Autophagy and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Current Knowledges and Future Perspectives.
ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a degradation mechanism by which cells recycle cytoplasmic components to generate energy. By influencing lymphocyte development, survival, and proliferation, autophagy regulates the immune responses against self and non-self antigens. Deregulation of autophagic pathway has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of several autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Indeed, autophagy seems to be involved in the generation of citrullinated peptides, and also in apoptosis resistance in RA. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of autophagy in RA and discuss the possibility of a clinical application of autophagy modulation in this disease.
Project description:Autoantibodies to citrullinated protein antigens are specific markers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although protein citrullination can be activated by numerous stimuli in cells, it remains unclear which of these produce the prominent citrullinated autoantigens targeted in RA. In these studies, we show that RA synovial fluid cells have an unusual pattern of citrullination with marked citrullination of proteins across the broad range of molecular weights, which we term cellular hypercitrullination. Although histone citrullination is a common event during neutrophil activation and death induced by different pathways including apoptosis, NETosis, and necroptosis/autophagy, hypercitrullination is not induced by these stimuli. However, marked hypercitrullination is induced by two immune-mediated membranolytic pathways, mediated by perforin and the membrane attack complex (MAC), which are active in the RA joint and of importance in RA pathogenesis. We further demonstrate that perforin and MAC activity on neutrophils generate the profile of citrullinated autoantigens characteristic of RA. These data suggest that activation of peptidylarginine deiminases during complement and perforin activity may be at the core of citrullinated autoantigen production in RA. These pathways may be amenable to monitoring and therapeutic modulation.
Project description:The HLA-DRB1 locus is strongly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility, whereupon citrullinated self-peptides bind to HLA-DR molecules bearing the shared epitope (SE) amino acid motif. However, the differing propensity for citrullinated/non-citrullinated self-peptides to bind given HLA-DR allomorphs remains unclear. Here, we used a fluorescence polarization assay to determine a hierarchy of binding affinities of 34 self-peptides implicated in RA against three HLA-DRB1 allomorphs (HLA-DRB1*04:01/*04:04/*04:05) each possessing the SE motif. For all three HLA-DRB1 allomorphs, we observed a strong correlation between binding affinity and citrullination at P4 of the bound peptide ligand. A differing hierarchy of peptide-binding affinities across the three HLA-DRB1 allomorphs was attributable to the ?-chain polymorphisms that resided outside the SE motif and were consistent with sequences of naturally presented peptide ligands. Structural determination of eight HLA-DR4-self-epitope complexes revealed strict conformational convergence of the P4-Cit and surrounding HLA ?-chain residues. Polymorphic residues that form part of the P1 and P9 pockets of the HLA-DR molecules provided a structural basis for the preferential binding of the citrullinated self-peptides to the HLA-DR4 allomorphs. Collectively, we provide a molecular basis for the interplay between citrullination of self-antigens and HLA polymorphisms that shape peptide-HLA-DR4 binding affinities in RA.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Most patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) harbor antibodies to citrullinated autoantigens such as citrullinated fibrinogen. Two isoforms of peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD), PAD type 2 (PAD2) and PAD4, which catalyze citrullination with different substrate specificities, can be detected in the synovium of RA patients. This study was undertaken to determine whether RA antibodies preferentially bind PAD2- or PAD4-citrullinated fibrinogen. METHODS:RA patient and normal donor plasma specimens were tested for binding to PAD2- or PAD4-citrullinated fibrinogen, native fibrinogen, or citrullinated fibrinogen peptides in various dilutions by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting. Bands corresponding to masses demonstrating RA antibody reactivity by Western blotting were excised and analyzed by mass spectrometry. RESULTS:At low antibody titers (1:40 and 1:100), there was no significant difference between RA antibody reactivity to PAD2- and PAD4-citrullinated fibrinogen. When plasma was further diluted to 1:250 and 1:1,000, RA patient plasma bound PAD4-citrullinated fibrinogen significantly more than PAD2-citrullinated fibrinogen, as measured by ELISA and Western blotting. An increased antibody titer was associated with increased avidity for both PAD2- and PAD4-citrullinated fibrinogen. Both enzymes hypercitrullinated fibrinogen, but PAD4 citrullinated arginines more intermittently, generating a mix of citrullinated and noncitrullinated arginines. Peptide ELISA and preadsorption assays confirmed that the region of intermittent citrullination accounts for the majority of RA antibody binding to the ?-chain of citrullinated fibrinogen. CONCLUSION:At high titers, RA antibodies preferentially bind fibrinogen modified by PAD4, because intermittent citrullination offers a more diverse assortment of citrullinated epitopes.
