Ras activation of Erk restores impaired tonic BCR signaling and rescues immature B cell differentiation.
ABSTRACT: B cell receptors (BCRs) generate tonic signals critical for B cell survival and early B cell development. To determine whether these signals also mediate the development of transitional and mature B cells, we examined B cell development using a mouse strain in which nonautoreactive immunoglobulin heavy and light chain-targeted B cells express low surface BCR levels. We found that reduced BCR expression translated into diminished tonic BCR signals that strongly impaired the development of transitional and mature B cells. Constitutive expression of Bcl-2 did not rescue the differentiation of BCR-low B cells, suggesting that this defect was not related to decreased cell survival. In contrast, activation of the Ras pathway rescued the differentiation of BCR-low immature B cells both in vitro and in vivo, whereas extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) inhibition impaired the differentiation of normal immature B cells. These results strongly suggest that tonic BCR signaling mediates the differentiation of immature into transitional and mature B cells via activation of Erk, likely through a pathway requiring Ras.
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:Newly generated immature B cells are selected to enter the peripheral mature B-cell pool only if they do not bind (or bind limited amount of) self-antigen. We previously suggested that this selection relies on basal extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) activation mediated by tonic B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) signaling and that this signal can be replaced by an active rat sarcoma (Ras), which are small GTPase proteins. In this study we compared the activity of Ras and Erk in nonautoreactive and autoreactive immature B cells and investigated whether activation of Ras can break tolerance. Our results demonstrate lower levels of active Erk and Ras in autoreactive immature B cells, although this is evident only when these cells display medium/high avidity for self-antigen. Basal activation of Erk in immature B cells is proportional to surface IgM and dependent on sarcoma family kinases, whereas it is independent of B-cell activating factor, IFN, and Toll-like receptor signaling. Ectopic expression of the constitutively active mutant Ras form N-RasD12 in autoreactive cells raises active Erk, halts receptor editing via PI3 kinase, and promotes differentiation via Erk, breaking central tolerance. Moreover, when B cells coexpress autoreactive and nonautoreactive BCRs, N-RasD12 leads also to a break in peripheral tolerance with the production of autoantibodies. Our findings indicate that in immature B cells, basal activation of Ras and Erk are controlled by tonic BCR signaling, and that positive changes in Ras activity can lead to a break in both central and peripheral B-cell tolerance.
Project description:Newly generated bone marrow B cells are positively selected into the peripheral lymphoid tissue only when they express a B cell receptor (BCR) that is nonautoreactive or one that binds self-antigen with only minimal avidity. This positive selection process, moreover, is critically contingent on the ligand-independent tonic signals transduced by the BCR. We have previously shown that when autoreactive B cells express an active form of the rat sarcoma (RAS) oncogene, they upregulate the receptor for the B cell activating factor (BAFFR) and undergo differentiation in vitro and positive selection into the spleen in vivo, overcoming central tolerance. Based on the in vitro use of pharmacologic inhibitors, we further showed that this cell differentiation process is critically dependent on the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase pathway MEK (MAPKK)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), which is downstream of RAS. Here, we next investigated if activation of ERK is not only necessary but also sufficient to break central B cell tolerance and induce differentiation of autoreactive B cells in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrate that activation of ERK is critical for upregulating BAFFR and overcoming suboptimal levels of tonic BCR signals or low amounts of antigen-induced BCR signals during in vitro B cell differentiation. However, direct activation of ERK does not lead high avidity autoreactive B cells to increase BAFFR levels and undergo positive selection and differentiation in vivo. B cell-specific MEK-ERK activation in mice is also unable to lead to autoantibody secretion, and this in spite of a general increase of serum immunoglobulin levels. These findings indicate that additional pathways downstream of RAS are required for high avidity autoreactive B cells to break central and/or peripheral tolerance.
