Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune sialadenitis with unknown aetiology. Although extensive research implicated an abnormal immune response associated with lymphocytes, an initiating event mediated by salivary gland epithelial cell (SGEC) abnormalities causing activation is poorly characterised. Transcriptome studies have suggested alternations in lysosomal function are associated with SS, but a cause and effect linkage has not been established. In this study, we demonstrated that altered lysosome activity in SGECs by expression of lysosome-associated membrane protein 3 (LAMP3) can initiate an autoimmune response with autoantibody production and salivary dysfunction similar to SS.Retroductal cannulation of the submandibular salivary glands with an adeno-associated virus serotype 2 vector encoding LAMP3 was used to establish a model system. Pilocarpine-stimulated salivary flow and the presence of autoantibodies were assessed at several time points post-cannulation. Salivary glands from the mice were evaluated using RNAseq and histologically.Following LAMP3 expression, saliva flow was significantly decreased and serum anti-Ro/SSA and La/SSB antibodies could be detected in the treated mice. Mechanistically, LAMP3 expression increased apoptosis in SGECs and decreased protein expression related to saliva secretion. Analysis of RNAseq data suggested altered lysosomal function in the transduced SGECs, and that the cellular changes can chemoattract immune cells into the salivary glands. Immune cells were activated via toll-like receptors by damage-associated molecular patterns released from LAMP3-expressing SGECs.These results show a critical role for lysosomal trafficking in the development of SS and establish a causal relationship between LAMP3 misexpression and the development of SS.
Hiroyuki Nakamura, Tsutomu Tanaka, Thomas Pranzatelli, Youngmi Ji, Hongen Yin, Paola Perez, Sandra A Afione, Shyh-Ing Jang, Corrine Goldsmith, Chang Yu Zheng, William D Swaim, Blake M Warner, Noriyuki Hirata, Masayuki Noguchi, Tatsuya Atsumi, John A Chiorini