We describe a novel pathway leading to histiocytosis in which defective nucleoside transport drives hyperactivation of TLR–MAPK signaling.
Patients with the histiocytosis-predisposing genetic disorder H syndrome may benefit from MAPK–directed targeted therapy.
Histiocytoses are inflammatory myeloid neoplasms often driven by somatic activating mutations in mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade genes. H syndrome is an inflammatory genetic disorder caused by germ line loss-of-function mutations in SLC29A3, encoding the lysosomal equilibrative nucleoside transporter 3 (ENT3). Patients with H syndrome are predisposed to develop histiocytosis, yet the mechanism is unclear. Here, through phenotypic, molecular, and functional analysis of primary cells from a cohort of patients with H syndrome, we reveal the molecular pathway leading to histiocytosis and inflammation in this genetic disorder. We show that loss of function of ENT3 activates nucleoside-sensing toll-like receptors (TLR) and downstream MAPK signaling, inducing cytokine secretion and inflammation. Importantly, MEK inhibitor therapy led to resolution of histiocytosis and inflammation in a patient with H syndrome. These results demonstrate a yet-unrecognized link between a defect in a lysosomal transporter and pathological activation of MAPK signaling, establishing a novel pathway leading to histiocytosis and inflammation.