Publications by authors named "Kimberly M Cirelli"

11 Publications

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Targeting HIV Env immunogens to B cell follicles in nonhuman primates through immune complex or protein nanoparticle formulations.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 Aug 5;5(1):72. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.

Following immunization, high-affinity antibody responses develop within germinal centers (GCs), specialized sites within follicles of the lymph node (LN) where B cells proliferate and undergo somatic hypermutation. Antigen availability within GCs is important, as B cells must acquire and present antigen to follicular helper T cells to drive this process. However, recombinant protein immunogens such as soluble human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope (Env) trimers do not efficiently accumulate in follicles following traditional immunization. Here, we demonstrate two strategies to concentrate HIV Env immunogens in follicles, via the formation of immune complexes (ICs) or by employing self-assembling protein nanoparticles for multivalent display of Env antigens. Using rhesus macaques, we show that within a few days following immunization, free trimers were present in a diffuse pattern in draining LNs, while trimer ICs and Env nanoparticles accumulated in B cell follicles. Whole LN imaging strikingly revealed that ICs and trimer nanoparticles concentrated in as many as 500 follicles in a single LN within two days after immunization. Imaging of LNs collected seven days postimmunization showed that Env nanoparticles persisted on follicular dendritic cells in the light zone of nascent GCs. These findings suggest that the form of antigen administered in vaccination can dramatically impact localization in lymphoid tissues and provides a new rationale for the enhanced immune responses observed following immunization with ICs or nanoparticles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00223-1DOI Listing
August 2020

Targeting HIV Env immunogens to B cell follicles in nonhuman primates through immune complex or protein nanoparticle formulations.

NPJ Vaccines 2020 5;5:72. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA.

Following immunization, high-affinity antibody responses develop within germinal centers (GCs), specialized sites within follicles of the lymph node (LN) where B cells proliferate and undergo somatic hypermutation. Antigen availability within GCs is important, as B cells must acquire and present antigen to follicular helper T cells to drive this process. However, recombinant protein immunogens such as soluble human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope (Env) trimers do not efficiently accumulate in follicles following traditional immunization. Here, we demonstrate two strategies to concentrate HIV Env immunogens in follicles, via the formation of immune complexes (ICs) or by employing self-assembling protein nanoparticles for multivalent display of Env antigens. Using rhesus macaques, we show that within a few days following immunization, free trimers were present in a diffuse pattern in draining LNs, while trimer ICs and Env nanoparticles accumulated in B cell follicles. Whole LN imaging strikingly revealed that ICs and trimer nanoparticles concentrated in as many as 500 follicles in a single LN within two days after immunization. Imaging of LNs collected seven days postimmunization showed that Env nanoparticles persisted on follicular dendritic cells in the light zone of nascent GCs. These findings suggest that the form of antigen administered in vaccination can dramatically impact localization in lymphoid tissues and provides a new rationale for the enhanced immune responses observed following immunization with ICs or nanoparticles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00223-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7406516PMC
August 2020

Slow Delivery Immunization Enhances HIV Neutralizing Antibody and Germinal Center Responses via Modulation of Immunodominance.

Cell 2019 05 9;177(5):1153-1171.e28. Epub 2019 May 9.

Division of Vaccine Discovery, La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (Scripps CHAVI-ID), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. Electronic address:

Conventional immunization strategies will likely be insufficient for the development of a broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) vaccine for HIV or other difficult pathogens because of the immunological hurdles posed, including B cell immunodominance and germinal center (GC) quantity and quality. We found that two independent methods of slow delivery immunization of rhesus monkeys (RMs) resulted in more robust T follicular helper (T) cell responses and GC B cells with improved Env-binding, tracked by longitudinal fine needle aspirates. Improved GCs correlated with the development of >20-fold higher titers of autologous nAbs. Using a new RM genomic immunoglobulin locus reference, we identified differential IgV gene use between immunization modalities. Ab mapping demonstrated targeting of immunodominant non-neutralizing epitopes by conventional bolus-immunized animals, whereas slow delivery-immunized animals targeted a more diverse set of epitopes. Thus, alternative immunization strategies can enhance nAb development by altering GCs and modulating the immunodominance of non-neutralizing epitopes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2019.04.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6619430PMC
May 2019

Three Dense Granule Proteins Are Required for Induction of Lewis Rat Macrophage Pyroptosis.

mBio 2019 01 8;10(1). Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, California, USA

