Author(s): Lu Q, Kaplan M, Ray D, Ray D, Zacharek S,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Inhibition of T cell DNA methylation causes autoreactivity in vitro and a lupus-like disease in vivo, suggesting that T cell DNA hypomethylation may contribute to autoimmunity. The hypomethylation effects are due, in part, to overexpression of lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) (CD11a/CD18). Importantly, T cells from patients with active lupus have hypomethylated DNA and overexpress LFA-1 on an autoreactive subset, suggesting that the same mechanism could contribute to human lupus. The present study investigated the nature of the methylation change that affects LFA-1 expression in vitro and in human lupus. METHODS: Bisulfite sequencing was used to determine the methylation status of the ITGAL promoter and flanking regions in T cells from lupus patients and healthy subjects, and in T cells treated with DNA methylation inhibitors. "Patch" methylation of promoter sequences in reporter constructs was used to determine the functional significance of the methylation changes. RESULTS: Hypomethylation of specific sequences flanking the ITGAL promoter was seen in T cells from patients with active lupus and in T cells treated with 5-azacytidine and procainamide. Patch methylation of this region suppressed ITGAL promoter function. CONCLUSION: DNA methylation changes occur in specific sequences that regulate LFA-1 expression in lupus T cells and in the hypomethylation model, indicating that altered methylation of specific genes may play a role in the pathogenesis of lupus.
This article was published in Arthritis Rheum
and referenced in Journal of Pharmacogenomics & Pharmacoproteomics