Publications & Posters

Spatio-temporal coordination at the maternal-fetal interface promotes trophoblast invasion and vascular remodeling in the first half of human pregnancy<span class='publication-meta'>Greenbaum, <i>et al.</i>, <i>BioRxiv</i> September 2021</span>

Abstract:Beginning in the first trimester, fetally derived extravillous trophoblasts (EVTs) invade the uterus and remodel its spiral arteries, transforming them into large, dilated blood vessels that lack smooth muscle and are partially lined with EVTs instead of vascular endothelium. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how EVTs coordinate with decidual cells to promote a tissue microenvironment conducive to spiral artery remodeling (SAR). However, it remains a matter of debate which immune and stromal cell types participate in these interactions, how this process evolves with respect to gestational age, and which anatomic routes are the predominate path of EVT invasion in humans. To elucidate this complex interplay, we used multiplexed ion beam imaging by time of flight with a 37-plex antibody panel to build the first spatio-temporal atlas of the human maternal-fetal interface in the first half of pregnancy at single-cell resolution. We analyzed ~500,000 cells and 588 spiral arteries within intact decidua from 66 patients between 6-20 weeks of gestation. Using custom machine learning algorithms for cell segmentation and classification, we evaluated the spatial distributions and phenotype of 20 maternal and five EVT populations with respect to gestational age and SAR. Gestational age substantially influenced the frequency of most maternal immune and stromal cells, with tolerogenic subsets expressing CD206, CD163, TIM-3, Galectin-9, and IDO-1 preferentially enriched at later time points. In contrast, SAR progression, and not gestational age, preferentially correlated with local invasion of EVTs. Lastly, by comparing spatial co-occurrence and phenotype of decidual interstitial, perivascular and intravascular EVTs with respect to SAR progression, we developed a statistical model suggesting an intravasation mechanism as the predominant route of EVT invasion in superficial decidua. Taken together, these results support a coordinated model of decidualization in which increasing gestational age drives a transition in maternal decidua towards a tolerogenic niche conducive to locally regulated, EVT-dependent SAR.

Greenbaum, et al., BioRxiv July 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.08.459490

Subcellular localization of biomolecules and drug distribution by high-definition ion beam imaging<span class='publication-meta'>Rovira-Clavé, <i>et al.</i>, <i>Nature Communications</i> July 2021</span>

Abstract: Simultaneous visualization of the relationship between multiple biomolecules and their ligands or small molecules at the nanometer scale in cells will enable greater understanding of how biological processes operate. We present here high-definition multiplex ion beam imaging (HD-MIBI), a secondary ion mass spectrometry approach capable of high-parameter imaging in 3D of targeted biological entities and exogenously added structurally-unmodified small molecules. With this technology, the atomic constituents of the biomolecules themselves can be used in our system as the “tag” and we demonstrate measurements down to ~30 nm lateral resolution. We correlated the subcellular localization of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin simultaneously with five subnuclear structures. Cisplatin was preferentially enriched in nuclear speckles and excluded from closed-chromatin regions, indicative of a role for cisplatin in active regions of chromatin. Unexpectedly, cells surviving multi-drug treatment with cisplatin and the BET inhibitor JQ1 demonstrated near total cisplatin exclusion from the nucleus, suggesting that selective subcellular drug relocalization may modulate resistance to this important chemotherapeutic treatment. Multiplexed high-resolution imaging techniques, such as HD-MIBI, will enable studies of biomolecules and drug distributions in biologically relevant subcellular microenvironments by visualizing the processes themselves in concert, rather than inferring mechanism through surrogate analyses.

Rovira-Clavé, et al., Nature Communications July 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24822-1

DCIS genomic signatures define biology and correlate with clinical outcome: a Human Tumor Atlas Network (HTAN) analysis of TBCRC 038 and RAHBT cohorts<span class='publication-meta'>Strand, <i>et al.</i>, <i>BioRxiv</i> July 2021</span>

Abstract:
Summary: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common precursor of invasive breast cancer (IBC), with variable propensity for progression. We have performed the first multiscale, integrated profiling of DCIS with clinical outcomes by analyzing 677 DCIS samples from 481 patients with 7.1 years median follow-up from the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC) 038 study and the Resource of Archival Breast Tissue (RAHBT) cohorts. We made observations on DNA, RNA, and protein expression, and generated a de novo clustering scheme for DCIS that represents a fundamental transcriptomic organization at this early stage of breast neoplasia. Distinct stromal expression patterns and immune cell compositions were identified. We found RNA expression patterns that correlate with later events. Our multiscale approach employed in situ methods to generate a spatially resolved atlas of breast precancers, where complementary modalities can be directly compared and correlated with conventional pathology findings, disease states, and clinical outcome.

