• Alloantigen-Induced Regulatory T Cells Generated in Presence of Vitamin C Display Enhanced Stability of Foxp3 Expression and Promote Skin Allograft Acceptance.

      Nikolouli, Eirini; Hardtke-Wolenski, Matthias; Hapke, Martin; Beckstette, Michael; Geffers, Robert; Floess, Stefan; Jaeckel, Elmar; Huehn, Jochen; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for the maintenance of immune homeostasis and self-tolerance and can be therapeutically used for prevention of unwanted immune responses such as allotransplant rejection. Tregs are characterized by expression of the transcription factor Foxp3, and recent work suggests that epigenetic imprinting of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes is crucial for the stabilization of both Foxp3 expression and immunosuppressive properties within Tregs. Lately, vitamin C was reported to enhance the activity of enzymes of the ten-eleven translocation family, thereby fostering the demethylation of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes in developing Tregs. Here, we in vitro generated alloantigen-induced Foxp3(+) Tregs (allo-iTregs) in presence of vitamin C. Although vitamin C hardly influenced the transcriptome of allo-iTregs as revealed by RNA-seq, those vitamin C-treated allo-iTregs showed a more pronounced demethylation of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes accompanied with an enhanced stability of Foxp3 expression. Accordingly, when being tested in vivo in an allogeneic skin transplantation model, vitamin C-treated allo-iTregs showed a superior suppressive capacity. Together, our results pave the way for the establishment of novel protocols for the in vitro generation of alloantigen-induced Foxp3(+) Tregs for therapeutic use in transplantation medicine.
    • Clinical and Biological Manifestation of RNF168 Deficiency in Two Polish Siblings.

      Pietrucha, Barbara; Heropolitańska-Pliszka, Edyta; Geffers, Robert; Enßen, Julia; Wieland, Britta; Bogdanova, Natalia Valerijevna; Dörk, Thilo; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Germline mutations in the RING finger protein gene RNF168 have been identified in a combined immunodeficiency disorder called RIDDLE syndrome. Since only two patients have been described with somewhat different phenotypes, there is need to identify further patients. Here, we report on two Polish siblings with RNF168 deficiency due to homozygosity for a novel frameshift mutation, c.295delG, that was identified through exome sequencing. Both patients presented with immunoglobulin deficiency, telangiectasia, cellular radiosensitivity, and increased alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. The younger sibling had a more pronounced neurological and morphological phenotype, and she also carried an ATM gene mutation in the heterozygous state. Immunoblot analyses showed absence of RNF168 protein, whereas ATM levels and function were proficient in lymphoblastoid cells from both patients. Consistent with the absence of RNF168 protein, 53BP1 recruitment to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) after irradiation was undetectable in lymphoblasts or primary fibroblasts from either of the two patients. γH2AX foci accumulated normally but they disappeared with significant delay, indicating a severe defect in DSB repair. A comparison with the two previously identified patients indicates immunoglobulin deficiency, cellular radiosensitivity, and increased AFP levels as hallmarks of RNF168 deficiency. The variability in its clinical expression despite similar cellular phenotypes suggests that some manifestations of RNF168 deficiency may be modified by additional genetic or epidemiological factors.