Pro-B cells sense productive immunoglobulin heavy chain rearrangement irrespective of polypeptide production.
ABSTRACT: B-lymphocyte development is dictated by the protein products of functionally rearranged Ig heavy (H) and light (L) chain genes. Ig rearrangement begins in pro-B cells at the IgH locus. If pro-B cells generate a productive allele, they assemble a pre-B cell receptor complex, which signals their differentiation into pre-B cells and their clonal expansion. Pre-B cell receptor signals are also thought to contribute to allelic exclusion by preventing further IgH rearrangements. Here we show in two independent mouse models that the accumulation of a stabilized ?H mRNA that does not encode ?H chain protein specifically impairs pro-B cell differentiation and reduces the frequency of rearranged IgH genes in a dose-dependent manner. Because noncoding IgH mRNA is usually rapidly degraded by the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay machinery, we propose that the difference in mRNA stability allows pro-B cells to distinguish between productive and nonproductive Ig gene rearrangements and that ?H mRNA may thus contribute to efficient H chain allelic exclusion.
Project description:IL-7 is an important cytokine for lymphocyte differentiation. Similar to what occurs in vivo, human CD19? cells developing in human/murine xenogeneic cultures show differential expression of the IL-7 receptor ? (IL-7R?) chain (CD127). We now describe the relationship between CD127 expression/signaling and Ig gene rearrangement. In the present study, < 10% of CD19?CD127? and CD19?CD127? populations had complete VDJ(H) rearrangements. IGH locus conformation measurements by 3D FISH revealed that CD127? and CD127? cells were less contracted than pediatric BM pro-B cells that actively rearrange the IGH locus. Complete IGH rearrangements in CD127? and CD127? cells had smaller CDR3 lengths and fewer N-nucleotide insertions than pediatric BM B-lineage cells. Despite the paucity of VDJ(H) rearrangements, microarray analysis indicated that CD127? cells resembled large pre-B cells, which is consistent with their low level of Ig light-chain rearrangements. Unexpectedly, CD127? cells showed extensive Ig light-chain rearrangements in the absence of IGH rearrangements and resembled small pre-B cells. Neutralization of IL-7 in xenogeneic cultures led to an increase in Ig light-chain rearrangements in CD127? cells, but no change in complete IGH rearrangements. We conclude that IL-7-mediated suppression of premature Ig light-chain rearrangement is the most definitive function yet described for IL-7 in human B-cell development.
Project description:The genes encoding the variable (V) region of the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) are assembled from V, D (diversity), and J (joining) elements through a RAG-mediated recombination process that relies on the recognition of recombination signal sequences (RSSs) flanking the individual elements. Secondary V(D)J rearrangement modifies the original Ig rearrangement if a nonproductive original joint is formed, as a response to inappropriate signaling from a self-reactive BCR, or as part of a stochastic mechanism to further diversify the Ig repertoire. VH replacement represents a RAG-mediated secondary rearrangement in which an upstream VH element recombines with a rearranged VHDHJH joint to generate a new BCR specificity. The rearrangement occurs between the cryptic RSS of the original VH element and the conventional RSS of the invading VH gene, leaving behind a footprint of up to five base pairs (bps) of the original VH gene that is often further obscured by exonuclease activity and N-nucleotide addition. We have previously demonstrated that VH replacement can efficiently rescue the development of B cells that have acquired two nonproductive heavy chain (IgH) rearrangements. Here we describe a novel knock-in mouse model in which the prerearranged IgH locus resembles an endogenously rearranged productive VHDHJH allele. Using this mouse model, we characterized the role of VH replacement in the diversification of the primary Ig repertoire through the modification of productive VHDHJH rearrangements. Our results indicate that VH replacement occurs before Ig light chain rearrangement and thus is not involved in the editing of self-reactive antibodies.
Project description:Coordination of V rearrangements between loci on homologous chromosomes is critical for Ig and TCR allelic exclusion. The Ataxia Telangietasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase promotes DNA repair and activates checkpoints to suppress aberrant Ig and TCR rearrangements. In response to RAG cleavage of Ig? loci, ATM inhibits RAG expression and suppresses further V?-to-J? rearrangements to enforce Ig? allelic exclusion. Because V recombination between alleles is more strictly regulated for TCR? and IgH loci, we evaluated the ability of ATM to restrict biallelic expression and V-to-DJ recombination of TCR? and IgH genes. We detected greater frequencies of lymphocytes with biallelic expression or aberrant V-to-DJ rearrangement of TCR? or IgH loci in mice lacking ATM. A preassembled DJ? complex that decreases the number of TCR? rearrangements needed for a productive TCR? gene further increased frequencies of ATM-deficient cells with biallelic TCR? expression. IgH and TCR? proteins drive proliferation of prolymphocytes through cyclin D3 (Ccnd3), which also inhibits VH transcription. We show that inactivation of Ccnd3 leads to increased frequencies of lymphocytes with biallelic expression of IgH or TCR? genes. We also show that Ccnd3 inactivation cooperates with ATM deficiency to increase the frequencies of cells with biallelic TCR? or IgH expression while decreasing the frequency of ATM-deficient lymphocytes with aberrant V-to-DJ recombination. Our data demonstrate that core components of the DNA damage response and cell cycle machinery cooperate to help enforce IgH and TCR? allelic exclusion and indicate that control of V-to-DJ rearrangements between alleles is important to maintain genomic stability.
