Stromal cells interact with immune cells during initiation and resolution of immune responses, though the precise underlying mechanisms remain to be resolved. Lessons learned from stromal cell-based therapies indicate that environmental signals instruct their immunomodulatory action contributing to immune response control. Here, to the best of our knowledge, we show a novel function for the guanine-exchange factor DOCK2 in regulating immunosuppressive function in three human stromal cell models and by siRNA-mediated DOCK2 knockdown. To identify immune function-related stromal cell molecular signatures, we first reprogrammed mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSPCs) into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) before differentiating these iPSCs in a back-loop into MSPCs. The iPSCs and immature iPS-MSPCs lacked immunosuppressive potential. Successive maturation facilitated immunomodulation, while maintaining clonogenicity, comparable to their parental MSPCs. Sequential transcriptomics and methylomics displayed time-dependent immune-related gene expression trajectories, including DOCK2, eventually resembling parental MSPCs. Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) patient-derived fibroblasts harboring bi-allelic DOCK2 mutations showed significantly reduced immunomodulatory capacity compared to non-mutated fibroblasts. Conditional DOCK2 siRNA knockdown in iPS-MSPCs and fibroblasts also immediately reduced immunomodulatory capacity. Conclusively, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated DOCK2 knockout in iPS-MSPCs also resulted in significantly reduced immunomodulation, reduced CDC42 Rho family GTPase activation and blunted filopodia formation. These data identify G protein signaling as key element devising stromal cell immunomodulation.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
RNA, Small Interfering
Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors/genetics
Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors/metabolism