Excessive expression of Tbet and IFNγ is evidence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in lupus patients. In this study, the nucleus-transducible form of Transcription Modulation Domain (TMD) of Tbet (ntTbet-TMD), which is a fusion protein between Protein Transduction Domain Hph-1 (Hph-1-PTD) and the TMD of Tbet comprising DNA binding domain and isotype-specific domain, was generated to inhibit Tbet-mediated transcription in the interactomic manner. ntTbet-TMD was effectively delivered into the nucleus of the cells and specifically inhibited Tbet-mediated transcription without influencing the differentiation of other T cell subsets and signaling events for T cell activation. The severity of nephritis was significantly reduced by ntTbet-TMD as effectively as methylprednisolone in lupus-prone mice. The number of Th1, Th2 or Th17 cells and the secretion of their cytokines substantially decreased in the spleen and kidney of lupus-prone mice by ntTbet-TMD treatment. In contrast to methylprednisolone, the marked increase of Treg cells and the secretion of their immunosuppressive cytokine were detected in the spleen of (NZB/NZW) F1 mice treated with ntTbet-TMD. Thus, ntTbet-TMD can improve nephritis in lupus-prone mice by modulating the overall pro-inflammatory micro-environment and rebalancing T cell subsets, leading to new immune therapeutics for Th1-mediated autoimmune diseases.
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