Upon invasion of Lewis rat macrophages, rapidly induces programmed cell death (pyroptosis), which prevents replication, possibly explaining the resistance of the Lewis rat to Using a chemical mutagenesis screen, we identified mutants that no longer induced pyroptosis. Whole-genome sequencing led to the identification of three parasitophorous vacuole-localized dense granule proteins, GRA35, GRA42, and GRA43, that are individually required for induction of Lewis rat macrophage pyroptosis. Macrophage infection with Δ, Δ, and Δ parasites led to greatly reduced cell death rates and enhanced parasite replication. Lewis rat macrophages infected with parasites containing a single, double, or triple deletion of these GRAs showed similar levels of cell viability, suggesting that the three GRAs function in the same pathway. Deletion of or resulted in GRA35 (and other GRAs) being retained inside the parasitophorous vacuole instead of being localized to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. Despite having greatly enhanced replication in Lewis rat macrophages , Δ, Δ, and Δ parasites did not establish a chronic infection in Lewis rats. did not induce F344 rat macrophage pyroptosis, but F344 rats infected with Δ, Δ, and Δ parasites had reduced cyst numbers. Thus, these GRAs determined parasite fitness in F344 rats. Overall, our data suggest that these three dense granule proteins play a critical role in establishing a chronic infection , independently of their role in mediating macrophage pyroptosis, likely due to their importance in regulating protein localization to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. Inflammasomes are major components of the innate immune system and are responsible for detecting various microbial and environmental danger signals. Upon invasion of Lewis rat macrophages, the parasite rapidly activates the NLRP1 inflammasome, resulting in pyroptosis and elimination of the parasite's replication niche. The work reported here revealed that GRA35, GRA42, and GRA43 are required for induction of Lewis rat macrophage pyroptosis. GRA42 and GRA43 mediate the correct localization of other GRAs, including GRA35, to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. These three GRAs were also found to be important for parasite fitness in a -susceptible rat strain, independently of their role in NLRP1 inflammasome activation, suggesting that they perform other important functions. Thus, this study identified three GRAs that mediate the induction of Lewis rat macrophage pyroptosis and are required for pathogenesis of the parasite.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02388-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6325250PMC
January 2019

Comparative analysis of activation induced marker (AIM) assays for sensitive identification of antigen-specific CD4 T cells.

PLoS One 2017 24;12(10):e0186998. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

CR-CHUM, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Québec, Canada.

The identification and study of antigen-specific CD4 T cells, both in peripheral blood and in tissues, is key for a broad range of immunological research, including vaccine responses and infectious diseases. Detection of these cells is hampered by both their rarity and their heterogeneity, in particular with regards to cytokine secretion profiles. These factors prevent the identification of the total pool of antigen-specific CD4 T cells by classical methods. We have developed assays for the highly sensitive detection of such cells by measuring the upregulation of surface activation induced markers (AIM). Here, we compare two such assays based on concurrent expression of CD69 plus CD40L (CD154) or expression of OX40 plus CD25, and we develop additional AIM assays based on OX40 plus PD-L1 or 4-1BB. We compare the relative sensitivity of these assays for detection of vaccine and natural infection-induced CD4 T cell responses and show that these assays identify distinct, but overlapping populations of antigen-specific CD4 T cells, a subpopulation of which can also be detected on the basis of cytokine synthesis. Bystander activation had minimal effect on AIM markers. However, some T regulatory cells upregulate CD25 upon antigen stimulation. We therefore validated AIM assays designed to exclude most T regulatory cells, for both human and non-human primate (NHP, Macaca mulatta) studies. Overall, through head-to-head comparisons and methodological improvements, we show that AIM assays represent a sensitive and valuable method for the detection of antigen-specific CD4 T cells.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186998PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5655442PMC
November 2017

Germinal center enhancement by extended antigen availability.

Curr Opin Immunol 2017 Aug 21;47:64-69. Epub 2017 Jul 21.

Division of Vaccine Discovery, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Vaccine elicitation of protective antibody responses has proved difficult for a number of important human pathogens, including HIV-1. The amount of somatic hypermutation associated with the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV has not been achieved using conventional immunization strategies. An underexplored aspect of vaccine design is modulation of antigen kinetics. Immunization strategies with extended antigen availability have recently been shown to enhance humoral responses. In this review, we explore the mechanisms through which sustained antigen availability can enhance germinal center responses and the potency of antibody responses. These potential mechanisms include shifting B cell recognition away from non-neutralizing immunodominant epitopes, altered kinetics of immune complex deposition, improved T follicular helper (Tfh) cell responses, enhanced affinity maturation, and enhanced development of B cell memory. Finally, we discuss immunization strategies that result in extended antigen availability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coi.2017.06.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5626612PMC
August 2017

Elicitation of Robust Tier 2 Neutralizing Antibody Responses in Nonhuman Primates by HIV Envelope Trimer Immunization Using Optimized Approaches.

Immunity 2017 06;46(6):1073-1088.e6

Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center and the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA; Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

The development of stabilized recombinant HIV envelope trimers that mimic the virion surface molecule has increased enthusiasm for a neutralizing antibody (nAb)-based HIV vaccine. However, there is limited experience with recombinant trimers as immunogens in nonhuman primates, which are typically used as a model for humans. Here, we tested multiple immunogens and immunization strategies head-to-head to determine their impact on the quantity, quality, and kinetics of autologous tier 2 nAb development. A bilateral, adjuvanted, subcutaneous immunization protocol induced reproducible tier 2 nAb responses after only two immunizations 8 weeks apart, and these were further enhanced by a third immunization with BG505 SOSIP trimer. We identified immunogens that minimized non-neutralizing V3 responses and demonstrated that continuous immunogen delivery could enhance nAb responses. nAb responses were strongly associated with germinal center reactions, as assessed by lymph node fine needle aspiration. This study provides a framework for preclinical and clinical vaccine studies targeting nAb elicitation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2017.05.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483234PMC
June 2017

The Toxoplasma Dense Granule Proteins GRA17 and GRA23 Mediate the Movement of Small Molecules between the Host and the Parasitophorous Vacuole.

