Peptides Targeting the Desmoglein 3 Adhesive Interface Prevent Autoantibody-induced Acantholysis in Pemphigus.
ABSTRACT: 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:In pemphigus vulgaris, a life-threatening autoimmune skin disease, epidermal blisters are caused by autoantibodies primarily targeting desmosomal cadherins desmoglein 3 (DSG3) and DSG1, leading to loss of keratinocyte cohesion. Due to limited insights into disease pathogenesis, current therapy relies primarily on nonspecific long-term immunosuppression. Both direct inhibition of DSG transinteraction and altered intracellular signaling by p38 MAPK likely contribute to the loss of cell adhesion. Here, we applied a tandem peptide (TP) consisting of 2 connected peptide sequences targeting the DSG adhesive interface that was capable of blocking autoantibody-mediated direct interference of DSG3 transinteraction, as revealed by atomic force microscopy and optical trapping. Importantly, TP abrogated autoantibody-mediated skin blistering in mice and was effective when applied topically. Mechanistically, TP inhibited both autoantibody-induced p38 MAPK activation and its association with DSG3, abrogated p38 MAPK-induced keratin filament retraction, and promoted desmosomal DSG3 oligomerization. These data indicate that p38 MAPK links autoantibody-mediated inhibition of DSG3 binding to skin blistering. By limiting loss of DSG3 transinteraction, p38 MAPK activation, and keratin filament retraction, which are hallmarks of pemphigus pathogenesis, TP may serve as a promising treatment option.
Project description:Pemphigus is an autoimmune blistering skin disease caused primarily by autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg)1 and 3. Here, we characterized the mechanisms engaged by pemphigus IgG from patients with different clinical phenotypes and autoantibody profiles. All pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and pemphigus foliaceus (PF) IgG and AK23, a monoclonal mouse antibody against Dsg3, caused loss of cell cohesion, cytokeratin retraction and p38MAPK activation. Strong alterations in Dsg3 distribution were caused by mucosal (aDsg3 antibodies), mucocutaneous (aDsg1?+?aDsg3) as well as atypical (aDsg3) PV-IgG. All PV-IgG fractions and AK23 compromised Dsg3 but not Dsg1 binding and enhanced Src activity. In contrast, rapid Ca2+ influx and Erk activation were induced by mucocutaneous PV-IgG and pemphigus foliaceus (PF) IgG (aDsg1) whereas cAMP was increased by mucosal and mucocutaneous PV-IgG only. Selective inhibition of p38MAPK, Src or PKC blocked loss of keratinocyte cohesion in response to all autoantibody fractions whereas Erk inhibition was protective against mucocutaneous PV-IgG and PF-IgG only. These results demonstrate that signaling patterns parallel the clinical phenotype as some mechanisms involved in loss of cell cohesion are caused by antibodies targeting Dsg3 whereas others correlate with autoantibodies against Dsg1. The concept of key desmosome regulators may explain observations from several experimental models of pemphigus.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Autoantibodies (autoAbs) against desmoglein-1 (DSG1) and desmoglein-3 (DSG3) have conventionally been studied and well accepted in the pathogenesis of pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and foliaceus (PF). Recent studies have suggested that non-DSG autoAbs may contribute to the pathogenesis of pemphigus, including autoAbs directed at acetylcholine receptors (AChR) and thyroid peroxidase (TPO). The purpose of this study is to retrospectively analyze PV and PF patient sera to better understand the relationship between anti-AChR and -TPO Abs to disease activity and DSG reactivity between patients treated with prednisone and steroid sparing agents (SSA; n = 22) or prednisone and rituximab (n = 21). METHODS:Patients were evaluated at 2 time points, T1 and T2, for disease activity using the Pemphigus Disease Area Index (PDAI), and sera were tested for the presence