Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a regulator of disease pathogenesis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Why TLR9 represses disease while TLR7 and MyD88 have the opposite effect remains undefined. To begin to address this question, we created two novel alleles to manipulate TLR9 expression, allowing for either selective deletion or overexpression. We used these to test cell type-specific effects of Tlr9 expression on the regulation of SLE pathogenesis. Notably, Tlr9 deficiency in B cells was sufficient to exacerbate nephritis while extinguishing anti-nucleosome antibodies, whereas Tlr9 deficiency in dendritic cells (DCs), plasmacytoid DCs, and neutrophils had no discernable effect on disease. Thus, B cell-specific Tlr9 deficiency unlinked disease from autoantibody production. Critically, B cell-specific Tlr9 overexpression resulted in ameliorated nephritis, opposite of the effect of deleting Tlr9. Our findings highlight the non-redundant role of B cell-expressed TLR9 in regulating lupus and suggests therapeutic potential in modulating and perhaps even enhancing TLR9 signals in B cells.
Jeremy S. Tilstra, Shinu John, Rachael A. Gordon, Claire Leibler, Michael Kashgarian, Sheldon Bastacky, Kevin M. Nickerson, Mark J. Shlomchik
Single nucleotide polymorphisms and locus amplification link the NF-κB transcription factor c-Rel to human autoimmune diseases and B cell lymphomas, respectively. However, the functional consequences of enhanced c-Rel levels remain enigmatic. Here, we overexpressed c-Rel specifically in mouse B cells from BAC-transgenic gene loci and demonstrate that c-Rel protein levels linearly dictated expansion of germinal center (GC) B cells and isotype-switched plasma cells. c-Rel expression in B cells of otherwise c-Rel-deficient mice fully rescued terminal B cell differentiation, underscoring its critical B cell-intrinsic roles. Unexpectedly, in GCB cells transcription-independent regulation produced the highest c-Rel protein levels amongst B cell subsets. In c-Rel overexpressing GCB cells this caused enhanced nuclear translocation, a profoundly altered transcriptional program and increased proliferation. Finally, we provide a link between c-Rel gain and autoimmunity by showing that c-Rel overexpression in B cells caused autoantibody production and renal immune complex deposition.
Maike Kober-Hasslacher, Hyunju Oh-Strauß, Dilip Kumar, Valeria Soberón, Carina Diehl, Maciej Lech, Thomas Engleitner, Eslam Katab, Vanesa Fernandez Saiz, Guido Piontek, Hongwei Li, Björn Menze, Christoph Ziegenhain, Wolfgang Enard, Roland Rad, Jan P. Böttcher, Hans-Joachim Anders, Martina Rudelius, Marc Schmidt-Supprian
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are indispensable for the formation of germinal center (GC) reactions, while T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells inhibit Tfh-mediated GC responses. Aberrant activation of Tfh cells contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Nonetheless, the molecular mechanisms mitigating excessive Tfh cell differentiation, which in turn trigger autoimmunity, are not fully understood. Herein we demonstrate that the adenovirus E4 promoter-binding protein (E4BP4) mediates a feedback loop and acts as a transcriptional brake to inhibit Tfh cell differentiation. Furthermore, we show that such an immunological mechanism is compromised in patients with SLE. Establishing mice with either conditional knock-out (cKO) or knock-in (cKI) of the E4bp4 gene in T cells reveals that E4BP4 strongly inhibits Tfh cell differentiation. Mechanistically, E4BP4 deregulates Bcl6 transcription by recruiting the repressive epigenetic modifiers HDAC1 and EZH2. E4BP4 phosphorylation site mutants had limited capability with regard to inhibiting Tfh cell differentiation. In SLE, we detected impaired phosphorylation of E4BP4, finding that this compromised transcription factor is positively correlated with disease activity. These findings unveiled molecular mechanisms by which E4BP4 restrains Tfh cell differentiation, whose compromised function is associated with uncontrolled autoimmune reactions in SLE.
Zijun Wang, Ming Zhao, Jinghua Yin, Limin Liu, Longyuan Hu, Yi Huang, Aiyun Liu, Jiajun Ouyang, Xiaoli Min, Shijia Rao, Wenhui Zhou, Haijing Wu, Akihiko Yoshimura, Qianjin Lu
Spondyloarthritis (SpA) represents a family of inflammatory diseases of the spine and peripheral joints. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the prototypic form of SpA in which progressive disease can lead to fusion of the spine. Therapeutically, knowledge of type 3 immunity has translated into the development of IL-23– and IL-17A–blocking antibodies for the treatment of SpA. Despite being able to provide symptomatic control, the current biologics do not prevent the fusion of joints in AS patients. Thus, there is an unmet need for disease-modifying drugs. Genetic studies have linked the Janus kinase TYK2 to AS. TYK2 is a mediator of type 3 immunity through intracellular signaling of IL-23. Here, we describe and characterize a potentially novel small-molecule inhibitor of TYK2 that blocked IL-23 signaling in vitro and inhibited disease progression in animal models of SpA. The effect of the inhibitor appears to be TYK2 specific, using TYK2-inactive mice, which further revealed a duality in the induction of IL-17A and IL-22 by IL-23. Specifically, IL-22 production was TYK2/JAK2/STAT3 dependent, while IL-17A was mostly JAK2 dependent. Finally, we examined the effects of AS-associated TYK2 SNPs on TYK2 expression and function and correlated them with AS disease progression. This work provides evidence that TYK2 inhibitors have great potential as an orally delivered therapeutic for SpA.
