Genetically programmed alternative splicing of NEMO mediates an autoinflammatory disease phenotype

Younglang Lee, Alex W. Wessel, Jiazhi Xu, Julia G. Reinke, Eries Lee, Somin M. Kim, Amy P. Hsu, Jevgenia Zilberman-Rudenko, Sha Cao, Clinton Enos, Stephen R. Brooks, Zuoming Deng, Bin Lin, Adriana A. de Jesus, Daniel N. Hupalo, Daniela G.P. Piotto, Maria T. Terreri, Victoria R. Dimitriades, Clifton L. Dalgard, Steven M. HollandRaphaela Goldbach-Mansky, Richard M. Siegel, Eric P. Hanson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Host defense and inflammation are regulated by the NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO), a scaffolding protein with a broad immune cell and tissue expression profile. Hypomorphic mutations in inhibitor of NF-κB kinase regulatory subunit gamma (IKBKG) encoding NEMO typically present with immunodeficiency. Here, we characterized a pediatric autoinflammatory syndrome in 3 unrelated male patients with distinct X-linked IKBKG germline mutations that led to overexpression of a NEMO protein isoform lacking the domain encoded by exon 5 (NEMO-Δex5). This isoform failed to associate with TANK binding kinase 1 (TBK1), and dermal fibroblasts from affected patients activated NF-κB in response to TNF but not TLR3 or RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) stimulation when isoform levels were high. By contrast, T cells, monocytes, and macrophages that expressed NEMO-Δex5 exhibited increased NF-κB activation and IFN production, and blood cells from these patients expressed a strong IFN and NF-κB transcriptional signature. Immune cells and TNF-stimulated dermal fibroblasts upregulated the inducible IKK protein (IKKi) that was stabilized by NEMO-Δex5, promoting type I IFN induction and antiviral responses. These data revealed how IKBKG mutations that lead to alternative splicing of skipping exon 5 cause a clinical phenotype we have named NEMO deleted exon 5 autoinflammatory syndrome (NDAS), distinct from the immune deficiency syndrome resulting from loss-offunction IKBKG mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere128808
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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