Immune cells activate in binary, switch-like fashion via large protein assemblies known as signalosomes, but the molecular mechanism of the switch is not yet understood. Here, we employed an in-cell biophysical approach to dissect the assembly mechanism of the CARD-BCL10-MALT1 (CBM) signalosome, which governs NF-κB activation in both innate and adaptive immunity. We found that the switch consists of a sequence-encoded and deeply conserved nucleation barrier to ordered polymerization by the adaptor protein BCL10. The particular structure of the BCL10 polymers did not matter for activity. Using optogenetic tools and single-cell transcriptional reporters, we discovered that endogenous BCL10 is functionally supersaturated even in unstimulated human cells, and this results in a predetermined response to stimulation upon nucleation by activated CARD multimers. Our findings may inform on the progressive nature of age-associated inflammation, and suggest that signalosome structure has evolved via selection for kinetic rather than equilibrium properties of the proteins.
Original data underlying this manuscript can be accessed from the Stowers Original Data Repository at http://www.stowers.org/research/publications/libpb-1675
- Randal Halfmann
- Alejandro Rodriguez Gama
- Randal Halfmann
- Jay R Unruh
- Randal Halfmann
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Jungsan Sohn, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, United States
- Received: April 28, 2022
- Accepted: June 20, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: June 21, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Rodriguez Gama et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The outcome of infection is dependent on the ability of viruses to manipulate the infected cell to evade immunity, and the ability of the immune response to overcome this evasion. Understanding this process is key to understanding pathogenesis, genetic risk factors, and both natural and vaccine-induced immunity. SARS-CoV-2 antagonises the innate interferon response, but whether it manipulates innate cellular immunity is unclear. An unbiased proteomic analysis determined how cell surface protein expression is altered on SARS-CoV-2-infected lung epithelial cells, showing downregulation of activating NK ligands B7-H6, MICA, ULBP2, and Nectin1, with minimal effects on MHC-I. This occurred at the level of protein synthesis, could be mediated by Nsp1 and Nsp14, and correlated with a reduction in NK cell activation. This identifies a novel mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 host-shutoff antagonises innate immunity. Later in the disease process, strong antibody-dependent NK cell activation (ADNKA) developed. These responses were sustained for at least 6 months in most patients, and led to high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Depletion of spike-specific antibodies confirmed their dominant role in neutralisation, but these antibodies played only a minor role in ADNKA compared to antibodies to other proteins, including ORF3a, Membrane, and Nucleocapsid. In contrast, ADNKA induced following vaccination was focussed solely on spike, was weaker than ADNKA following natural infection, and was not boosted by the second dose. These insights have important implications for understanding disease progression, vaccine efficacy, and vaccine design.
A new study sheds light on how SARS-CoV-2 influences the way natural killer cells can recognize and kill infected cells.