Deregulation of PERK in the autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris occurs via IgG-independent mechanisms.

Dipartimento di Discipline Odontostomatologiche, Seconda Università di Napoli, Naples, Italy.
British Journal of Dermatology (Impact Factor: 3.76). 10/2010; 164(2):336-43. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.10084.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Serum and IgG isolated from patients with the autoimmune blistering disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV) trigger complex intracellular pathways in keratinocytes, including alterations of the cell cycle and metabolism, which ultimately lead to cell-cell detachment (acantholysis). We have shown previously that one of the earliest pathogenic events in PV is the activation of protein kinases, including the PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase PERK.
In the present study we investigated in more detail the role of PERK in the pathogenesis of PV.
PERK levels were assessed by Western blotting and in-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and PERK expression was silenced by siRNA technology. The effects of PV sera/IgG on keratinocyte cultures were investigated by flow cytometry, MTT and adhesion assays.
We show that PERK is activated in keratinocytes exposed to PV serum, as demonstrated by an increase in phosphorylated PERK levels and phosphorylation of eIF2α. Decreased expression of PERK by siRNA reduced the effects of PV serum on the cell cycle and keratinocyte viability, two key events in PV pathophysiology. As impairment of metabolic activity in PV is partially due to non-IgG serum factors, we then investigated the activation of PERK in keratinocytes incubated with whole PV serum, purified PV IgG and IgG-depleted PV serum. The data demonstrated that PV sera depleted of IgG, but not PV IgG, triggered PERK phosphorylation and this correlated with a marked reduction of metabolic activity in keratinocytes exposed to IgG-free serum. Knockdown of PERK by siRNA abrogated the changes in the cell cycle and apoptosis induced by IgG-depleted PV serum. Finally, the reduction of metabolic activity observed in keratinocytes exposed to IgG-depleted PV serum was almost absent in PERK-deficient cells.
Taken together, the results demonstrate that activation of PERK participates in the reduction of metabolic activity and cell viability seen in PV and that this phenomenon depends on non-IgG factors. PERK activation may represent a novel signalling mechanism linking ER stress and acantholysis in PV.

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    ABSTRACT: Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is the most common type of pemphigus. PV pathogenesis is still debated, and treatment remains challenging. We investigated five controversial topics: (1) What are the target antigens in PV? (2) Do desmogleins adequately address PV pathophysiology? (3) How does acantholysis occur in PV? (4) Is PV still a lethal disease? (5) What is the role of rituximab (RTX) in PV treatment? Results from extensive literature searches suggested the following: (1) Target antigens of PV include a variety of molecules and receptors that are not physically compartmentalized within the epidermis. (2) PV is caused by a variety of autoantibodies to keratinocyte self-antigens, which concur to cause blistering by acting synergistically. (3) The concept of apoptolysis distinguishes the unique mechanism of autoantibody-induced keratinocyte damage in PV from other known forms of cell death. (4) PV remains potentially life-threatening largely because of treatment side effects, but it is uncertain which therapies carry the highest likelihood of lethal risk. (5) RTX is a very promising treatment option in patients with widespread recalcitrant or life-threatening PV. RTX's cost is an issue, its long-term side effects are still unknown, and randomized controlled trials are needed to establish the optimal dosing regimen.
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May 8, 2013