Eric Gracey, Dominika Hromadová, Melissa Lim, Zoya Qaiyum, Michael Zeng, Yuchen Yao, Archita Srinath, Yuriy Baglaenko, Natalia Yeremenko, William Westlin, Craig Masse, Mathias Müller, Birgit Strobl, Wenyan Miao, Robert D. Inman
Angiopoietin-2 (Ang2), a ligand of the endothelial Tie2 tyrosine kinase, is involved in vascular inflammation and leakage in critically ill patients. However, the role of Ang2 in demyelinating central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune diseases is unknown. Here, we report that Ang2 is critically involved in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a rodent model of multiple sclerosis. Ang2 expression was induced in CNS autoimmunity, and transgenic mice overexpressing Ang2 specifically in endothelial cells (ECs) developed a significantly more severe EAE. In contrast, treatment with Ang2-blocking Abs ameliorated neuroinflammation and decreased spinal cord demyelination and leukocyte infiltration into the CNS. Similarly, Ang2-binding and Tie2-activating Ab attenuated the development of CNS autoimmune disease. Ang2 blockade inhibited expression of EC adhesion molecules, improved blood-brain barrier integrity, and decreased expression of genes involved in antigen presentation and proinflammatory responses of microglia and macrophages, which was accompanied by inhibition of α5β1 integrin activation in microglia. Taken together, our data suggest that Ang2 provides a target for increasing Tie2 activation in ECs and inhibiting proinflammatory polarization of CNS myeloid cells via α5β1 integrin in neuroinflammation. Thus, Ang2 targeting may serve as a therapeutic option for the treatment of CNS autoimmune disease.
Zhilin Li, Emilia A. Korhonen, Arianna Merlini, Judith Strauss, Eleonoora Wihuri, Harri Nurmi, Salli Antila, Jennifer Paech, Urban Deutsch, Britta Engelhardt, Sudhakar Chintharlapalli, Gou Young Koh, Alexander Flügel, Kari Alitalo
Peptide MHC class II–based (pMHCII-based) nanomedicines trigger the formation of multicellular regulatory networks by reprogramming autoantigen-experienced CD4+ T cells into autoimmune disease–suppressing T regulatory type 1 (TR1) cells. We have shown that pMHCII-based nanomedicines displaying liver autoimmune disease–relevant yet ubiquitously expressed antigens can blunt various liver autoimmune disorders in a non–disease-specific manner without suppressing local or systemic immunity against infectious agents or cancer. Here, we show that such ubiquitous autoantigen-specific T cells are also awakened by extrahepatic tissue damage and that the corresponding TR1 progeny can suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and pancreatic β cell autoreactivity. In mice having EAE, nanomedicines displaying either ubiquitous or CNS-specific epitopes triggered the formation and expansion of cognate TR1 cells and their recruitment to the CNS-draining lymph nodes, sparing their liver-draining counterparts. Surprisingly, in mice having both liver autoimmunity and EAE, liver inflammation sequestered these ubiquitous or even CNS-specific TR1 cells away from the CNS, abrogating their antiencephalitogenic activity. In these mice, only the ubiquitous antigen-specific TR1 cells suppressed liver autoimmunity. Thus, the scope of antigen spreading in autoimmune disorders is larger than previously anticipated, involving specificities expected to be silenced by mechanisms of tolerance; the regulatory activity, but not the retention of autoreactive TR1 cells, requires local autoantigen expression.
Channakeshava Sokke Umeshappa, Jacques Mbongue, Santiswarup Singha, Saswat Mohapatra, Jun Yamanouchi, Justin A. Lee, Roopa Hebbandi Nanjundappa, Kun Shao, Urs Christen, Yang Yang, Kristofor K. Ellestad, Pere Santamaria
Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) catalyzes symmetric dimethylation (SDM) of arginine, a posttranslational modification involved in oncogenesis and embryonic development. However, the role and mechanisms by which PRMT5 modulates Th cell polarization and autoimmune disease have not yet been elucidated. Here, we found that PRMT5 promoted SREBP1 SDM and the induction of cholesterol biosynthetic pathway enzymes that produce retinoid-related orphan receptor (ROR) agonists that activate RORγt. Specific loss of PRMT5 in the CD4+ Th cell compartment suppressed Th17 differentiation and protected mice from developing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We also found that PRMT5 controlled thymic and peripheral homeostasis in the CD4+ Th cell life cycle and invariant NK (iNK) T cell development and CD8+ T cell maintenance. This work demonstrates that PRMT5 expression in recently activated T cells is necessary for the cholesterol biosynthesis metabolic gene expression program that generates RORγt agonistic activity and promotes Th17 differentiation and EAE. These results point to Th PRMT5 and its downstream cholesterol biosynthesis pathway as promising therapeutic targets in Th17-mediated diseases.
