Publications

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Below, you can see a few selected publications.

CUX1 and IκBζ (NFKBIZ) mediate the synergistic inflammatory response to TNF and IL-17A in stromal fibroblasts

Kamil Slowikowski*, Hung N. Nguyen*, Erika H. Noss, Daimon P. Simmons, Fumitaka Mizoguchi, Gerald F. M. Watts, Michael F. Gurish, Michael B. Brenner, and Soumya Raychaudhuri

PNAS, 2020. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1912702117

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Abstract

The role of stromal fibroblasts in chronic inflammation is unfolding. In rheumatoid arthritis, leukocyte-derived cytokines TNF and IL-17A work together, activating fibroblasts to become a dominant source of the hallmark cytokine IL-6. However, IL-17A alone has minimal effect on fibroblasts. To identify key mediators of the synergistic response to TNF and IL-17A in human synovial fibroblasts, we performed time series, dose-response, and gene-silencing transcriptomics experiments. Here we show that in combination with TNF, IL-17A selectively induces a specific set of genes mediated by factors including cut-like homeobox 1 (CUX1) and IκBζ (NFKBIZ). In the promoters of CXCL1, CXCL2, and CXCL3, we found a putative CUX1-NF-κB binding motif not found elsewhere in the genome. CUX1 and NF-κB p65 mediate transcription of these genes independent of LIFR, STAT3, STAT4, and ELF3. Transcription of NFKBIZ, encoding the atypical IκB factor IκBζ, is IL-17A dose-dependent, and IκBζ only mediates the transcriptional response to TNF and IL-17A, but not to TNF alone. In fibroblasts, IL-17A response depends on CUX1 and IκBζ to engage the NF-κB complex to produce chemoattractants for neutrophil and monocyte recruitment.

Defining inflammatory cell states in rheumatoid arthritis joint synovial tissues by integrating single-cell transcriptomics and mass cytometry

Fan Zhang*, Kevin Wei*, Kamil Slowikowski*, Chamith Y. Fonseka*, Deepak A. Rao*, Stephen Kelly, Susan M. Goodman, Darren Tabechian, Laura B. Hughes, Karen Salomon-Escoto, Gerald F. M. Watts, A. Helena Jonsson, Javier Rangel-Moreno, Nida Meednu, Cristina Rozo, William Apruzzese, Thomas M. Eisenhaure, David J. Lieb, David L. Boyle, Arthur M. Mandelin II, Accelerating Medicines Partnership Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AMP RA/SLE) Consortium, Brendan F. Boyce, Edward DiCarlo, Ellen M. Gravallese, Peter K. Gregersen, Larry Moreland, Gary S. Firestein, Nir Hacohen, Chad Nusbaum, James A. Lederer, Harris Perlman, Costantino Pitzalis, Andrew Filer, V. Michael Holers, Vivian P. Bykerk, Laura T. Donlin, Jennifer H. Anolik, Michael B. Brenner & Soumya Raychaudhuri

Nature Immunology, 2019. DOI: 10.1038/s41590-019-0378-1

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Abstract

To define the cell populations that drive joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we applied single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), mass cytometry, bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and flow cytometry to T cells, B cells, monocytes, and fibroblasts from 51 samples of synovial tissue from patients with RA or osteoarthritis (OA). Utilizing an integrated strategy based on canonical correlation analysis of 5,265 scRNA-seq profiles, we identified 18 unique cell populations. Combining mass cytometry and transcriptomics revealed cell states expanded in RA synovia: THY1(CD90)+HLA-DRAhi sublining fibroblasts, IL1B+ pro-inflammatory monocytes, ITGAX+TBX21+ autoimmune-associated B cells and PDCD1+ peripheral helper T (TPH) cells and follicular helper T (TFH) cells. We defined distinct subsets of CD8+ T cells characterized by GZMK+, GZMB+, and GNLY+ phenotypes. We mapped inflammatory mediators to their source cell populations; for example, we attributed IL6 expression to THY1+HLA-DRAhi fibroblasts and IL1B production to pro-inflammatory monocytes. These populations are potentially key mediators of RA pathogenesis.