Project description:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common systemic autoimmune disease whose fibro-inflammatory manifestations may affect a number of tissues and organs, including the lungs. In fact, interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a leading cause of mortality among patients with RA. RA-related interstitial lung disease (RA-ILD) most often presents in an injury pattern called usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP), which portends a relatively worse prognosis than other less commonly occurring patterns of RA-ILD, like non-specific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP). Biomarkers from serum or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid could aid in the identification of patients at risk for RA-ILD, the detection of patients most likely to develop the UIP pattern of RA-ILD, and the prediction of disease behaviour over time. Notably, the use of highly sensitive serologic biomarkers, including rheumatoid factor (RF) and antibodies targeting cyclic citrullinated peptides, while somewhat specific for RA joint disease, have only limited utility as biomarkers for RA-ILD. Candidate biomarkers for RA-ILD include these and other autoantibodies as well as certain genes and molecules that hold promise as biomarkers in other forms of ILD. In this manuscript, we summarize the state of knowledge on biomarkers for the development and progression of RA-ILD.
Project description:Antibodies directed to the Sa antigen are highly specific for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and can be detected in approximately 40% of RA sera. The antigen, a doublet of protein bands of about 50 kDa, is present in placenta and in RA synovial tissue. Although it has been stated that the Sa antigen is citrullinated vimentin, experimental proof for this claim has never been published. In this study, we investigated the precise nature of the antigen. Peptide sequences that were obtained from highly purified Sa antigen were unique to vimentin. Recombinant vimentin, however, was not recognized by anti-Sa reference sera. In vivo, vimentin is subjected to various post-translational modifications, including citrullination. Since antibodies to citrullinated proteins are known to be highly specific for RA, we investigated whether Sa is citrullinated and found that Sa indeed is citrullinated vimentin. Anti-Sa antibodies thus belong to the family of anticitrullinated protein/peptide antibodies. The presence of the Sa antigen in RA synovial tissue, and the recent observation that vimentin is citrullinated in dying human macrophages, make citrullinated vimentin an interesting candidate autoantigen in RA and may provide new insights into the potential role of citrullinated synovial antigens and the antibodies directed to them in the pathophysiology of RA.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Autophagy has emerged as a key mechanism in the survival and function of T and B lymphocytes, and its activation was involved in apoptosis resistance in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To investigate whether the relationship between autophagy and apoptosis may impact the response to the therapy, we analyzed ex vivo spontaneous autophagy and apoptosis in patients with RA subjected to treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs and in vitro the effects of TNF? and anti-TNF drugs on cell fate. METHODS:Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 25 RA patients treated with anti-TNF drugs were analyzed for levels of autophagy marker LC3-II by western blot and for the percentage of annexin V-positive apoptotic cells by flow cytometry. The same techniques were used to assess autophagy and apoptosis after in vitro treatment with TNF? and etanercept in both PBMCs and fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) from patients with RA. RESULTS:PBMCs from patients with RA responsive to treatment showed a significant reduction in LC3-II levels, associated with an increased apoptotic activation after 4?months of therapy with anti-TNF drugs. Additionally, the expression of LC3-II correlated with DAS28. TNF? was able to induce autophagy in a dose-dependent manner after 24?h of culture in RA PBMCs and FLS. Moreover, etanercept caused a significant reduction of autophagy and of levels of citrullinated proteins. CONCLUSIONS:Our results show how the crosstalk between autophagy and apoptosis can sustain the survival of immune cells, thus influencing RA progression. This suggests that inhibition of autophagy represents a possible therapeutic target in RA.
Project description:Antibodies against citrullinated proteins are highly specific for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but little is understood about their citrullinated target antigens. We have detected a candidate citrullinated protein by immunoblotting lysates of monocytic and granulocytic HL-60 cells treated with peptidylarginine deiminase. In an initial screen of serum samples from four patients with RA and one control, a protein of molecular mass 47 kDa from monocytic HL-60s reacted with sera from the patients, but not with the serum from the control. Only the citrullinated form of the protein was recognised. The antigen was identified by tandem mass spectrometry as alpha-enolase, and the positions of nine citrulline residues in the sequence were determined. Serum samples from 52 patients with RA and 40 healthy controls were tested for presence of antibodies against citrullinated and non-citrullinated alpha-enolase by immunoblotting of the purified antigens. Twenty-four sera from patients with RA (46%) reacted with citrullinated alpha-enolase, of which seven (13%) also recognised the non-citrullinated protein. Six samples from the controls (15%) reacted with both forms. Alpha-enolase was detected in the RA joint, where it co-localised with citrullinated proteins. The presence of antibody together with expression of antigen within the joint implicates citrullinated alpha-enolase as a candidate autoantigen that could drive the chronic inflammatory response in RA.
