Targeted disruption of the pemphigus vulgaris antigen (desmoglein 3) gene in mice causes loss of keratinocyte cell adhesion with a phenotype similar to pemphigus vulgaris.
ABSTRACT: In patients with pemphigus vulgaris (PV), autoantibodies against desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) cause loss of cell-cell adhesion of keratinocytes in the basal and immediate suprabasal layers of stratified squamous epithelia. The pathology, at least partially, may depend on protease release from keratinocytes, but might also result from antibodies interfering with an adhesion function of Dsg3. However, a direct role of desmogleins in cell adhesion has not been shown. To test whether Dsg3 mediates adhesion, we genetically engineered mice with a targeted disruption of the DSG3 gene. DSG3 -/- mice had no DSG3 mRNA by RNase protection assay and no Dsg3 protein by immunofluorescence (IF) and immunoblots. These mice were normal at birth, but by 8-10 d weighed less than DSG3 +/- or +/+ littermates, and at around day 18 were grossly runted. We speculated that oral lesions (typical in PV patients) might be inhibiting food intake, causing this runting. Indeed, oropharyngeal biopsies showed erosions with histology typical of PV, including suprabasilar acantholysis and "tombstoning" of basal cells. EM showed separation of desmosomes. Traumatized skin also had crusting and suprabasilar acantholysis. Runted mice showed hair loss at weaning. The runting and hair loss phenotype of DSG3 -/- mice is identical to that of a previously reported mouse mutant, balding (bal). Breeding indicated that bal is coallelic with the targeted mutation. We also showed that bal mice lack Dsg3 by IF, have typical PV oral lesions, and have a DSG3 gene mutation. These results demonstrate the critical importance of Dsg3 for adhesion in deep stratified squamous epithelia and suggest that pemphigus autoantibodies might interfere directly with such a function.
Project description:There are two major clinical subsets of pemphigus vulgaris (PV)-mucosal PV (mPV) and mucocutaneous PV (mcPV). The mPV subset exhibits anti-human desmoglein (Dsg) 3 autoantibodies that fail to recognize murine Dsg3 (mDsg3); thus, passive transfer experiments of mPV IgG into wild-type (WT) mice have been unsuccessful at inducing disease. We therefore generated a fully humanized Dsg3 (hDSG3) murine model utilizing a hDsg3 transgenic animal crossed to the mDsg3 knockout line. Expression of hDsg3 in the mucosa rescues the mDsg3 knockout phenotype. Well-characterized mPV sera bind mucosal epithelia from the hDsg3 mice, but not mucosal tissues from WT mice, as detected by indirect immunofluorescence (IF). The majority of mPV sera preferentially recognize hDsg3 compared with mDsg3 by immunoprecipitation as well. Passive transfer of mPV IgG into adult hDsg3 mice, but not WT mice, induces suprabasilar acantholysis in mucosal tissues, thus confirming the pathogenicity of mPV anti-hDsg3 IgG in vivo. Human anti-hDsg3 antibodies are detected in perilesional mucosa as well as in sera of recipient mice by IF. These findings suggest that the Dsg3 epitopes targeted by pathogenic mPV IgG are human specific. This hDsg3 mouse model will be invaluable in studying the clinical transition from mPV to mcPV.
