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1.  Connecting Two Pathways through Ca2+ Signaling: NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation Induced by a Hypermorphic PLCG2 Mutation 
Objective
Previously, we reported that a novel variant, p.Ser707Tyr, in phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2) is the cause of a dominantly inherited autoinflammatory disease, APLAID. The hypermorphic mutation enhances the PLCγ2 activity and causes an increase in intracellular Ca2+ release from ER stores. As increased intracellular Ca2+ signaling has been associated with NLRP3 inflammasome activation, we studied the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the pathogenesis of this disease.
Methods
Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from healthy controls and two affected patients. Inflammasome activation was analyzed by Western blotting. Intracellular Ca2+ levels were measured with the FLIPR Calcium 4 assay kit.
Results
Patients’ cells had elevated basal levels of intracellular Ca2+ and the intracellular Ca2+ flux triggered by extracellular CaCl2 was substantially enhanced. Patients’ PBMCs secreted IL-1β in response to LPS priming alone, and this effect was attenuated by use of a PLC inhibitor, intracellular Ca2+ blockers, or an adenylate cyclase activator.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that the inflammation in patients with APLAID is partially driven by the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. These data link two seemingly distinct molecular pathways and provide new insights into the pathogenesis of APLAID and autoinflammation.
doi:10.1002/art.38961
PMCID: PMC4369162  PMID: 25418813
autoinflammatory disease; inflammasome; phospholipase Cγ2; IL-1β; pathogenesis
2.  Identification of possible pathogenic pathways in Behçet's disease using genome-wide association study data from two different populations 
Behçet's disease (BD) is a multi-system inflammatory disorder of unknown etiology. Two recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of BD confirmed a strong association with the MHC class I region and identified two non-HLA common genetic variations. In complex diseases, multiple factors may target different sets of genes in the same pathway and thus may cause the same disease phenotype. We therefore hypothesized that identification of disease-associated pathways is critical to elucidate mechanisms underlying BD, and those pathways may be conserved within and across populations. To identify the disease-associated pathways, we developed a novel methodology that combines nominally significant evidence of genetic association with current knowledge of biochemical pathways, protein–protein interaction networks, and functional information of selected SNPs. Using this methodology, we searched for the disease-related pathways in two BD GWASs in Turkish and Japanese case–control groups. We found that 6 of the top 10 identified pathways in both populations were overlapping, even though there were few significantly conserved SNPs/genes within and between populations. The probability of random occurrence of such an event was 2.24E−39. These shared pathways were focal adhesion, MAPK signaling, TGF-β signaling, ECM–receptor interaction, complement and coagulation cascades, and proteasome pathways. Even though each individual has a unique combination of factors involved in their disease development, the targeted pathways are expected to be mostly the same. Hence, the identification of shared pathways between the Turkish and the Japanese patients using GWAS data may help further elucidate the inflammatory mechanisms in BD pathogenesis.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.158
PMCID: PMC4402634  PMID: 25227143
3.  Additive loss-of-function proteasome subunit mutations in CANDLE/PRAAS patients promote type I IFN production 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  null;125(11):4196-4211.
Autosomal recessive mutations in proteasome subunit β 8 (PSMB8), which encodes the inducible proteasome subunit β5i, cause the immune-dysregulatory disease chronic atypical neutrophilic dermatosis with lipodystrophy and elevated temperature (CANDLE), which is classified as a proteasome-associated autoinflammatory syndrome (PRAAS). Here, we identified 8 mutations in 4 proteasome genes, PSMA3 (encodes α7), PSMB4 (encodes β7), PSMB9 (encodes β1i), and proteasome maturation protein (POMP), that have not been previously associated with disease and 1 mutation in PSMB8 that has not been previously reported. One patient was compound heterozygous for PSMB4 mutations, 6 patients from 4 families were heterozygous for a missense mutation in 1 inducible proteasome subunit and a mutation in a constitutive proteasome subunit, and 1 patient was heterozygous for a POMP mutation, thus establishing a digenic and autosomal dominant inheritance pattern of PRAAS. Function evaluation revealed that these mutations variably affect transcription, protein expression, protein folding, proteasome assembly, and, ultimately, proteasome activity. Moreover, defects in proteasome formation and function were recapitulated by siRNA-mediated knockdown of the respective subunits in primary fibroblasts from healthy individuals. Patient-isolated hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells exhibited a strong IFN gene-expression signature, irrespective of genotype. Additionally, chemical proteasome inhibition or progressive depletion of proteasome subunit gene transcription with siRNA induced transcription of type I IFN genes in healthy control cells. Our results provide further insight into CANDLE genetics and link global proteasome dysfunction to increased type I IFN production.
