Identification of a Novel Non-desmoglein Autoantigen in Pemphigus Vulgaris.
ABSTRACT: Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune bullous disease of the skin and mucous membranes characterized by the presence of circulating and tissue-bound autoantibodies against keratinocyte cell surface antigens, specifically desmoglein (Dsg) 1 and 3. The pathogenic role of anti-Dsg antibodies is well-established, while the mechanism of blister formation is only partly defined. We have applied a previously developed method for the efficient immortalization of IgG+ memory B cells to identify novel target antigens in PV. A human monoclonal antibody reactive with a hitherto unreported non-Dsg antigen was isolated. Immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting studies with keratinocyte extracts indicated ?-catenin as the putative antigen, then confirmed by immunoblotting on the recombinant protein. Four of ten PV sera reacted with recombinant ?-catenin. Although the isolated human monoclonal antibody was per se unable to dissociate keratinocyte monolayers and also to synergize with a pathogenic antibody in vitro, further studies are warranted to assess its possible in vivo contribution in the multifactorial pathogenesis and heterogeneous manifestations of PV disease.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a potentially fatal autoimmune mucocutaneous blistering disease. It was assumed that PV is caused by anti-desmoglein (Dsg) 3 autoimmunity because absorption of PV sera with a chimeric baculoprotein containing the Dsg 3 and IgG1 portions, rDsg3-Ig-His, eliminated disease-causing antibodies. In this study we demonstrate that rDsg3-Ig-His adsorbs out autoantibodies to different keratinocyte antigens, including a non-Dsg 3 130-kd polypeptide. Because the pool of disease-causing PV IgGs contains antibodies against the keratinocyte acetylcholine receptor (AChR), we sought to identify the targeted receptor(s). Preincubation of monkey esophagus with PV antibodies blocked specific staining of the keratinocyte cell membrane with rabbit monoepitopic antibody to alpha9 AChR, indicating that this first of its kind AChR with dual, muscarinic and nicotinic pharmacology is targeted by PV autoimmunity. Anti-alpha9 antibody stained keratinocytes in a fishnet-like intercellular pattern, and visualized a single band at approximately 50 kd in Western blots of keratinocyte membrane proteins. Using step-by-step reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions with primers based on known alpha9 sequence regions, we identified the complete reading frame of human alpha9. Its amino acid sequence showed 85% similarity with rat alpha9. Treatment of keratinocyte monolayers with anti-alpha9 antibody induced pemphigus-like acantholysis, which could be reversed either spontaneously or by using the cholinergic agonist carbachol. We conclude that alpha9 is coupled to physiological regulation of keratinocyte adhesion, and its interaction with PV IgG may lead to blister development.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune blistering disease of skin and mucous membranes caused by autoantibodies to the desmoglein (DSG) family proteins DSG3 and DSG1, leading to loss of keratinocyte cell adhesion. To learn more about pathogenic PV autoantibodies, we isolated 15 IgG antibodies specific for DSG3 from 2 PV patients. Three antibodies disrupted keratinocyte monolayers in vitro, and 2 were pathogenic in a passive transfer model in neonatal mice. The epitopes recognized by the pathogenic antibodies were mapped to the DSG3 extracellular 1 (EC1) and EC2 subdomains, regions involved in cis-adhesive interactions. Using a site-specific serological assay, we found that the cis-adhesive interface on EC1 recognized by the pathogenic antibody PVA224 is the primary target of the autoantibodies present in the serum of PV patients. The autoantibodies isolated used different heavy- and light-chain variable region genes and carried high levels of somatic mutations in complementary-determining regions, consistent with antigenic selection. Remarkably, binding to DSG3 was lost when somatic mutations were reverted to the germline sequence. These findings identify the cis-adhesive interface of DSG3 as the immunodominant region targeted by pathogenic antibodies in PV and indicate that autoreactivity relies on somatic mutations generated in the response to an antigen unrelated to DSG3.
Project description: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:Desmosomes provide intercellular adhesive strength required for integrity of epithelial and some non-epithelial tissues. Within the epidermis, the cadherin-type adhesion molecules desmoglein (Dsg) 1-4 and desmocollin (Dsc) 1-3 build the adhesive core of desmosomes. In keratinocytes, several isoforms of these proteins are co-expressed. However, the contribution of specific isoforms to overall cell cohesion is unclear. Therefore, in this study we investigated the roles of Dsg2 and Dsg3, the latter of which is known to be essential for keratinocyte adhesion based on its autoantibody-induced loss of function in the autoimmune blistering skin disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). The pathogenic PV antibody AK23, targeting the Dsg3 adhesive domain, led to profound loss of cell cohesion in human keratinocytes as revealed by the dispase-based dissociation assays. In contrast, an antibody against Dsg2 had no effect on cell cohesion although the Dsg2 antibody was demonstrated to interfere with Dsg2 transinteraction by single molecule atomic force microscopy and was effective to reduce cell cohesion in intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells which express Dsg2 as the only Dsg isoform. To substantiate these findings, siRNA-mediated silencing of Dsg2 or Dsg3 was performed in keratinocytes. In contrast to Dsg3-depleted cells, Dsg2 knockdown reduced cell cohesion only under conditions of increased shear. These experiments indicate that specific desmosomal cadherins contribute differently to keratinocyte cohesion and that Dsg2 compared to Dsg3 is less important in this context.