Project description:The majority of pemphigus vulgaris (PV) patients suffer from a live-threatening loss of intercellular adhesion between keratinocytes (acantholysis). The disease is caused by auto-antibodies that bind to desmosomal cadherins desmoglein (Dsg) 3 or Dsg3 and Dsg1 in mucous membranes and skin. A currently unresolved controversy in PV is whether apoptosis is involved in the pathogenic process. The objective of this study was to perform preclinical studies to investigate apoptotic pathway activation in PV pathogenesis with the goal to assess its potential for clinical therapy. For this purpose, we investigated mouse and human skin keratinocyte cultures treated with PV antibodies (the experimental Dsg3 monospecific antibody AK23 or PV patients IgG), PV mouse models (passive transfer of AK23 or PVIgG into adult and neonatal mice) as well as PV patients' biopsies (n=6). A combination of TUNEL assay, analyses of membrane integrity, early apoptotic markers such as cleaved poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) and the collapse of actin cytoskeleton failed to provide evidence for apoptosis in PV pathogenesis. However, the in vitro and in vivo PV models, allowing to monitor progression of lesion formation, revealed an early, transient and low-level caspase-3 activation. Pharmacological inhibition confirmed the functional implication of caspase-3 in major events in PV such as shedding of Dsg3, keratin retraction, proliferation including c-Myc induction, p38MAPK activation and acantholysis. Together, these data identify low-level caspase-3 activation downstream of disrupted Dsg3 trans- or cis-adhesion as a major event in PV pathogenesis that is non-synonymous with apoptosis and represents, unlike apoptotic components, a promising target for clinical therapy. At a broader level, these results posit that an impairment of adhesive functions in concert with low-level, non-lethal caspase-3 activation can evoke profound cellular changes which may be of relevance for other diseases including cancer.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) autoantibodies directly inhibit desmoglein (Dsg) 3-mediated transinteraction. Because cellular signaling also seems to be required for PV pathogenesis, it is important to characterize the role of direct inhibition in pemphigus acantholysis to allow establishment of new therapeutic approaches. Therefore, we modeled the Dsg1 and Dsg3 sequences into resolved cadherin structures and predicted peptides targeting the adhesive interface of both Dsg3 and Dsg1. In atomic force microscopy single molecule experiments, the self-designed cyclic single peptide specifically blocked homophilic Dsg3 and Dsg1 transinteraction, whereas a tandem peptide (TP) consisting of two combined single peptides did not. TP did not directly block binding of pemphigus IgG to their target Dsg antigens but prevented PV-IgG-induced inhibition of Dsg3 transinteraction in cell-free (atomic force microscopy) and cell-based (laser tweezer) experiments, indicating stabilization of Dsg3 bonds. Similarly, PV-IgG-mediated acantholysis and disruption of Dsg3 localization in HaCaT keratinocytes was partially blocked by TP. This is the first evidence that direct inhibition of Dsg3 binding is important for PV pathogenesis and that peptidomimetics stabilizing Dsg transinteraction may provide a novel approach for PV treatment.
Project description:The severe autoimmune blistering disease Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is mainly caused by autoantibodies (IgG) against desmoglein (Dsg) 3 and Dsg1. The mechanisms leading to the development of blisters are not fully understood, but intracellular signaling seems to play an important role. Sheddases ADAM10 and ADAM17 are involved in the turnover of the desmosomal cadherin Dsg2 and ADAM10 has been shown to contribute to acantholysis in a murine pemphigus model. In the present study, we further examined the role of ADAM10 and ADAM17 both in keratinocyte adhesion and in the pathogenesis of PV. First, we found that inhibition of ADAM10 enhanced adhesion of primary human