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Insights on type I IFN signaling and regulation : studies of disease-associated TYK2 variants and of the negative regulators USP18/ISG15

Abstract : Today, the pervasive action of type I IFN (IFN-alpha/beta, here IFN) in human physiology and pathology has become evident. Dysregulated IFN response can lead to interferonopathies and auto-immune diseases (AID). My thesis work has focused on the study of three elements of the IFN response pathway, aiming to understand how dysregulation occurs. TYK2 belongs to the Janus tyrosine kinase family and is involved in signaling of several immunoregulatory cytokines, such as type I IFN, IL-10, IL-12 and IL-23. Depending on the receptor complex, TYK2 is co-activated with either JAK1 or JAK2. A detailed molecular characterization of the interplay between the two juxtaposed enzymes is missing. In my study, I characterized two rare AID-associated human variants TYK2 I684S and TYK2 P1104A. I found that both variants are catalytically impaired but rescue signaling in response to IFN in fibroblasts. My results support a model of reciprocal activation of Janus kinases. Through signaling studies I showed that TYK2 P1104A homozygosity has a cytokine-specific impact in EBV-B cells. My studies of two other AID-associated TYK2 SNPs (rs12720270 and rs2304256) suggest that they promote Exon 8 retention and increase TYK2 expression. In the second part of my thesis work, I contributed to dissecting the molecular mechanism that tunes down IFN response in cells from rare USP18- and ISG15-deficient patients that suffered of interferonopathies. This work substantiated the essential role of USP18 in downregulating the IFN response and highlighted ISG15 as a novel IFN inhibitor in humans, but not in mice.
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Zhi Li. Insights on type I IFN signaling and regulation : studies of disease-associated TYK2 variants and of the negative regulators USP18/ISG15. Tissues and Organs [q-bio.TO]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066437⟩. ⟨tel-01895130⟩

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