Background: A number of heritable immune dysregulatory diseases result from defects affecting regulatory T (Treg) cell development, function, or both. They include immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) syndrome, which is caused by mutations in forkhead box P3 (FOXP3), and IPEX-like disorders caused by mutations in IL-2 receptor α (IL2RA), signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b (STAT5b), and signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1). However, the genetic defects underlying many cases of IPEX-like disorders remain unknown.
Objective: We sought to identify the genetic abnormalities in patients with idiopathic IPEX-like disorders.
Methods: We performed whole-exome and targeted gene sequencing and phenotypic and functional analyses of Treg cells.
Results: A child who presented with an IPEX-like syndrome and severe Treg cell deficiency was found to harbor a nonsense mutation in the gene encoding LPS-responsive beige-like anchor (LRBA), which was previously implicated as a cause of common variable immunodeficiency with autoimmunity. Analysis of subjects with LRBA deficiency revealed marked Treg cell depletion; profoundly decreased expression of canonical Treg cell markers, including FOXP3, CD25, Helios, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4; and impaired Treg cell-mediated suppression. There was skewing in favor of memory T cells and intense autoantibody production, with marked expansion of T follicular helper and contraction of T follicular regulatory cells. Whereas the frequency of recent thymic emigrants and the differentiation of induced Treg cells were normal, LRBA-deficient T cells exhibited increased apoptosis and reduced activities of the metabolic sensors mammalian target of rapamycin complexes 1 and 2.
Conclusion: LRBA deficiency is a novel cause of IPEX-like syndrome and Treg cell deficiency associated with metabolic dysfunction and increased apoptosis of Treg cells.
Keywords: Autoantibodies; LPS-responsive beige-like anchor; T follicular helper cells; T follicular regulatory cells; X-linked syndrome; autoimmunity; enteropathy; forkhead box P3; immune dysregulation; mammalian target of rapamycin complex; polyendocrinopathy; regulatory T cells.
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.