Highlights:

  • New transcriptomic classification solution reveals 3 major subgroups in DCIS.
  • Four stroma-specific signatures identified.
  • Outcome analysis identifies pathways involved in DCIS progression.
  • CNAs characterize high risk of distant relapse IBC subtypes observed in DCIS.

Strand, et al., BioRxiv July 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.16.448585</a

On Clustering for Cell Phenotyping in Multiplex Immunohistochemistry (mIHC) and Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI) Data<span class='publication-meta'>Seal, <i>et al.</i>, <i>Research Square</i> July 2021</span>
Abstract: Problem: Multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) and multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI) images are usually phenotyped using a manual thresholding process. The thresholding is prone to biases, especially when examining multiple images with high cellularity.

Results: Unsupervised cell phenotyping methods including PhenoGraph, flowMeans, and SamSPECTRAL, primarily used in flow cytometry data, often perform poorly or need elaborate tuning to perform well in the context of mIHC and MIBI data. We show that, instead, semi-supervised cell clustering using Random Forests, linear and quadratic discriminant analysis are superior. We test the performance of the methods on two mIHC datasets from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a publicly available MIBI dataset. Each dataset contains numerous highly complex images.

Seal, et al., Research Square July 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-609920/v1

Spatial epitope barcoding reveals subclonal tumor patch behaviors<span class='publication-meta'>Rovira-Clavé, <i>et al.</i>, <i>BioRxiv</i> July 2021</span>
Abstract: Intratumoral variability is a seminal feature of human tumors contributing to tumor progression and response to treatment. Current technologies are unsuitable to accurately track phenotypes and subclonal evolution within tumors, especially in response to genetic manipulations. Here, we developed epitope combinatorial tags (EpicTags), which we coupled to multiplexed ion beam imaging (EpicMIBI) for in situ tracking of barcodes within tissue microenvironments. Using this platform, we dissected the spatial component of cell lineages and phenotypes in a xenograft model of small-cell lung cancer. We observed emergent properties from mixed clones leading to the preferential expansion of subclonal patches for both neuroendocrine and non-neuroendocrine cancer cell states in this model. In tumors harboring a fraction of PTEN-deficient cancer cells, we uncovered a non-autonomous increase of subclonal patch size in PTEN wildtype cancer cells. EpicMIBI can facilitate in situ interrogation of cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic processes involved in intratumoral heterogeneity.

Rovira-Clavé, et al., BioRxiv July 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.29.449991

Virus-Dependent Immune Conditioning of Tissue Microenvironments<span class='publication-meta'>Jiang, <i>et al.</i>, <i>BioRxiv</i> May 2021</span>
Abstract: A thorough understanding of complex spatial host-disease interactions in situ is necessary in order to develop effective preventative measures and therapeutic strategies. Here, we developed Protein And Nucleic acid IN situ Imaging (PANINI) and coupled it with Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI) to sensitively and simultaneously quantify DNA, RNA, and protein levels within the microenvironments of tissue compartments. The PANINI-MIBI approach was used to measure over 30 parameters simultaneously across large sections of archival lymphoid tissues from non-human primates that were healthy or infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a model that accurately recapitulates human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV). This enabled multiplexed dissection of cellular phenotypes, functional markers, viral DNA integration events, and viral RNA transcripts as resulting from viral infection. The results demonstrated immune coordination from an unexpected upregulation of IL10 in B cells in response to SIV infection that correlated with macrophage M2 polarization, thus conditioning a potential immunosuppressive environment that allows for viral production. This multiplexed imaging strategy also allowed characterization of the coordinated microenvironment around latently or actively infected cells to provide mechanistic insights into the process of viral latency. The spatial multi-modal framework presented here is applicable to deciphering tissue responses in other infectious diseases and tumor biology.

Jiang, et al., BioRxiv May 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.21.444548

Transition to invasive breast cancer is associated with progressive changes in the structure and composition of tumor stroma<span class='publication-meta'>Risom, <i>et al.</i>, <i>BioRxiv</i> Jan 2021</span>
Abstract: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a pre-invasive lesion that is thought to be a precursor to invasive breast cancer (IBC). To understand how the tumor microenvironment (TME) changes with transition to IBC, we used Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging by time of flight (MIBI-TOF) and a 37-plex antibody staining panel to analyze 140 clinically annotated surgical resections covering the full spectrum of breast cancer progression. We compared normal, DCIS, and IBC tissues using machine learning tools for multiplexed cell segmentation, pixel-based clustering, and object morphometrics. Transition from DCIS to IBC was found to occur along a trajectory marked by coordinated shifts in location and function of myoepithelium, fibroblasts, and infiltrating immune cells in the surrounding stroma. Taken together, this comprehensive study within the HTAN Breast PreCancer Atlas offers insight into the etiologies of DCIS, its transition to IBC, and emphasizes the importance of the TME stroma in promoting these processes.

