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Dicer insufficiency and microRNA-155 overexpression in lupus regulatory T cells: an apparent paradox in the setting of an inflammatory milieu.

ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by loss of tolerance to self-Ags and activation of autoreactive T cells. Regulatory T (Treg) cells play a critical role in controlling the activation of autoreactive T cells. In this study, we investigated mechanisms of potential Treg cell defects in systemic lupus erythematosus using MRL-Fas(lpr/lpr) (MRL/lpr) and MRL-Fas(+/+) mouse models. We found a significant increase in CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells, albeit with an altered phenotype (CD62L(-)CD69(+)) and with a reduced suppressive capacity, in the lymphoid organs of MRL strains compared with non-autoimmune C3H/HeOuj mice. A search for mechanisms underlying the altered Treg cell phenotype in MRL/lpr mice led us to find a profound reduction in Dicer expression and an altered microRNA (miRNA, miR) profile in MRL/lpr Treg cells. Despite having a reduced level of Dicer, MRL/lpr Treg cells exhibited a significant overexpression of several miRNAs, including let-7a, let-7f, miR-16, miR-23a, miR-23b, miR-27a, and miR-155. Using computational approaches, we identified one of the upregulated miRNAs, miR-155, that can target CD62L and may thus confer the altered Treg cell phenotype in MRL/lpr mice. In fact, the induced overexpression of miR-155 in otherwise normal (C3H/HeOuj) Treg cells reduced their CD62L expression, which mimics the altered Treg cell phenotype in MRL/lpr mice. These data suggest a role of Dicer and miR-155 in regulating Treg cell phenotype. Furthermore, simultaneous appearance of Dicer insufficiency and miR-155 overexpression in diseased mice suggests a Dicer-independent alternative mechanism of miRNA regulation under inflammatory conditions.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC3038632 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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