Phosphorylated ERM Is Responsible for Increased T Cell Polarization, Adhesion, and Migration in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Li Y, Harada T, Juang YT, Kyttaris VC, Wang Y, Zidanic M, Tung K, Tsokos GC
Source: J Immunol
Publication Date: (2007)
Issue: 178(3): 1938-47
Research Area:
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Cells used in publication:
T cell, human peripheral blood unstim.
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune/inflammatory disease characterized by autoantibody production and abnormal T cells that infiltrate tissues through not well-known mechanisms. We report that SLE T lymphocytes display increased levels of CD44, ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM) phosphorylation, stronger actin polymerization, higher polar cap formation, and enhanced adhesion and chemotactic migration compared with T cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and normal individuals. Silencing of CD44 by CD44 small interfering RNA in SLE T cells inhibited significantly their ability to adhere and migrate as did treatment with Rho kinase and actin polymerization inhibitors. Forced expression of T567D-ezrin, a phosphorylation-mimic form, enhanced remarkably the adhesion and migration rate of normal T cells. Anti-CD3/TCR autoantibodies present in SLE sera caused increased ERM phosphorylation, adhesion, and migration in normal T cells. pERM and CD44 are highly expressed in T cells infiltrating in the kidneys of patients with lupus nephritis. These data prove that increased ERM phosphorylation represents a key molecular abnormality that guides T cell adhesion and migration in SLE patients.