Cross-comparison of inflammatory skin disease transcriptomics identifies PTEN as a pathogenic disease classifier in cutaneous lupus erythematosus
Aevermann BD, Di Domizio J, Olah P, Saidoune F, Armstrong JM, Bachelez H, Barker J, Haniffa M, Julia V, Juul K, Krishnaswamy JK, Litman T, Parsons I, Sarin KY, Schmuth M, Sierra M, Simpson M, Homey B, Griffiths CEM, Scheuermann RH, Gilliet M
Tissue transcriptomics is used to uncover molecular dysregulations underlying diseases. However, the majority of transcriptomics studies focus on single diseases with limited relevance for understanding the molecular relationship between diseases or for identifying disease-specific markers. Here, we used a normalization approach to compare gene expression across nine inflammatory skin diseases. The normalized datasets were found to retain differential expression signals that allowed unsupervised disease clustering and identification of disease-specific gene signatures. Using the NS-Forest algorithm, we identified a minimal set of biomarkers and validated their use as diagnostic disease classifier. Among them, PTEN was identified as being a specific marker for cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and found to be strongly expressed by lesional keratinocytes in association with pathogenic type I interferons (IFNs). In fact, PTEN facilitated expression of IFN-β and IFN-κ in keratinocytes by promoting activation and nuclear translocation of IRF3. Thus, cross-comparison of tissue transcriptomics is a valid strategy to establish a molecular disease classification and identify pathogenic disease biomarkers.