Directional autoreactive CD4+ T cell migration into the central nervous system plays a critical role in multiple sclerosis. Recently, DOCK8 was identified as a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for Cdc42 activation and has been associated with human mental retardation. Little is known about whether DOCK8 is related to multiple sclerosis (MS) and how to restrict its GEF activity. Using two screening systems, we found that LRCH1 competes with Cdc42 for interaction with DOCK8 and restrains T cell migration. In response to chemokine stimulation, PKCα phosphorylates DOCK8 at its three serine sites, promoting DOCK8 separation from LRCH1 and translocation to the leading edge to guide T cell migration. Point mutations at the DOCK8 serine sites block chemokine- and PKCα-induced T cell migration. Importantly, Dock8 mutant mice or Lrch1 transgenic mice were protected from MOG (35–55) peptide–induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), whereas Lrch1-deficient mice displayed a more severe phenotype. Notably, DOCK8 expression was markedly increased in PBMCs from the acute phase of MS patients. Together, our study demonstrates LRCH1 as a novel effector to restrain PKCα–DOCK8–Cdc42 module–induced T cell migration and ameliorate EAE.
- Submitted: 13 January 2016
- Revision received 25 August 2016
- Accepted: 28 November 2016
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