Project description:The survival of transitional and mature B cells requires both the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) and BLyS receptor 3 (BR3), which suggests that these receptors send signals that are nonredundant or that engage in crosstalk with each other. Here we show that BCR signaling induced production of the nonclassical transcription factor NF-kappaB pathway substrate p100, which is required for transmission of BR3 signals and thus B cell survival. The capacity for sustained p100 production emerged during transitional B cell differentiation, the stage at which BCR signals begin to mediate survival rather than negative selection. Our findings identify a molecular mechanism for the reliance of primary B cells on continuous BR3 and BCR signaling, as well as for the gradual resistance to negative selection that is acquired during B cell maturation.
Project description:To better understand whether autoimmunity in Lyn-deficient mice arises from compromised central or peripheral B cell tolerance, we examined BCR signaling properties of wild-type and Lyn-deficient B cells at different stages of development. Wild-type mature follicular B cells were less sensitive to BCR stimulation than were immature transitional stage 1 B cells with regard to BCR-induced calcium elevation and ERK MAPK activation. In the absence of Lyn, mature B cell signaling was greatly enhanced, whereas immature B cell signaling was minimally affected. Correspondingly, Lyn deficiency substantially enhanced the sensitivity of mature B cells to activation via the BCR, but minimally affected events associated with tolerance induction at the immature stage. The effects of CD22 deficiency on BCR signaling were very similar in B cells at different stages of maturation. These results indicate that the Lyn-CD22-Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-1 inhibitory pathway largely becomes operational as B cell mature, and sets a threshold for activation that appears to be critical for the maintenance of tolerance in the B cell compartment.
Project description:Strict control of B lymphocyte development is required for the ability to mount humoral immune responses to diverse foreign antigens while remaining self-tolerant. In the bone marrow, B lineage cells transit through several developmental stages in which they assemble a functional B cell receptor in a stepwise manner. The immunoglobulin heavy chain gene is rearranged at the pro-B stage. At the large pre-B stage, cells with a functional heavy chain expand in response to signals from IL-7 and the pre-BCR. Cells then cease proliferation at the small pre-B stage and rearrange the immunoglobulin light chain gene. The fully formed BCR is subsequently expressed on the surface of immature B cells and autoreactive cells are culled by central tolerance mechanisms. Once in the periphery, transitional B cells develop into mature B cell subsets such as marginal zone and follicular B cells. These developmental processes are controlled by transcription factor networks, central to which are IRF4 and IRF8. These were thought to act redundantly during B cell development in the bone marrow, with their functions diverging in the periphery where IRF4 limits the number of marginal zone B cells and is required for germinal center responses and plasma cell differentiation. Because of IRF4's unique role in mature B cells, we hypothesized that it may also have functions earlier in B cell development that cannot be compensated for by IRF8. Indeed, we find that IRF4 has a unique role in upregulating the pre-B cell marker CD25, limiting IL-7 responsiveness, and promoting migration to CXCR4 such that IRF4-deficient mice have a partial block at the pre-B cell stage. We also find that IRF4 acts in early transitional B cells to restrict marginal zone B cell development, as deletion of IRF4 in mature B cells with CD21-cre impairs plasma cell differentiation but has no effect on marginal zone B cell numbers. These studies highlight IRF4 as the dominant IRF family member in early B lymphopoiesis.
Project description:Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an X-linked immunodeficiency disorder frequently associated with systemic autoimmunity, including autoantibody-mediated cytopenias. WAS protein (WASp)-deficient B cells have increased B cell receptor (BCR) and Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling, suggesting that these pathways might impact establishment of the mature, naive BCR repertoire. To directly investigate this possibility, we evaluated naive B cell specificity and composition in WASp-deficient mice and WAS subjects (n = 12). High-throughput sequencing and single-cell cloning analysis of the BCR repertoire revealed altered heavy chain usage and enrichment for low-affinity self-reactive specificities in murine marginal zone and human naive B cells. Although negative selection mechanisms including deletion, anergy, and receptor editing were relatively unperturbed, WASp-deficient transitional B cells showed enhanced proliferation in vivo mediated by antigen- and Myd88-dependent signals. Finally, using both BCR sequencing and cell surface analysis with a monoclonal antibody recognizing an intrinsically autoreactive heavy chain, we show enrichment in self-reactive cells specifically at the transitional to naive mature B cell stage in WAS subjects. Our combined data support a model wherein modest alterations in B cell-intrinsic, BCR, and TLR signals in WAS, and likely other autoimmune disorders, are sufficient to alter B cell tolerance via positive selection of self-reactive transitional B cells.
