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Autoimmunity. 2010 Feb;43(1):32-47. doi: 10.3109/08916930903374774.

Systems biology of lupus: mapping the impact of genomic and environmental factors on gene expression signatures, cellular signaling, metabolic pathways, hormonal and cytokine imbalance, and selecting targets for treatment.

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Division of Rheumatology, Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by the dysfunction of T cells, B cells, and dendritic cells, the release of pro-inflammatory nuclear materials from necrotic cells, and the formation of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and immune complexes of ANA with DNA, RNA, and nuclear proteins. Activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has recently emerged as a key factor in abnormal activation of T and B cells in SLE. In T cells, increased production of nitric oxide and mitochondrial hyperpolarization (MHP) were identified as metabolic checkpoints upstream of mTOR activation. mTOR controls the expression T-cell receptor-associated signaling proteins CD4 and CD3zeta through increased expression of the endosome recycling regulator Rab5 and HRES-1/Rab4 genes, enhances Ca2+ fluxing and skews the expression of tyrosine kinases both in T and B cells, and blocks the expression of Foxp3 and the generation of regulatory T cells. MHP, increased activity of mTOR, Rab GTPases, and Syk kinases, and enhanced Ca2+ flux have emerged as common T and B cell biomarkers and targets for treatment in SLE.

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