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: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:In pemphigus vulgaris (PV), autoantibodies directed against the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein (Dsg) 3 cause loss of intercellular adhesion. It is known that Dsg3 interactions are directly inhibited by autoantibody binding and that Dsg2 is upregulated in epidermis of PV patients. Here, we investigated whether heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions occur and would modulate PV pathogenesis. Dsg2 was upregulated in PV patients' biopsies and in a human ex vivo pemphigus skin model. Immunoprecipitation and cell-free atomic force microscopy (AFM) experiments demonstrated heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions. Similarly, in Dsg3-deficient keratinocytes with severely disturbed intercellular adhesion Dsg2 was upregulated in the desmosome containing fraction. AFM revealed that Dsg2-Dsg3 heterophilic interactions showed binding frequency, strength, Ca2+-dependency and catch-bond behavior comparable to homophilic Dsg3-Dsg3 or homophilic Dsg2-Dsg2 interactions. However, heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions had a longer lifetime compared to homophilic Dsg2-Dsg2 interactions and PV autoantibody-induced direct inhibition was significantly less pronounced for heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 interactions compared to homophilic Dsg3 interactions. In contrast, a monoclonal anti-Dsg2 inhibitory antibody reduced heterophilic Dsg2-Dsg3 and homophilic Dsg2-Dsg2 binding to the same degree and further impaired intercellular adhesion in Dsg3-deficient keratinocytes. Taken together, the data demonstrate that Dsg2 undergoes heterophilic interactions with Dsg3, which may attenuate autoantibody-induced loss of keratinocyte adhesion in pemphigus.
Project description:Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and pemphigus foliaceus (PF) are potentially fatal blistering diseases caused by autoantibodies targeting desmoglein (Dsg) adhesion proteins. Previous studies have shown an IgG4 > IgG1 predominance of anti-Dsg antibodies in pemphigus; however, no studies have examined total serum IgG4 levels in pemphigus. IgG4 is induced by chronic antigen stimulation, which could occur with persistent skin blistering and potentially elevate the total serum IgG4 relative to other IgG subclasses in patients with pemphigus.The primary aim of the study was to quantitate total and Dsg-specific IgG subclasses in patients with pemphigus.IgG subclasses and Dsg-specific IgG1 and IgG4 were quantitated in patients with PV and PF, and in sera from age-matched controls using a subclass enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The effectiveness of IgG4 depletion in blocking IgG pathogenicity in PV was determined using a keratinocyte dissociation assay.Dsg-specific antibodies comprised a median of 7·1% and 4·2% of total IgG4 in patients with PV and PF, respectively, with eightfold and fourfold enrichment in IgG4 vs. IgG1. Total serum IgG4, but not other IgG subclasses, was enriched in patients with PV and PF compared with age-matched controls (P = 0·004 and P = 0·005, respectively). IgG4 depletion of PV sera reduced pathogenicity in a keratinocyte dissociation assay and showed that affinity-purified IgG4 is more pathogenic than other serum IgG fractions.Dsg-specific autoantibodies are significantly enriched in IgG4, which may explain the enrichment of total serum IgG4 in some patients with pemphigus. By preferentially targeting autoimmune rather than beneficial immune antibodies, IgG4-targeted therapies may offer safer treatment options for pemphigus.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Pemphigus is caused by autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg) 1, Dsg3, and/or non-Dsg antigens. Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is the most common manifestation of pemphigus, with painful erosions on mucous membranes. In most cases, blistering also occurs on the skin, leading to areas of extensive denudation. Despite improvements in pemphigus treatment, time to achieve remission is long, severe adverse events are frequent and 20% of patients do not respond adequately. Current clinical developments focus exclusively on modulating B cell function or autoantibody half-life. However, topical modulation of PV autoantibody-induced blistering is an attractive target because it could promptly relieve symptoms. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:To address this issue, we performed an unbiased screening in a complex biological system using 141 low MW inhibitors from a chemical library. Specifically, we evaluated PV IgG-induced Dsg3 internalization in HaCaT keratinocytes. Validation of the 20 identified compounds was performed using keratinocyte fragmentation assays, as well as a human skin organ culture (HSOC) model. KEY RESULTS:Overall, this approach led to the identification of four molecules involved in PV IgG-induced skin pathology: MEK1, TrkA, PI3K?, and VEGFR2. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS:This unbiased screening revealed novel mechanisms by which PV autoantibodies induce blistering in keratinocytes and identified new treatment targets for this severe and potentially life-threatening skin disease.
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.