Project description:The immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) gene rearrangement in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) provides a unique molecular signature; however, we demonstrate that 26/198 CLL patients (13%) had more than one IGH rearrangement, indicating the power of molecular technology over phenotypic analysis. Single-cell PCR analysis and next-generation immuno-sequencing identified IGH-defined clones. In 23% (18/79) of cases whose clones carried unmutated immunoglobulin heavy chain variable (IGHV) genes (U-CLL), IGH rearrangements were bialleic with one productive (P) and one non-productive (NP) allele. Two U-CLL were biclonal, each clone being monoallelic (P). In 119 IGHV-mutated (M-CLL) cases, one had biallelic rearrangements in their CLL (P/NP) and five had 2-4 distinct clones. Allelic exclusion was maintained in all B-clones analyzed. Based on single-cell PCR analysis, 5/11 partner clones (45%) reached levels of >5x10(9) cells/L, suggesting second CLL clones. Partner clones persisted over years. Conventional IGH characterization and next-generation sequencing of 13 CLL, 3 multiple myeloma, 2 Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia and 3 age-matched healthy donors consistently identified the same rearranged IGH sequences. Most multiple clones occurred in M-CLL, perhaps indicative of weak clonal dominance, thereby associating with a good prognosis. In contrast, biallelic CLL occurred primarily in U-CLL thus being associated with poor prognosis. Extending beyond intra-clonal diversity, molecular analysis of clonal evolution and apparent subclones in CLL may also reflect inter-clonal diversity.
Project description:The adaptive immune system depends on specific antigen receptors, immunoglobulins (Ig) in B lymphocytes and T cell receptors (TCR) in T lymphocytes. Adaptive responses to immune challenge are based on the expression of a single species of antigen receptor per cell; and in B cells, this is mediated in part by allelic exclusion at the Ig heavy (H) chain locus. How allelic exclusion is regulated is unclear; we considered that sharks, the oldest vertebrates possessing the Ig/TCR-based immune system, would yield insights not previously approachable and reveal the primordial basis of the regulation of allelic exclusion. Sharks have an IgH locus organization consisting of 15-200 independently rearranging miniloci (VH-D1-D2-JH-Cmu), a gene organization that is considered ancestral to the tetrapod and bony fish IgH locus. We found that rearrangement takes place only within a minilocus, and the recombining gene segments are assembled simultaneously and randomly. Only one or few H chain genes were fully rearranged in each shark B cell, whereas the other loci retained their germline configuration. In contrast, most IgH were partially rearranged in every thymocyte (developing T cell) examined, but no IgH transcripts were detected. The distinction between B and T cells in their IgH configurations and transcription reveals a heretofore unsuspected chromatin state permissive for rearrangement in precursor lymphocytes, and suggests that controlled limitation of B cell lineage-specific factors mediate regulated rearrangement and allelic exclusion. This regulation may be shared by higher vertebrates in which additional mechanistic and regulatory elements have evolved with their structurally complex IgH locus.
Project description:We previously described a checkpoint for allelic exclusion that occurs at the pre-B cell to immature B cell transition and is dependent upon the IgH intronic enhancer, E?. We now provide evidence that the breach in allelic exclusion associated with E? deletion results from decreased Ig? levels that make it difficult for emerging BCRs to reach the signaling threshold required for positive selection into the immature B cell compartment. We show that this compartment is smaller in mice carrying an E?-deficient, but functional, IgH allele (VH?(a)). Pre-B cells in such mice produce ? 50% wild-type levels of Ig? (mRNA and protein), and this is associated with diminished signals, as measured by phosphorylation of pre-BCR/BCR downstream signaling proteins. Providing E?-deficient mice with a preassembled VL gene led not only to a larger immature B cell compartment but also to a decrease in "double-producers," suggesting that H chain/L chain combinations with superior signaling properties can overcome the signaling defect associated with low Ig?-chain and can eliminate the selective advantage of "double-producers" that achieve higher Ig?-chain levels through expression of a second IgH allele. Finally, we found that "double-producers" in E?-deficient mice include a subpopulation with autoreactive BCRs. We infer that BCRs with IgH chain from the E?-deficient allele are ignored during negative selection owing to their comparatively low density. In summary, these studies show that E?'s effect on IgH levels at the pre-B cell to immature B cell transition strongly influences allelic exclusion, the breadth of the mature BCR repertoire, and the emergence of autoimmune B cells.