Risom, et al., BioRxiv Jan 2021
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.05.425362

Multiplexed single-cell metabolic profiles organize the spectrum of cytotoxic human T cells<span class='publication-meta'>Hartmann, <i>et al., Nat. Biotechnology</i> Aug 2020</span>
Abstract: Cellular metabolism regulates immune cell activation, differentiation and effector functions to the extent that its perturbation can augment immune responses. However, the analytical technologies available to study cellular metabolism lack single-cell resolution, obscuring metabolic heterogeneity and its connection to immune phenotype and function. To that end, we utilized high-dimensional, antibody-based technologies to simultaneously quantify the single-cell metabolic regulome in combination with phenotypic identity. Mass cytometry (CyTOF)-based application of this approach to early human T cell activation enabled the comprehensive reconstruction of the coordinated metabolic remodeling of naïve CD8+ T cells and aligned with conventional bulk assays for glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. Extending this analysis to a variety of tissue-resident immune cells revealed tissue-restricted metabolic states of human cytotoxic T cells, including metabolically repressed subsets that expressed CD39 and PD1 and that were enriched in colorectal carcinoma versus healthy adjacent tissue. Finally, combining this approach with multiplexed ion beam imaging by time-of-flight (MIBI-TOF) demonstrated the existence of spatially enriched metabolic neighborhoods, independent of cell identity and additionally revealed exclusion of metabolically repressed cytotoxic T cell states from the tumor-immune boundary in human colorectal carcinoma. Overall, we provide an approach that permits the robust approximation of metabolic states in individual cells along with multimodal analysis of cell identity and functional characteristics that can be applied to human clinical samples to study cellular metabolism how it may be perturbed to affect immunological outcomes.

Hartmann, et al., Nat. Biotechnol.  31 Aug 2020: s41587-020-0651-8
doi: 10.1038/s41587-020-0651-8

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Single-nucleus and spatial transcriptomics of archival pancreatic cancer reveals multi-compartment reprogramming after neoadjuvant treatment<span class='publication-meta'>Hwang, <i>et al., BioRxiv</i> Aug 2020</span>
Abstract: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a treatment-refractory disease. Characterizing PDAC by mRNA profiling remains particularly challenging. Previously identified bulk expression subtypes were influenced by contaminating stroma and have not yet informed clinical management, whereas single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) of fresh tumors under-represented key cell types. Here, we developed a robust single-nucleus RNA-seq (snRNA-seq) technique for frozen archival PDAC specimens and used it to study both untreated tumors and those that received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy (CRT). Gene expression programs learned across untreated malignant cell and fibroblast profiles uncovered a clinically relevant molecular taxonomy with improved prognostic stratification compared to prior classifications. Moreover, in the increasingly-adopted neoadjuvant treatment context, there was a depletion of classical-like phenotypes in malignant cells in favor of basal-like phenotypes associated with TNF-NFkB and interferon signaling as well as the presence of novel acinar and neuroendocrine classical-like states, which may be more resilient to cytotoxic treatment. Spatially-resolved transcriptomics revealed an association between malignant cells expressing these basal-like programs and higher immune infiltration with increased lymphocytic content, whereas those exhibiting classical-like programs were linked to sparser macrophage-predominant microniches, perhaps pointing to susceptibility to distinct therapeutic strategies. Our refined molecular taxonomy and spatial resolution can help advance precision oncology in PDAC through informative stratification in clinical trials and insights into differential therapeutic targeting leveraging the immune system.

