P38 MAPK activation is downstream of the loss of intercellular adhesion in pemphigus vulgaris.
ABSTRACT: 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:The intercellular interactions of the desmosomal cadherins, desmoglein and desmocollin, are required for epidermal cell adhesion. Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a potentially fatal autoimmune blistering disease characterized by autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg) 3. During calcium-induced desmosome assembly, treatment of primary human keratinocytes with pathogenic monovalent anti-Dsg3 mAbs produced from a PV patient causes a decrease of Dsg3 and desmoplakin but not desmocollin (Dsc) 3 in the Triton-insoluble fraction of cell lysates within 2 hours. Immunofluorescence and antibody ELISA studies suggest that pathogenic mAbs cause internalization of cell-surface Dsg3 but not Dsc3 through early endosomes. Electron microscopy demonstrated a lack of well-formed desmosomes in keratinocytes treated with pathogenic compared to nonpathogenic mAbs. In contrast, pathogenic mAbs caused late depletion of Dsg3 from preformed desmosomes at 24 hours, with effects on multiple desmosomal proteins including Dsc3 and plakoglobin. Together, these studies indicate that pathogenic PV mAbs specifically cause internalization of newly synthesized Dsg3 during desmosome assembly, correlating with their pathogenic activity. Monovalent human PV anti-Dsg mAbs reproduce the effects of polyclonal PV IgG on Dsg3 and will facilitate future studies to further dissect the cellular mechanisms for the loss of cell adhesion in pemphigus.
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 epithelial blistering disease caused by autoantibodies to the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (DSG3). Glucocorticoids improve disease within days by increasing DSG3 gene transcription, although the mechanism for this observation remains unknown. Here, we show that DSG3 transcription in keratinocytes is regulated by Stat3. Treatment of primary human keratinocytes (PHKs) with hydrocortisone or rapamycin, but not the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB202190, significantly increases DSG3 mRNA and protein expression and correspondingly reduces phospho-S727 Stat3. Stat3 inhibition or shRNA-knockdown also significantly increases DSG3 mRNA and protein levels. Hydrocortisone- or rapamycin-treated PHKs demonstrate increased number and length of desmosomes by electron microscopy and are resistant to PV IgG-induced loss of cell adhesion, whereas constitutive activation of Stat3 in PHKs abrogates DSG3 upregulation and inhibits hydrocortisone and rapamycin's therapeutic effects. Topical hydrocortisone, rapamycin, or Stat3 inhibitor XVIII prevents autoantibody-induced blistering in the PV passive transfer mouse model, correlating with increased epidermal DSG3 expression and decreased phospho-S727 Stat3. Our data indicate that glucocorticoids and rapamycin upregulate DSG3 transcription through inhibition of Stat3. These studies explain how glucocorticoids rapidly improve pemphigus and may also offer novel insights into the physiologic and pathophysiologic regulation of desmosomal cadherin expression in normal epidermis and epithelial carcinomas.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune blistering disease characterized by autoantibodies to the keratinocyte adhesion protein desmoglein 3 (Dsg3). Previous studies suggest that PV pathogenesis involves p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent and -independent pathways. However, p38 is a difficult protein to study and therapeutically target because it has four isoforms and multiple downstream effectors. In this study, we identify MAPKAP (mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein) kinase 2 (MK2) as a downstream effector of p38 signaling in PV and describe MK2-dependent and -independent mechanisms of blister formation using passive transfer of human anti-Dsg IgG4 mAbs to neonatal mice. In human keratinocytes, PV mAbs activate MK2 in a dose-dependent manner. MK2 is also activated in human pemphigus skin blisters, causing translocation of MK2 from the nucleus to the cytosol. Small-molecule inhibition of MK2 and silencing of MK2 expression block PV mAb-induced Dsg3 endocytosis in human keratinocytes. In addition, small-molecule inhibition and genetic deletion of p38? and MK2 inhibit spontaneous but not induced suprabasal blisters by PV mAbs in mouse passive transfer models. Collectively, these data suggest that MK2 is a key downstream effector of p38 that can modulate PV autoantibody pathogenicity. MK2 inhibition may be a valuable adjunctive therapy for control of pemphigus blistering.
