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author:("Su, taichong")
1.  Microbial Infection and Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune disease affecting 1–2% of general worldwide population. The etiopathogenesis of RA involves the interplay of multiple genetic risk factors and environmental triggers. Microbial infections are believed to play an important role in the initiation and perpetuation of RA. Recent clinical studies have shown the association of microbial infections with RA. Accumulated studies using animal models have also found that microbial infections can induce and/or exaggerate the symptoms of experimental arthritis. In this review, we have identified the most common microbial infections associated with RA in the literature and summarized the current evidence supporting their pathogenic role in RA. We also discussed the potential mechanisms whereby infection may promote the development of RA, such as generation of neo-autoantigens, induction of loss of tolerance by molecular mimicry, and bystander activation of the immune system.
PMCID: PMC4131749  PMID: 25133066
Rheumatoid arthritis; Infection; Microbes; Etiopathogenesis
2.  Regulation of VH Replacement by B Cell Receptor (BCR)-mediated Signaling in Human Immature B Cells 
VH replacement provides a unique RAG-mediated recombination mechanism to edit non-functional IgH genes or IgH genes encoding self reactive B cell receptors (BCRs) and contributes to the diversification of antibody repertoire in mouse and human. Currently, it is not clear how VH replacement is regulated during early B lineage cell development. Here we show that crosslinking BCRs induces VH replacement in human EU12 μHC+ cells and in the newly emigrated immature B cells purified from peripheral blood of healthy donors or tonsillar samples. BCR signaling-induced VH replacement is dependent on the activation of Syk and Src kinases; but is inhibited by CD19 co-stimulation, presumably through activation of the PI3 kinase pathway. These results show for the first time that VH replacement is regulated by BCR-mediated signaling in human immature B cells, which can be modulated by physiological and pharmacological treatments.
PMCID: PMC3660396  PMID: 23630348
3.  Galectins in the Pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex and common systemic autoimmune disease characterized by synovial inflammation and hyperplasia. Multiple proteins, cells, and pathways have been identified to contribute to the pathogenesis of RA. Galectins are a group of lectins that bind to β-galactoside carbohydrates on the cell surface and in the extracellular matrix. They are expressed in a wide variety of tissues and organs with the highest expression in the immune system. Galectins are potent immune regulators and modulate a range of pathological processes, such as inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Accumulated evidence shows that several family members of galectins play positive or negative roles in the disease development of RA, through their effects on T and B lymphocytes, myeloid lineage cells, and fibroblast-like synoviocytes. In this review, we will summarize the function of different galectins in immune modulation and their distinct roles in RA pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3886720  PMID: 24416634
Rheumatoid arthritis; Galectin; Inflammation; Pathogenesis; T cells; Fibroblast-like synoviocytes
4.  Contribution of VH replacement products to the generation of anti-HIV antibodies 
VH replacement occurs through RAG-mediated secondary recombination to change unwanted IgH genes and diversify antibody repertoire. The biological significance of VH replacement remains to be explored. Here, we show that VH replacement products are highly enriched in IgH genes encoding anti-HIV antibodies, including anti-gp41, anti-V3 loop, anti-gp120, CD4i, and PGT antibodies. In particular, 73% of the CD4i antibodies and 100% of the PGT antibodies are encoded by potential VH replacement products. Such frequencies are significantly higher than those in IgH genes derived from HIV infected individuals or autoimmune patients. The identified VH replacement products encoding anti-HIV antibodies are highly mutated; the VH replacement “footprints” within CD4i antibodies preferentially encode negatively charged amino acids within the IgH CDR3; many IgH encoding PGT antibodies are likely generated from multiple rounds of VH replacement. Taken together, these findings uncovered a potentially significant contribution of VH replacement products to the generation of anti-HIV antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3649862  PMID: 23220404
IgH gene; VH replacement; anti-HIV antibody; gp120; CD4i antibody
5.  Accumulation of VH Replacement Products in IgH Genes Derived from Autoimmune Diseases and Anti-Viral Responses in Human 
VH replacement refers to RAG-mediated secondary recombination of the IgH genes, which renews almost the entire VH gene coding region but retains a short stretch of nucleotides as a VH replacement footprint at the newly generated VH–DH junction. To explore the biological significance of VH replacement to the antibody repertoire, we developed a Java-based VH replacement footprint analyzer program and analyzed the distribution of VH replacement products in 61,851 human IgH gene sequences downloaded from the NCBI database. The initial assignment of the VH, DH, and JH gene segments provided a comprehensive view of the human IgH repertoire. To our interest, the overall frequency of VH replacement products is 12.1%; the frequencies of VH replacement products in IgH genes using different VH germline genes vary significantly. Importantly, the frequencies of VH replacement products are significantly elevated in IgH genes derived from different autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and allergic rhinitis, and in IgH genes encoding various autoantibodies or anti-viral antibodies. The identified VH replacement footprints preferentially encoded charged amino acids to elongate IgH CDR3 regions, which may contribute to their autoreactivities or anti-viral functions. Analyses of the mutation status of the identified VH replacement products suggested that they had been actively involved in immune responses. These results provide a global view of the distribution of VH replacement products in human IgH genes, especially in IgH genes derived from autoimmune diseases and anti-viral immune responses.
