Studies of the genetic factors associated with human autoimmune disease suggest a multigenic origin of susceptibility; however, how these factors interact and through which tolerance pathways they operate generally remain to be defined. One key checkpoint occurs through the activity of the autoimmune regulator
Irina Proekt, Corey N. Miller, Marion Jeanne, Kayla J. Fasano, James J. Moon, Clifford A. Lowell, Douglas B. Gould, Mark S. Anderson, Anthony L. DeFranco
Eleftheria Lefkou, Apostolos Mamopoulos, Themistoklis Dagklis, Christos Vosnakis, David Rousso, Guillermina Girardi
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a devastating multisystemic autoimmune disorder. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain elusive. Some patients with Noonan syndrome, a congenital disorder predominantly caused by gain-of-function mutations in the protein tyrosine phosphatase SH2 domain–containing PTP (SHP2), have been shown to develop SLE, suggesting a functional correlation between phosphatase activity and systemic autoimmunity. To test this directly, we measured SHP2 activity in spleen lysates isolated from lupus-prone MRL/
Jianxun Wang, Masayuki Mizui, Li-Fan Zeng, Roderick Bronson, Michele Finnell, Cox Terhorst, Vasileios C. Kyttaris, George C. Tsokos, Zhong-Yin Zhang, Maria I. Kontaridis
The cross-reactivity of T cells with pathogen- and self-derived peptides has been implicated as a pathway involved in the development of autoimmunity. However, the mechanisms that allow the clonal T cell antigen receptor (TCR) to functionally engage multiple peptide–major histocompatibility complexes (pMHC) are unclear. Here, we studied multiligand discrimination by a human, preproinsulin reactive, MHC class-I–restricted CD8+ T cell clone (1E6) that can recognize over 1 million different peptides. We generated high-resolution structures of the 1E6 TCR bound to 7 altered peptide ligands, including a pathogen-derived peptide that was an order of magnitude more potent than the natural self-peptide. Evaluation of these structures demonstrated that binding was stabilized through a conserved lock-and-key–like minimal binding footprint that enables 1E6 TCR to tolerate vast numbers of substitutions outside of this so-called hotspot. Highly potent antigens of the 1E6 TCR engaged with a strong antipathogen-like binding affinity; this engagement was governed though an energetic switch from an enthalpically to entropically driven interaction compared with the natural autoimmune ligand. Together, these data highlight how T cell cross-reactivity with pathogen-derived antigens might break self-tolerance to induce autoimmune disease.
David K. Cole, Anna M. Bulek, Garry Dolton, Andrea J. Schauenberg, Barbara Szomolay, William Rittase, Andrew Trimby, Prithiviraj Jothikumar, Anna Fuller, Ania Skowera, Jamie Rossjohn, Cheng Zhu, John J. Miles, Mark Peakman, Linda Wooldridge, Pierre J. Rizkallah, Andrew K. Sewell
Autoimmune diseases affect 5% to 8% of the population, and females are more susceptible to these diseases than males. Here, we analyzed human thymic transcriptome and revealed sex-associated differences in the expression of tissue-specific antigens that are controlled by the autoimmune regulator (AIRE), a key factor in central tolerance. We hypothesized that the level of AIRE is linked to sexual dimorphism susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. In human and mouse thymus, females expressed less AIRE (mRNA and protein) than males after puberty. These results were confirmed in purified murine thymic epithelial cells (TECs). We also demonstrated that AIRE expression is related to sexual hormones, as male castration decreased AIRE thymic expression and estrogen receptor α–deficient mice did not show a sex disparity for AIRE expression. Moreover, estrogen treatment resulted in downregulation of AIRE expression in cultured human TECs, human thymic tissue grafted to immunodeficient mice, and murine fetal thymus organ cultures.
Nadine Dragin, Jacky Bismuth, Géraldine Cizeron-Clairac, Maria Grazia Biferi, Claire Berthault, Alain Serraf, Rémi Nottin, David Klatzmann, Ana Cumano, Martine Barkats, Rozen Le Panse, Sonia Berrih-Aknin
FOXP3+ Tregs are central for the maintenance of self-tolerance and can be defective in autoimmunity. In multiple sclerosis and type-1 diabetes, dysfunctional self-tolerance is partially mediated by a population of IFNγ-secreting Tregs. It was previously reported that increased NaCl concentrations promote the induction of proinflammatory Th17 cells and that high-salt diets exacerbate experimental models of autoimmunity. Here, we have shown that increasing NaCl, either in vitro or in murine models via diet, markedly impairs Treg function. NaCl increased IFNγ secretion in Tregs, and reducing IFNγ — either by neutralization with anti-IFNγ antibodies or shRNA-mediated knockdown — restored suppressive activity in Tregs. The heightened IFNγ secretion and loss of Treg function were mediated by the serum/glucocorticoid-regulated kinase (SGK1). A high-salt diet also impaired human Treg function and was associated with the induction of IFNγ-secreting Tregs in a xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease model and in adoptive transfer models of experimental colitis. Our results demonstrate a putative role for an environmental factor that promotes autoimmunity by inducing proinflammatory responses in CD4 effector cells and Treg pathways.