Lindsay M. Webb, Shouvonik Sengupta, Claudia Edell, Zayda L. Piedra-Quintero, Stephanie A. Amici, Janiret Narvaez Miranda, Makenzie Bevins, Austin Kennemer, Georgios Laliotis, Philip N. Tsichlis, Mireia Guerau-de-Arellano
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune fibrotic disease whose pathogenesis is poorly understood and lacks effective therapies. We undertook quantitative analyses of T cell infiltrates in the skin of thirty-five untreated patients with early diffuse SSc and here show that CD4+ cytotoxic T cells and CD8+ T cells contribute prominently to these infiltrates. We also observed an accumulation of apoptotic cells in SSc tissues, suggesting that recurring cell death may contribute to tissue damage and remodeling in this fibrotic disease. HLA-DR expressing endothelial cells were frequent targets of apoptosis in SSc, consistent with the prominent vasculopathy seen in patients with this disease. A circulating effector population of cytotoxic CD4+ T cells, which exhibited signatures of enhanced metabolic activity, was clonally expanded in systemic sclerosis patients. These data suggest that cytotoxic T cells may induce the apoptotic death of endothelial and other cells in systemic sclerosis. Cell loss driven by immune cells may be followed by overly exuberant tissue repair processes that lead to fibrosis and tissue dysfunction..
Takashi Maehara, Naoki Kaneko, Cory Adam Perugino, Hamid Mattoo, Jesper Kers, Hugues Allard-Chamard, Vinay S. Mahajan, Hang Liu, Samuel J.H. Murphy, Musie Ghebremichael, David A. Fox, Aimee S. Payne, Robert Lafyatis, John H. Stone, Dinesh Khanna, Shiv Pillai
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is initially triggered by alloreactive T cells, which damage peripheral tissues and lymphoid organs. Subsequent transition to chronic GVHD involves the emergence of autoimmunity although the underlying mechanisms driving this process are unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that acute GVHD blocks peripheral tolerance of autoreactive T cells by impairing lymph node (LN) display of peripheral tissue-restricted antigens (PTA). At the initiation of GVHD, LN fibroblastic reticular cells (FRC) rapidly reduced expression of genes regulated by DEAF1, an Autoimmune Regulator-like transcription factor required for intra-nodal expression of PTA. Subsequently, GVHD led to the selective elimination of the FRC population, and blocked the repair pathways required for its regeneration. We used a transgenic mouse model to show that the loss of presentation of an intestinal PTA by FRC during GVHD resulted in the activation of auto-aggressive T cells and gut injury. Finally, we show that FRC normally expressed a unique PTA gene signature that was highly enriched for genes expressed in the target organs affected by chronic GVHD. In conclusion, acute GVHD damages and prevents repair of the FRC network, thus disabling an essential platform for purging auto-reactive T cells from the repertoire.
Simone Dertschnig, Pamela Evans, Pedro Santos e Sousa, Teresa Manzo, Ivana R. Ferrer, Hans J. Stauss, Clare L. Bennett, Ronjon Chakraverty
Although most patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) retain some functional insulin-producing islet β cells at the time of diagnosis, the rate of further β cell loss varies across individuals. It is not clear what drives this differential progression rate. CD8+ T cells have been implicated in the autoimmune destruction of β cells. Here, we addressed whether the phenotype and function of autoreactive CD8+ T cells influence disease progression. We identified islet-specific CD8+ T cells using high-content, single-cell mass cytometry in combination with peptide-loaded MHC tetramer staining. We applied a new analytical method, DISCOV-R, to characterize these rare subsets. Autoreactive T cells were phenotypically heterogeneous, and their phenotype differed by rate of disease progression. Activated islet-specific CD8+ memory T cells were prevalent in subjects with T1D who experienced rapid loss of C-peptide; in contrast, slow disease progression was associated with an exhaustion-like profile, with expression of multiple inhibitory receptors, limited cytokine production, and reduced proliferative capacity. This relationship between properties of autoreactive CD8+ T cells and the rate of T1D disease progression after onset make these phenotypes attractive putative biomarkers of disease trajectory and treatment response and reveal potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
Alice E. Wiedeman, Virginia S. Muir, Mario G. Rosasco, Hannah A. DeBerg, Scott Presnell, Bertrand Haas, Matthew J. Dufort, Cate Speake, Carla J. Greenbaum, Elisavet Serti, Gerald T. Nepom, Gabriele Blahnik, Anna M. Kus, Eddie A. James, Peter S. Linsley, S. Alice Long
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