doi:10.1172/JCI81260
PMCID: PMC4639987  PMID: 26524591
5.  Aberrant actin depolymerization triggers the pyrin inflammasome and autoinflammatory disease that is dependent on IL-18, not IL-1β 
Kim et al. identify an autoinflammatory disease in mice that is driven by IL-18, resulting from an inactivating mutation in the actin-depolymerizing cofactor Wdr1. This alteration in actin dynamics is recognized by the pyrin inflammasome and results in exaggerated monocyte IL-18 production, whereas inflammasome activation in mature macrophages is unaltered.
Gain-of-function mutations that activate the innate immune system can cause systemic autoinflammatory diseases associated with increased IL-1β production. This cytokine is activated identically to IL-18 by an intracellular protein complex known as the inflammasome; however, IL-18 has not yet been specifically implicated in the pathogenesis of hereditary autoinflammatory disorders. We have now identified an autoinflammatory disease in mice driven by IL-18, but not IL-1β, resulting from an inactivating mutation of the actin-depolymerizing cofactor Wdr1. This perturbation of actin polymerization leads to systemic autoinflammation that is reduced when IL-18 is deleted but not when IL-1 signaling is removed. Remarkably, inflammasome activation in mature macrophages is unaltered, but IL-18 production from monocytes is greatly exaggerated, and depletion of monocytes in vivo prevents the disease. Small-molecule inhibition of actin polymerization can remove potential danger signals from the system and prevents monocyte IL-18 production. Finally, we show that the inflammasome sensor of actin dynamics in this system requires caspase-1, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, and the innate immune receptor pyrin. Previously, perturbation of actin polymerization by pathogens was shown to activate the pyrin inflammasome, so our data now extend this guard hypothesis to host-regulated actin-dependent processes and autoinflammatory disease.
doi:10.1084/jem.20142384
PMCID: PMC4451132  PMID: 26008898
6.  Anakinra Use During Pregnancy in Patients with Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS) 
Objective
To describe the pregnancy course and outcome, and use of anakinra, a recombinant selective IL-1 receptor blocker, during pregnancy in patients with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS), including familial cold auto-inflammatory syndrome (FCAS), Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS) and neonatal onset multi-system inflammatory disease (NOMID).
Methods
Women currently enrolled in natural history protocols (NCT00059748, and/or NCT00069329 under IND) who have been pregnant were included. Subjects underwent a structured, standardized interview with regards to maternal health, pregnancy and fetal outcomes. Medical records were reviewed.
Results
Nine women (four with FCAS, one with MWS and four with NOMID) reported one to four pregnancies, each resulting in a total of fifteen FCAS, three MWS, and six NOMID pregnancies. Six births from FCAS mothers and three births from NOMID mothers occurred while patients were receiving anakinra. If a woman became pregnant while taking anakinra, the pre-pregnancy anakinra dose was continued. Anakinra dose was increased during one twin pregnancy. No preterm births or serious complications of pregnancy were observed. One fetus of the twin pregnancy had renal agenesis and suffered fetal demise. Genetic testing showed the deceased twin carried the same NLRP3 c.785T>C, p.V262A mutation as the mother. The other twin is healthy and mutation negative.
