Psoriasis vulgaris is a common T cell-mediated inflammatory skin disease with a suspected autoimmune pathogenesis. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I allele, HLA-C*06:02, is the main psoriasis risk gene. Epidermal CD8(+) T cells are essential for psoriasis development. Functional implications of HLA-C*06:02 and mechanisms of lesional T cell activation in psoriasis, however, remained elusive. Here we identify melanocytes as skin-specific target cells of an HLA-C*06:02-restricted psoriatic T cell response. We found that a Valpha3S1/Vbeta13S1 T cell receptor (TCR), which we had reconstituted from an epidermal CD8(+) T cell clone of an HLA-C*06:02-positive psoriasis patient specifically recognizes HLA-C*06:02-positive melanocytes. Through peptide library screening, we identified ADAMTS-like protein 5 (ADAMTSL5) as an HLA-C*06:02-presented melanocytic autoantigen of the Valpha3S1/Vbeta13S1 TCR. Consistent with the Valpha3S1/Vbeta13S1-TCR reactivity, we observed numerous CD8(+) T cells in psoriasis lesions attacking melanocytes, the only epidermal cells expressing ADAMTSL5. Furthermore, ADAMTSL5 stimulation induced the psoriasis signature cytokine, IL-17A, in CD8(+) T cells from psoriasis patients only, supporting a role as psoriatic autoantigen. This unbiased analysis of a TCR obtained directly from tissue-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells reveals that in psoriasis HLA-C*06:02 directs an autoimmune response against melanocytes through autoantigen presentation. We propose that HLA-C*06:02 may predispose to psoriasis via this newly identified autoimmune pathway.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published