Project description:Gammaherpesviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, HHV-8) establish lifelong latency in their hosts and are associated with the development of several types of malignancies, including a subset of B cell lymphomas. These viruses are thought to co-opt the process of B cell differentiation to latently infect a fraction of circulating memory B cells, resulting in the establishment of a stable latency setpoint. However, little is known about how this infected memory B cell compartment is maintained throughout the life of the host. We have previously demonstrated that immature and transitional B cells are long-term latency reservoirs for murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68), suggesting that infection of developing B cells contributes to the maintenance of lifelong latency. During hematopoiesis, immature and transitional B cells are subject to B cell receptor (BCR)-mediated negative selection, which results in the clonal deletion of autoreactive B cells. Interestingly, numerous gammaherpesviruses encode homologs of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, suggesting that virus inhibition of apoptosis could subvert clonal deletion. To test this, we quantified latency establishment in mice inoculated with MHV68 vBcl-2 mutants. vBcl-2 mutant viruses displayed a marked decrease in the frequency of immature and transitional B cells harboring viral genome, but this attenuation could be rescued by increased host Bcl-2 expression. Conversely, vBcl-2 mutant virus latency in early B cells and mature B cells, which are not targets of negative selection, was remarkably similar to wild-type virus. Finally, in vivo depletion of developing B cells during chronic infection resulted in decreased mature B cell latency, demonstrating a key role for developing B cells in the maintenance of lifelong latency. Collectively, these findings support a model in which gammaherpesvirus latency in circulating mature B cells is sustained in part through the recurrent infection and vBcl-2-mediated survival of developing B cells.
Project description:Peripheral B lymphocyte survival requires the B cell receptor (BCR) and B cell activating factor (BAFF) binding to its receptor (BAFF-R). Deletion of the BCR, or its signal transducing chaperone Ig?, leads to rapid loss of mature B cells, indicating that signals initiated at the BCR are crucial for B cell survival. BAFF or BAFF-R deficiency also significantly reduces the numbers of mature B cells despite normal BCR expression. Together, these observations indicate that continued BCR and BAFF-R signaling are essential for the survival of mature resting B cells in the periphery. Here we demonstrate that tonic BCR signals up-regulate p100 (Nfkb2) as well as Mcl-1 protein expression at a post-transcriptional level via a PI3K-dependent pathway. p100 expression is mTOR-independent, whereas Mcl-1 expression is mTOR-dependent. BAFF treatment further elevated Mcl-1 levels by an mTOR-independent pathway, while consuming p100. Accordingly, Mcl-1 induction by BAFF is abrogated in Nfkb2-/- B cells. We propose that the cumulative effects of the BCR and BAFF-R signaling pathways increase Mcl-1 levels beyond the threshold required for B cell survival.
Project description:Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) is required to purge autoreactive immature and transitional-1 (immature/T1) B cells at the first tolerance checkpoint, but how AID selectively removes self-reactive B cells is unclear. We now show that B cell antigen receptor (BCR) and endosomal Toll-like receptor (TLR) signals synergize to elicit high levels of AID expression in immature/T1 B cells. This synergy is restricted to ligands for endocytic TLR and requires phospholipase-D activation, endosomal acidification, and MyD88. The first checkpoint is significantly impaired in AID- or MyD88-deficient mice and in mice doubly heterozygous for AID and MyD88, suggesting interaction of these factors in central B cell tolerance. Moreover, administration of chloroquine, an inhibitor of endosomal acidification, results in a failure to remove autoreactive immature/T1 B cells in mice. We propose that a BCR/TLR pathway coordinately establishes central tolerance by hyper-activating AID in immature/T1 B cells that bind ligands for endosomal TLRs.