Immunology And Cell Biology
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by the development of autoantibodies against diverse self-antigens with damage to multiple organs. Immunization with the SLE autoantigen 2-glycoprotein I (2GPI) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a known trigger of necroptosis, induces a murine model of SLE. We hypothesized that necroptotic cells, like apoptotic cells, provide a “scaffold” of cellular self-antigens, but, unlike apoptotic cells, necroptotic cells do so in a proinflammatory and immunogenic context. We demonstrate that 2GPI indeed binds to necroptotic cells and serves as a target for anti-2GPI autoantibodies. We further demonstrate that necroptotic, but not apoptotic, cells promote antigenic presentation of 2GPI to CD4 T cells by dendritic cells. Finally, we show that 2GPI/LPS-immunized mice deficient in RIPK3 (receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 3) or MLKL (mixed lineage kinase domain like), and consequently unable to undergo necroptosis, have reduced SLE autoantibody production and pathology. RIPK3-/- mice had low levels of SLE autoantibodies and no renal pathology, while MLKL-/- mice produced low levels of SLE autoantibodies initially, but later developed levels comparable with WT mice and pathology intermediate to that of WT and RIPK3-/- mice. Serum cytokine levels induced by LPS tended to be lower in RIPK3-/- and MLKL-/- mice, as compared to WT mice, suggesting that impaired proinflammatory cytokine production may impact initiation of autoantibody production in both strains. Our data suggest that self-antigen (i.e., 2GPI) presented in the context of necroptosis and proinflammatory signals may be sufficient to overcome immune tolerance and induce SLE. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.