Single-cell gene expression of germinal center B cells from CXCL12-conditionally deficient and –sufficient mice
ABSTRACT: The chemokines CXCL13 and CXCL12 are reported to be important for the germinal center reaction. Since CXCL12-deficient mice are embryonically lethal, here we took advantage of the Cxcl13-Cre/TdTomato mouse models to genetically ablate CXCL12 from B cell-interacting reticular cells and examine the molecular consequence on germinal center B cells. Spatial segregation of follicular dendritic cells, germinal center B cells and follicular helper T cells is impaired in Cxcl13-Cre/TdTomato Cxcl12fl/fl mice. Single cell transcriptomic analysis revealed that all germinal center B cell subsets (corresponding to distinct stages of the germinal center response) are present in draining lymph nodes of immunized CXCL12-conditionally deficient mice. While most transcriptional regulators of the germinal center response are unperturbed by the genetic perturbation of CXCL12, Bach2 levels were elevated in germinal center B cells from lymph nodes of Cxcl12fl/fl mice. Moreover, single cell B cell receptor sequencing revealed that germinal center B cells in Cxcl13-Cre/TdTomato Cxcl12fl/fl mice harbour a lower mutational burden when compared to germinal center B cells isolated from immunized control mice. Gene expression profiles were validated by flow cytometry and suggest that the provision of CXCL12 by reticular cells governs efficient germinal center responses.
Project description:Efficient germinal center formation requires the coordinated movement of B cells between distinct regions of the B cell follicle where their fate and function is governed by the integration of cues from their interacting partners. While CXCL13 is known to be important for B cell chemoattraction and follicle formation, the molecular identity of B cell-interacting reticular cells remains ill-defined. Moreover, how CXCL13-expressing, B-cell interacting reticular cells are reprogramed to cater to the developing germinal center remains unclear. Here we use the Cxcl13-Cre/TdTomato mouse model to genetically target and decipher the cellular composition of lymph node CXCL13-expressing reticular cells under steady-state and inflammatory conditions. Moreover, we examine the consequence of cell-specific, genetic perturbation of CXCL12 on the molecular identity of the reticular cell network. Transcriptomic analyses revealed that B cell follicle reticular cell subset specification is predetermined in the steady-state, although additional transcriptional changes accompany germinal center formation. Although genetic perturbation of CXCL12 alters GC topology, the molecular identity of the underlying reticular cells remains largely unperturbed.
Project description:Comparison of the germinal center B cell receptor repertoire in Cxcl13-Cre/TdTom EYFP (control) and Cxcl13-Cre/TdTom EYFP Cxcl12fl/fl mice on day following subcutaneous immunization with NP-KLH.
Project description:Myasthenia gravis (MG) is associated with ectopic germinal centers in the thymus. Thymectomy and glucocorticoids are the main treatments but they induce operative risks and side effects, respectively. The aim of this study was to propose new therapies more efficient for MG. We hypothesized that molecules dysregulated in MG thymus and normalized by glucocorticoids may play a key role in thymic pathogenesis. Using gene chip analysis, we identified 88 genes complying with these criteria, the most remarkable being the B-cell chemoattractant (CXCL13). Its expression was increased in thymus and sera of glucocorticoid-untreated patients and decreased in response to treatment in correlation with clinical improvement. Normal B cells were actively chemoattracted by thymic extracts from glucocorticoid-untreated patients, an effect inhibited by anti-CXCL13 antibodies. In the thymus, CXCL13 was preferentially produced by epithelial cells and overproduced by epithelial cells from MG patients. Altogether, our results suggest that a high CXCL13 production by epithelial cells could be responsible for germinal center formation in MG thymus. Furthermore, they show that this gene is a main target of corticotherapy. Thus, new therapies targeting CXCL13 could be of interest for MG and other autoimmune diseases characterized by ectopic germinal center formation.
