No evidence that soluble TACI induces signalling via membrane-expressed BAFF and APRIL in myeloid cells.
ABSTRACT: Myeloid cells express the TNF family ligands BAFF/BLyS and APRIL, which exert their effects on B cells at different stages of differentiation via the receptors BAFFR, TACI (Transmembrane Activator and CAML-Interactor) and/or BCMA (B Cell Maturation Antigen). BAFF and APRIL are proteins expressed at the cell membrane, with both extracellular and intracellular domains. Therefore, receptor/ligand engagement may also result in signals in ligand-expressing cells via so-called "reverse signalling". In order to understand how TACI-Fc (atacicept) technically may mediate immune stimulation instead of suppression, we investigated its potential to activate reverse signalling through BAFF and APRIL. BAFFR-Fc and TACI-Fc, but not Fn14-Fc, reproducibly stimulated the ERK and other signalling pathways in bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages. However, these effects were independent of BAFF or APRIL since the same activation profile was observed with BAFF- or APRIL-deficient cells. Instead, cell activation correlated with the presence of high molecular mass forms of BAFFR-Fc and TACI-Fc and was strongly impaired in macrophages deficient for Fc receptor gamma chain. Moreover, a TACI-Fc defective for Fc receptor binding elicited no detectable signal. Although these results do not formally rule out the existence of BAFF or APRIL reverse signalling (via pathways not tested in this study), they provide no evidence in support of reverse signalling and point to the importance of using appropriate specificity controls when working with Fc receptor-expressing myeloid cells.
Project description:The TNF family cytokines B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) support plasma cell survival. It is known that inhibitors of BAFF only (BAFFR-Fc) or BAFF and APRIL (TACI-Fc) administered early enough in an NZB/NZW F1 mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) ameliorate clinical outcomes, pointing to a pathogenic role of BAFF. In the present study, TACI-Fc administrated at a later stage of disease, after onset of autoimmunity, decreased the number of bone marrow plasma cells and slowed down further formation of autoantibodies. TACI-Fc prevented renal damage during a 12-week treatment period regardless of autoantibody levels, while BAFFR-Fc did not despite a similar BAFF-blocking activity in vivo. TACI-Fc also decreased established plasma cells in a T-dependent hapten/carrier immunization system better than single inhibitors of BAFF or APRIL, and sometimes better than combined single inhibitors with at least equivalent BAFF and APRIL inhibitory activities. These results indicate that TACI-Fc can prevent symptoms of renal damage in a mouse model of SLE when BAFFR-Fc cannot, and point to a plasticity of plasma cells for survival factors. Targeting plasma cells with TACI-Fc might be beneficial to prevent autoantibody-mediated damages in SLE.
Project description:BAFF and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), which control B cell homeostasis, are therapeutic targets in autoimmune diseases. TACI-Fc (atacicept), a soluble fusion protein containing the extracellular domain of the BAFF-APRIL receptor TACI, was applied in clinical trials. However, disease activity in multiple sclerosis unexpectedly increased, whereas in systemic lupus erythematosus, atacicept was beneficial. In this study, we show that an endogenous soluble TACI (sTACI) exists in vivo. TACI proteolysis involved shedding by a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 releasing sTACI from activated B cells. The membrane-bound stub was subsequently cleaved by ?-secretase reducing ligand-independent signaling of the remaining C-terminal fragment. The shed ectodomain assembled ligand independently in a homotypic way. It functioned as a decoy receptor inhibiting BAFF- and APRIL-mediated B cell survival and NF-?B activation. We determined sTACI levels in autoimmune diseases with established hyperactivation of the BAFF-APRIL system. sTACI levels were elevated both in the cerebrospinal fluid of the brain-restricted autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis correlating with intrathecal IgG production, as well as in the serum of the systemic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus correlating with disease activity. Together, we show that TACI is sequentially processed by a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 and ?-secretase. The released sTACI is an immunoregulator that shares decoy functions with atacicept. It reflects systemic and compartmentalized B cell accumulation and activation.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:The TNF family ligands, B cell activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF, also known as B lymphocyte stimulator, BLyS) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), share the transmembrane activator and calcium-modulator and cyclophilin ligand (CAML)-interactor (TACI) as one of their common receptors. Atacicept, a chimeric recombinant TACI/IgG1-Fc fusion protein, inhibits both ligands. TACI and APRIL also bind to proteoglycans and to heparin that is structurally related to proteoglycans. It is unknown whether the portion of TACI contained in atacicept can bind directly to proteoglycans, or indirectly via APRIL, and whether this could interfere with the anti-coagulant properties of heparin. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:Binding of atacicept and APRIL to proteoglycan-positive cells was measured by FACS. Activities of heparin and atacicept were measured with activated factor Xa inhibition and cell-based assays. Effects of heparin on circulating atacicept was monitored in mice. KEY RESULTS:Atacicept did not bind to proteoglycan-positive cells, but when complexed to APRIL could do so indirectly via APRIL. Multimers of atacicept obtained after exposure to cysteine or BAFF 60-mer bound directly to proteoglycans. Atacicept alone, or in complex with APRIL, or in a multimeric form did not interfere with heparin activity in vitro. Conversely, heparin did not influence inhibition of BAFF and APRIL by atacicept and did not change circulating levels of atacicept. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:Lack of detectable interference of APRIL-bound or free atacicept on heparin activity makes it unlikely that atacicept at therapeutic doses will interfere with the function of heparin in vivo.