Conclusions
Anakinra was continued during pregnancy in women with CAPS and provided significant, persistent CAPS symptom relief while continuing to prevent the long-term sequelae of CAPS. Anakinra was well tolerated. Although a causal relation between anakinra and renal agenesis seems unlikely, further safety data are needed.
doi:10.1002/art.38811
PMCID: PMC4323990  PMID: 25223501
7.  A small molecule inhibitior of the NLRP3 inflammasome is a potential therapeutic for inflammatory diseases 
Nature medicine  2015;21(3):248-255.
The NLRP3 inflammasome is a component of the inflammatory process and its aberrant activation is pathogenic in inherited disorders such as the cryopyrin associated periodic syndromes (CAPS) and complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. We describe the development of MCC950, a potent, selective, small molecule inhibitor of NLRP3. MCC950 blocks canonical and non-canonical NLRP3 activation at nanomolar concentrations. MCC950 specifically inhibits NLRP3 but not AIM2, NLRC4 or NLRP1 activation. MCC950 reduces Interleukin-1p (IL-1β) production in vivo and attenuates the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a disease model of multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, MCC950 treatment rescues neonatal lethality in a mouse model of CAPS and is active in ex vivo samples from individuals with Muckle-Wells syndrome. MCC950 is thus a potential therapeutic for NLRP3-associated syndromes, including autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and a tool for the further study of the NLRP3 inflammasome in human health and disease.
doi:10.1038/nm.3806
PMCID: PMC4392179  PMID: 25686105
8.  De Novo CIAS1 Mutations, Cytokine Activation, and Evidence for Genetic Heterogeneity in Patients With Neonatal-Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease (NOMID) 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2002;46(12):3340-3348.
Objective
Neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID; also known as chronic infantile neurologic, cutaneous, articular [CINCA] syndrome) is characterized by fever, chronic meningitis, uveitis, sensorineural hearing loss, urticarial skin rash, and a characteristic deforming arthropathy. We investigated whether patients with this disorder have mutations in CIAS1, the gene which causes Muckle-Wells syndrome and familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome, two dominantly inherited disorders with some similarities to NOMID/CINCA syndrome.
Methods
Genomic DNA from 13 patients with classic manifestations of NOMID/CINCA syndrome and their available parents was screened for CIAS1 mutations by automated DNA sequencing. Cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were assessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction on peripheral blood leukocyte mRNA, and serum cytokine levels were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Protein expression was assessed by Western blotting of lysates from plastic-adherent peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Results
In 6 of the 13 patients, we found 6 heterozygous missense substitutions in CIAS1. Five of the 6 mutations are novel. None of these sequence changes was observed in a panel of >900 chromosomes from healthy controls. Two distinct nucleotide changes in a single codon in unrelated patients resulted in the same amino acid change. In 4 mutation-positive children whose parental DNA was available, no mutation was found in the parental DNA, supporting the conclusion that the mutations arose de novo. Consistent with the recently discovered role of CIAS1 in the regulation of interleukin-1 (IL-1), we found evidence of increased IL-1β, as well as tumor necrosis factor, IL-3, IL-5, and IL-6, but not transforming growth factor β, in a mutation-positive patient compared with normal controls.
Conclusion
Our data increase the total number of known germline mutations in CIAS1 to 20, causing a spectrum of diseases ranging from familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome to Muckle-Wells syndrome to NOMID/CINCA syndrome. Mutations in CIAS1 were only found in ~50% of the cases identified clinically as NOMID/CINCA syndrome, which raises the possibility of genetic heterogeneity. IL-1 regulation by CIAS1 suggests that IL-1 receptor blockade may constitute a rational approach to the treatment of NOMID/CINCA syndrome.