Hwang, et al., BioRxiv  25 Aug 2020: 10.1101/2020.08.25.267336
PREPRINT doi: 10.1101/2020.08.25.267336

Multimodal analysis of composition and spatial architecture in human squamous cell carcinoma<span class='publication-meta'>Ji, <i>et al., Cell</i> Jul 2020</span>
Abstract: To define the cellular composition and architecture of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), Ji et al. combined single-cell RNA sequencing with spatial transcriptomics and multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI, a multiplexed spatial proteomics platform) from a series of human cSCCs and matched normal skin. cSCC exhibited four tumor subpopulations, three recapitulating normal epidermal states, and a tumor-specific keratinocyte (TSK) population unique to cancer, which localized to a fibrovascular niche. Integration of single-cell and spatial data mapped ligand-receptor networks to specific cell types, revealing TSK cells as a hub for intercellular communication. Multiple features of potential immunosuppression were observed, including T regulatory cell (Treg) co-localization with CD8 T cells in compartmentalized tumor stroma. Finally, single-cell characterization of human tumor xenografts and in vivo CRISPR screens identified essential roles for specific tumor subpopulation-enriched gene networks in tumorigenesis. These data define cSCC tumor and stromal cell subpopulations, the spatial niches where they interact, and the communicating gene networks that they engage in cancer.

Ji, et al., Cell (2020) July 23

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.08.140426

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Multiplexed imaging of human tuberculosis granulomas uncovers immunoregulatory features conserved across tissue and blood<span class='publication-meta'>McCaffrey, <i>et al., BioRxiv</i> Jun 2020</span>
Abstract: Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is distinctly characterized by granuloma formation within infected tissues. Granulomas are dynamic and organized immune cell aggregates that limit dissemination, but can also hinder bacterial clearance. Consequently, outcome in TB is influenced by how granuloma structure and composition shift the balance between these two functions. To date, our understanding of what factors drive granuloma function in humans is limited. With this in mind, we used Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging by Time-of-Flight (MIBI-TOF) to profile 37 proteins in tissues from thirteen patients with active TB disease from the U.S. and South Africa. With this dataset, we constructed a comprehensive tissue atlas where the lineage, functional state, and spatial distribution of 19 unique cell subsets were mapped onto eight phenotypically-distinct granuloma microenvironments. This work revealed an immunosuppressed microenvironment specific to TB granulomas with spatially coordinated co-expression of IDO1 and PD-L1 by myeloid cells and proliferating regulatory T cells. Interestingly, this microenvironment lacked markers consistent with Tcell activation, supporting a myeloid-mediated mechanism of immune suppression. We observed similar trends in gene expression of immunoregulatory proteins in a confirmatory transcriptomic analysis of peripheral blood collected from over 1500 individuals with latent or active TB infection and healthy controls across 29 cohorts spanning 14 countries. Notably, PD-L1 gene expression was found to correlate with TB progression and treatment response, supporting its potential use as a blood-based biomarker. Taken together, this study serves as a framework for leveraging independent cohorts and complementary methodologies to understand how local and systemic immune responses are linked in human health and disease.

PREPRINT – McCaffrey, et al., BioRxiv (2020) June 09

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.08.140426

MIBI-TOF: A multiplexed imaging platform relates cellular phenotypes and tissue structure<span class='publication-meta'>Keren, <i>et al., Science Advances</i> Oct 2019</span>

Abstract: Understanding tissue structure and function requires tools that quantify the expression of multiple proteins while preserving spatial information. Here, we describe MIBI-TOF (multiplexed ion beam imaging by time of flight), an instrument that uses bright ion sources and orthogonal time-of-flight mass spectrometry to image metal-tagged antibodies at subcellular resolution in clinical tissue sections. We demonstrate quantitative, full periodic table coverage across a five-log dynamic range, imaging 36 labeled antibodies simultaneously with histochemical stains and endogenous elements. We image fields of view up to 800 μm × 800 μm at resolutions down to 260 nm with sensitivities approaching single-molecule detection. We leverage these properties to interrogate intrapatient heterogeneity in tumor organization in triple-negative breast cancer, revealing regional variability in tumor cell phenotypes in contrast to a structured immune response. Given its versatility and sample back-compatibility, MIBI-TOF is positioned to leverage existing annotated, archival tissue cohorts to explore emerging questions in cancer, immunology, and neurobiology.

Keren, et al., Science Advances  09 Oct 2019: 5(10), eaax5851

doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax5851

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Tissue imaging by mass spectrometry: a practical guide for the medicinal chemist<span class='publication-meta'>Johnson, <em>et al., ACS Medical Chemistry Letters</em> Jan 2019</span>
Abstract: Understanding the tissue distribution of therapeutic molecules is often critical for assessing their efficacy and toxicity. Unfortunately, standard methods for monitoring localized drug distribution are resource-intensive and are typically performed late in the discovery process. As a result, early development efforts often progress without detailed information on the effect that changes in structure and/or formulation have on drug localization. Recent innovations in mass spectrometry (MS) provide new options for mapping the spatial distribution of drug in tissue, and allow parallel detection of endogenous species. These advances are improving access to drug distribution data early in discovery, and provide insight into local biochemical changes that are directly related to drug activity. The literature on these topics is voluminous and the technology is advancing rapidly, offering a bewildering array of options for researchers who are new to the field. To guide medicinal chemists who wish to apply these methods in their research, this technology perspective provides our views on practical applications that are currently enabled by various MS imaging (MSI) approaches, along with recommendations for how best to implement these methods in pharmaceutical R&D.

