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Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease associated with a T helper 17 response. Yet, it has proved challenging to identify relevant peptide-based T cell antigens. Antigen-presenting Langerhans cells show a differential migration phenotype in psoriatic lesions and express constitutively high levels of CD1a, which presents lipid antigens to T cells. In addition, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is highly expressed in psoriatic lesions and is known to generate neolipid skin antigens for recognition by CD1a-reactive T cells. In this study, we observed expression of a cytoplasmic PLA2 (PLA2G4D) in psoriatic mast cells but, unexpectedly, also found PLA2G4D activity to be extracellular. This was explained by IFN-α-induced mast cell release of exosomes, which transferred cytoplasmic PLA2 activity to neighboring CD1a-expressing cells. This led to the generation of neolipid antigens and subsequent recognition by lipid-specific CD1a-reactive T cells inducing production of IL-22 and IL-17A. Circulating and skin-derived T cells from patients with psoriasis showed elevated PLA2G4D responsiveness compared with healthy controls. Overall, these data present an alternative model of psoriasis pathogenesis in which lipid-specific CD1a-reactive T cells contribute to psoriatic inflammation. The findings suggest that PLA2 inhibition or CD1a blockade may have therapeutic potential for psoriasis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





2399 - 2412


Antigen Presentation, Antigens, CD1, Case-Control Studies, Clathrin, Cohort Studies, Cytosol, Endocytosis, Exosomes, Group IV Phospholipases A2, Humans, K562 Cells, Lipids, Lymphocyte Activation, Mast Cells, Psoriasis, Skin, T-Lymphocytes