PMCID: PMC4105631  PMID: 25101087
B-cell; antibody; IgH genes; cryptic RSS; VH replacement; VH replacement footprint; autoimmune disease; anti-viral response
6.  Neutrophil Extracellular Traps and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by an overproduction of autoantibodies. The loss of self-tolerance in SLE is believed to be caused by the dysregulation of both innate and adaptive immune systems. Neutrophils, the most abundant effector cells of innate immunity, have long been shown to be associated with SLE. However, their role in the pathogenesis of SLE was not clear until recent studies discovered abnormal regulation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in SLE patients. NETs are web-like structures composed of chromatin backbones and granular molecules. They are released by activated neutrophils through a process called “NETosis”. Nets were first described in 2004 as a novel host defense mechanism to trap and kill foreign pathogens. Recent evidence shows that NETs also participate in the pathogenesis of a variety of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including SLE. An imbalance between NET formation and clearance in SLE patients may play a prominent role in the perpetuation of autoimmunity and the exacerbation of disease, as well as the induction of end-organ manifestations. This review summarizes the current findings regarding the contribution of NETs to the pathogenesis of SLE.
PMCID: PMC3826916  PMID: 24244889
Neutrophils; Neutrophil extracellular traps; Lupus; Pathogenesis; Autoimmune; Interferon
7.  The unique cytoplasmic domain of human FcγRIIIA regulates receptor mediated function 
Ligand specificity characterizes receptors for antibody and many other immune receptors, but the common use of the FcR-γ-chain as their signaling subunit challenges the concept that these receptors are functionally distinct. We hypothesized that elements for specificity might be determined by the unique cytoplasmic domain (CY) sequences of the ligand-binding α-chains of γ-chain associated receptors. Among Fcγ receptors (FcRs), a protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation consensus motif, [RSSTR], identified within the FcγRIIIa (CD16A) CY by in silico analysis, is specifically phosphorylated by PKCs, unlike other FcRs. Phosphorylated CD16A mediates a more robust calcium flux, tyrosine phosphorylation of Syk and pro-inflammatory cytokine production while non-phosphorylatable CD16A is more effective at activation of the Gab2/PI3K pathway, leading to enhanced degranulation. S100A4, a specific protein binding partner for CD16A-CY newly identified by yeast two-hybrid analysis, inhibits phosphorylation of CD16A-CY by PKC in vitro, and reduction of S100A4 levels in vivo enhances receptor phosphorylation upon cross-linking. Taken together, PKC-mediated phosphorylation of CD16A modulates distinct signaling pathways engaged by the receptor. Calcium activated binding of S100A4 to CD16A, promoted by the initial calcium flux, attenuates the phosphorylation of CY, and acting as a molecular switch, may both serve as a negative feedback on cytokine production pathways during sustained receptor engagement and favor a shift to degranulation, consistent with the importance of granule release following conjugate formation between CD16A+ effector cells and target cells. This switch mechanism points to new therapeutic targets and provides a frame for understanding novel receptor polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC3478424  PMID: 23024279
8.  Internalization of B Cell Receptors in Human EU12 μHC+ Immature B Cells Specifically Alters Downstream Signaling Events 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:807240.
It has been recognized for a long time that engagement of B cell antigen receptors (BCRs) on immature B cells or mature B cells leads to completely opposite cell fate decisions. The underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we show that crosslinking of BCRs on human EU12 μHC+ immature B cells resulted in complete internalization of cell surface BCRs. After loss of cell surface BCRs, restimulation of EU12 μHC+ cells showed impaired Ca2+ flux, delayed SYK phosphorylation, and decreased CD19 and FOXO1 phosphorylation, which differ from those in mature Daudi or Ramos B cells with partial internalization of BCRs. In contrast, sustained phosphorylation and reactivation of ERK upon restimulation were observed in the EU12 μHC+ cells after BCR internalization. Taken together, these results show that complete internalization of cell surface BCRs in EU12 μHC+ cells specifically alters the downstream signaling events, which may favor receptor editing versus cell activation.
