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1.  Cathepsin B Regulates the Appearance and Severity of Mercury-Induced Inflammation and Autoimmunity 
Toxicological Sciences  2014;142(2):339-349.
Susceptibility and resistance to systemic autoimmunity are genetically regulated. This is particularly true for murine mercury-induced autoimmunity (mHgIA) where DBA/2J mice are considered resistant to disease including polyclonal B cell activation, autoantibody responses, and immune complex deposits. To identify possible mechanisms for the resistance to mHgIA, we exposed mHgIA sensitive B10.S and resistant DBA/2J mice to HgCl2 and assessed inflammation and pro-inflammatory responses at the site of exposure and subsequent development of markers of systemic autoimmunity. DBA/2J mice showed little evidence of induration at the site of exposure, expression of proinflammatory cytokines, T cell activation, or autoantibody production, although they did exhibit increased levels of total serum IgG and IgG1. In contrast B10.S mice developed significant inflammation together with increased expression of inflammasome component NLRP3, proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNF-α, and IFN-γ, hypergammaglobulinemia, splenomegaly, CD4+ T-cell activation, and production of autoantibodies. Inflammation in B10.S mice was associated with a selective increase in activity of cysteine cathepsin B but not cathepsins L or S. Increased cathepsin B activity was not dependent on cytokines required for mHgIA but treatment with CA-074, a cathepsin B inhibitor, led to transient reduction of local induration, expression of inflammatory cytokines, and subsequent attenuation of the systemic adaptive immune response. These findings demonstrate that sensitivity to mHgIA is linked to an early cathepsin B regulated inflammatory response which can be pharmacologically exploited to abrogate the subsequent adaptive autoimmune response which leads to disease.
PMCID: PMC4250846  PMID: 25237059
autoimmunity; inflammation; mercuric chloride; cytokines; T-cell activation; cathepsin B.
2.  Definition of IFN-γ-related pathways critical for chemically-induced systemic autoimmunity 
Journal of autoimmunity  2012;39(4):323-331.
IFN-γ is essential for idiopathic and murine mercury-induced systemic autoimmunity (mHgIA), and heterozygous IFN-γ+/− mice also exhibit reduced disease. This suggests that blocking specific IFN-γ-related pathways that may only partially inhibit IFN-γ production or function will also suppress autoimmunity. To test this hypothesis, mice deficient in genes regulating IFN-γ expression (Casp1, Nlrp3, Il12a, Il12b, Stat4) or function (Ifngr1, Irf1) were examined for mHgIA susceptibility. Absence of either Ifngr1 or Irf1 resulted in a striking reduction of disease, while deficiency of genes promoting IFN-γ expression had modest to no effect. Furthermore, both Irf1– and Ifng-deficiency only modestly reduced the expansion of CD44hi and CD44hiCD55lo CD4+ T cells, indicating that they are not absolutely required for T cell activation. Thus, there is substantial redundancy in genes that regulate IFN-γ expression in contrast to those that mediate later signaling events. These findings have implications for the therapeutic targeting of IFN-γ pathways in systemic autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3570757  PMID: 22578563
Interferon; Animal model; Mercury
3.  Fragmentation of Golgi complex and Golgi autoantigens during apoptosis and necrosis 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(4):R3.
Anti-Golgi complex autoantibodies are found primarily in patients with Sjögren's syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus, although they are not restricted to these diseases. Several Golgi autoantigens have been identified that represent a small family of proteins. Common features of all Golgi autoantigens appear to be their distinct structural organization of multiple α-helical coiled-coil rods in the central domains flanked by non-coiled-coil N-termini and C-termini, and their localization to the cytoplasmic face of Golgi cisternae. Many autoantigens in systemic autoimmune diseases have distinct cleavage products in apoptosis or necrosis and this has raised the possibility that cell death may play a role in the generation of potentially immunostimulatory forms of autoantigens. In the present study, we examined changes in the Golgi complex and associated autoantigens during apoptosis and necrosis. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that the Golgi complex was altered and developed distinctive characteristics during apoptosis and necrosis. In addition, immunoblotting analysis showed the generation of antigenic fragments of each Golgi autoantigen, suggesting that they may play a role in sustaining autoantibody production. Further studies are needed to determine whether the differences observed in the Golgi complex during apoptosis or necrosis may account for the production of anti-Golgi complex autoantibodies.
PMCID: PMC125295  PMID: 12106502
anti-Golgi complex antibody; autoantibody; autoimmunity; cell death

Results 1-3 (3)