The Lymphotoxin Network: Orchestrating a Type I Interferon Response to Optimize Adaptive Immunity

Cytokine & growth factor reviews (Impact Factor: 5.36). 04/2014; 25(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2014.02.002


The Lymphotoxin (LT) pathway is best known for its role in orchestrating the development and homeostasis lymph nodes and Peyer's patch through the regulation of homeostatic chemokines. More recently an appreciation of the LTβR pathway in the production of Type I interferons (IFN-I) during homeostasis and infection has emerged. LTβR signaling is essential in differentiating stromal cells and macrophages in lymphoid organs to rapidly produce IFN-I in response to virus infections independently of the conventional TLR signaling systems. In addition, LTβR signaling is required to produce homeostatic levels of IFN-I from dendritic cells in order to effectively cross-prime a CD8+ T cell response to protein antigen. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of LTβR signaling in mice has a profound positive impact on a number of autoimmune disease models, although it remains unclear if this efficacy is linked to IFN-I production during chronic inflammation. In this review, we will provide a brief overview of how the “Lymphotoxin Network” is linked to the IFN-I response and its impact on the immune system.

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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe autoimmune disease that is associated with increased circulating apoptotic cell autoantigens (AC-Ags) as well as increased type I IFN signaling. Here, we describe a pathogenic mechanism in which follicular translocation of marginal zone (MZ) B cells in the spleens of BXD2 lupus mice disrupts marginal zone macrophages (MZMs), which normally clear AC debris and prevent follicular entry of AC-Ags. Phagocytosis of ACs by splenic MZMs required the megakaryoblastic leukemia 1 (MKL1) transcriptional coactivator-mediated mechanosensing pathway, which was maintained by MZ B cells through expression of membrane lymphotoxin-alpha1beta2 (mLT). Specifically, type I IFN-induced follicular shuttling of mLT-expressing MZ B cells disengaged interactions between these MZ B cells and LTbeta receptor-expressing MZMs, thereby downregulating MKL1 in MZMs. Loss of MKL1 expression in MZMs led to defective F-actin polymerization, inability to clear ACs, and, eventually, MZM dissipation. Aggregation of plasmacytoid DCs in the splenic perifollicular region, follicular translocation of MZ B cells, and loss of MKL1 and MZMs were also observed in an additional murine lupus model and in the spleens of patients with SLE. Collectively, the results suggest that lupus might be interrupted by strategies that maintain or enhance mechanosensing signaling in the MZM barrier to prevent follicular entry of AC-Ags.
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