Genetic Interaction between Lyn, Ets1, and Btk in the Control of Antibody Levels.
ABSTRACT: Tight control of B cell differentiation into plasma cells (PCs) is critical for proper immune responses and the prevention of autoimmunity. The Ets1 transcription factor acts in B cells to prevent PC differentiation. Ets1(-/-) mice accumulate PCs and produce autoantibodies. Ets1 expression is downregulated upon B cell activation through the BCR and TLRs and is maintained by the inhibitory signaling pathway mediated by Lyn, CD22 and SiglecG, and SHP-1. In the absence of these inhibitory components, Ets1 levels are reduced in B cells in a Btk-dependent manner. This leads to increased PCs, autoantibodies, and an autoimmune phenotype similar to that of Ets1(-/-) mice. Defects in inhibitory signaling molecules, including Lyn and Ets1, are associated with human lupus, although the effects are more subtle than the complete deficiency that occurs in knockout mice. In this study, we explore the effect of partial disruption of the Lyn/Ets1 pathway on B cell tolerance and find that Lyn(+/-)Ets1(+/-) mice demonstrate greater and earlier production of IgM, but not IgG, autoantibodies compared with Lyn(+/-) or Ets1(+/-) mice. We also show that Btk-dependent downregulation of Ets1 is important for normal PC homeostasis when inhibitory signaling is intact. Ets1 deficiency restores the decrease in steady state PCs and Ab levels observed in Btk(-/-) mice. Thus, depending on the balance of activating and inhibitory signals to Ets1, there is a continuum of effects on autoantibody production and PC maintenance. This ranges from full-blown autoimmunity with complete loss of Ets1-maintaining signals to reduced PC and Ab levels with impaired Ets1 downregulation.
Project description:Signaling through the BCR can drive B cell activation and contribute to B cell differentiation into Ab-secreting plasma cells. The positive BCR signal is counterbalanced by a number of membrane-localized inhibitory receptors that limit B cell activation and plasma cell differentiation. Deficiencies in these negative signaling pathways may cause autoantibody generation and autoimmune disease in both animal models and human patients. We have previously shown that the transcription factor Ets1 can restrain B cell differentiation into plasma cells. In this study, we tested the roles of the BCR and inhibitory receptors in controlling the expression of Ets1 in mouse B cells. We found that Ets1 is downregulated in B cells by BCR or TLR signaling through a pathway dependent on PI3K, Btk, IKK2, and JNK. Deficiencies in inhibitory pathways, such as a loss of the tyrosine kinase Lyn, the phosphatase Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP1) or membrane receptors CD22 and/or Siglec-G, result in enhanced BCR signaling and decreased Ets1 expression. Restoring Ets1 expression in Lyn- or SHP1-deficient B cells inhibits their enhanced plasma cell differentiation. Our findings indicate that downregulation of Ets1 occurs in response to B cell activation via either BCR or TLR signaling, thereby allowing B cell differentiation and that the maintenance of Ets1 expression is an important function of the inhibitory Lyn ? CD22/SiglecG ? SHP1 pathway in B cells.
Project description:The autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus is characterized by loss of tolerance to nuclear Ags and a heightened inflammatory environment, which together result in end organ damage. Lyn-deficient mice, a model of systemic lupus erythematosus, lack an inhibitor of B-cell and myeloid cell activation. This results in B-cell hyper-responsiveness, plasma cell accumulation, autoantibodies, and glomerulonephritis (GN). IL-21 is associated with autoimmunity in mice and humans and promotes B-cell differentiation and class switching. Here, we explore the role of IL-21 in the autoimmune phenotypes of lyn(-/-) mice. We find that IL-21 mRNA is reduced in the spleens of lyn(-/-) IL-6(-/-) and lyn(-/-) Btk(lo) mice, neither of which produce pathogenic autoantibodies or develop significant GN. While IL-21 is dispensable for plasma cell accumulation and IgM autoantibodies in lyn(-/-) mice, it is required for anti-DNA IgG antibodies and some aspects of T-cell activation. Surprisingly, GN still develops in lyn(-/-) IL-21(-/-) mice. This likely results from the presence of IgG autoantibodies against a limited set of non-DNA Ags. These studies identify a specific role for IL-21 in the class switching of anti-DNA B cells and demonstrate that neither IL-21 nor anti-DNA IgG is required for kidney damage in lyn(-/-) mice.
