Characterization of a late transitional B cell population highly sensitive to BAFF-mediated homeostatic proliferation.
ABSTRACT: We have characterized a distinct, late transitional B cell subset, CD21(int) transitional 2 (T2) B cells. In contrast to early transitional B cells, CD21(int) T2 B cells exhibit augmented responses to a range of potential microenvironmental stimuli. Adoptive transfer studies demonstrate that this subset is an immediate precursor of both follicular mature and marginal zone (MZ) B cells. In vivo, a large percentage of CD21(int) T2 B cells has entered the cell cycle, and the cycling subpopulation exhibits further augmentation in mitogenic responses and B cell-activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF) receptor expression. Consistent with these features, CD21(int) T2 cells exhibit preferential responses to BAFF-facilitated homeostatic signals in vivo. In addition, we demonstrate that M167 B cell receptor (BCR) idiotypic-specific B cells are first selected within the cycling CD21(int) T2 population, ultimately leading to preferential enrichment of these cells within the MZ B cell compartment. These data, in association with the coordinate role for BAFF and microenvironmental cues in determining the mature BCR repertoire, imply that this subset functions as a unique selection point in peripheral B cell development.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>We evaluated the effects of the B-cell activating factor (BAFF)-targeting antibody Belimumab on human nonmemory B-cell pools. Human B-cell pools were identified using surface markers adapted from mouse studies that specifically assessed reductions in immature B cells due to BAFF depletion. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have high levels of both BAFF and immature B cells. Mechanistic mouse studies provide a framework for understanding human responses to therapies that target B cells.<h4>Methods</h4>Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from healthy donors and SLE patients on Belimumab or standard-of-care therapy (SCT). Cells were stained for flow cytometry to identify B-cell subsets based on CD21/CD24. Differences in subset proportions were determined by one-way ANOVA and Tukey's post hoc test.<h4>Results</h4>Patients treated with Belimumab show alterations in the nonmemory B-cell pool characterized by a decrease in the Transitional 2 (T2) subset (<i>p</i>?=?0.002), and an increase in the proportion of Transitional 1 (T1) cells (<i>p</i>?=?0.005) as compared with healthy donors and SCT patients. The naïve B-cell compartment showed no significant differences between the groups (<i>p</i>?=?0.293).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Using a translational approach, we show that Belimumab-mediated BAFF depletion reduces the T2 subset in patients, similar to observations in mouse models with BAFF depletion.
Project description:The capacity of immature B cells of the spleen and bone marrow to differentiate in vitro into cells representing mature end stage cells was investigated using B-cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family (BAFF) and Notch pathway activators. Immature splenic and bone marrow B cells were found, in the presence of both of these activators, to mature into cells with follicular mature (FM) and marginal zone (MZ) cell phenotypes. Such cells were functionally responsive to B-cell-specific activation. The derivation in vitro of cells with an MZ phenotype was more robust from CD23(-) populations than CD23(+) immature/transitional B cells, suggesting a direct immature/T1 B cell to MZ cell differentiation pathway. Transcript analysis of the in vitro-derived B-cell populations demonstrated expression profiles similar to maturing B cells in vivo. FACS-purified populations of B220(+)CD19(+)CD21(-)CD23(-) cells from bone marrow of 2-wk-old mice gave rise to populations of CD21(+)CD23(-) cells with MZ cell phenotypes as well as CD21(+)CD23(+) cells with FM cell phenotypes in percentages similar to those found in vivo. These data suggest that the commitment to an MZ and FM B cell phenotype is set prior to immature B-cell release from the marrow.
Project description:The B cell survival cytokine BAFF has been linked with the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). BAFF binds distinct BAFF-family surface receptors, including the BAFF-R and transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI). Although originally characterized as a negative regulator of B cell activation, TACI signals are critical for class-switched autoantibody (autoAb) production in BAFF transgenic mice. Consistent with this finding, a subset of transitional splenic B cells upregulate surface TACI expression and contribute to BAFF-driven autoAb. In the current study, we interrogated the B cell signals required for transitional B cell TACI expression and Ab production. Surprisingly, despite established roles for dual BCR and TLR signals in autoAb production in SLE, signals downstream of these receptors exerted distinct impacts on transitional B cell TACI expression and autoAb titers. Whereas loss of BCR signals prevented transitional B cell TACI expression and resulted in loss of serum autoAb across all Ig isotypes, lack of TLR signals exerted a more limited impact restricted to autoAb class-switch recombination without altering transitional B cell TACI expression. Finally, in parallel with the protective effect of TACI deletion, loss of BAFF-R signaling also protected against BAFF-driven autoimmunity. Together, these findings highlight how multiple signaling pathways integrate to promote class-switched autoAb production by transitional B cells, events that likely impact the pathogenesis of SLE and other BAFF-dependent autoimmune diseases.