Project description:The closely related TNF family ligands B cell activation factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) serve in the generation and maintenance of mature B-lymphocytes. Both BAFF and APRIL assemble as homotrimers that bind and activate several receptors that they partially share. However, heteromers of BAFF and APRIL that occur in patients with autoimmune diseases are incompletely characterized. The N and C termini of adjacent BAFF or APRIL monomers are spatially close and can be linked to create single-chain homo- or hetero-ligands of defined stoichiometry. Similar to APRIL, heteromers consisting of one BAFF and two APRILs (BAA) bind to the receptors B cell maturation antigen (BCMA), transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) but not to the BAFF receptor (BAFFR). Heteromers consisting of one APRIL and two BAFF (ABB) bind to TACI and BCMA and weakly to BAFFR in accordance with the analysis of the receptor interaction sites in the crystallographic structure of ABB. Receptor binding correlated with activity in reporter cell line assays specific for BAFFR, TACI, or BCMA. Single-chain BAFF (BBB) and to a lesser extent single-chain ABB, but not APRIL or single-chain BAA, rescued BAFFR-dependent B cell maturation in BAFF-deficient mice. In conclusion, BAFF-APRIL heteromers of different stoichiometries have distinct receptor-binding properties and activities. Based on the observation that heteromers are less active than BAFF, we speculate that their physiological role might be to down-regulate BAFF activity.
Project description:The TNF superfamily ligands BAFF and APRIL interact with three receptors, BAFFR, BCMA, and TACI, to play discrete and crucial roles in regulating B cell selection and homeostasis in mammals. The interactions between these ligands and receptors are both specific and redundant: BAFFR binds BAFF, whereas BCMA and TACI bind to either BAFF or APRIL. In a previous phylogenetic inquiry, we identified and characterized a <i>BAFF</i>-like gene in lampreys, which, with hagfish, are the only extant jawless vertebrates, both of which have B-like and T-like lymphocytes. To gain insight into lymphocyte regulation in jawless vertebrates, in this study we identified two <i>BCMA</i>-like genes in lampreys, <i>BCMAL1</i> and <i>BCMAL2</i>, which were found to be preferentially expressed by B-like lymphocytes. In vitro analyses indicated that the lamprey BAFF-like protein can bind to a BCMA-like receptor Ig fusion protein and to both BCMAL1- and BCMAL2-transfected cells. Discriminating regulatory roles for the two BCMA-like molecules are suggested by their differential expression before and after activation of the B-like lymphocytes in lampreys. Our composite results imply that BAFF-based mechanisms for B cell regulation evolved before the divergence of jawed and jawless vertebrates.
Project description:Antibodies that target a clinically relevant group of receptors within the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily (TNFRSF), including CD40 and CD95 (Fas/Apo-1), also require binding to Fc gamma receptors (Fc?Rs) to elicit a strong agonistic activity. This Fc?R dependency largely relies on the mere cellular anchoring through the antibody's Fc domain and does not involve the engagement of Fc?R signaling. The aim of this study was to elicit agonistic activity from ?CD40 and ?CD95 antibodies in a myeloma cell anchoring-controlled Fc?R-independent manner. For this purpose, various antibody variants (IgG1, IgG1N297A, Fab2) against the TNFRSF members CD40 and CD95 were genetically fused to a single-chain-encoded B-cell activating factor (scBaff) trimer as a C-terminal myeloma-specific anchoring domain substituting for Fc domain-mediated Fc?R binding. The antibody-scBaff fusion proteins were evaluated in binding studies and functional assays using tumor cell lines expressing one or more of the three receptors of Baff: BaffR, transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) and B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). Cellular binding studies showed that the binding properties of the different domains within the fusion proteins remained fully intact in the antibody-scBaff fusion proteins. In co-culture assays of CD40- and CD95-responsive cells with BaffR, BCMA or TACI expressing anchoring cells, the antibody fusion proteins displayed strong agonism while only minor receptor stimulation was observed in co-cultures with cells without expression of Baff-interacting receptors. Thus, our CD40 and CD95 antibody fusion proteins display myeloma cell-dependent activity and promise reduced systemic side effects compared to conventional CD40 and CD95 agonists.