Project description:A long-standing paradigm in B cell immunology is that effective somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation require cycling between the dark zone and light zone of the germinal center. The cyclic re-entry hypothesis was first proposed based on considerations of the efficiency of affinity maturation using an ordinary differential equations model for B cell population dynamics. More recently, two-photon microscopy studies of B cell motility within lymph nodes in situ have revealed the complex migration patterns of B lymphocytes both in the preactivation follicle and post-activation germinal center. There is strong evidence that chemokines secreted by stromal cells and the regulation of cognate G-protein coupled receptors by these chemokines are necessary for the observed spatial cell distributions. For example, the distribution of B cells within the light and dark zones of the germinal center appears to be determined by the reciprocal interaction between the level of the CXCR4 and CXCR5 receptors and the spatial distribution of their respective chemokines CXCL12 and CXCL13. Computer simulations of individual-based models have been used to study the complex biophysical and mechanistic processes at the individual cell level, but such simulations can be challenging to parameterize and analyze. In contrast, ordinary differential equations are more tractable, but traditional compartment model formalizations ignore the spatial chemokine distribution that drives B cell redistribution. Motivated by the desire to understand the motility patterns observed in an individual-based simulation of B cell migration in the lymph node, we propose and analyze the dynamics of an ordinary differential equation model incorporating explicit chemokine spatial distributions. While there is experimental evidence that B cell migration patterns in the germinal center are driven by extrinsically regulated differentiation programs, the model shows, perhaps surprisingly, that feedback from receptor down-regulation induced by external chemokine fields can give rise to spontaneous interzonal and intrazonal oscillations in the absence of any extrinsic regulation. While the extent to which such simple feedback mechanisms contributes to B cell migration patterns in the germinal center is unknown, the model provides an alternative hypothesis for how complex B cell migration patterns might arise from very simple mechanisms.
Project description:Abnormal overexpression of CXCL13 is observed in many inflamed tissues and in particular in autoimmune diseases. Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disease mainly mediated by anti-acetylcholine receptor autoantibodies. Thymic hyperplasia characterized by ectopic germinal centers (GCs) is a common feature in MG and is correlated with high levels of anti-AChR antibodies. We previously showed that the B-cell chemoattractant, CXCL13 is overexpressed by thymic epithelial cells in MG patients. We hypothesized that abnormal CXCL13 expression by the thymic epithelium triggered B-cell recruitment in MG. We therefore created a novel transgenic (Tg) mouse with a keratin 5 driven CXCL13 expression. The thymus of Tg mice overexpressed CXCL13 but did not trigger B-cell recruitment. However, in inflammatory conditions, induced by Poly(I:C), B cells strongly migrated to the thymus. Tg mice were also more susceptible to experimental autoimmune MG (EAMG) with stronger clinical signs, higher titers of anti-AChR antibodies, increased thymic B cells, and the development of germinal center-like structures. Consequently, this mouse model finally mimics the thymic pathology observed in human MG. Our data also demonstrated that inflammation is mandatory to reveal CXCL13 ability to recruit B cells and to induce tertiary lymphoid organ development.
Project description:Chemokines control the migration of a large array of cells by binding to specific receptors on cell surfaces. The biological function of chemokines also depends on interactions between nonreceptor binding domains and proteoglycans, which mediate chemokine immobilization on cellular or extracellular surfaces and formation of fixed gradients. Chemokine gradients regulate synchronous cell motility and integrin-dependent cell adhesion. Of the various chemokines, CXCL12 has a unique structure because its receptor-binding domain is distinct and does not overlap with the immobilization domains. Although CXCL12 is known to be essential for the germinal center (GC) response, the role of its immobilization in biological functions has never been addressed. In this work, we investigated the unexplored paradigm of CXCL12 immobilization during the germinal center reaction, a fundamental process where cellular traffic is crucial for the quality of humoral immune responses. We show that the structure of murine germinal centers and the localization of GC B cells are impaired when CXCL12 is unable to bind to cellular or extracellular surfaces. In such mice, B cells carry fewer somatic mutations in Ig genes and are impaired in affinity maturation. Therefore, immobilization of CXCL12 is necessary for proper trafficking of B cells during GC reaction and for optimal humoral immune responses.
