Cytidine triphosphate (CTP) synthetase 1 (CTPS1) deficiency is caused by a unique homozygous frameshift splice mutation (c.1692-1G>C, p.T566Dfs26X). CTPS1-deficient patients display severe bacterial and viral infections. CTPS1 is responsible for CTP nucleotide de novo production involved in DNA/RNA synthesis. Herein, we characterized in depth lymphocyte defects associated with CTPS1 deficiency. Immune phenotyping performed in 7 patients showed absence or low numbers of mucosal-associated T cells, invariant NKT cells, memory B cells, and NK cells, whereas other subsets were normal. Proliferation and IL-2 secretion by T cells in response to TCR activation were markedly decreased in all patients, while other T cell effector functions were preserved. The CTPS1T566Dfs26X mutant protein was found to be hypomorphic, resulting in 80%-90% reduction of protein expression and CTPS activity in cells of patients. Inactivation of CTPS1 in a T cell leukemia fully abolished cell proliferation. Expression of CTPS1T566Dfs26X failed to restore proliferation of CTPS1-deficient leukemia cells to normal, except when forcing its expression to a level comparable to that of WT CTPS1. This indicates that CTPS1T566Dfs26X retained normal CTPS activity, and thus the loss of function of CTPS1T566Dfs26X is completely attributable to protein instability. This study supports that CTPS1 represents an attractive therapeutic target to selectively inhibit pathological T cell proliferation, including lymphoma.
Keywords: Adaptive immunity; Immunology; Monogenic diseases; T cells.