Amanda L. Hernandez, Alexandra Kitz, Chuan Wu, Daniel E. Lowther, Donald M. Rodriguez, Nalini Vudattu, Songyan Deng, Kevan C. Herold, Vijay K. Kuchroo, Markus Kleinewietfeld, David A. Hafler
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe autoimmune disease that is associated with increased circulating apoptotic cell autoantigens (AC-Ags) as well as increased type I IFN signaling. Here, we describe a pathogenic mechanism in which follicular translocation of marginal zone (MZ) B cells in the spleens of BXD2 lupus mice disrupts marginal zone macrophages (MZMs), which normally clear AC debris and prevent follicular entry of AC-Ags. Phagocytosis of ACs by splenic MZMs required the megakaryoblastic leukemia 1 (MKL1) transcriptional coactivator–mediated mechanosensing pathway, which was maintained by MZ B cells through expression of membrane lymphotoxin-α1β2 (mLT). Specifically, type I IFN–induced follicular shuttling of mLT-expressing MZ B cells disengaged interactions between these MZ B cells and LTβ receptor–expressing MZMs, thereby downregulating MKL1 in MZMs. Loss of MKL1 expression in MZMs led to defective F-actin polymerization, inability to clear ACs, and, eventually, MZM dissipation. Aggregation of plasmacytoid DCs in the splenic perifollicular region, follicular translocation of MZ B cells, and loss of MKL1 and MZMs were also observed in an additional murine lupus model and in the spleens of patients with SLE. Collectively, the results suggest that lupus might be interrupted by strategies that maintain or enhance mechanosensing signaling in the MZM barrier to prevent follicular entry of AC-Ags.
Hao Li, Yang-Xin Fu, Qi Wu, Yong Zhou, David K. Crossman, PingAr Yang, Jun Li, Bao Luo, Laurence M. Morel, Janusz H. Kabarowski, Hideo Yagita, Carl F. Ware, Hui-Chen Hsu, John D. Mountz
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the CNS that is characterized by BBB dysfunction and has a much higher incidence in females. Compared with other strains of mice, EAE in the SJL mouse strain models multiple features of MS, including an enhanced sensitivity of female mice to disease; however, the molecular mechanisms that underlie the sex- and strain-dependent differences in disease susceptibility have not been described. We identified sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1PR2) as a sex- and strain-specific, disease-modifying molecule that regulates BBB permeability by destabilizing adherens junctions. S1PR2 expression was increased in disease-susceptible regions of the CNS of both female SJL EAE mice and female patients with MS compared with their male counterparts. Pharmacological blockade or lack of S1PR2 signaling decreased EAE disease severity as the result of enhanced endothelial barrier function. Enhanced S1PR2 signaling in an in vitro BBB model altered adherens junction formation via activation of Rho/ROCK, CDC42, and caveolin endocytosis-dependent pathways, resulting in loss of apicobasal polarity and relocation of abluminal CXCL12 to vessel lumina. Furthermore, S1PR2-dependent BBB disruption and CXCL12 relocation were observed in vivo. These results identify a link between S1PR2 signaling and BBB polarity and implicate S1PR2 in sex-specific patterns of disease during CNS autoimmunity.
Lillian Cruz-Orengo, Brian P. Daniels, Denise Dorsey, Sarah Alison Basak, José G. Grajales-Reyes, Erin E. McCandless, Laura Piccio, Robert E. Schmidt, Anne H. Cross, Seth D. Crosby, Robyn S. Klein
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is the most common disorder affecting the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). MG is frequently caused by autoantibodies against acetylcholine receptor (AChR) and a kinase critical for NMJ formation, MuSK; however, a proportion of MG patients are double-negative for anti-AChR and anti-MuSK antibodies. Recent studies in these subjects have identified autoantibodies against low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 4 (LRP4), an agrin receptor also critical for NMJ formation. LRP4 autoantibodies have not previously been implicated in MG pathogenesis. Here we demonstrate that mice immunized with the extracellular domain of LRP4 generated anti-LRP4 antibodies and exhibited MG-associated symptoms, including muscle weakness, reduced compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs), and compromised neuromuscular transmission. Additionally, fragmented and distorted NMJs were evident at both the light microscopic and electron microscopic levels. We found that anti-LRP4 sera decreased cell surface LRP4 levels, inhibited agrin-induced MuSK activation and AChR clustering, and activated complements, revealing potential pathophysiological mechanisms. To further confirm the pathogenicity of LRP4 antibodies, we transferred IgGs purified from LRP4-immunized rabbits into naive mice and found that they exhibited MG-like symptoms, including reduced CMAP and impaired neuromuscular transmission. Together, these data demonstrate that LRP4 autoantibodies induce MG and that LRP4 contributes to NMJ maintenance in adulthood.
Chengyong Shen, Yisheng Lu, Bin Zhang, Dwight Figueiredo, Jonathan Bean, Jiung Jung, Haitao Wu, Arnab Barik, Dong-Min Yin, Wen-Cheng Xiong, Lin Mei
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a genetically mediated autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. B cells have recently emerged as major contributors to disease pathogenesis, but the mechanisms responsible for the loss of B cell tolerance in patients with MS are largely unknown. In healthy individuals, developing autoreactive B cells are removed from the repertoire at 2 tolerance checkpoints during early B cell development. Both of these central and peripheral B cell tolerance checkpoints are defective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and type 1 diabetes (T1D). Here, we found that only the peripheral, but not the central, B cell tolerance checkpoint is defective in patients with MS. We show that this specific defect is accompanied by increased activation and homeostatic proliferation of mature naive B cells. Interestingly, all of these MS features parallel defects observed in FOXP3-deficient IPEX patients, who harbor nonfunctional Tregs. We demonstrate that in contrast to patients with RA or T1D, bone marrow central B cell selection in MS appears normal in most patients. In contrast, patients with MS suffer from a specific peripheral B cell tolerance defect that is potentially attributable to impaired Treg function and that leads to the accumulation of autoreactive B cell clones in their blood.
Tuure Kinnunen, Nicolas Chamberlain, Henner Morbach, Tineke Cantaert, Megan Lynch, Paula Preston-Hurlburt, Kevan C. Herold, David A. Hafler, Kevin C. O’Connor, Eric Meffre
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