doi:10.1002/art.10688
PMCID: PMC4556432  PMID: 12483741
9.  Genetics, genomics and their relevance to pathology and therapy 
Genetic and genomic investigations are a starting point for the study of human disease, seeking to discover causative variants relevant to disease pathophysiology. Over the past 5 years, massively parallel, high-throughput, next-generation sequencing techniques have revolutionized genetics and genomics, identifying the causes of many mendelian diseases. The application of whole genome sequencing and whole exome sequencing to large populations has produced several publicly-available sequence datasets that have revealed the scope of human genetic variation, and have contributed to important methodological advances in the study of both common and rare genetic variants in genetically-complex diseases. The importance of noncoding genetic variation has been highlighted by the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project and NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program, and integrated analyses of these datasets, together with disease-specific datasets, will provide an important and powerful tool for determining the mechanisms through which disease-associated, noncoding variation influence disease risk.
doi:10.1016/j.berh.2014.05.001
PMCID: PMC4149217  PMID: 24974057
pediatric rheumatology; somatic mosaicism; genomewide association study; targeted deep resequencing; miRNA; lncRNA
10.  The Clinical Continuum of Cryopyrinopathies 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2007;56(4):1273-1285.
Objective
The cryopyrinopathies are a group of rare autoinflammatory disorders that are caused by mutations in CIAS1, encoding the cryopyrin protein. However, cryopyrin mutations are found only in 50% of patients with clinically diagnosed cryopyrinopathies. This study was undertaken to investigate the structural effect of disease-causing mutations on cryopyrin, in order to gain better understanding of the impact of disease-associated mutations on protein function.
Methods
We tested for CIAS1 mutations in 22 patients with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease/chronic infantile neurologic, cutaneous, articular syndrome, 12 with Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS), 18 with familial cold-induced autoinflammatory syndrome (FCAS), and 3 probands with MWS/FCAS. In a subset of mutation-negative patients, we screened for mutations in proteins that are either homologous to cryopyrin or involved in the caspase 1/interleukin-1β signaling pathway. CIAS1 and other candidate genes were sequenced, models of cryopyrin domains were constructed using structurally homologous proteins as templates, and disease-causing mutations were mapped.
Results
Forty patients were mutation positive, and 7 novel mutations, V262A, C259W, L264F, V351L, F443L, F523C, and Y563N, were found in 9 patients. No mutations in any candidate genes were identified. Most mutations mapped to an inner surface of the hexameric ring in the cryopyrin model, consistent with the hypothesis that the mutations disrupt a closed form of cryopyrin, thus potentiating inflammasome assembly. Disease-causing mutations correlated with disease severity only for a subset of known mutations.
Conclusion
Our modeling provides insight into potential molecular mechanisms by which cryopyrin mutations can inappropriately activate an inflammatory response. A significant number of patients who are clinically diagnosed as having cryopyrinopathies do not have identifiable disease-associated mutations.
doi:10.1002/art.22491
PMCID: PMC4321998  PMID: 17393462
11.  NLRP1 inflammasome activation induces pyroptosis of hematopoietic progenitor cells 
Immunity  2012;37(6):1009-1023.
Cytopenias are key prognostic indicators of life-threatening infection, contributing to immunosuppression and mortality. Here we define a role for Caspase-1-dependent death, known as pyroptosis, in infection-induced cytopenias by studying inflammasome activation in hematopoietic progenitor cells. The NLRP1a inflammasome is expressed in hematopoietic progenitor cells and its activation triggers their pyroptotic death. Active NLRP1a induced a lethal systemic inflammatory disease that was driven by Caspase-1 and IL-1β but was independent of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) and ameliorated by IL-18. Surprisingly, in the absence of IL-1β-driven inflammation, active NLRP1a triggered pyroptosis of hematopoietic progenitor cells resulting in leukopenia in the steady state. During periods of hematopoietic stress induced by chemotherapy or lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection, active NLRP1a caused prolonged cytopenia, bone marrow hypoplasia and immunosuppression. Conversely, NLRP1-deficient mice showed enhanced recovery from chemotherapy and LCMV infection, demonstrating that NLRP1 acts as a cellular sentinel to alert Caspase-1 to hematopoietic and infectious stress.
doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2012.08.027
PMCID: PMC4275304  PMID: 23219391
inflammasome; NLRP1; IL-18; IL-1β; progenitor cells; pyroptosis; cytopenia; sepsis
12.  Genome-wide association study meta-analysis identifies seven new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci 
Nature genetics  2010;42(6):508-514.