PMCID: PMC3809603  PMID: 24222917
9.  Immune opsonins modulate BLyS/BAFF release in a receptor-specific fashion* 
TNF ligand superfamily member 13B (B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), B cell activating factor (BAFF)) promotes primary B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production. While the soluble form of BLyS/BAFF is thought to be the primary biologically active form, little is known about the regulation of its cleavage and processing. We provide evidence that Fcγ receptor cross-linking triggers a rapid release of soluble, biologically active BLyS/BAFF from myeloid cells. Surprisingly, this function is primarily mediated by FcγRI, but not FcγRIIa as defined by specific mAb, and can be initiated by both IgG and C reactive protein (CRP) as ligands. The generation of a B cell proliferation and survival factor by both innate and adaptive immune opsonins through engagement of an Fcγ receptor, which can also enhance antigen uptake and presentation, provides a unique opportunity to facilitate antibody production. These results provide a mechanism by which Fcγ receptors can elevate circulating BLyS levels and promote autoantibody production in immune complex mediated autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3684394  PMID: 18606652
Fc Receptors; Monocytes/Macrophages; Human; Autoimmunity
10.  Contribution of VH Replacement Products in Mouse Antibody Repertoire 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57877.
VH replacement occurs through RAG-mediated recombination between the cryptic recombination signal sequence (cRSS) near the 3′ end of a rearranged VH gene and the 23-bp RSS from an upstream unrearranged VH gene. Due to the location of the cRSS, VH replacement leaves a short stretch of nucleotides from the previously rearranged VH gene at the newly formed V-D junction, which can be used as a marker to identify VH replacement products. To determine the contribution of VH replacement products to mouse antibody repertoire, we developed a Java-based VH Replacement Footprint Analyzer (VHRFA) program and analyzed 17,179 mouse IgH gene sequences from the NCBI database to identify VH replacement products. The overall frequency of VH replacement products in these IgH genes is 5.29% based on the identification of pentameric VH replacement footprints at their V-D junctions. The identified VH replacement products are distributed similarly in IgH genes using most families of VH genes, although different families of VH genes are used differentially. The frequencies of VH replacement products are significantly elevated in IgH genes derived from several strains of autoimmune prone mice and in IgH genes encoding autoantibodies. Moreover, the identified VH replacement footprints in IgH genes from autoimmune prone mice or IgH genes encoding autoantibodies preferentially encode positively charged amino acids. These results revealed a significant contribution of VH replacement products to the diversification of antibody repertoire and potentially, to the generation of autoantibodies in mice.
PMCID: PMC3585286  PMID: 23469094
12.  Expression Profile of FcγRIIb on Leukocytes and Its Dysregulation in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus1 
FcγRIIb (CD32B, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man 604590), an IgG FcR with a tyrosine-based inhibitory motif, plays a critical role in the balance of tolerance and autoimmunity in murine models. However, the high degree of homology between FcγRIIb and FcγRIIa in humans and the lack of specific Abs to differentiate them have hampered study of the normal expression profile of FcγRIIb and its potential dysregulation in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Using our newly developed anti-FcγRIIb mAb 4F5 which does not react with FcγRIIa, we found that FcγRIIb is expressed on the cell surface of circulating B lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, myeloid dendritic cells (DCs), and at very low levels on plasmacytoid DCs from some donors. Normal donors with the less frequent 2B.4 promoter haplotype have higher FcγRIIb expression on monocytes, neutrophils, and myeloid DCs similar to that reported for B lymphocytes, indicating that FcγRIIb expression on both myeloid and lymphoid cells is regulated by the naturally occurring regulatory single nucleotide polymorphisms in the FCGR2B promoter. FcγRIIb expression in normal controls is up-regulated on memory B lymphocytes compared with naive B lymphocytes. In contrast, in active SLE, FcγRIIb is significantly down-regulated on both memory and plasma B lymphocytes compared with naive and memory/plasma B lymphocytes from normals. Similar down-regulation of FcγRIIb on myeloid-lineage cells in SLE was not seen. Our studies demonstrate the constitutive regulation of FcγRIIb by natural gene polymorphisms and the acquired dysregulation in SLE autoimmunity, which may identify opportunities for using this receptor as a therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC2824439  PMID: 17312177

Results 1-12 (12)