Objective Accumulation of mitochondria underlies T-cell dysfunction in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Mitochondrial turnover involves endosomal traffic regulated by HRES-1/Rab4, a small GTPase that is overexpressed in lupus T cells. Therefore, we investigated whether (1) HRES-1/Rab4 impacts mitochondrial homeostasis and (2) Rab geranylgeranyl transferase inhibitor 3-PEHPC blocks mitochondrial accumulation in T cells, autoimmunity and disease development in lupus-prone mice.
Methods Mitochondria were evaluated in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of 38 SLE patients and 21 healthy controls and mouse models by flow cytometry, microscopy and western blot. MRL/lpr mice were treated with 125 μg/kg 3-PEHPC or 1 mg/kg rapamycin for 10 weeks, from 4 weeks of age. Disease was monitored by antinuclear antibody (ANA) production, proteinuria, and renal histology.
Results Overexpression of HRES-1/Rab4 increased the mitochondrial mass of PBL (1.4-fold; p=0.019) and Jurkat cells (2-fold; p=0.000016) and depleted the mitophagy initiator protein Drp1 both in human (−49%; p=0.01) and mouse lymphocytes (−41%; p=0.03). Drp1 protein levels were profoundly diminished in PBL of SLE patients (−86±3%; p=0.012). T cells of 4-week-old MRL/lpr mice exhibited 4.7-fold over-expression of Rab4A (p=0.0002), the murine homologue of HRES-1/Rab4, and depletion of Drp1 that preceded the accumulation of mitochondria, ANA production and nephritis. 3-PEHPC increased Drp1 (p=0.03) and reduced mitochondrial mass in T cells (p=0.02) and diminished ANA production (p=0.021), proteinuria (p=0.00004), and nephritis scores of lupus-prone mice (p<0.001).
Conclusions These data reveal a pathogenic role for HRES-1/Rab4-mediated Drp1 depletion and identify endocytic control of mitophagy as a treatment target in SLE.
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
Statistics from Altmetric.com
This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.
Files in this Data Supplement:
- Data supplement 1 - Online supplement 1
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.