Functional genomics of stromal cells in chronic inflammatory diseases

Kamil Slowikowski, Kevin Wei, Michael B. Brenner, Soumya Raychaudhuri

Current Opinion in Rheumatology, 2018. DOI: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000455

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Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Stroma is a broad term referring to the connective tissue matrix in which other cells reside. It is composed of diverse cell types with functions such as extracellular matrix maintenance, blood and lymph vessel development, and effector cell recruitment. The tissue microenvironment is determined by the molecular characteristics and relative abundances of different stromal cells such as fibroblasts, endothelial cells, pericytes, and mesenchymal precursor cells. Stromal cell heterogeneity is explained by embryonic developmental lineage, stages of differentiation to other cell types, and activation states. Interaction between immune and stromal cell types is critical to wound healing, cancer, and a wide range of inflammatory diseases. Here, we review recent studies of inflammatory diseases that use functional genomics and single-cell technologies to identify and characterize stromal cell types associated with pathogenesis.

RECENT FINDINGS: High dimensional strategies using mRNA sequencing, mass cytometry, and fluorescence activated cell-sorting with fresh primary tissue samples are producing detailed views of what is happening in diseased tissue in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer. Fibroblasts positive for CD90 (Thy-1) are enriched in the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis patients, and also in prostate cancer tumors. Single-cell RNA-seq studies will lead to more discoveries about the stroma in the near future.

SUMMARY: Stromal cells form the microenvironment of inflamed and diseased tissues. Functional genomics is producing an increasingly detailed view of subsets of stromal cells with pathogenic functions in rheumatic diseases and cancer. Future genomics studies will discover disease mechanisms by perturbing molecular pathways with chemokines and therapies known to affect patient outcomes. Functional genomics studies with large sample sizes of patient tissues will identify patient subsets with different disease phenotypes or treatment responses.

Functionally distinct disease-associated fibroblast subsets in rheumatoid arthritis

Fumitaka Mizoguchi*, Kamil Slowikowski*, Kevin Wei, Jennifer L. Marshall, Deepak A. Rao, Sook Kyung Chang, Hung N. Nguyen, Erika H. Noss, Jason D. Turner, Brandon E. Earp, Philip E. Blazar, John Wright, Barry P. Simmons, Laura T. Donlin, George D. Kalliolias, Susan M. Goodman, Vivian P. Bykerk, Lionel B. Ivashkiv, James A. Lederer, Nir Hacohen, Peter A. Nigrovic, Andrew Filer, Christopher D. Buckley, Soumya Raychaudhuri & Michael B. Brenner

Nature Communications, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-02892-y

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Figure 2

Abstract

Fibroblasts regulate tissue homeostasis, coordinate inflammatory responses, and mediate tissue damage. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), synovial fibroblasts maintain chronic inflammation which leads to joint destruction. Little is known about fibroblast heterogeneity or if aberrations in fibroblast subsets relate to pathology. Here, we show functional and transcriptional differences between fibroblast subsets from human synovial tissues using bulk transcriptomics of targeted subpopulations and single-cell transcriptomics. We identify seven fibroblast subsets with distinct surface protein phenotypes, and collapse them into three subsets by integrating transcriptomic data. One fibroblast subset, characterized by the expression of proteins podoplanin, THY1 membrane glycoprotein and cadherin-11, but lacking CD34, is threefold expanded in patients with RA relative to patients with osteoarthritis. These fibroblasts localize to the perivascular zone in inflamed synovium, secrete proinflammatory cytokines, are proliferative, and have an in vitro phenotype characteristic of invasive cells. Our strategy may be used as a template to identify pathogenic stromal cellular subsets in other complex diseases.

SNPSEA: an algorithm to identify cell types, tissues, and pathways affected by risk loci

Kamil Slowikowski, Xinli Hu, Soumya Raychaudhuri

Bioinformatics, 2014. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu326

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Figure 1

Abstract

We created a fast, robust and general C++ implementation of a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) set enrichment algorithm to identify cell types, tissues and pathways affected by risk loci. It tests trait-associated genomic loci for enrichment of specificity to conditions (cell types, tissues and pathways). We use a non-parametric statistical approach to compute empirical P-values by comparison with null SNP sets. As a proof of concept, we present novel applications of our method to four sets of genome-wide significant SNPs associated with red blood cell count, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease and HDL cholesterol.