Cell Host Microbe 2015 May;17(5):642-52

Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan pathogen in the phylum Apicomplexa that resides within an intracellular parasitophorous vacuole (PV) that is selectively permeable to small molecules through unidentified mechanisms. We have identified GRA17 as a Toxoplasma-secreted protein that localizes to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) and mediates passive transport of small molecules across the PVM. GRA17 is related to the putative Plasmodium translocon protein EXP2 and conserved across PV-residing Apicomplexa. The PVs of GRA17-deficient parasites have aberrant morphology, reduced permeability to small molecules, and structural instability. GRA17-deficient parasites proliferate slowly and are avirulent in mice. These GRA17-deficient phenotypes are rescued by complementation with Plasmodium EXP2. GRA17 functions synergistically with a related protein, GRA23. Exogenous expression of GRA17 or GRA23 alters the membrane conductance properties of Xenopus oocytes in a manner consistent with a large non-selective pore. Thus, GRA17 and GRA23 provide a molecular basis for PVM permeability and nutrient access.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2015.04.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435723PMC
May 2015

Inflammasome sensor NLRP1 controls rat macrophage susceptibility to Toxoplasma gondii.

PLoS Pathog 2014 Mar 13;10(3):e1003927. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Microbial Pathogenesis Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.

Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that infects a wide range of warm-blooded species. Rats vary in their susceptibility to this parasite. The Toxo1 locus conferring Toxoplasma resistance in rats was previously mapped to a region of chromosome 10 containing Nlrp1. This gene encodes an inflammasome sensor controlling macrophage sensitivity to anthrax lethal toxin (LT) induced rapid cell death (pyroptosis). We show here that rat strain differences in Toxoplasma infected macrophage sensitivity to pyroptosis, IL-1β/IL-18 processing, and inhibition of parasite proliferation are perfectly correlated with NLRP1 sequence, while inversely correlated with sensitivity to anthrax LT-induced cell death. Using recombinant inbred rats, SNP analyses and whole transcriptome gene expression studies, we narrowed the candidate genes for control of Toxoplasma-mediated rat macrophage pyroptosis to four genes, one of which was Nlrp1. Knockdown of Nlrp1 in pyroptosis-sensitive macrophages resulted in higher parasite replication and protection from cell death. Reciprocally, overexpression of the NLRP1 variant from Toxoplasma-sensitive macrophages in pyroptosis-resistant cells led to sensitization of these resistant macrophages. Our findings reveal Toxoplasma as a novel activator of the NLRP1 inflammasome in rat macrophages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003927DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953412PMC
March 2014

Dual role for inflammasome sensors NLRP1 and NLRP3 in murine resistance to Toxoplasma gondii.

mBio 2014 Feb 18;5(1). Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Unlabelled: Induction of immunity that limits Toxoplasma gondii infection in mice is critically dependent on the activation of the innate immune response. In this study, we investigated the role of cytoplasmic nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing a pyrin domain (NLRP) inflammasome sensors during acute toxoplasmosis in mice. We show that in vitro Toxoplasma infection of murine bone marrow-derived macrophages activates the NLRP3 inflammasome, resulting in the rapid production and cleavage of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), with no measurable cleavage of IL-18 and no pyroptosis. Paradoxically, Toxoplasma-infected mice produced large quantities of IL-18 but had no measurable IL-1β in their serum. Infection of mice deficient in NLRP3, caspase-1/11, IL-1R, or the inflammasome adaptor protein ASC led to decreased levels of circulating IL-18, increased parasite replication, and death. Interestingly, mice deficient in NLRP1 also displayed increased parasite loads and acute mortality. Using mice deficient in IL-18 and IL-18R, we show that this cytokine plays an important role in limiting parasite replication to promote murine survival. Our findings reveal T. gondii as a novel activator of the NLRP1 and NLRP3 inflammasomes in vivo and establish a role for these sensors in host resistance to toxoplasmosis.

Importance: Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that are a major component of the innate immune system. They contain "sensor" proteins that are responsible for detecting various microbial and environmental danger signals and function by activating caspase-1, an enzyme that mediates cleavage and release of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. Toxoplasma gondii is a highly successful protozoan parasite capable of infecting a wide range of host species that have variable levels of resistance. We report here that T. gondii is a novel activator of the NLRP1 and NLRP3 inflammasomes in vivo and establish a role for these sensors in host resistance to toxoplasmosis. Using mice deficient in IL-18 and IL-18R, we show that the IL-18 cytokine plays a pivotal role by limiting parasite replication to promote murine survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01117-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944820PMC
February 2014