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POSTECH Life Science

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ETV5 promotes lupus pathogenesis and follicular helper T cell differentiation by inducing osteopontin expression

2024-06-11 105

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Follicular helper T (TFH) cells mediate germinal center reactions to generate high affinity antibodies against specific pathogens, and their excessive production is associated with the pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). ETV5, a member of the ETS transcription factor family, promotes TFH cell differentiation in mice. In this study, we examined the role of ETV5 in the pathogenesis of lupus in mice and humans. T cell-specific deletion of Etv5 alleles ameliorated TFH cell differentiation and autoimmune phenotypes in lupus mouse models. Further, we identified SPP1 as an ETV5 target that promotes TFH cell differentiation in both mice and humans. Notably, extracellular osteopontin (OPN) encoded by SPP1 enhances TFH cell differentiation by activating the CD44-AKT signaling pathway. Furthermore, ETV5 and SPP1 levels were increased in CD4+ T cells from patients with SLE and were positively correlated with disease activity. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that ETV5 is a lupus-promoting transcription factor, and secreted OPN promotes TFH cell differentiation.

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