Research ArticleASTHMA

Myosin light chains 9 and 12 are functional ligands for CD69 that regulate airway inflammation

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Science Immunology  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 1, Issue 3, pp. eaaf9154
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aaf9154

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Breathing down asthma’s neck

Worldwide increases in the prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma highlight the need for new targeted therapies. CD4+ T cells that express the activation marker CD69 contribute to the pathogenesis of some types of asthma, but the exact role of CD69 remains unclear. Hayashizaki et al. reported that myosin light chain (Myl) 9 and Myl12 are functional ligands for CD69. Myl9/12 expression was increased in inflamed mouse airways and in patients with eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis. These data suggest that CD69-Myl9/12 interaction is involved in recruiting activated cells to inflamed tissues. Indeed, blocking CD69-Myl9/12 interaction in two different mouse models decreased allergic airway inflammation, suggesting that targeting CD69-Myl9/12 interaction could treat chronic inflammatory diseases.


Recent decades have witnessed a rapid worldwide increase in chronic inflammatory disorders such as asthma. CD4+ T helper 2 cells play critical roles in the pathogenesis of allergic airway inflammation, and CD69 expression on activated CD4 T cells is required to induce allergic inflammation in tissues. However, how CD69 mechanistically controls allergic inflammation remains poorly defined. In lymphoid tissues, CD69 regulates cellular retention through inhibition of S1P1 expression and requires no specific ligands to function. In contrast, we show herein that myosin light chain (Myl) 9 and Myl12 are new functional ligands for CD69. Blockade of CD69-Myl9/12 interaction ameliorates allergic airway inflammation in ovalbumin-induced and house dust mite–induced mouse models of asthma. Within the inflamed mouse airways, we found that the expression of Myl9/12 was increased and that platelet-derived Myl9/12 localized to the luminal surface of blood vessels and formed intravascular net-like structures. Analysis of nasal polyps of eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis patients revealed that Myl9/12 expression was increased in inflammatory lesions and was distributed within net-like structures in the intravascular space. In addition, we detected Myl9/12 in perivascular spaces where many CD69+ cells were positioned within Myl9/12 structures. Thus, CD69-Myl9/12 interaction is a key event in the recruitment of activated CD69+ T cells to inflamed tissues and could be a therapeutic target for intractable airway inflammatory diseases.

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