Project description:The objective of the study is to investigate potential citrullinated autoantigens as targets of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) response in synovial fluids (SFs) of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). SFs from six RA patients and six osteoarthritis (OA) patients as controls were collected. The citrullinated proteins in SFs were extracted by immunoprecipitation with rabbit anti-citrulline antibodies. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry/time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF) mass spectrometry was subsequently performed to discover a characteristic neutral loss to finally determine citrullinated autoantigens. A total of 182 citrullinated peptides and 200 citrullinated sites were identified in RA SFs, while 3 citrullinated peptides and 4 citrullinated sites were identified in OA SFs. The 182 citrullinated peptides from RA SFs and the 3 citrullinated peptides from OA SFs were derived from 83 and 3 autoantigens, respectively. Eighty-three autoantigens except protein-arginine deiminase type-2 (PADI2) and protein-arginine deiminase type-2 (PADI4) were over-citrullinated compared with controls, and the citrullinated sites of PADI2 and PADI4 were different in two groups. Interestingly, citrullinated histone H3.3 (H3F3A) was found in OA controls, but not in RA groups. The differential citrullinated proteins identified in RA SFs suggested potential autoantigens were targeted for ACPAs response and might contribute to the induction and perpetuation of complement activation and joint inflammation in RA.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) have proven highly useful as biomarkers for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, composition and functionality of the associated autoreactive B cell repertoire have not been directly assessed. We aimed to selectively investigate citrullinated autoantigen-specific B cell receptors (BCRs) involved in RA and initiate studies on their pathogenicity. METHODS:Blood samples were obtained from patients in a University of Minnesota cohort with ACPA-positive RA (n = 89). Tetramer sets bearing citrullinated filaggrin peptide cfc1 or citrullinated ?-enolase peptide were constructed to specifically capture autoreactive B cells from the unaltered, polyclonal repertoire in RA patients. Citrullinated peptide tetramer-bound B cells were subjected to flow cytometric cell sorting and single-cell IGH, IGK, and IGL gene sequencing for B cell lineage determinations. BCR gene sequences were also expressed as recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAb) for direct evaluation of citrullinated autoantigen binding and effector functionality. RESULTS:Using citrullinated peptide tetramer enrichment to investigate single autoreactive blood B cells, we identified biased V-region gene usage and conserved junction arrangements in BCRs from RA patients. Parsimonious clustering of related immunoglobulin gene nucleotide sequences revealed clonal expansions of rare individual B cell clades, in parallel with divergent sequence mutations. Correspondingly, recombinant mAb generated from such BCR lineages demonstrated citrulline-dependent cross-reactivity extending beyond the citrullinated peptides used for B cell capture. A pair of citrullinated autoantigen-specific mAb with cross-reactive binding profiles also promoted arthritis in mice. CONCLUSION:Our findings suggest that broad ACPA specificities in RA arise from a restricted repertoire of evolving citrulline-multispecific B cell clades with pathogenic potential.
Project description:Increased protein citrullination is linked to various diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, and cancer. Citrullinated autoantigens, a hallmark of RA, are recognized by anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) which are used to diagnose RA. ACPA-recognizing citrullinated enolase, vimentin, keratin, and filaggrin are also pathogenic. Here, we used a chemoproteomic approach to define the RA-associated citrullinome. The identified proteins include numerous serine protease inhibitors (Serpins), proteases and metabolic enzymes. We demonstrate that citrullination of antiplasmin, antithrombin, t-PAI, and C1 inhibitor (P1-Arg-containing Serpins) abolishes their ability to inhibit their cognate proteases. Citrullination of nicotinamide N-methyl transferase (NNMT) also abolished its methyltransferase activity. Overall, these data advance our understanding of the roles of citrullination in RA and suggest that extracellular protein arginine deiminase (PAD) activity can modulate protease activity with consequent effects on Serpin-regulated pathways. Moreover, our data suggest that inhibition of extracellular PAD activity will be therapeutically relevant.