Cytoplasmic RNA quality control failure engages mTORC1-mediated autoinflammatory disease

J Clin Invest. 2022 Jan 18;132(2):e146176. doi: 10.1172/JCI146176.


Inborn errors of nucleic acid metabolism often cause aberrant activation of nucleic acid sensing pathways, leading to autoimmune or autoinflammatory diseases. The SKIV2L RNA exosome is cytoplasmic RNA degradation machinery that was thought to be essential for preventing the self-RNA-mediated interferon (IFN) response. Here, we demonstrate the physiological function of SKIV2L in mammals. We found that Skiv2l deficiency in mice disrupted epidermal and T cell homeostasis in a cell-intrinsic manner independently of IFN. Skiv2l-deficient mice developed skin inflammation and hair abnormality, which were also observed in a SKIV2L-deficient patient. Epidermis-specific deletion of Skiv2l caused hyperproliferation of keratinocytes and disrupted epidermal stratification, leading to impaired skin barrier with no appreciable IFN activation. Moreover, Skiv2l-deficient T cells were chronically hyperactivated and these T cells attacked lesional skin as well as hair follicles. Mechanistically, SKIV2L loss activated the mTORC1 pathway in both keratinocytes and T cells. Both systemic and topical rapamycin treatment of Skiv2l-deficient mice ameliorated epidermal hyperplasia and skin inflammation. Together, we demonstrate that mTORC1, a classical nutrient sensor, also senses cytoplasmic RNA quality control failure and drives autoinflammatory disease. We also propose SKIV2L-associated trichohepatoenteric syndrome (THES) as a new mTORopathy for which sirolimus may be a promising therapy.

Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; Autoimmunity; Genetic diseases; Metabolism; Skin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Cytoplasm / genetics
  • Cytoplasm / immunology*
  • DNA Helicases / deficiency
  • DNA Helicases / immunology
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / genetics
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / immunology*
  • Facies
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / genetics
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / immunology*
  • Hair Diseases / genetics
  • Hair Diseases / immunology*
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / genetics
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / immunology*
  • RNA Stability / genetics
  • RNA Stability / immunology*


  • RNA
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • DNA Helicases

Supplementary concepts

  • Trichohepatoenteric Syndrome