Early activation of inflammatory pathways in UBA1-mutated hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in VEXAS

Cell Rep Med. 2023 Aug 15;4(8):101160. doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2023.101160.


VEXAS (vacuoles, E1 enzyme, X-linked, autoinflammatory, somatic) syndrome is a pleiotropic, severe autoinflammatory disease caused by somatic mutations in the ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 1 (UBA1) gene. To elucidate VEXAS pathophysiology, we performed transcriptome sequencing of single bone marrow mononuclear cells and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) from VEXAS patients. HSPCs are biased toward myeloid (granulocytic) differentiation, and against lymphoid differentiation in VEXAS. Activation of multiple inflammatory pathways (interferons and tumor necrosis factor alpha) occurs ontogenically early in primitive hematopoietic cells and particularly in the myeloid lineage in VEXAS, and inflammation is prominent in UBA1-mutated cells. Dysregulation in protein degradation likely leads to higher stress response in VEXAS HSPCs, which positively correlates with inflammation. TCR usage is restricted and there are increased cytotoxicity and IFN-γ signaling in T cells. In VEXAS syndrome, both aberrant inflammation and myeloid predominance appear intrinsic to hematopoietic stem cells mutated in UBA1.

Keywords: VEXAS; clonal hematopoiesis; inflammation; single-cell RNA sequencing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / genetics
  • Proteolysis

Supplementary concepts

  • VEXAS syndrome