Project description:BAFF is an important prosurvival cytokine for mature B cells. However, previous studies have shown that BAFFR is already expressed at the immature B cell stage, and that the prosurvival protein Bcl-2 does not completely complement the B cell defects resulting from the absence of BAFFR or BAFF. Thus, we hypothesized that BAFF also functions to aid the differentiation of nonautoreactive immature B cells into transitional B cells and to promote their positive selection. We found that BAFFR is expressed at higher levels on nonautoreactive than on autoreactive immature B cells and that its expression correlates with that of surface IgM and with tonic BCR signaling. Our data indicate that BAFFR signaling enhances the generation of transitional CD23(-) B cells in vitro by increasing cell survival. In vivo, however, BAFFR signaling is dispensable for the generation of CD23(-) transitional B cells in the bone marrow, but it is important for the development of transitional CD23(-) T1 B cells in the spleen. Additionally, we show that BAFF is essential for the differentiation of CD23(-) into CD23(+) transitional B cells both in vitro and in vivo through a mechanism distinct from that mediating cell survival, but requiring tonic BCR signaling. In summary, our data indicate that BAFFR and tonic BCR signals cooperate to enable nonautoreactive immature B cells to differentiate into transitional B cells and to be positively selected into the naive B cell repertoire.
Project description:Identifying cross-species similarities and differences in immune development and function is critical for maximizing the translational potential of animal models. Coexpression of CD21 and CD24 distinguishes transitional and mature B cell subsets in mice. In this study, we validate these markers for identifying analogous subsets in humans and use them to compare the nonmemory B cell pools in mice and humans, across tissues, and during fetal/neonatal and adult life. Among human CD19(+)IgM(+) B cells, the CD21/CD24 schema identifies distinct populations that correspond to transitional 1 (T1), transitional 2 (T2), follicular mature, and marginal zone subsets identified in mice. Markers specific to human B cell development validate the identity of marginal zone cells and the maturation status of human CD21/CD24 nonmemory B cell subsets. A comparison of the nonmemory B cell pools in bone marrow, blood, and spleen in mice and humans shows that transitional B cells comprise a much smaller fraction in adult humans than mice. T1 cells are a major contributor to the nonmemory B cell pool in mouse bone marrow, in which their frequency is more than twice that in humans. Conversely, in spleen, the T1:T2 ratio shows that T2 cells are proportionally ? 8-fold higher in humans than in mice. Despite the relatively small contribution of transitional B cells to the human nonmemory pool, the number of naive follicular mature cells produced per transitional B cell is 3- to 6-fold higher across tissues than in mice. These data suggest differing dynamics or mechanisms produce the nonmemory B cell compartments in mice and humans.
Project description:Splenic transitional B-cells (T1 and T2) are selected to avoid self-reactivity and to safeguard against autoimmunity, then differentiate into mature follicular (FO-I and FO-II) and marginal zone (MZ) subsets. Transcriptomic analysis by RNA-seq of the five B-cell subsets revealed T1 cell signature genes included RAG suggesting a potential for receptor revision. T1 to T2 B-cell differentiation was marked by a switch from Myb to Myc, increased expression of the PI3K adapter DAP10 and MHC class II. FO-II may be an intermediate in FO-I differentiation and may also become MZ B-cells as suggested by principle component analysis. MZ B-cells possessed the most distinct transcriptome including down-regulation of CD45 phosphatase-associated protein (CD45-AP/PTPRC-AP), as well as upregulation of IL-9R and innate molecules TLR3, TLR7, and bactericidal Perforin-2 (MPEG1). Among the endosomal TLRs, stimulation via TLR3 further enhanced Perforin-2 expression exclusively in MZ B-cells. Using gene-deleted and overexpressing transgenic mice we show that IL-9/IL-9R interaction resulted in rapid activation of STAT1, 3, and 5, primarily in MZ B-cells. Importantly, CD45-AP mutant mice had reduced transitional and increased mature MZ and FO B-cells, suggesting that it prevents premature entry of transitional B-cells to the mature B-cell pool or their survival and proliferation. Together, these findings suggest, developmental plasticity among splenic B-cell subsets, potential for receptor revision in peripheral tolerance whereas enhanced metabolism coincides with T2 to mature B-cell differentiation. Further, unique core transcriptional signatures in MZ B-cells may control their innate features.
