Immune homeostasis in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) is critical to prevent the development of inadvertent pathologies. B cells, as the producers of antibodies and cytokines, play an important role in maintaining the GALT homeostasis. However, the mechanism by which B cells specifically direct their responses toward non-self-antigens and become ignorant to self-antigens in the GALT is not known. Therefore, we developed what we believe to be a novel mouse model by expressing duck egg lysozyme (DEL) in gut epithelial cells in presence of HEL-reactive B cells. Notably, we observed a transient activation and rapid deletion of self-reactive B cells in Peyer’s patches and mesenteric lymph nodes upon self-antigen exposure. The survival of self-reactive B cells upon exposure to their self-antigen was partially rescued by blocking receptor editing but could be completely rescued by stronger survival signal, such as ectopic expression of BCL2. Importantly, rescuing the self-reactive B cells promoted production of autoantibodies and gut inflammation. Mechanistically, we identify a specific activation of TGF-β signaling in self-reactive B cells in the gut and a critical role of this pathway in maintaining peripheral tolerance. Collectively, our studies describe functional consequences and the fate of self-reactive B cells in GALT and provide potentially novel mechanistic insights governing self-tolerance of B cells in the gut.
Ashima Shukla, Cindi Chen, Julia Jellusova, Charlotte R. Leung, Elaine Kao, Numana Bhat, Wai W. Lin, John R. Apgar, Robert C. Rickert
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.