Project description:Depletional strategies directed toward achieving tolerance induction in organ transplantation have been associated with an increased incidence and risk of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) and graft injury. Our clinical data suggest correlation of increased serum B cell activating factor/survival factor (BAFF) with increased risk of antibody-mediated rejection in alemtuzumab treated patients. In the present study, we tested the ability of BAFF blockade (TACI-Ig) in a nonhuman primate AMR model to prevent alloantibody production and prolong allograft survival. Three animals received the AMR inducing regimen (CD3-IT/alefacept/tacrolimus) with TACI-Ig (atacicept), compared to five control animals treated with the AMR inducing regimen only. TACI-Ig treatment lead to decreased levels of DSA in treated animals at 2 and 4 weeks posttransplantation (p?<?0.05). In addition, peripheral B cell numbers were significantly lower at 6 weeks posttransplantation. However, it provided only a marginal increase in graft survival (59?±?22 vs. 102?±?47 days; p?=?0.11). Histological analysis revealed a substantial reduction in findings typically associated with humoral rejection with atacicept treatment. More T cell rejection findings were observed with increased graft T cell infiltration in atacicept treatment, likely secondary to the graft prolongation. We show that BAFF/APRIL blockade using concomitant TACI-Ig treatment reduced the humoral portion of rejection in our depletion-induced preclinical AMR model.
Project description:The B cell survival factor (TNFSF13B/BAFF) is often elevated in autoimmune diseases and is targeted in the clinic for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus. BAFF contains a loop region designated the flap, which is dispensable for receptor binding. Here we show that the flap of BAFF has two functions. In addition to facilitating the formation of a highly active BAFF 60-mer as shown previously, it also converts binding of BAFF to TNFRSF13C (BAFFR) into a signaling event via oligomerization of individual BAFF-BAFFR complexes. Binding and activation of BAFFR can therefore be targeted independently to inhibit or activate the function of BAFF. Moreover, structural analyses suggest that the flap of BAFF 60-mer temporarily prevents binding of an anti-BAFF antibody (belimumab) but not of a decoy receptor (atacicept). The observed differences in profiles of BAFF inhibition may confer distinct biological and clinical efficacies to these therapeutically relevant inhibitors.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily consists of 19 ligands and 29 receptors and is related to multiple cellular events from proliferation and differentiation to apoptosis and tumor reduction. In this review, we overview the whole system, and we focus on A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL, TNFSF13) and B cell-activating factor (BAFF, TNFSF13B) and their receptors transmembrane activator and Ca2+ modulator (CAML) interactor (TACI, TNFRSF13B), B cell maturation antigen (BCMA, TNFRSF17), and BAFF receptor (BAFFR, TNFRSF13C). We explore their role in cancer and novel biological therapies introduced for multiple myeloma and further focus on breast cancer, in which the modulation of this system seems to be of potential interest, as a novel therapeutic target. Finally, we discuss some precautions which should be taken into consideration, while targeting the APRIL-BAFF system.
Project description:Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a debilitating autoimmune disease. Patients with SS may develop xerostomia. This process is progressive, and there are no therapeutics that target disease etiology. We hypothesized BAFF receptor (BAFFR) blockade would mitigate SS disease development, and neutralization of CXCL13 and BAFF signaling would be more efficacious than BAFFR blockade alone. We treated NOD/ShiLtJ SS mice with soluble BAFF receptor (BAFFR-Fc) or anti-CXCL13/BAFFR-Fc in combination, prior to the development of clinical disease. Our results show treatment with BAFFR-Fc reduced peripheral B cell numbers and decreased sialadenitis. In addition, this treatment reduced total serum immunoglobulin as well as IgG and IgM specific anti-nuclear autoantibodies. NOD/ShiLtJ mice treated with BAFFR-Fc and anti-CXCL13 antibody were protected from salivary deficits. Results from this study suggest blockade of CXCL13 and BAFFR together may be an effective therapeutic strategy in preventing salivary hypofunction and reducing autoantibody titers and sialadenitis in patients with SS.