Lambda interferons (IFNλs) or type III IFNs share homology, expression patterns, signaling cascades, and antiviral functions with type I IFNs. This has complicated the unwinding of their unique non-redundant roles. Through the systematic study of influenza virus infection in mice, we herein show that IFNλs are the first IFNs produced that act at the epithelial barrier to suppress initial viral spread without activating inflammation. If infection progresses, type I IFNs come into play to enhance viral resistance and induce pro-inflammatory responses essential for confronting infection but causing immunopathology. Central to this are neutrophils which respond to both cytokines to upregulate antimicrobial functions but exhibit pro-inflammatory activation only to type I IFNs. Accordingly, Ifnlr1-/- mice display enhanced type I IFN production, neutrophilia, lung injury, and lethality, while therapeutic administration of PEG-IFNλ potently suppresses these effects. IFNλs therefore constitute the front line of antiviral defense in the lung without compromising host fitness.
In multicellular organisms, dedicated regulatory circuits control cell type diversity and responses. The crosstalk and redundancies within these circuits and substantial cellular heterogeneity pose a major research challenge. Here, we present CRISP-seq, an integrated method for massively parallel single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-pooled screens. We show that profiling the genomic perturbation and transcriptome in the same cell enables us to simultaneously elucidate the function of multiple factors and their interactions. We applied CRISP-seq to probe regulatory circuits of innate immunity. By sampling tens of thousands of perturbed cells in vitro and in mice, we identified interactions and redundancies between developmental and signaling-dependent factors. These include opposing effects of Cebpb and Irf8 in regulating the monocyte/macrophage versus dendritic cell lineages and differential functions for Rela and Stat1/2 in monocyte versus dendritic cell responses to pathogens. This study establishes CRISP-seq as a broadly applicable, comprehensive, and unbiased approach for elucidating mammalian regulatory circuits.
The combined-immunotherapy of adoptive cell therapy (ACT) and cyclophosphamide (CTX) is one of the most efficient treatments for melanoma patients. However, no synergistic effects of CTX and ACT on the spatio-temporal dynamics of immunocytes in vivo have been described. Here, we visualized key cell events in immunotherapy-elicited immunoreactions in a multicolor-coded tumor microenvironment, and then established an optimal strategy of metronomic combined-immunotherapy to enhance anti-tumor efficacy. Intravital imaging data indicated that regulatory T cells formed an 'immunosuppressive ring' around a solid tumor. The CTX-ACT combined-treatment elicited synergistic immunoreactions in tumor areas, which included relieving the immune suppression, triggering the transient activation of endogenous tumor-infiltrating immunocytes, increasing the accumulation of adoptive cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and accelerating the infiltration of dendritic cells. These insights into the spatio-temporal dynamics of immunocytes are beneficial for optimizing immunotherapy and provide new approaches for elucidating the mechanisms underlying the involvement of immunocytes in cancer immunotherapy.