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Hum Immunol. 2013 May;74(5):574-85. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2012.12.017. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

The autoimmune-predisposing variant of lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase favors T helper 1 responses.

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Biotechnology Centre of Oslo, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


The C1858T single nucleotide polymorphism in PTPN22, which is the gene encoding lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase (LYP), confers increased risk for various autoimmune disorders in Caucasians. Although the disease-associated LYP allele (LYP*W620) is a gain-of-function variant that has higher catalytic activity than the major allele (LYP*R620), it is still unclear how LYP*W620 predisposes for autoimmunity. Here, we compared both T cell signaling and T cell function in healthy human donors homozygous for either LYP*R620 or LYP*W620. Generally, the presence of LYP*W620 caused reduced proximal T cell antigen receptor-mediated signaling (e.g. ζ chain phosphorylation) but augmented CD28-associated signaling (e.g. AKT activation). Altered ligand binding properties of the two LYP variants could explain these findings since LYP*R620 interacted more strongly with the p85 subunit of PI3K. Variation in signaling between cells expressing either LYP*R620 or LYP*W620 also affected the differentiation of conventional CD4(+) T cells. For example, LYP*W620 homozygous donors displayed exaggerated Th1 responses (e.g. IFNγ production) and reduced Th17 responses (e.g. IL-17 production). Importantly, while regulatory T cells normally suppressed Th1-mediated IFNγ production in LYP*R620 homozygous individuals, such suppression was lost in LYP*W620 homozygous individuals. Altogether, these findings provide a molecular and cellular explanation for the autoimmune phenotype associated with LYP*W620.

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