of TPO, DSG1, DSG3, muscarinic (M3) and nicotinic (n) AChR IgG autoAbs, as well as antibodies against Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) by ELISA. RESULTS:Disease activity significantly decreased in patients from T1 to T2 (p < .0001). A significant difference was seen in IgG anti-DSG1 (p < .0001) and anti-DSG3 (p = .0049) levels when T1 was compared to T2 in both treatment groups. A significant increase was found between pemphigus patients and normal subjects with nAChR (p < .0001) at T1 but not with m3AChR, TPO or VZV Abs. No significant difference was seen between T1 and T2 values in patients with pemphigus for the non-desmoglein Abs TPO (p = .7559), M3AChR (p = .9003), nAChR (p = .5143) or VZV (p = .2454). These findings demonstrate that although an increase in IgG anti-nAChR autoAbs was found in PV and PF subjects, these Abs did not decrease with treatment. No other non-DSG Abs were increased or significantly changed over time in patients with pemphigus. This suggests that anti -AChR and -TPO Abs may not play a direct role in the pathogenesis of most patients with pemphigus, but does not rule out a role for non-DSG auto antibodies in distinct subsets of pemphigus patient.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a rare blistering disease caused by IgG autoantibodies against the epidermal adhesion molecules desmoglein (Dsg)3 and Dsg1 providing a well-characterized paradigm of an antibody-mediated organ-specific autoimmune disease. In PV patients who have achieved clinical remission after B cell-depleting therapy, relapses often coincide with a reoccurrence of B cells and Dsg-specific autoantibodies. Here, we analyzed Dsg3-specific B cell subpopulations (i.e., total CD19+ B cells, CD19+CD27-B cells, CD19+CD27+ memory B cells, and CD19+CD27hiCD38hi plasmablasts) in peripheral blood of both PV patients (n = 14) at different stages of disease and healthy individuals (n = 14) by flow cytometry using fluorescently labeled recombinant human Dsg3 protein. Applying this approach, Dsg3-specific B cells could be detected at low frequencies (0.11-0.53% of CD19+ B cells) and numbers of Dsg3-specific memory B cells were significantly increased in PV patients in clinical remission receiving minimal immunosuppressive therapy. Finally, we confirmed in vitro that Dsg3-reactive memory B cells were able to produce anti-Dsg3 IgG autoantibodies upon ex vivo activation. Thus, monitoring of Dsg3-specific B cells in PV is of particular interest to further characterize the immunopathogenesis of PV.
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 foliaceus (PF) and pemphigus vulgaris (PV) are autoimmune blistering diseases characterized by autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg)1 and Dsg3, respectively. The role of classical cadherins as immunological targets of pemphigus autoantibodies is unknown. In this study, we tested the reactivity of sera from patients with PF, Fogo Selvagem (FS), and PV by immunoprecipitation coupled with immunoblotting (IP-IB) and ELISA techniques using a baculovirus-expressed ectodomain of E-cadherin. By IP-IB, anti-E-cadherin reactivity was detected in all tested sera of PF (n=13) and FS (n=15) patients, and in 79% of mucocutaneous-type PV patients (n=33), but in none of the mucosal-type PV patients (n=7). By ELISA, anti-E-cadherin IgG was detected in most pemphigus sera that produced strong E-cadherin bands by IP-IB. The immunoreactivity of PF/FS sera with E-cadherin was also demonstrated by IP-IB using human epidermal extracts. However, immunofluorescence staining of A431DE cells (E-cadherin positive, Dsg1 negative) with pemphigus sera showed negative results. Immunoadsorption and competitive ELISA analysis suggest that most of the anti-E-cadherin antibodies cross-react with Dsg1, whereas others may represent independent antibodies that do not cross-react with Dsg1. The functional relevance of these anti-E-cadherin IgG autoantibodies detected in these pemphigus sera remains to be defined.
