MAPKAP kinase 2 (MK2)-dependent and -independent models of blister formation in pemphigus vulgaris.
ABSTRACT: 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: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, 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: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: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 an autoimmune disease characterized by blistering sores on skin and mucosal membranes, caused by autoantibodies primarily targeting the cellular adhesion protein, desmoglein-3 (Dsg3). To better understand how Dsg3-specific autoantibodies develop and cause disease in humans, we performed a cross-sectional study of PV patients before and after treatment to track relevant cellular responses underlying disease pathogenesis, and we provide an in-depth analysis of two patients by generating a panel of mAbs from single Dsg3-specific memory B cells (MBCs). Additionally, we analyzed a paired sample from one patient collected 15-months prior to disease diagnosis. We find that Dsg3-specific MBCs have an activated phenotype and show signs of ongoing affinity maturation and clonal selection. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with pathogenic activity primarily target epitopes in the extracellular domains EC1 and EC2 of Dsg3, though they can also bind to the EC4 domain. Combining antibodies targeting different epitopes synergistically enhances in vitro pathogenicity.
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:A loss of epidermal cohesion in pemphigus vulgaris (PV) results from autoantibody action on keratinocytes (KCs) activating the signaling kinases and executioner caspases that damage KCs, causing their shrinkage, detachment from neighboring cells, and rounding up (apoptolysis). In this study, we found that PV antibody binding leads to activation of epidermal growth factor receptor kinase, Src, p38 MAPK, and JNK in KCs with time pattern variations from patient to patient. Both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways were also activated. Although Fas ligand neutralizing antibody could inhibit the former pathway, the mechanism of activation of the latter remained unknown. PV antibodies increased cytochrome c release, suggesting damage to mitochondria. The immunoblotting experiments revealed penetration of PVIgG into the subcellular mitochondrial fraction. The antimitochondrial antibodies from different PV patients recognized distinct combinations of antigens with apparent molecular sizes of 25, 30, 35, 57, 60, and 100 kDa. Antimitochondrial antibodies were pathogenic because their absorption abolished the ability of PVIgG to cause keratinocyte detachment both in vitro and in vivo. The downstream signaling of antimitochondrial antibodies involved JNK and late p38 MAPK activation, whereas the signaling of anti-desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) antibody involved JNK and biphasic p38 MAPK activation. Using KCs grown from Dsg3(-/-) mice, we determined that Dsg3 did not serve as a surrogate antigen allowing antimitochondrial antibodies to enter KCs. The PVIgG-induced activation of epidermal growth factor receptor and Src was affected neither in Dsg3(-/-) KCs nor due to absorption of antimitochondrial antibodies. These results demonstrated that apoptolysis in PV is a complex process initiated by at least three classes of autoantibodies directed against desmosomal, mitochondrial, and other keratinocyte self-antigens. These autoantibodies synergize with the proapoptotic serum and tissue factors to trigger both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways of cell death and break the epidermal cohesion, leading to blisters. Further elucidation of the primary signaling events downstream of PV autoantigens will be crucial for the development of a more successful therapy for PV patients.
Project description:Desmoglein-3 (Dsg3), the Pemphigus Vulgaris (PV) antigen (PVA), plays an essential role in keratinocyte cell-cell adhesion and regulates various signaling pathways involved in the progression and metastasis of cancer where it is upregulated. We show here that expression of Dsg3 impacts on the expression and function of p53, a key transcription factor governing the responses to cellular stress. Dsg3 depletion increased p53 expression and activity, an effect enhanced by treating cells with UVB, mechanical stress and genotoxic drugs, whilst increased Dsg3 expression resulted in the opposite effects. Such a pathway in the negative regulation of p53 by Dsg3 was Dsg3 specific since neither E-cadherin nor desmoplakin knockdown caused similar effects. Analysis of Dsg3-/- mouse skin also indicated an increase of p53/p21WAF1/CIP1 and cleaved caspase-3 relative to Dsg3+/- controls. Finally, we evaluated whether this pathway was operational in the autoimmune disease PV in which Dsg3 serves as a major antigen involved in blistering pathogenesis. We uncovered increased p53 with diffuse cytoplasmic and/or nuclear staining in the oral mucosa of patients, including cells surrounding blisters and the pre-lesional regions. This finding was verified by in vitro studies where treatment of keratinocytes with PV sera, as well as a characterized pathogenic antibody specifically targeting Dsg3, evoked pronounced p53 expression and activity accompanied by disruption of cell-cell adhesion. Collectively, our findings suggest a novel role for Dsg3 as an anti-stress protein, via suppression of p53 function, and this pathway is disrupted in PV.
Project description:Evidence has accumulated that changes in intracellular signaling downstream of desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) may have a significant role in epithelial blistering in the autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). Currently, most studies on PV involve passive transfer of pathogenic antibodies into neonatal mice that have not finalized epidermal morphogenesis, and do not permit analysis of mature hair follicles (HFs) and stem cell niches. To investigate Dsg3 antibody-induced signaling in the adult epidermis at defined stages of the HF cycle, we developed a model with passive transfer of AK23 (a mouse monoclonal pathogenic anti-Dsg3 antibody) into adult 8-week-old C57Bl/6J mice. Validated using histopathological and molecular methods, we found that this model faithfully recapitulates major features described in PV patients and PV models. Two hours after AK23 transfer, we observed widening of intercellular spaces between desmosomes and EGFR activation, followed by increased Myc expression and epidermal hyperproliferation, desmosomal Dsg3 depletion, and predominant blistering in HFs and oral mucosa. These data confirm that the adult passive transfer mouse model is ideally suited for detailed studies of Dsg3 antibody-mediated signaling in adult skin, providing the basis for investigations on novel keratinocyte-specific therapeutic strategies.
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.