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Publication Title

RMD Open


OBJECTIVE: Sjögren's disease (SjD) is an autoimmune disease characterised by inflammatory destruction of exocrine glands. Patients with autoantibodies to Ro/SSA (SjD(Ro+)) exhibit more severe disease. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a functionally diverse class of non-protein-coding RNAs whose role in autoimmune disease pathology has not been well characterised.

METHODS: Whole blood RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed on SjD cases (n=23 Ro/SSA negative (SjD(Ro-)); n=27 Ro/SSA positive (SjD(Ro+)) and healthy controls (HCs; n=27). Bioinformatics and pathway analyses of differentially expressed (DE) transcripts (log(2) fold change ≥2 or ≤0.5; p(adj)<0.05) were used to predict lncRNA function. LINC01871 was characterised by RNA-seq analyses of HSB-2 cells with CRISPR-targeted LINC01871 deletion (LINC01871(-/) (-)) and in vitro stimulation assays.

RESULTS: Whole blood RNA-seq revealed autoantibody-specific transcription profiles and disproportionate downregulation of DE transcripts in SjD cases relative to HCs. Sixteen DE lncRNAs exhibited correlated expression with the interferon (IFN)-regulated gene, RSAD2, in SjD(Ro+) (r≥0.65 or ≤-0.6); four antisense lncRNAs exhibited IFN-regulated expression in immune cell lines. LINC01871 was upregulated in all SjD cases. RNA-seq and pathway analyses of LINC01871(-/) (-) cells implicated roles in cytotoxic function, differentiation and IFNγ induction. LINC01871 was induced by IFNγ in a myeloid cell line and regulated by calcineurin/NFAT pathway and T cell receptor (TCR) signalling in primary human T cells.

CONCLUSION: LINC01871 influences expression of many immune cell genes and growth factors, is IFNγ inducible, and regulated by calcineurin signalling and TCR ligand engagement. Altered LINC01871 expression may influence the dysregulated T cell inflammatory pathways implicated in SjD.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Interferons; RNA, Long Noncoding; Calcineurin; Antiviral Agents; Sjogren's Syndrome; Autoimmune Diseases; Autoantibodies; Immunity; Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell

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