To identify novel genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 5,539 autoantibody positive RA cases and 20,169 controls of European descent, followed by replication in an independent set of 6,768 RA cases and 8,806 controls. Of 34 SNPs selected for replication, 7 novel RA risk alleles were identified at genome-wide significance (P<5×10−8) in analysis of all 41,282 samples. The associated SNPs are near genes of known immune function, including IL6ST, SPRED2, RBPJ, CCR6, IRF5, and PXK. We also refined the risk alleles at two established RA risk loci (IL2RA and CCL21) and confirmed the association at AFF3. These new associations bring the total number of confirmed RA risk loci to 31 among individuals of European ancestry. An additional 11 SNPs replicated at P<0.05, many of which are validated autoimmune risk alleles, suggesting that most represent bona fide RA risk alleles.
doi:10.1038/ng.582
PMCID: PMC4243840  PMID: 20453842
15.  Expanding clinical spectrum and broadening therapeutic horizons 
Nature Reviews. Rheumatology  2011;7(2):82-84.
In 2010, important research into the systemic autoinflammatory diseases has confirmed and extended the role of IL-1 inhibition in hereditary autoinflammatory disorders, demonstrated a novel treatment for a dangerous complication, and expanded the spectrum of systemic autoinflammatory diseases while further implicating autoinflammation in the pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome.
doi:10.1038/nrrheum.2010.229
PMCID: PMC3393888  PMID: 21289614
16.  Neonatal-Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease Responsive to Interleukin-1β Inhibition 
The New England journal of medicine  2006;355(6):581-592.
BACKGROUND
Neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease is characterized by fever, urticarial rash, aseptic meningitis, deforming arthropathy, hearing loss, and mental retardation. Many patients have mutations in the cold-induced autoinflammatory syndrome 1 (CIAS1) gene, encoding cryopyrin, a protein that regulates inflammation.
METHODS
We selected 18 patients with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (12 with identifiable CIAS1 mutations) to receive anakinra, an interleukin-1–receptor antagonist (1 to 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day subcutaneously). In 11 patients, anakinra was withdrawn at three months until a flare occurred. The primary end points included changes in scores in a daily diary of symptoms, serum levels of amyloid A and C-reactive protein, and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate from baseline to month 3 and from month 3 until a disease flare.
RESULTS
All 18 patients had a rapid response to anakinra, with disappearance of rash. Diary scores improved (P<0.001) and serum amyloid A (from a median of 174 mg to 8 mg per liter), C-reactive protein (from a median of 5.29 mg to 0.34 mg per deciliter), and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate decreased at month 3 (all P<0.001), and remained low at month 6. Magnetic resonance imaging showed improvement in cochlear and leptomeningeal lesions as compared with baseline. Withdrawal of anakinra uniformly resulted in relapse within days; retreatment led to rapid improvement. There were no drug-related serious adverse events.
CONCLUSIONS
Daily injections of anakinra markedly improved clinical and laboratory manifestations in patients with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease, with or without CIAS1 mutations. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00069329.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa055137
PMCID: PMC4178954  PMID: 16899778
17.  The calcium-sensing receptor regulates the NLRP3 inflammasome through Ca2+ and cAMP 
Nature  2012;492(7427):123-127.