Project description:Accumulation of plasma cells and autoantibodies against nuclear antigens characterize both human and murine lupus. Understanding how these processes are controlled may reveal novel therapeutic targets for this disease. Mice deficient in Lyn, a negative regulator of B and myeloid cell activity, develop lupus-like autoimmune disease. Here, we show that lyn(-) (/) (-) mice exhibit increased splenic plasmablasts and plasma cells and produce IgM against a wide range of self-antigens. Both events require Btk, a target of Lyn-dependent inhibitory pathways. A Btk-dependent increase in the expression of the plasma cell survival factor IL-6 by lyn(-) (/) (-) splenic myeloid cells was also observed. Surprisingly, IL-6 was not required for plasma cell accumulation or polyclonal IgM autoreactivity in lyn(-/-) mice. IL-6 was, however, necessary for the production of IgG autoantibodies, which we show are focused towards a limited set of nucleic acid-containing and glomerular autoantigens in lyn(-) (/) (-) mice. A similar uncoupling of plasma cell accumulation from IgG autoantibodies was seen in lyn(+/-) mice. Plasma cell accumulation and polyclonal IgM autoreactivity are therefore controlled separately from, and are insufficient for, the production of IgG against lupus-associated autoantigens. Regulators of either of these two checkpoints may be attractive therapeutic targets for lupus.
Project description:Deletion of lyn, a Src-family tyrosine kinase expressed by B, myeloid, and dendritic cells (DCs), triggers lupus-like disease in mice, characterized by autoantibody production and renal immune complex deposition leading to chronic glomerulonephritis. B cells from these mice are hyperactive to antigen-receptor stimulation owing to a loss of inhibitory signaling mediated by Lyn kinase. The hyperactive B-cell responses are thought to underlie the development of autoimmunity in this model. Lyn-deficient mice also manifest significant myeloexpansion. To test the contribution of different immune cell types to the lupus-like disease in this model, we generated a lyn(flox/flox) transgenic mouse strain. To our surprise, when we crossed these mice to Cd11c-cre animals, generating DC-specific deletion of Lyn, the animals developed spontaneous B- and T-cell activation and subsequent production of autoantibodies and severe nephritis. Remarkably, the DC-specific Lyn-deficient mice also developed severe tissue inflammatory disease, which was not present in the global lyn(-/-) strain. Lyn-deficient DCs were hyperactivated and hyperresponsive to Toll-like receptor agonists and IL-1?. To test whether dysregulation of these signaling pathways in DCs contributed to the inflammatory/autoimmune phenotype, we crossed the lyn(f/f) Cd11c-cre(+) mice to myd88(f/f) animals, generating double-mutant mice lacking both Lyn and the adaptor protein myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) in DCs, specifically. Deletion of MyD88 in DCs alone completely reversed the inflammatory autoimmunity in the DC-specific Lyn-mutant mice. Thus, we demonstrate that hyperactivation of MyD88-dependent signaling in DCs is sufficient to drive pathogenesis of lupus-like disease, illuminating the fact that dysregulation in innate immune cells alone can lead to autoimmunity.
Project description:The intracellular tyrosine kinase Lyn mediates inhibitory receptor function in B cells and myeloid cells, and Lyn(-/-) mice spontaneously develop an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that closely resembles human systemic lupus erythematosus. TLR-signaling pathways have been implicated in the production of anti-nuclear Abs in systemic lupus erythematosus and mouse models of it. We used a conditional allele of Myd88 to determine whether the autoimmunity of Lyn(-/-) mice is dependent on TLR/MyD88 signaling in B cells and/or in dendritic cells (DCs). The production of IgG anti-nuclear Abs, as well as the deposition of these Abs in the glomeruli of the kidneys, leading to glomerulonephritis in Lyn(-/-) mice, were completely abolished by selective deletion of Myd88 in B cells, and autoantibody production and glomerulonephritis were delayed or decreased by deletion of Myd88 in DCs. The reduced autoantibody production in mice lacking MyD88 in B cells or DCs was accompanied by a dramatic decrease in the spontaneous germinal center (GC) response, suggesting that autoantibodies in Lyn(-/-) mice may depend on GC responses. Consistent with this view, IgG anti-nuclear Abs were absent if T cells were deleted (TCR?(-/-) TCR?(-/-) mice) or if T cells were unable to contribute to GC responses as the result of mutation of the adaptor molecule SAP. Thus, the autoimmunity of Lyn(-/-) mice was dependent on T cells and on TLR/MyD88 signaling in B cells and in DCs, supporting a model in which DC hyperactivity combines with defects in tolerance in B cells to lead to a T cell-dependent systemic autoimmunity in Lyn(-/-) mice.
