Down's syndrome (DS) presents with a constellation of cardiac, neurocognitive and growth impairments. Individuals with DS are also prone to severe infections and autoimmunity including thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease and alopecia areata1,2. Here, to investigate the mechanisms underlying autoimmune susceptibility, we mapped the soluble and cellular immune landscape of individuals with DS. We found a persistent elevation of up to 22 cytokines at steady state (at levels often exceeding those in patients with acute infection) and detected basal cellular activation: chronic IL-6 signalling in CD4 T cells and a high proportion of plasmablasts and CD11c+TbethighCD21low B cells (Tbet is also known as TBX21). This subset is known to be autoimmune-prone and displayed even greater autoreactive features in DS including receptors with fewer non-reference nucleotides and higher IGHV4-34 utilization. In vitro, incubation of naive B cells in the plasma of individuals with DS or with IL-6-activated T cells resulted in increased plasmablast differentiation compared with control plasma or unstimulated T cells, respectively. Finally, we detected 365 auto-antibodies in the plasma of individuals with DS, which targeted the gastrointestinal tract, the pancreas, the thyroid, the central nervous system, and the immune system itself. Together, these data point to an autoimmunity-prone state in DS, in which a steady-state cytokinopathy, hyperactivated CD4 T cells and ongoing B cell activation all contribute to a breach in immune tolerance. Our findings also open therapeutic paths, as we demonstrate that T cell activation is resolved not only with broad immunosuppressants such as Jak inhibitors, but also with the more tailored approach of IL-6 inhibition.
Subject(s)Autoimmunity , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes , Cytokines , Down Syndrome , Humans , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cytokines/analysis , Cytokines/immunology , Down Syndrome/immunology , Down Syndrome/physiopathology , Interleukin-6/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Disease Susceptibility , Receptors, Complement 3d , Autoantibodies/immunology
The SARS-CoV-2 variants replacing the first wave strain pose an increased threat by their potential ability to escape pre-existing humoral protection. An angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) decoy that competes with endogenous ACE2 for binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain (S RBD) and inhibits infection may offer a therapeutic option with sustained efficacy against variants. Here, we used Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation to predict ACE2 sequence substitutions that might increase its affinity for S RBD and screened candidate ACE2 decoys in vitro. The lead ACE2(T27Y/H34A)-IgG1FC fusion protein with enhanced S RBD affinity shows greater live SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization capability than wild type ACE2. MD simulation was used to predict the effects of S RBD variant mutations on decoy affinity that was then confirmed by testing of an ACE2 Triple Decoy that included an additional enzyme activity-deactivating H374N substitution against mutated S RBD. The ACE2 Triple Decoy maintains high affinity for mutated S RBD, displays enhanced affinity for S RBD N501Y or L452R, and has the highest affinity for S RBD with both E484K and N501Y mutations, making it a viable therapeutic option for the prevention or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a high likelihood of efficacy against variants.
Subject(s)Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/metabolism , Drug Discovery/methods , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Protein Binding/drug effects , Protein Domains/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
Autoinflammatory disease can result from monogenic errors of immunity. We describe a patient with early-onset multi-organ immune dysregulation resulting from a mosaic, gain-of-function mutation (S703I) in JAK1, encoding a kinase essential for signaling downstream of >25 cytokines. By custom single-cell RNA sequencing, we examine mosaicism with single-cell resolution. We find that JAK1 transcription was predominantly restricted to a single allele across different cells, introducing the concept of a mutational "transcriptotype" that differs from the genotype. Functionally, the mutation increases JAK1 activity and transactivates partnering JAKs, independent of its catalytic domain. S703I JAK1 is not only hypermorphic for cytokine signaling but also neomorphic, as it enables signaling cascades not canonically mediated by JAK1. Given these results, the patient was treated with tofacitinib, a JAK inhibitor, leading to the rapid resolution of clinical disease. These findings offer a platform for personalized medicine with the concurrent discovery of fundamental biological principles.