Mutations in the gene encoding NLRP3 cause a spectrum of autoinflammatory diseases known as the cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS)1. NLRP3 is a key component of one of several distinct cytoplasmic multiprotein complexes (inflammasomes) that mediate the maturation of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) by activating caspase-1. Although several models for inflammasome activation, such as K+ efflux2, generation of reactive oxygen species3 and lysosomal destabilization4, have been proposed, the precise molecular mechanism of NLRP3 inflammasome activation, as well as the mechanism by which CAPS-associated mutations activate NLRP3, remain to be elucidated. Here we show that the murine calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) activates the NLRP3 inflammasome, mediated by increased intracellular Ca2+ and decreased cellular cyclic AMP (cAMP). Ca2+ or other CASR agonists activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in the absence of exogenous ATP, whereas knockdown of CASR reduces inflammasome activation in response to known NLRP3 activators. CASR activates the NLRP3 inflammasome through phospholipase C, which catalyses inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate production and thereby induces release of Ca2+ from endoplasmic reticulum stores. The increased cytoplasmic Ca2+ promotes the assembly of inflammasome components, and intracellular Ca2+ is required for spontaneous inflammasome activity in cells from CAPS patients. CASR stimulation also results in reduced intracellular cAMP, which independently activates the NLRP3 inflammasome. cAMP binds to NLRP3 directly to inhibit inflammasome assembly, and downregulation of cAMP relieves this inhibition. The binding affinity of cAMP for CAPS-associated mutant NLRP3 is substantially lower than for wild-type NLRP3, and the uncontrolled mature IL-1β production from CAPS patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells is attenuated by increasing cAMP. Taken together, these findings indicate that Ca2+ and cAMP are two key molecular regulators of the NLRP3 inflammasome that have critical roles in the molecular pathogenesis of CAPS.
doi:10.1038/nature11588
PMCID: PMC4175565  PMID: 23143333
18.  Microarray-based gene expression profiling in patients with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes defines a disease-related signature and IL-1-responsive transcripts 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(6):1064-1070.
Objective
To analyse gene expression patterns and to define a specific gene expression signature in patients with the severe end of the spectrum of cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). The molecular consequences of interleukin 1 inhibition were examined by comparing gene expression patterns in 16 CAPS patients before and after treatment with anakinra.
Methods
We collected peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 22 CAPS patients with active disease and from 14 healthy children. Transcripts that passed stringent filtering criteria (p values ≤ false discovery rate 1%) were considered as differentially expressed genes (DEG). A set of DEG was validated by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and functional studies with primary cells from CAPS patients and healthy controls. We used 17 CAPS and 66 non-CAPS patient samples to create a set of gene expression models that differentiates CAPS patients from controls and from patients with other autoinflammatory conditions.
Results
Many DEG include transcripts related to the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses, oxidative stress, cell death, cell adhesion and motility. A set of gene expression-based models comprising the CAPS-specific gene expression signature correctly classified all 17 samples from an independent dataset. This classifier also correctly identified 15 of 16 postanakinra CAPS samples despite the fact that these CAPS patients were in clinical remission.
Conclusions
We identified a gene expression signature that clearly distinguished CAPS patients from controls. A number of DEG were in common with other systemic inflammatory diseases such as systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The CAPS-specific gene expression classifiers also suggest incomplete suppression of inflammation at low doses of anakinra.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202082
PMCID: PMC4174357  PMID: 23223423
19.  Lighting the fires within: the cell biology of autoinflammatory diseases 
Nature reviews. Immunology  2012;12(8):570-580.
Autoinflammatory diseases are characterized by seemingly unprovoked, pathological activation of the innate immune system in the absence of autoantibodies or autoreactive T cells. Discovery of the causative mutations underlying several monogenic autoinflammatory diseases has identified key regulators of innate immune responses. Recent studies have highlighted the role of misfolding, oligomerization and abnormal trafficking of pathogenic mutant proteins in triggering autoinflammation, and suggest that more common rheumatic diseases may have an autoinflammatory component. This coincides with recent discoveries of new links between endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammatory signalling pathways, which support the emerging view that autoinflammatory diseases may be due to pathological derangement of stress sensing pathways that normally function in host defence.
