Understanding the initiation of B cell signaling through live cell imaging.
ABSTRACT: Antibody responses are initiated by the binding of antigens to clonally distributed cell surface B cell receptors (BCRs) that trigger signaling cascades resulting in B cell activation. Using conventional biochemical approaches, the components of the downstream BCR signaling pathways have been described in considerable detail. However, far less is known about the early molecular events by which the binding of antigens to the BCRs initiates BCR signaling. With the recent advent of high resolution, high speed, live cell, and single molecule imaging technologies, these events are just beginning to be elucidated. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the initiation of BCR signaling may provide new targets for therapeutics to block dysregulated BCR signaling in systemic autoimmune diseases and in B cell tumors and to aid in the design of protein subunit vaccines. In this chapter, we describe the general procedures for using these new imaging techniques to investigate the early events in the initiation of BCR signaling.
Project description:B cells are activated in vivo after the B cell receptors (BCRs) bind to antigens captured on the surfaces of antigen-presenting cells. Antigen binding results in BCR microclustering and signaling; however, the molecular nature of the signaling-active BCR clusters is not well understood. Using single-molecule imaging techniques, we provide evidence that within microclusters, the binding of monovalent membrane antigens results in the assembly of immobile signaling-active BCR oligomers. The oligomerization depends on interactions between the membrane-proximal Cmicro4 domains of the membrane immunoglobulin that are both necessary and sufficient for assembly. Antigen-bound BCRs that lacked the Cmicro4 domain failed to cluster and signal, and conversely, Cmicro4 domains alone clustered spontaneously and activated B cells. These results support a unique mechanism for the initiation of BCR signaling in which antigen binding induces a conformational change in the Fc portion of the BCR, revealing an interface that promotes BCR clustering.
Project description:B cells are selected by the binding of antigen to clonally distributed B cell receptors (BCRs), triggering signalling cascades that result in B cell activation. With the recent application of high-resolution live-cell imaging, we are gaining an understanding of the events that initiate BCR signalling within seconds of its engagement with antigen. These observations are providing a molecular explanation for fundamental aspects of B cell responses, including antigen affinity discrimination and the value of class switching, as well as insights into the underlying causes of B cell tumorigenesis. Advances in our understanding of the earliest molecular events that follow antigen binding to the BCR may provide a general framework for the initiation of signalling in the adaptive immune system.
Project description:Memory B cells express high-affinity, immunoglobulin GB cell receptors (IgG BCRs) that enhance B cell responses, giving rise to the rapid production of high-affinity, IgG antibodies. Despite the central role of IgG BCRs in memory responses, the mechanisms by which the IgG BCRs function to enhance B cell responses are not fully understood. Using high-resolution live-cell imaging, we showed that IgG1 BCRs dramatically enhanced the earliest BCR-intrinsic events that followed within seconds of B cells' encounter with membrane bound antigen, including BCR oligomerization and BCR microcluster growth, leading to Syk kinase recruitment and calcium responses. The enhancement of these early events was dependent on a membrane proximal region of the IgG1 cytoplasmic tail not previously appreciated to play a role in IgG1 BCR signaling. Thus, intrinsic properties of the IgG1 BCR enhance early antigen-driven events that ultimately translate into heightened signaling.
Project description:The FcgammaRIIB is a potent inhibitory coreceptor that blocks BCR signaling in response to immune complexes and, as such, plays a decisive role in regulating Ab responses. The recent application of high-resolution live cell imaging to B cell studies is providing new molecular details of the earliest events in the initiation BCR signaling that follow within seconds of Ag binding. In this study, we report that when colligated to the BCR through immune complexes, the FcgammaRIIB colocalizes with the BCR in microscopic clusters and blocks the earliest events that initiate BCR signaling, including the oligomerization of the BCR within these clusters, the active recruitment of BCRs to these clusters, and the resulting spreading and contraction response. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer analyses indicate that blocking these early events may not require molecular proximity of the cytoplasmic domains of the BCR and FcgammaRIIB, but relies on the rapid and sustained association of FcgammaRIIB with raft lipids in the membrane. These results may provide novel early targets for therapies aimed at regulating the FcgammaRIIB to control Ab responses in autoimmune disease.
Project description:The activated B-cell-like (ABC) subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) relies on chronic active B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling. BCR pathway inhibitors induce remissions in a subset of ABC DLBCL patients. BCR microclusters on the surface of ABC cells resemble those generated following antigen engagement of normal B cells. We speculated that binding of lymphoma BCRs to self-antigens initiates and maintains chronic active BCR signaling in ABC DLBCL. To assess whether antigenic engagement of the BCR is required for the ongoing survival of ABC cells, we developed isogenic ABC cells that differed solely with respect to the IgH V region of their BCRs. In competitive assays with wild-type cells, substitution of a heterologous V region impaired the survival of three ABC lines. The viability of one VH4-34(+) ABC line and the ability of its BCR to bind to its own cell surface depended on V region residues that mediate the intrinsic autoreactivity of VH4-34 to self-glycoproteins. The BCR of another ABC line reacted with self-antigens in apoptotic debris, and the survival of a third ABC line was sustained by reactivity of its BCR to an idiotypic epitope in its own V region. Hence, a diverse set of self-antigens is responsible for maintaining the malignant survival of ABC DLBCL cells. IgH V regions used by the BCRs of ABC DLBCL biopsy samples varied in their ability to sustain survival of these ABC lines, suggesting a screening procedure to identify patients who might benefit from BCR pathway inhibition.