Project description:The Lyn tyrosine kinase regulates inhibitory signaling in B and myeloid cells: loss of Lyn results in a lupus-like autoimmune disease with hyperactive B cells and myeloproliferation. We have characterized the relative contribution of Lyn-regulated signaling pathways in B cells specifically to the development of autoimmunity by crossing the novel lyn(flox/flox) animals with mice carrying the Cre recombinase under the control of the Cd79a promoter, resulting in deletion of Lyn in B cells. The specific deletion of Lyn in B cells is sufficient for the development of immune complex-mediated glomerulonephritis. The B cell-specific Lyn-deficient mice have no defects in early bone marrow B cell development but have reduced numbers of mature B cells with poor germinal centers, as well as increased numbers of plasma and B1a cells, similar to the lyn(-/-) animals. Within 8 mo of life, B cell-specific Lyn mutant mice develop high titers of IgG anti-Smith Ag ribonucleoprotein and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies, which deposit in their kidneys, resulting in glomerulonephritis. B cell-specific Lyn mutant mice also develop myeloproliferation, similar to the lyn(-/-) animals. The additional deletion of MyD88 in B cells, achieved by crossing lyn(flox/flox)Cd79a-cre mice with myd88(flox/flox) animals, reversed the autoimmune phenotype observed in B cell-specific Lyn-deficient mice by blocking production of class-switched pathogenic IgG autoantibodies. Our results demonstrate that B cell-intrinsic Lyn-dependent signaling pathways regulate B cell homeostasis and activation, which in concert with B cell-specific MyD88 signaling pathways can drive the development of autoimmune disease.
Project description:Ets1 is emerging as a key transcription factor that is required to prevent autoimmunity in mice and humans. Ets1 is expressed in both B and T cells, and mice lacking Ets1 are characterized by excess B and T cell activation, leading to enhanced formation of Ab-secreting cells and high titers of autoantibodies. In humans, genome-wide association studies have detected associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the human ETS1 gene with autoimmune diseases, including lupus. An increased fraction of CD4+ T cells from Ets1-/- mice have an activated effector-memory phenotype, and there are aberrations in differentiation that contribute to the autoimmune phenotype. In vitro studies of B cells suggest that Ets1 may have B cell-intrinsic effects as well. To confirm B cell-intrinsic roles for Ets1, we crossed CD19-Cre mice to mice with a floxed allele of Ets1. Mice with a B cell-specific deletion of Ets1 show increases in B cell activation, numbers of Ab-secreting cells, and levels of autoantibodies, despite the fact that T cells are normal. However, when compared with conventional Ets1 knockout mice, mice with B cell-specific loss of Ets1 have a significantly milder phenotype. These results demonstrate that Ets1 is required in B cells to prevent autoimmune responses but that loss of Ets1 activity in other cell types is required for maximal autoimmune phenotypes.
Project description:Genetic deletion of the Src family tyrosine kinase Lyn in mice recapitulates human systemic lupus erythematosus, characterized by hyperactive BCR signaling, splenomegaly, autoantibody generation, and glomerulonephritis. However, the molecular regulators of autoimmunity in Lyn-deficient mice and in human lupus remain poorly characterized. In this study, we report that conditional deletion of the membrane-cytoskeleton linker protein ezrin in B cells of Lyn-deficient mice (double knockout [DKO] mice) ameliorates B cell activation and lupus pathogenesis. B cells from DKO mice respond poorly to BCR stimulation, with severe downregulation of major signaling pathways. DKO mice exhibit reduced splenomegaly as well as significantly lower levels of autoantibodies against a variety of autoantigens, including dsDNA, histone, and chromatin. Leukocyte infiltration and deposition of IgG and complement component C3 in the kidney glomeruli of DKO mice are markedly reduced. Our data demonstrate that ezrin is a novel molecular regulator of B cell-associated lupus pathology.
Project description:Long-lived plasma cells (PCs) in the bone marrow (BM) are a critical source of antibodies after infection or vaccination, but questions remain about the factors that control PCs. We found that systemic infection alters the BM, greatly reducing PCs and regulatory T (Treg) cells, a population that contributes to immune privilege in the BM. The use of intravital imaging revealed that BM Treg cells display a distinct behavior characterized by sustained co-localization with PCs and CD11c-YFP+ cells. Gene expression profiling indicated that BM Treg cells express high levels of Treg effector molecules, and CTLA-4 deletion in these cells resulted in elevated PCs. Furthermore, preservation of Treg cells during systemic infection prevents PC loss, while Treg cell depletion in uninfected mice reduced PC populations. These studies suggest a role for Treg cells in PC biology and provide a potential target for the modulation of PCs during vaccine-induced humoral responses or autoimmunity.
Project description:Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) mediates B cell signaling and is also present in innate immune cells but not T cells. BTK propagates B cell receptor (BCR) responses to antigen-engagement as well as to stimulation via CD40, toll-like receptors (TLRs), Fc receptors (FCRs) and chemokine receptors. Importantly, BTK can modulate signaling, acting as a "rheostat" rather than an "on-off" switch; thus, overexpression leads to autoimmunity while decreased levels improve autoimmune disease outcomes. Autoreactive B cells depend upon BTK for survival to a greater degree than normal B cells, reflected as loss of autoantibodies with maintenance of total antibody levels when BTK is absent. This review describes contributions of BTK to immune tolerance, including studies testing BTK-inhibitors for treatment of autoimmune diseases.