doi:10.1038/nri3261
PMCID: PMC4165575  PMID: 22828911
20.  STAT4: Genetics, Mechanisms, and Implications for Autoimmunity Review for Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 
Recent advances in genetics and technology have led to breakthroughs in understanding the genes that predispose individuals to autoimmune diseases. A common haplotype of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) gene has been shown to be associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and primary Sjögren’s syndrome. STAT4 is a transcription factor that transduces interleukin-12, interleukin-23, and type I interferon cytokine signals in T cells and monocytes, leading to T-helper type 1 and T-helper type 17 differentiation, monocyte activation, and production of interferon-γ. Although the evidence for this association is very strong and well replicated, the exact mechanism by which polymorphisms in this gene lead to disease remains unknown. In concert with the identification of other disease-associated loci, elucidating how the variant form of STAT4 modulates immune function should lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC2562257  PMID: 18682104
21.  Efficacy of Etanercept in the Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor–Associated Periodic Syndrome (TRAPS) 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(3):10.1002/art.33416.
Objective
To investigate the efficacy of etanercept in improving the symptoms and underlying inflammation in patients with the TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS).
Methods
Fifteen patients with TRAPS were enrolled in a prospective, open-label, dose-escalation study. Patients recorded attacks, symptom severity, and use of ancillary medications in a daily diary. Blood samples were collected during each period and measured for acute phase reactants. 7–9 years after the conclusion of the initial study, patients completed a follow-up survey and were evaluated to determine the long-term outcome of etanercept treatment.
Results
Etanercept treatment significantly attenuated the total symptom score, as well as reduced the frequency of symptoms. Etanercept also reduced acute phase reactants, particularly during asymptomatic periods. During a ten-year follow-up period, patients remained on etanercept for a median of 3.3 years, with a number of patients switching to anti-IL-1β therapy or remaining off biologic agents, citing injection reactions and lack of efficacy most frequently for discontinuation. However, patients remaining on etanercept had reduced symptoms at follow-up.
Conclusion
Etanercept reduces symptoms and serum inflammatory markers of TRAPS in a dose-dependent manner, but does not completely normalize symptoms or acute phase reactants. Although long-term adherence to etanercept is poor, remaining on etanercept may provide continued symptomatic benefit.
doi:10.1002/art.33416
PMCID: PMC3882089  PMID: 22006113
22.  Genome-wide association analysis identifies new susceptibility loci for Behçet's disease and epistasis between HLA-B*51 and ERAP1 
Nature genetics  2013;45(2):10.1038/ng.2520.
Patients with Behçet's disease (BD) suffer from episodic inflammation often affecting the orogenital mucosa, skin, and eyes. To discover new BD-susceptibility loci, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 779,465 SNPs with imputed genotypes in 1,209 Turkish BD patients and 1,278 controls. We identified novel associations at CCR1, STAT4, and KLRC4. Additionally, two SNPs in ERAP1, encoding ERAP1 p.Asp575Asn and p.Arg725Gln, recessively conferred disease risk. These findings replicated in 1,468 independent Turkish and/or 1,352 Japanese samples (combined meta-analysis p < 2 × 10−9). We also found evidence for interaction between HLA-B*51 and ERAP1 (p = 9 × 10−4). The CCR1 and STAT4 variants were associated with gene expression differences. Three risk loci shared with ankylosing spondylitis and psoriasis (MHC-I, ERAP1, and IL23R, and the MHC-I-ERAP1 interaction), as well as two loci shared with inflammatory bowel disease (IL23R and IL10) implicate shared pathogenic pathways in the spondyloarthritides and BD.
doi:10.1038/ng.2520
PMCID: PMC3810947  PMID: 23291587
23.  Genotype, Phenotype, and Clinical Course in Five Patients With PAPA Syndrome (Pyogenic Sterile Arthritis, Pyoderma Gangrenosum, and Acne) 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;64(6):2022-2027.