Project description:Antigen binding to the B-cell receptor (BCR) induces several responses, resulting in B-cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation. However, it has been difficult to study these responses due to their dynamic, fast, and transient nature. Here, we attempted to solve this problem by developing a controllable trigger point for BCR and antigen recognition through the construction of a photoactivatable antigen, caged 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl acetyl (caged-NP). This photoactivatable antigen system in combination with live cell and single molecule imaging techniques enabled us to illuminate the previously unidentified B-cell probing termination behaviors and the precise BCR sorting mechanisms during B-cell activation. B cells in contact with caged-NP exhibited probing behaviors as defined by the unceasing extension of membrane pseudopods in random directions. Further analyses showed that such probing behaviors are cell intrinsic with strict dependence on F-actin remodeling but not on tonic BCR signaling. B-cell probing behaviors were terminated within 4 s after photoactivation, suggesting that this response was sensitive and specific to BCR engagement. The termination of B-cell probing was concomitant with the accumulation response of the BCRs into the BCR microclusters. We also determined the Brownian diffusion coefficient of BCRs from the same B cells before and after BCR engagement. The analysis of temporally segregated single molecule images of both BCR and major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) demonstrated that antigen binding induced trapping of BCRs into the BCR microclusters is a fundamental mechanism for B cells to acquire antigens.
Project description:B lymphocyte cell senses and acquires foreign antigens through clonal distributed B cell receptors (BCRs) expressed on the surface of plasma membrane. The presentation formats of antigens are quite diverse. Based on their Brownian diffusion mobility, there are three forms: free mobile soluble antigens, lateral mobile membrane bound antigens, and fixed immobile antigens. Here, using high resolution high speed live cell imaging approaches, we provide evidence that BCR microclusters are formed on the surface of B cells shortly after B cell's encountering of antigens with each format of motion features. Through high speed live cell imaging, we determine that these BCR microclusters show dynamic growth feature and by doing so function as the basic platforms for B cells to acquire the antigens. We propose that the formation and dynamic growth of BCR microcluster is a universal mechanism for B cell to response to antigens with diverse motion features.
Project description:When B cells encounter antigens on the surface of an antigen-presenting cell (APC), B cell receptors (BCRs) are gathered into microclusters that recruit signaling enzymes. These microclusters then move centripetally and coalesce into the central supramolecular activation cluster of an immune synapse. The mechanisms controlling BCR organization during immune synapse formation, and how this impacts BCR signaling, are not fully understood. We show that this coalescence of BCR microclusters depends on the actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex, which nucleates branched actin networks. Moreover, in murine B cells, this dynamic spatial reorganization of BCR microclusters amplifies proximal BCR signaling reactions and enhances the ability of membrane-associated antigens to induce transcriptional responses and proliferation. Our finding that Arp2/3 complex activity is important for B cell responses to spatially restricted membrane-bound antigens, but not for soluble antigens, highlights a critical role for Arp2/3 complex-dependent actin remodeling in B cell responses to APC-bound antigens.
Project description:B lymphocytes use B cell receptors (BCRs) to recognize antigens. It is still not clear how BCR transduces antigen-specific physical signals upon binding across cell membrane for the conversion to chemical signals, triggering downstream signaling cascades. It is hypothesized that through a series of conformational changes within BCR, antigen engagement in the extracellular domain of BCR is transduced to its intracellular domain. By combining site-specific labeling methodology and FRET-based assay, we monitored conformational changes in the extracellular domains within BCR upon antigen engagement. Conformational changes within heavy chain of membrane-bound immunoglobulin (mIg), as well as conformational changes in the spatial relationship between mIg and Ig? were observed. These conformational changes were correlated with the strength of BCR activation and were distinct in IgM- and IgG-BCR. These findings provide molecular mechanisms to explain the fundamental aspects of BCR activation and a framework to investigate ligand-induced molecular events in immune receptors.
Project description:Mice lacking secreted IgM (sIgM -/-) antibodies display abnormal splenic B cell development, which results in increased marginal zone and decreased follicular B cell numbers. However, the mechanism by which sIgM exhibit this effect is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that B cells in sIgM -/- mice display increased B cell receptor (BCR) signaling as judged by increased levels of phosphorylated Bruton's tyrosine kinase (pBtk), phosphorylated Spleen tyrosine kinase (pSyk), and nuclear receptor Nur77. Low dosage treatment with the pBtk inhibitor Ibrutinib reversed the altered B cell development in the spleen of sIgM -/- mice, suggesting that sIgM regulate splenic B cell differentiation by decreasing BCR signaling. Mechanistically, we show that B cells, which express BCRs specific to hen egg lysozyme (HEL) display diminished responsiveness to HEL stimulation in presence of soluble anti-HEL IgM antibodies. Our data identify sIgM as negative regulators of BCR signaling and suggest that they can act as decoy receptors for self-antigens that are recognized by membrane bound BCRs.