Project description:Murine B-cell development begins in bone marrow and results in the generation of immature transitional B cells that transit to the spleen to complete their maturation. It remains unclear whether the same developmental pathway takes place in humans. Using markers characteristic of human bone marrow immature B cells, we have identified a population of circulating human B cells with a phenotype most similar to mouse transitional type I (T1) B cells, although these human counterparts express CD5. These cells die rapidly in culture, and B-cell activation factor member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family (BAFF) does not effect their survival regardless of B-cell receptor (BCR) stimulation. In contrast, bone marrow stromal cells or interleukin-4 (IL-4) significantly enhanced their survival. In the presence of T-cell signals provided by IL-4 or CD40 ligation, BCR stimulation can induce progression into cell cycle. Interestingly, circulating B cells that phenotypically and functionally resemble murine T2 B cells are found in cord blood and adult peripheral blood, suggesting that B-cell maturation may not be restricted to the spleen. Notably, increased proportions of T1 B cells were found in blood of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), although bone marrow production and selection appeared to be normal.
Project description:Mice overexpressing B cell activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF) develop systemic autoimmunity characterized by class-switched anti-nuclear Abs. Transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) signals are critical for BAFF-mediated autoimmunity, but the B cell developmental subsets undergoing TACI-dependent activation in settings of excess BAFF remain unclear. We report that, although surface TACI expression is usually limited to mature B cells, excess BAFF promotes the expansion of TACI-expressing transitional B cells. TACI(+) transitional cells from BAFF-transgenic mice are characterized by an activated, cycling phenotype, and the TACI(+) cell subset is specifically enriched for autoreactivity, expresses activation-induced cytidine deaminase and T-bet, and exhibits evidence of somatic hypermutation. Consistent with a potential contribution to BAFF-mediated humoral autoimmunity, TACI(+) transitional B cells from BAFF-transgenic mice spontaneously produce class-switched autoantibodies ex vivo. These combined findings highlight a novel mechanism through which BAFF promotes humoral autoimmunity via direct, TACI-dependent activation of transitional B cells.
Project description:Characteristic features of Plasmodium falciparum malaria are polyclonal B cell activation and an altered composition of the blood B cell compartment, including expansion of CD21(-)CD27(-) atypical memory B cells. BAFF is a key cytokine in B cell homeostasis, but its potential contribution to the modulation of the blood B cell pool during malaria remains elusive. In the controlled human malaria model (CHMI) in malaria-naive Dutch volunteers, we therefore examined the dynamics of BAFF induction and B cell subset activation and composition, to investigate whether these changes are linked to malaria-induced immune activation and, in particular, induction of BAFF. Alterations in B cell composition after CHMI closely resembled those observed in endemic areas. We further found distinct kinetics of proliferation for individual B cell subsets across all developmental stages. Proliferation peaked either immediately after blood-stage infection or at convalescence, and for most subsets was directly associated with the peak parasitemia. Concomitantly, plasma BAFF levels during CHMI were increased and correlated with membrane-expressed BAFF on monocytes and dendritic cells, as well as blood-stage parasitemia and parasite-induced IFN-?. Correlating with increased plasma BAFF and IFN-? levels, IgD(-)CD38(low)CD21(-)CD27(-) atypical B cells showed the strongest proliferative response of all memory B cell subsets. This provides unique evidence for a link between malaria-induced immune activation and temporary expansion of this B cell subset. Finally, baseline BAFF-R levels before CHMI were predictive of subsequent changes in proportions of individual B cell subsets. These findings suggest an important role of BAFF in facilitating B cell subset proliferation and redistribution as a consequence of malaria-induced immune activation.
Project description:The quality and quantity of BCR signals impact on cell fate decisions of B lymphocytes. Here, we describe novel gene-targeted mice, which in the context of normal VDJ recombination show hypomorphic expression of immunoglobulin ? heavy chain (?HC) mRNA levels and hence lower pre-BCR and BCR levels. Hypomorphic expression of ?HC leads to augmented selection processes at all stages of B-cell development, noticeably at the expansion of pre-B cells, the positive selection of immature B lymphocytes in the bone marrow and the selection of the follicular (FO), marginal zone (MZ) and B1 B-lymphocyte compartment in peripheral lymphoid organs. Immature as well as mature FO and MZ B lymphocytes in the peripheral lymphoid organs express lower levels of the receptor for B-cell activating factor (BAFF). In addition, hypomorphic expression of the BCR favours receptor editing. Together, our results highlight the critical importance of pre-BCR and BCR receptor levels for the normal development of B-lymphocyte subpopulations in the context of intact VDJ recombination and a diverse antibody repertoire.