keratinocytes but not of immortalized keratinocytes. In dissociation assays, inhibition of ADAM10 shifted keratinocyte adhesion towards a hyperadhesive state. However, ADAM inhibition did neither modulate protein levels of Dsg1 and Dsg3 nor activation of EGFR at Y1068 and Y845. In primary human keratinocytes, inhibition of ADAM10, but not ADAM17, reduced loss of cell adhesion and fragmentation of Dsg1 and Dsg3 immunostaining in response to a PV1-IgG from a mucocutaneous PV patient. Similarly, inhibition of ADAM10 in dissociation assay decreased fragmentation of primary keratinocytes induced by a monoclonal antibody against Dsg3 and by PV-IgG from two other patients both suffering from mucosal PV. However, such protective effect was not observed in both cultured cells and ex vivo disease models, when another mucocutaneous PV4-IgG containing more Dsg1 autoantibodies was used. Taken together, ADAM10 modulates both hyperadhesion and PV-IgG-induced loss of cell adhesion dependent on the autoantibody profile.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a potentially fatal blistering disease characterized by autoantibodies against the desmosomal adhesion protein desmoglein (Dsg) 3. Whether autoantibody steric hindrance or signaling through pathways such as p38 MAPK is primary in disease pathogenesis is controversial. PV mAbs that cause endocytosis of Dsg3 but do not dissociate keratinocytes because of compensatory adhesion by Dsg1 do not activate p38. The same mAbs plus exfoliative toxin to inactivate Dsg1 but not exfoliative toxin alone activate p38, suggesting that p38 activation is secondary to loss of adhesion. Mice with epidermal p38? deficiency blister after passive transfer of PV mAbs; however, acantholytic cells retain cell surface Dsg3 compared with wild-type mice. In cultured keratinocytes, p38 knockdown prevents loss of desmosomal Dsg3 by PV mAbs, and exogenous p38 activation causes internalization of Dsg3, desmocollin 3, and desmoplakin. p38? MAPK is therefore not required for the loss of intercellular adhesion in PV, but may function downstream to augment blistering via Dsg3 endocytosis. Treatments aimed at increasing keratinocyte adhesion could be used in conjunction with immunosuppressive agents, potentially leading to safer and more effective combination therapy regimens.
Project description:In pemphigus vulgaris (PV), autoantibodies directed against the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein (Dsg) 3 cause loss of intercellular adhesion. It is known that Dsg3 interactions are directly inhibited by autoantibody binding and that Dsg2 is upregulated in epidermis of PV patients. Here, we investigated whether heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions occur and would modulate PV pathogenesis. Dsg2 was upregulated in PV patients' biopsies and in a human ex vivo pemphigus skin model. Immunoprecipitation and cell-free atomic force microscopy (AFM) experiments demonstrated heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions. Similarly, in Dsg3-deficient keratinocytes with severely disturbed intercellular adhesion Dsg2 was upregulated in the desmosome containing fraction. AFM revealed that Dsg2-Dsg3 heterophilic interactions showed binding frequency, strength, Ca2+-dependency and catch-bond behavior comparable to homophilic Dsg3-Dsg3 or homophilic Dsg2-Dsg2 interactions. However, heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions had a longer lifetime compared to homophilic Dsg2-Dsg2 interactions and PV autoantibody-induced direct inhibition was significantly less pronounced for heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions compared to homophilic Dsg3 interactions. In contrast, a monoclonal anti-Dsg2 inhibitory antibody reduced heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 and homophilic Dsg2-Dsg2 binding to the same degree and further impaired intercellular adhesion in Dsg3-deficient keratinocytes. Taken together, the data demonstrate that Dsg2 undergoes heterophilic interactions with Dsg3, which may attenuate autoantibody-induced loss of keratinocyte adhesion in pemphigus.