Project description:Desmosomes are intercellular adhesive junctions of epithelial cells that contain two major transmembrane components, the desmogleins (Dsg) and desmocollins (Dsc), which are cadherin-type cell-cell adhesion molecules and are anchored to intermediate filaments of keratin through interactions with plakoglobin and desmoplakin. Desmosomes play an important role in maintaining the proper structure and barrier function of the epidermis and mucous epithelia. Four Dsg isoforms have been identified to date, Dsg1-Dsg4, and are involved in several skin and heart diseases. Dsg1 and Dsg3 are the two major Dsg isoforms in the skin and mucous membranes, and are targeted by IgG autoantibodies in pemphigus, an autoimmune disease of the skin and mucous membranes. Dsg1 is also targeted by exfoliative toxin (ET) released by Staphylococcus aureus in the infectious skin diseases bullous impetigo and staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS). ET is a unique serine protease that shows lock and key specificity to Dsg1. Dsg2 is expressed in all tissues possessing desmosomes, including simple epithelia and myocardia, and mutations in this gene are responsible for arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia. Dsg4 plays an important adhesive role mainly in hair follicles, and Dsg4 mutations cause abnormal hair development. Recently, an active disease model for pemphigus was generated by a unique approach using autoantigen-deficient mice that do not acquire tolerance against the defective autoantigen. Adoptive transfer of Dsg3(-/-) lymphocytes into mice expressing Dsg3 induces stable anti-Dsg3 IgG production with development of the pemphigus phenotype. This mouse model is a valuable tool with which to investigate immunological mechanisms of harmful IgG autoantibody production in pemphigus. Further investigation of desmoglein molecules will continue to provide insight into the unsolved pathophysiological mechanisms of diseases and aid in the development of novel therapeutic strategies with minimal side effects.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune disease of the skin and mucous membranes and is characterized by development of autoantibodies against the desmosomal cadherins desmoglein (Dsg) 3 and Dsg1 and formation of intraepidermal suprabasal blisters. Depletion of Dsg3 is a critical mechanism in PV pathogenesis. Because we did not detect reduced Dsg3 levels in keratinocytes cultured for longer periods under high-Ca(2+) conditions, we hypothesized that Dsg depletion depends on Ca(2+)-mediated keratinocyte differentiation. Our data indicate that depletion of Dsg3 occurs specifically in deep epidermal layers both in skin of patients with PV and in an organotypic raft model of human epidermis incubated using IgG fractions from patients with PV. In addition, Dsg3 depletion and loss of Dsg3 staining were prominent in cultured primary keratinocytes and in HaCaT cells incubated in high-Ca(2+) medium for 3 days, but were less pronounced in HaCaT cultures after 8 days. These effects were dependent on protein kinase C signaling because inhibition of protein kinase C blunted both Dsg3 depletion and loss of intercellular adhesion. Moreover, protein kinase C inhibition blocked suprabasal Dsg3 depletion in cultured human epidermis and blister formation in a neonatal mouse model. Considered together, our data indicate a contribution of Dsg depletion to PV pathogenesis dependent on Ca(2+)-induced differentiation. Furthermore, prominent depletion in basal epidermal layers may contribute to the suprabasal cleavage plane observed in PV.
Project description:Lineage analysis of autoreactive B cells can reveal the origins of autoimmunity. In the autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV), desmoglein 3 (DSG3) and DSG1 autoantibodies are predominantly of the IgG4 subclass and less frequently of IgG1 and IgA subclasses, prompting us to investigate whether anti-DSG IgG4 B cells share lineages with IgG1, IgA1, and IgA2. Combining subclass-specific B cell deep sequencing with high-throughput antibody screening, we identified 80 DSG-reactive lineages from 4 PV patients. Most anti-DSG IgG4 B cells lacked clonal relationships to other subclasses and preferentially targeted DSG adhesion domains, whereas anti-DSG IgA frequently evolved from or to other subclasses and recognized a broader range of epitopes. Our findings suggest that anti-DSG IgG4 B cells predominantly evolve independently or diverge early from other subclasses and that IgA is most often not the origin of IgG autoreactivity in PV. These data provide insight into how autoreactivity diversifies across B cell subclasses.
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.