Baby’s First Bacteria: Discriminating Colonizing Commensals from Pathogens.

At birth, microbes rapidly colonize our epithelial surfaces. In this issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Leech et al. (2019) uncover how the neonatal immune system discriminates between a colonizing commensal and pathogen to selectively generate tolerance to commensal species.

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Dietary Intake Regulates the Circulating Inflammatory Monocyte Pool.

Caloric restriction is known to improve inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, the mechanisms by which reduced caloric intake modulates inflammation are poorly understood. Here we show that short-term fasting reduced monocyte metabolic and inflammatory activity and drastically reduced the number of circulating monocytes. Regulation of peripheral monocyte numbers was dependent on dietary glucose and protein levels. Specifically, we found that activation of the low-energy sensor 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in hepatocytes and suppression of systemic CCL2 production by peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor alpha (PPARα) reduced monocyte mobilization from the bone marrow. Importantly, we show that fasting improves chronic inflammatory diseases without compromising monocyte emergency mobilization during acute infectious inflammation and tissue repair. These results reveal that caloric intake and liver energy sensors dictate the blood and tissue immune tone and link dietary habits to inflammatory disease outcome.

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T-Cell Deletion of MyD88 Connects IL17 and IκBζ to RAS Oncogenesis

DOI: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-0227

Cancer development requires a favorable tissue microenvironment. By deleting Myd88 in keratinocytes or specific bone marrow subpopulations in oncogenic RAS-mediated skin carcinogenesis, we show that IL17 from infiltrating T cells and IκBζ signaling in keratinocytes are essential to produce a permissive microenvironment and tumor formation. Both normal and RAS-transformed keratinocytes respond to tumor promoters by activating canonical NF-κB and IκBζ signaling, releasing specific cytokines and chemokines that attract Th17 cells through MyD88-dependent signaling in T cells. The release of IL17 into the microenvironment elevates IκBζ in normal and RAS-transformed keratinocytes. Activation of IκBζ signaling is required for the expression of specific promoting factors induced by IL17 in normal keratinocytes and constitutively expressed in RAS-initiated keratinocytes. Deletion of Nfkbiz in keratinocytes impairs RAS-mediated benign tumor formation. Transcriptional profiling and gene set enrichment analysis of IκBζ−deficient RAS-initiated keratinocytes indicate that IκBζ signaling is common for RAS transformation of multiple epithelial cancers. Probing The Cancer Genome Atlas datasets using this transcriptional profile indicates that reduction of IκBζ signaling during cancer progression associates with poor prognosis in RAS-driven human cancers.

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Choreographing Immunity in the Skin Epithelial Barrier.

The skin interfaces with the external environment and is home to a myriad of immune cells that patrol the barrier to ward off harmful agents and aid in tissue repair. The formation of the cutaneous immune arsenal begins before birth and evolves throughout our lifetime, incorporating exogenous cues from microbes and inflammatory encounters, to achieve optimal fitness and function. Here, we discuss the context-specific signals that drive productive immune responses in the skin epithelium, highlighting key modulators of these reactions, including hair follicles, neurons, and commensal microbes. We thus also discuss the causal and mechanistic underpinning of inflammatory skin diseases that have been revealed in recent years. Finally, we discuss the non-canonical functions of cutaneous immune cells including their burgeoning role in epithelial regeneration and repair. The rapidly growing field of cutaneous immunity is revealing immune mechanisms and functions that can be harnessed to boost skin health and treat disease.

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Eavesdropping on the conversation between immune cells and the skin epithelium

The skin epithelium covers our body and serves as a vital interface with the external environment. Here, we review the context-specific interactions between immune cells and the epithelium that underlie barrier fitness and function. We highlight the mechanisms by which these two systems engage each other and how immune–epithelial interactions are tuned by microbial and inflammatory stimuli. Epithelial homeostasis relies on a delicate balance of immune surveillance and tolerance, breakdown of which results in disease. In addition to their canonical immune functions, resident and recruited immune cells also supply the epithelium with instructive signals to promote repair. Decoding the dialogue between immunity and the epithelium therefore has great potential for boosting barrier function or mitigating inflammatory epithelial diseases.

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