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:Strong intercellular adhesion is critical for tissues that experience mechanical stress, such as the skin and heart. Desmosomes provide adhesive strength to tissues by anchoring desmosomal cadherins of neighboring cells to the intermediate filament cytoskeleton. Alterations in assembly and disassembly compromise desmosome function and may contribute to human diseases, such as the autoimmune skin blistering disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). We previously demonstrated that PV auto-antibodies directed against the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) cause loss of adhesion by triggering membrane raft-mediated Dsg3 endocytosis. We hypothesized that raft membrane microdomains play a broader role in desmosome homeostasis by regulating the dynamics of desmosome assembly and disassembly. In human keratinocytes, Dsg3 is raft associated as determined by biochemical and super resolution immunofluorescence microscopy methods. Cholesterol depletion, which disrupts rafts, prevented desmosome assembly and adhesion, thus functionally linking rafts to desmosome formation. Interestingly, Dsg3 did not associate with rafts in cells lacking desmosomal proteins. Additionally, PV IgG-induced desmosome disassembly occurred by redistribution of Dsg3 into raft-containing endocytic membrane domains, resulting in cholesterol-dependent loss of adhesion. These findings demonstrate that membrane rafts are required for desmosome assembly and disassembly dynamics, suggesting therapeutic potential for raft targeting agents in desmosomal diseases such as PV.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an epidermal blistering disorder caused by antibodies directed against the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-3 (Dsg3). The mechanism by which PV IgG disrupts adhesion is not fully understood. To address this issue, primary human keratinocytes (KCs) and patient IgG were used to define the morphological, biochemical, and functional changes triggered by PV IgG. Three phases of desmosome disassembly were distinguished. Analysis of fixed and living KCs demonstrated that PV IgG cause rapid Dsg3 internalization, which likely originates from a non-junctional pool of Dsg3. Subsequently, Dsg3 and other desmosomal components rearrange into linear arrays that run perpendicular to cell contacts. Dsg3 complexes localized at the cell surface are transported in a retrograde manner along with these arrays before being released into cytoplasmic vesicular compartments. These changes in Dsg3 distribution are followed by depletion of detergent-insoluble Dsg3 pools and by the loss of cell adhesion strength. Importantly, this process of disassembly can be prevented by expressing exogenous Dsg3, thereby driving Dsg3 biosynthesis and desmosome assembly. These data support a model in which PV IgG cause the loss of cell adhesion by altering the dynamics of Dsg3 assembly into desmosomes and the turnover of cell surface pools of Dsg3 through endocytic pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an acquired autoimmune blistering disorder in which greater than 80% of active patients produce autoantibodies to the desmosomal protein desmogelin 3 (Dsg3). As the disease progresses, 40-50% of patients may also develop reactivity to a second component of the desmosomal complex, desmogelin 1 (Dsg1). T cells are clearly required for the production of autoantibodies in PV. However, few T-cell specificities within Dsg3 or Dsg1 have been reported to date, and the precise role of T-cells in disease pathogenesis and evolution remains poorly understood. In particular, no studies have addressed the immunological mechanisms that underlie the observed clinical heterogeneity in pemphigus. We report here a structure-based technique for the screening of DRB1*0402-specific immunological (T-cell epitope) hotspots in both Dsg3 and Dsg1 glycoproteins. RESULTS:High predictivity was obtained for DRB1*0402 (r2 = 0.90, s = 1.20 kJ/mol, q2 = 0.82, spress = 1.61 kJ/mol) predictive model, compared to experimental data. In silico mapping of the T-cell epitope repertoires in Dsg3 and Dsg1 glycoproteins revealed that the potential immunological hotspots of both target autoantigens are highly conserved, despite limited sequence identity (54% identical, 72% similar). A similar number of well-conserved (18%) high-affinity binders were predicted to exist within both Dsg3 and Dsg1, with analogous distribution of binding registers. CONCLUSION:This study provides interesting new insights into the possible mechanism for PV disease progression. Our data suggests that the potential T-cell epitope repertoires encoded in Dsg1 and Dsg3 is substantially overlapping, and it may be possible to apply a common, antigen-specific therapeutic strategy with efficacy across distinct clinical phases of disease.
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:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a life-threatening autoimmune disease characterized by oral mucosal erosions and epidermal blistering. The autoantibodies generated target the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-3 (Dsg3). Previous studies demonstrate that upon PV IgG binding, Dsg3 is internalized and enters an endo-lysosomal pathway where it is degraded. To define the endocytic machinery involved in PV IgG-induced Dsg3 internalization, human keratinocytes were incubated with PV IgG, and various tools were used to perturb distinct endocytic pathways. The PV IgG.Dsg3 complex failed to colocalize with clathrin, and inhibitors of clathrin- and dynamin-dependent pathways had little or no effect on Dsg3 internalization. In contrast, cholesterol binding agents such as filipin and nystatin and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein dramatically inhibited Dsg3 internalization. Furthermore, the Dsg3 cytoplasmic tail specified sensitivity to these inhibitors. Moreover, inhibition of Dsg3 endocytosis with genistein prevented disruption of desmosomes and loss of adhesion in the presence of PV IgG. Altogether, these results suggest that PV IgG-induced Dsg3 internalization is mediated through a clathrin- and dynamin-independent pathway and that Dsg3 endocytosis is tightly coupled to the pathogenic activity of PV IgG.