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A Fail-safe Mechanism for Negative Selection of Isotype-switched B Cell Precursors Is Regulated by the Fas/FasL Pathway

Journal of Experimental Medicine
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1084/jem.20030357
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In B lymphocytes, immunoglobulin (Ig)M receptors drive development and construction of naive repertoire, whereas IgG receptors promote formation of the memory B cell compartment. This isotype switching process requires appropriate B cell activation and T cell help. In the absence of T cell help, activated B cells undergo Fas-mediated apoptosis, a peripheral mechanism contributing to the establishment of self-tolerance. Using Igμ-deficient μMT mouse model, where B cell development is blocked at pro-B stage, here we show an alternative developmental pathway used by isotype-switched B cell precursors. We find that isotype switching occurs normally in B cell precursors and is T independent. Ongoing isotype switching was found in both normal and μMT B cell development as reflected by detection of IgG1 germline and postswitch transcripts as well as activation-induced cytidine deaminase expression, resulting in the generation of IgG-expressing cells. These isotype-switched B cells are negatively selected by Fas pathway, as blocking the Fas/FasL interaction rescues the development of isotype-switched B cells in vivo and in vitro. Similar to memory B cells, isotype-switched B cells have a marginal zone phenotype. We suggest a novel developmental pathway used by isotype-switched B cell precursors that effectively circumvents peripheral tolerance requirements. This developmental pathway, however, is strictly controlled by Fas/FasL interaction to prevent B cell autoimmunity.

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