Monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity, but the molecular pathways determining the differentiation potential of these cells remain unclear. Here, we report that microRNA-148a (miR-148a) serves as a critical regulator for moDC differentiation. First, miR-148a deficiency impaired the moDC development in vitro and in vivo. A mechanism study showed that MAFB, a transcription factor that hampers moDC differentiation, was a direct target of miR-148a. In addition, a promoter study identified that miR-148a could be transcriptionally induced by PU.1, which is crucial for moDC generation. miR-148a ablation eliminated the inhibition of PU.1 on MAFB. Furthermore, we found that miR-148a increased in monocytes from patients with psoriasis, and miR-148a deficiency or intradermal injection of antagomir-148a immensely alleviated the development of psoriasis-like symptoms in a psoriasis-like mouse model. Therefore, these results identify a pivotal role for the PU.1-miR-148a-MAFB circuit in moDC differentiation and suggest a potential therapeutic avenue for autoimmunity.
Yao Meng, Jun Li, Zhizhong Ye, Zhihua Yin, Qing Sun, Zhuojun Liao, Guanhua Li, Jun Deng, Lu Liu, Yuqing Yu, Li Wu, Haibo Zhou, Nan Shen