with traditional biomaterials’ development due to the lack of underlying theory governing cell response to materials’ chemistry. This leads to the time-consuming process of testing different materials plus the adverse reactions in the body such as cytotoxicity and foreign body response. High-throughput screening (HTS) offers a solution to these challenges by enabling rapid and simultaneous testing of a large number of materials to determine their bio-interactions and biocompatibility. Secreted proteins regulate many physiological functions and determine the success of implanted biomaterials through directing cell behaviour. However, the majority of biomaterials’ HTS platforms are suitable for microscopic analyses of cell behaviour and not for investigating non-adherent cells or measuring cell secretions. Here, we describe a multi-well platform adaptable to robotic printing of polymers and suitable for secretome profiling of both adherent and non-adherent cells. We detail the platform's development steps, encompassing the preparation of individual cell culture chambers, polymer printing, and the culture environment, as well as examples to demonstrate surface chemical characterisation and biological assessments of secreted mediators. Such platforms will no doubt facilitate the discovery of novel biomaterials and broaden their scope by adapting wider arrays of cell types and incorporating assessments of both secretome and cell-bound interactions.

Key features

• Detailed protocols for preparation of substrate for contact printing of acrylate-based polymers including O2 plasma etching, functionalisation process, and Poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) dip coating.

• Preparations of 7 mm × 7 mm polymers employing pin printing system.

• Provision of confined area for each polymer using ProPlate® multi-well chambers.

• Compatibility of this platform was validated using adherent cells [primary human monocyte–derived macrophages (MDMs)) and non-adherent cells (primary human monocyte–derived dendritic cells (moDCs)].

• Examples of the adaptability of the platform for secretome analysis including five different cytokines using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA, DuoSet®).

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 531 Views Feb 5, 2024

Macrophages are at the center of innate immunity and iron metabolism. In the case of an infection, macrophages adapt their cellular iron metabolism to deprive iron from invading bacteria to combat intracellular bacterial proliferation. A concise evaluation of the cellular iron content upon an infection with bacterial pathogens and diverse cellular stimuli is necessary to identify underlying mechanisms concerning iron homeostasis in macrophages. For the characterization of cellular iron levels during infection, we established an in vitro infection model where the murine macrophage cell line J774A.1 is infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S.tm), the mouse counterpart to S. enterica serovar Typhi, under normal and iron-overload conditions using ferric chloride (FeCl3) treatment. To evaluate the effect of infection and iron stimulation on cellular iron levels, the macrophages are stained with FerroOrange. This fluorescent probe specifically detects Fe2+ ions and its fluorescence can be quantified photometrically in a plate reader. Importantly, FerroOrange fluorescence does not increase with chelated iron or other bivalent metal ions. In this protocol, we present a simple and reliable method to quantify cellular Fe2+ levels in cultured macrophages by applying a highly specific fluorescence probe (FerroOrange) in a TECAN Spark microplate reader. Compared to already established techniques, our protocol allows assessing cellular iron levels in innate immune cells without the use of radioactive iron isotopes or extensive sample preparation, exposing the cells to stress.

Key features

• Easy quantification of Fe2+ in cultured macrophages with a fluorescent probe.

• Analysis of iron in living cells without the need for fixation.

• Performed on a plate reader capable of 540 nm excitation and 585 nm emission by trained employees for handling biosafety level 2 bacteria.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 1878 Views Dec 20, 2023

Clearance of dying cells, named efferocytosis, is a pivotal function of professional phagocytes that impedes the accumulation of cell debris. Efferocytosis can be experimentally assessed by differentially tagging the target cells and professional phagocytes and analyzing by cell imaging or flow cytometry. Here, we describe an assay to evaluate the uptake of apoptotic cells (ACs) by human macrophages in vitro by labeling the different cells with commercially available dyes and analysis by flow cytometry. We detail the methods to prepare and label human macrophages and apoptotic lymphocytes and the in vitro approach to determine AC uptake. This protocol is based on previously published literature and allows for in vitro modeling of the efficiency of AC engulfment during continual efferocytosis process. Also, it can be modified to evaluate the clearance of different cell types by diverse professional phagocytes.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 995 Views Sep 20, 2023

Gammaherpesviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) are major modulators of the immune responses of their hosts. In the related study (PMID: 35857578), we investigated the role for Ly6Chi monocytes in shaping the function of effector CD4+ T cells in the context of a murine gammaherpesvirus infection (Murid gammaherpesvirus 4) as a model of human EBV. In order to unravel the polyfunctional properties of CD4+ T-cell subsets, we used multiparametric flow cytometry to perform intracellular staining on lung cells. As such, we have developed herein an intracellular staining workflow to identify on the same samples the cytotoxic and/or regulatory properties of CD4+ lymphocytes at the single-cell level. Briefly, following perfusion, collection, digestion, and filtration of the lung to obtain a single-cell suspension, lung cells were cultured for 4 h with protein transport inhibitors and specific stimulation media to accumulate cytokines of interest and/or cytotoxic granules. After multicolor surface labeling, fixation, and mild permeabilization, lung cells were stained for intracytoplasmic antigens and analyzed with a Fortessa 4-laser cytometer. This method of quantifying cytotoxic mediators as well as pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines by flow cytometry has allowed us to decipher at high resolution the functional heterogeneity of lung CD4+ T cells recruited after a viral infection. Therefore, this analysis provided a better understanding of the importance of CD4+ T-cell regulation to prevent the development of virus-induced immunopathologies in the lung.

Key features

• High-resolution profiling of the functional properties of lung-infiltrating CD4+ T cells after viral infection using conventional multiparametric flow cytometry.

• Detailed protocol for mouse lung dissection, preparation of single-cell suspension, and setup of multicolor surface/intracellular staining.

• Summary of optimal ex vivo restimulation conditions for investigating the functional polarization and cytokine production of lung-infiltrating CD4+ T cells.

• Comprehensive compilation of necessary biological and technical controls to ensure reliable data analysis and interpretation.

Graphical overview

Graphical abstract depicting the interactions between immune cells infiltrating the alveolar niche and the lung during respiratory infection with a gammaherpesvirus (Murid herpesvirus 4, MuHV-4). Two distinct situations are represented: the inflammatory response developed during viral replication in the lung, either in the presence (WT mice) or absence of regulatory monocytes (CCR2KO mice). Sequential process of the experiment is represented, starting from intratracheal instillation of MuHV-4 virions to tissue dissociation and multicolor staining for flow cytometry analysis.

0 Q&A 582 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 1167 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 2083 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.

0 Q&A 1678 Views Apr 20, 2022

CD4+ T cells are essential players in orchestrating the specific immune response against intracellular pathogens, and in inhibiting tumor development in an early stage. The activation of T cells is triggered by engagement of T cell receptors (TCRs). Here, CD3 and CD28 molecules are key factors, (co)stimulating signaling pathways essential for activation and proliferation of CD4+ T cells. T cell activation induces the formation of a tight mechanical bond between T cell and target cell, the so-called immunological synapse (IS). Due to this, mechanical cell properties, including stiffness, play a significant role in modulating cell functions. In the past, many approaches were made to investigate mechanical properties of immune cells, including micropipette aspiration, microplate-based rheometry, techniques based on deformation during cytometry, or the use of optical tweezers. However, the stiffness of T lymphocytes at a subcellular level at the IS still remains largely elusive.

With this protocol, we introduce a method based on atomic force microscopy (AFM), to investigate the local cellular stiffness of T cells on functionalized glass/Polydimethylsiloxan (PDMS) surfaces, which mimicks focal stimulation of target cells inducing IS formation by T cells. By applying the peak force nanomechanical mapping (QNM) technique, cellular surface structures and the local stiffness are determined simultaneously, with a resolution of approximately 60 nm. This protocol can be easily adapted to investigate the mechanical impact of numerous factors influencing IS formation and T cell activation.

Graphical abstract:

Overview of the experimental workflow.

Individual experimental steps are shown on the left, hands on and incubation times for each step are shown right.

0 Q&A 2466 Views Mar 20, 2022

As a model to interrogate human macrophage biology, macrophages differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) transcend other existing models by circumventing the variability seen in human monocyte-derived macrophages, whilst epitomizing macrophage phenotypic and functional characteristics over those offered by macrophage-like cell lines (Mukherjee et al., 2018). Furthermore, hiPSCs are amenable to genetic manipulation, unlike human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) (van Wilgenburg et al., 2013; Lopez-Yrigoyen et al., 2020), proposing boundless opportunities for specific disease modelling.

We outline an effective and efficient protocol that delivers a continual production of hiPSC-derived-macrophages (iMACs), exhibiting human macrophage surface and intracellular markers, together with functional activity.

The protocol describes the resuscitation, culture, and differentiation of hiPSC into mature terminal macrophages, via the initial and intermediate steps of expansion of hiPSCs, formation into embryoid bodies (EBs), and generation of hematopoietic myeloid precursors.

We offer a simplified, scalable, and adaptable technique that advances upon other protocols, utilizing feeder-free conditions and reduced growth factors, to produce high yields of consistent iMACs over a period of several months, economically.