BACKGROUND: CD55 (decay-accelerating factor) is a complement-regulatory protein highly expressed on fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). CD55 is also a ligand for CD97, an adhesion-type G protein-coupled receptor abundantly present on leukocytes. Little is known regarding the regulation of CD55 expression in FLS.
METHODS: FLS isolated from arthritis patients were stimulated with pro-inflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands. Transfection with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) and 5'-triphosphate RNA were used to activate the cytoplasmic double-stranded (ds)RNA sensors melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA5) and retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I). CD55 expression, cell viability, and binding of CD97-loaded beads were quantified by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: CD55 was expressed at equal levels on FLS isolated from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondyloarthritis. CD55 expression in RA FLS was significantly induced by IL-1β and especially by the TLR3 ligand poly(I:C). Activation of MDA5 and RIG-I also enhanced CD55 expression. Notably, activation of MDA5 dose-dependently induced cell death, while triggering of TLR3 or RIG-I had a minor effect on viability. Upregulation of CD55 enhanced the binding capacity of FLS to CD97-loaded beads, which could be blocked by antibodies against CD55.
CONCLUSIONS: Activation of dsRNA sensors enhances the expression of CD55 in cultured FLS, which increases the binding to CD97. Our findings suggest that dsRNA promotes the interaction between FLS and CD97-expressing leukocytes.