Project description:Immunoglobulin (Ig) genes naturally acquire frequent premature termination codons during the error-prone V(D)J recombination process. Although B cell differentiation is linked to the expression of productive Ig alleles, the transcriptional status of nonfunctionally recombined alleles remains unclear. Here, we tracked transcription and posttranscriptional regulation for both Ig heavy-chain (IgH) alleles in mice carrying a nonfunctional knock-in allele. We show that productively and nonproductively VDJ-rearranged alleles are transcribed throughout B cell development, carry similar active chromatin marks, and even display equivalent RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) loading after B cell stimulation. Hence, these results challenge the idea that the repositioning of one allele to heterochromatin could promote the silencing of nonproductive alleles. Interestingly, the efficiency of downstream RNA surveillance mechanisms fluctuates according to B cell activation and terminal differentiation: unspliced nonfunctional transcripts accumulate in primary B cells, while B cell activation promotes IgH transcription, RNA splicing, and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Altogether, IgH transcription and RNA splicing rates determine by which RNA surveillance mechanisms a B cell can get rid of nonproductive IgH mRNAs.
Project description:In mammals, VDJ recombination is responsible for the establishment of a highly diversified preimmune antibody repertoire. Acquisition of a functional Ig heavy (H) chain variable (V) gene rearrangement is thought to prevent further recombination at the IgH locus. Here, we describe VHQ52(NT); V?gr32(NT) Ig monoclonal mice reprogrammed from the nucleus of an intestinal IgA(+) plasma cell. In VHQ52(NT) mice, IgA replaced IgM to drive early B-cell development and peripheral B-cell maturation. In VHQ52(NT) animals, over 20% of mature B cells disrupted the single productive, nonautoimmune IgH rearrangement through VH replacement and exchanged it with a highly diversified pool of IgH specificities. VH replacement occurred in early pro-B cells, was independent of pre-B-cell receptor signaling, and involved predominantly one adjacent VH germ-line gene. VH replacement was also identified in 5% of peripheral B cells of mice inheriting a different productive VH rearrangement expressed in the form of an IgM H chain. In summary, editing of a productive IgH rearrangement through VH replacement can account for up to 20% of the IgH repertoire expressed by mature B cells.
Project description:Allelic exclusion of immunoglobulin genes ensures the expression of a single antibody molecule in B cells through mostly unknown mechanisms. Large-scale contraction of the immunoglobulin heavy-chain (Igh) locus facilitates rearrangements between Igh variable (V(H)) and diversity gene segments in pro-B cells. Here we show that these long-range interactions are mediated by 'looping' of individual Igh subdomains. The Igk locus also underwent contraction by looping in small pre-B and immature B cells, demonstrating that immunoglobulin loci are in a contracted state in rearranging cells. Successful Igh recombination induced the rapid reversal of locus contraction in response to pre-B cell receptor signaling, which physically separated the distal V(H) genes from the proximal Igh domain, thus preventing further rearrangements. In the absence of locus contraction, only the four most proximal V(H) genes escaped allelic exclusion in immature mu-transgenic B lymphocytes. Pre-B cell receptor signaling also led to rapid repositioning of one Igh allele to repressive centromeric domains in response to downregulation of interleukin 7 signaling. These data link both locus 'decontraction' and centromeric recruitment to the establishment of allelic exclusion at the Igh locus.
Project description:Progenitor-B cells recombine their immunoglobulin (Ig) loci to create unique antigen receptors. Despite a common recombination machinery, the Ig heavy and Ig light chain loci rearrange in a stepwise manner. We studied pre-pro-B cells and Rag(-/-) progenitor-B cells to determine whether Ig locus contraction or nuclear positioning is decisive for stepwise rearrangements. We found that both Ig loci were contracted in pro-B and pre-B cells. Igh relocated from the nuclear lamina to central domains only at the pro-B cell stage, whereas, Ig? remained sequestered at the lamina, and only at the pre-B cell stage located to central nuclear domains. Finally, in vitro induced re-positioning of Ig alleles away from the nuclear periphery increased germline transcription of Ig loci in pre-pro-B cells. Thus, Ig locus contraction juxtaposes genomically distant elements to mediate efficient recombination, however, sequential positioning of Ig loci away from the nuclear periphery determines stage-specific accessibility of Ig loci.