Johnson et al. ACS Medical Chemistry Letters. January, 2019

Link to publication

A structured tumor-immune microenvironment in triple negative breast cancer revealed by multiplexed ion beam imaging<span class='publication-meta'>Keren, <em>et al, Cell</em> Sept 2018</span>
Abstract: The immune system is critical in modulating cancer progression, but knowledge of immune composition, phenotype, and interactions with tumor is limited. We used multiplexed ion beam imaging by time-of-flight (MIBI-TOF) to simultaneously quantify in situ expression of 36 proteins covering identity, function, and immune regulation at sub-cellular resolution in 41 triple-negative breast cancer patients. Multi-step processing, including deep-learning-based segmentation, revealed variability in the composition of tumor-immune populations across individuals, reconciled by overall immune infiltration and en-riched co-occurrence of immune subpopulations and checkpoint expression. Spatial enrichment analysis showed immune mixed and compartmentalized tumors, coinciding with expression of PD1, PD-L1, and IDO in a cell-type- and location-specific manner. Ordered immune structures along the tumor-immune border were associated with compartmentalization and linked to survival. These data demonstrate organization in the tumor-immune microenvironment that is structured in cellular composition, spatial arrangement, and regulatory-protein expression and provide a framework to apply multiplexed imaging to immune oncology.

Keren et al. Cell, Volume 174, Issue 6, P1373-1387. E19. September 06, 2018

doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.039

Multiplexed ion beam imaging analysis for quantitation of protein expression in cancer tissue sections<span class='publication-meta'>Rost, <em>et al., Lab. Invest.</em> Aug 2017</span>
Abstract: Part of developing therapeutics is the need to identify patients who will respond to treatment. For HER2-targeted therapies, such as trastuzumab, the expression level of HER2 is used to identify patients likely to receive benefit from therapy. Currently, chromogenic immunohistochemistry on patient tumor tissue is one of the methodologies used to assess the expression level of HER2 to determine eligibility for trastuzumab. However, chromogenic staining is fraught with serious drawbacks that influence scoring, which is additionally flawed due to the subjective nature of human/pathologist bias. Thus, to advance drug development and precision medicine, there is a need to develop technologies that are more objective and quantitative through the collection and integration of larger data sets. In proof of concept experiments, we show multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI), a novel imaging technology, can quantitate HER2 expression on breast carcinoma tissue with known HER2 status and those values correlate with pathologist-determined IHC scores. The same type of quantitative analysis using the mean pixel value of five individual cells and total pixel count of the entire image was extended to a blinded study of breast carcinoma samples of unknown HER2 scores. Here, a strong correlation between quantitation of HER2 by MIBI analysis and pathologist-derived HER2 IHC score was identified. In addition, a comparison between MIBI analysis and immunofluorescence-based automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) technology, an industry-accepted quantitation system, showed strong correlation in the same blind study. Further comparison of the two systems determined MIBI was comparable to AQUA analysis when evaluated against pathologist-determined scores. Using HER2 as a model, these data show MIBI analysis can quantitate protein expression with greater sensitivity and objectivity compared to standard pathologist interpretation, demonstrating its potential as a technology capable of advancing cancer and patient diagnostics.

Rost et al., Lab Invest.  2017 Aug;97(8):992-1003

doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2017.50.

SITC 2020 - P48

Advances in Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI) for immune profiling of the tumor microenvironment

SITC2020 poster Ptacek et al

SITC 2019 - P61

Segmentation and Classification of Single Cells using Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI)

Cancer Immunotherapy
Keystone 2019

Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI) For Characterization of the Tumor
Microenvironment Across Tumor Types

SITC 2018 - P106

Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging For Characterization of the Tumor Microenvironment Across Tumor Types

SITC Jason poster image

SITC 2018 - P20

A Structured Tumor Immune Microenvironment in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Revealed by Multiplexed Imaging

SITC 2018 Poster - Bendall et al

Pathology Visions 2018

Web Application for Management & Visualization of Highly Multiplexed Imaging Data

Digital Pathology 2018  poster
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