Project description:Long-lived humoral immune responses depend upon the generation of memory B cells and long-lived plasma cells during the germinal center (GC) reaction. These memory compartments, characterized by class-switched IgG and high-affinity Abs, are the basis for successful vaccination. We report that a new member of the plexin family of molecules, plexin-D1, controls the GC reaction and is required for secondary humoral immune responses. Plexin-D1 was not required for B cell maturation, marginal zone precursor development, dark and light zone formation, Ig?(+) and Ig?(+) B cell skewing, B1/B2 development, and the initial extrafollicular response. Plexin-D1 expression was increased following B cell activation, and PlxnD1(-/-) mice exhibited defective GC reactions during T-dependent immune activation. PlxnD1(-/-) B cells showed a defect in migration toward the GC chemokines, CXCL12, CXCL13, and CCL19. Accordingly, PlxnD1(-/-) mice exhibited defective production of IgG1 and IgG2b, but not IgG3 serum Ab, accompanied by reductions in long-lived bone marrow plasmacytes and recall humoral memory responses. These data show a new role for immune plexins in the GC reaction and generation of immunologic memory.
Project description:Grb2 (growth-factor receptor-bound protein-2) is a signaling adaptor that interacts with numerous receptors and intracellular signaling molecules. However, its role in B-cell development and function remains unknown. Here we show that ablation of Grb2 in B cells results in enhanced B-cell receptor signaling; however, mutant B cells do not form germinal centers in the spleen after antigen stimulation. Furthermore, mutant mice exhibit defects in splenic architecture resembling that observed in B-cell-specific lymphotoxin-?-deficient mice, including disruption of marginal zone and follicular dendritic cell networks. We find that grb2(-/-) B cells are defective in lymphotoxin-? expression. Although lymphotoxin can be up-regulated by chemokine CXCL13 and CD40 ligand stimulation in wild-type B cells, elevation of lymphotoxin expression in grb2(-/-) B cells is only induced by anti-CD40 but not by CXCL13. Our results thus define Grb2 as a nonredundant regulator that controls lymphoid follicle organization and germinal center reaction. Loss of Grb2 has no effect on B-cell chemotaxis to CXCL13, indicating that Grb2 executes this function by connecting the CXCR5 signaling pathway to lymphotoxin expression but not to chemotaxis.
Project description:The early-onset form of Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is prevalent in women and associates with ectopic germinal centers (GCs) development and inflammation in the thymus. we aimed to investigate the contribution of estrogens in the molecular processes involved in thymic GCs formation. We examined expression of genes involved in anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) response in MG, MHC class II and ?-AChR subunit as well as chemokines involved in GC development (CXCL13, CCL21and CXCL12). In resting conditions, estrogens have strong regulatory effects on thymic epithelial cells (TECs), inducing a decreased protein expression of the above molecules. In knockout mouse models for estrogen receptor or aromatase, we observed that perturbation in estrogen transduction pathway altered MHC Class II, ?-AChR, and CXCL13 expression. However, in inflammatory conditions, estrogen effects were partially overwhelmed by pro-inflammatory cytokines. Interestingly, estrogens were able to control production of type I interferon and therefore play dual roles during inflammatory events. In conclusion, we showed that estrogens inhibited expression of ?-AChR and HLA-DR in TECs, suggesting that estrogens may alter the tolerization process and favor environment for an autoimmune response. By contrast, under inflammatory conditions, estrogen effects depend upon strength of the partner molecules with which it is confronted to.
Project description:T follicular helper cells (TFH cells) are important regulators of antigen-specific B cell responses. The B cell chemoattractant CXCL13 has recently been linked with TFH cell infiltration and improved survival in human cancer. Although human TFH cells can produce CXCL13, their immune functions are currently unknown. This study presents data from human breast cancer, advocating a role for tumor-infiltrating CXCL13-producing (CXCR5-) TFH cells, here named TFHX13 cells, in promoting local memory B cell differentiation. TFHX13 cells potentially trigger tertiary lymphoid structure formation and thereby generate germinal center B cell responses at the tumor site. Follicular DCs are not potent CXCL13 producers in breast tumor tissues. We used the TFH cell markers PD-1 and ICOS to identify distinct effector and regulatory CD4+ T cell subpopulations in breast tumors. TFHX13 cells are an important component of the PD-1hiICOSint effector subpopulation and coexpanded with PD-1intICOShiFOXP3hi Tregs. IL2 deprivation induces CXCL13 expression in vitro with a synergistic effect from TGF?1, providing insight into TFHX13 cell differentiation in response to Treg accumulation, similar to conventional TFH cell responses. Our data suggest that human TFHX13 cell differentiation may be a key factor in converting Treg-mediated immune suppression to de novo activation of adaptive antitumor humoral responses in the chronic inflammatory breast cancer microenvironment.