Objective
To describe the genotypes, phenotypes, immunophenotypes, and treatments of PAPA syndrome (pyogenic sterile arthritis, pyoderma gangrenosum, and acne), a rare autoinflammatory disease, in 5 patients.
Methods
Clinical information was gathered from medical records and through interviews with 5 patients from 4 kindreds. PSTPIP1 (CD2BP1) exon 10 and exon 11 sequencing was performed in each patient. Neutrophil granule content and cytokine levels were determined in plasma and stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients and controls.
Results
We identified 2 previously described PAPA syndrome–associated PSTPIP1 mutations, A230T and E250Q, and a novel change, E250K. Disease penetrance was incomplete, with variable expressivity. The cutaneous manifestations included pathergy, cystic acne, and pyoderma gangrenosum. Interleukin-1 (IL-1β) and circulating neutrophil granule enzyme levels were markedly elevated in patients compared to those in controls. PBMC stimulation studies demonstrated impaired production of IL-10 and enhanced production of granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Good resolution of pyoderma gangrenosum was achieved in 3 patients with tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) blockade treatment.
Conclusion
This analysis of 5 patients demonstrates that mutations in PSTPIP1 are incompletely penetrant and variably expressed in the PAPA syndrome. Neutrophil granule proteins are markedly elevated ex vivo and in the plasma, and elevated levels might be compatible with a diagnosis of PAPA syndrome. TNFα blockade appears to be effective in treating the cutaneous manifestations of PAPA syndrome.
doi:10.1002/art.34332
PMCID: PMC3737487  PMID: 22161697
24.  Autoinflammatory Disease Reloaded: A Clinical Perspective 
Cell  2010;140(6):784-790.
Our understanding of the etiology of autoinflammatory disease is growing rapidly. Recent advances offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention and suggest that the definition of what constitutes an autoinflammatory disease should be reassessed.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.03.002
PMCID: PMC3541025  PMID: 20303869
25.  Cold Urticaria, Immunodeficiency, and Autoimmunity Related to PLCG2 Deletions 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(4):330-338.
Background
Mendelian analysis of disorders of immune regulation can provide insight into molecular pathways associated with host defense and immune tolerance.
Methods
We identified three families with a dominantly inherited complex of cold-induced urticaria, antibody deficiency, and susceptibility to infection and autoimmunity. Immunophenotyping methods included flow cytometry, analysis of serum immunoglobulins and autoantibodies, lymphocyte stimulation, and enzymatic assays. Genetic studies included linkage analysis, targeted Sanger sequencing, and next-generation whole-genome sequencing.
Results
Cold urticaria occurred in all affected subjects. Other, variable manifestations included atopy, granulomatous rash, autoimmune thyroiditis, the presence of antinuclear antibodies, sinopulmonary infections, and common variable immunodeficiency. Levels of serum IgM and IgA and circulating natural killer cells and class-switched memory B cells were reduced. Linkage analysis showed a 7-Mb candidate interval on chromosome 16q in one family, overlapping by 3.5 Mb a disease-associated haplotype in a smaller family. This interval includes PLCG2, encoding phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2), a signaling molecule expressed in B cells, natural killer cells, and mast cells. Sequencing of complementary DNA revealed heterozygous transcripts lacking exon 19 in two families and lacking exons 20 through 22 in a third family. Genomic sequencing identified three distinct in-frame deletions that cosegregated with disease. These deletions, located within a region encoding an autoinhibitory domain, result in protein products with constitutive phospholipase activity. PLCG2-expressing cells had diminished cellular signaling at 37°C but enhanced signaling at subphysiologic temperatures.
Conclusions
Genomic deletions in PLCG2 cause gain of PLCγ2 function, leading to signaling abnormalities in multiple leukocyte subsets and a phenotype encompassing both excessive and deficient immune function. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Programs and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1102140
PMCID: PMC3298368  PMID: 22236196

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