Project description:The development of experimental models of active autoimmune diseases can be difficult due to tolerance of autoantigens, but knockout mice, which fail to acquire tolerance to the defective gene product, provide a useful tool for this purpose. Using knockout mice lacking desmoglein 3 (Dsg3), the target antigen of pemphigus vulgaris (PV), we have generated an active disease model for this autoantibody-mediated disease. Dsg3(-/-) mice, but not Dsg3(+/-) littermates, produced anti-Dsg3 IgG that binds native Dsg3, when immunized with recombinant mouse Dsg3. Splenocytes from the immunized Dsg3(-/-) mice were then adoptively transferred into Rag-2(-/-) immunodeficient mice expressing Dsg3. Anti-Dsg3 IgG was stably produced in the recipient mice for more than 6 months without further boosting. This IgG bound to Dsg3 in vivo and disrupted the cell-cell adhesion of keratinocytes. Consequently, the recipient mice developed erosions in their oral mucous membranes with typical histologic findings of PV. In addition, the recipient mice showed telogen hair loss, as found in Dsg3(-/-) mice. Collectively, the recipient mice developed the phenotype of PV due to the pathogenic anti-Dsg3 IgG. This model will be valuable for developing novel therapeutic strategies. Furthermore, our approach can be applied broadly for the development of various autoimmune disease models.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune epidermal blistering disease caused by autoantibodies directed against the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-3 (Dsg3). Significant advances in our understanding of pemphigus pathomechanisms have been derived from the generation of pathogenic monoclonal Dsg3 antibodies. However, conflicting models for pemphigus pathogenicity have arisen from studies using either polyclonal PV patient IgG or monoclonal Dsg3 antibodies. In the present study, the pathogenic mechanisms of polyclonal PV IgG and monoclonal Dsg3 antibodies were directly compared. Polyclonal PV IgG cause extensive clustering and endocytosis of keratinocyte cell surface Dsg3, whereas pathogenic mouse monoclonal antibodies compromise cell-cell adhesion strength without causing these alterations in Dsg3 trafficking. Furthermore, tyrosine kinase or p38 MAPK inhibition prevents loss of keratinocyte adhesion in response to polyclonal PV IgG. In contrast, disruption of adhesion by pathogenic monoclonal antibodies is not prevented by these inhibitors either in vitro or in human skin explants. Our results reveal that the pathogenic activity of polyclonal PV IgG can be attributed to p38 MAPK-dependent clustering and endocytosis of Dsg3, whereas pathogenic monoclonal Dsg3 antibodies can function independently of this pathway. These findings have important implications for understanding pemphigus pathophysiology, and for the design of pemphigus model systems and therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Plakophilin-1 (PKP-1) is an armadillo family protein critical for desmosomal adhesion and epidermal integrity. In the autoimmune skin-blistering disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV), autoantibodies (IgG) target the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) and compromise keratinocyte cell-cell adhesion. Here, we report that enhanced expression of PKP-1 protects keratinocytes from PV IgG-induced loss of cell-cell adhesion. PKP-1 prevents loss of Dsg3 and other desmosomal proteins from cell-cell borders and prevents alterations in desmosome ultrastructure in keratinocytes treated with PV IgG. Using a series of Dsg3 chimeras and deletion constructs, we find that PKP-1 clusters Dsg3 with the desmosomal plaque protein desmoplakin in a manner dependent on the plakoglobin-binding domain of the Dsg3 tail. Furthermore, PKP-1 expression transforms desmosome adhesion from a calcium-dependent to a calcium-independent and hyperadhesive state. These results demonstrate that manipulating the expression of a single desmosomal plaque protein can block the pathogenic effects of PV IgG on keratinocyte adhesion.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune blistering disease of skin and mucous membranes caused by autoantibodies to the desmoglein (DSG) family proteins DSG3 and DSG1, leading to loss of keratinocyte cell adhesion. To learn more about pathogenic PV autoantibodies, we isolated 15 IgG antibodies specific for DSG3 from 2 PV patients. Three antibodies disrupted keratinocyte monolayers in vitro, and 2 were pathogenic in a passive transfer model in neonatal mice. The epitopes recognized by the pathogenic antibodies were mapped to the DSG3 extracellular 1 (EC1) and EC2 subdomains, regions involved in cis-adhesive interactions. Using a site-specific serological assay, we found that the cis-adhesive interface on EC1 recognized by the pathogenic antibody PVA224 is the primary target of the autoantibodies present in the serum of PV patients. The autoantibodies isolated used different heavy- and light-chain variable region genes and carried high levels of somatic mutations in complementary-determining regions, consistent with antigenic selection. Remarkably, binding to DSG3 was lost when somatic mutations were reverted to the germline sequence. These findings identify the cis-adhesive interface of DSG3 as the immunodominant region targeted by pathogenic antibodies in PV and indicate that autoreactivity relies on somatic mutations generated in the response to an antigen unrelated to DSG3.