Lupus susceptibility genes may breach tolerance to DNA by impairing receptor editing of nuclear antigen-reactive B cells

Yang Liu, Liunan Li, Kirthi Raman Kumar, Chun Xie, Skip Lightfoot, Xin J. Zhou, John F. Kearney, Martin Weigert, Chandra Mohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


An NZM2410-derived lupus susceptibility locus on murine chromosome 4, Sle2z, has previously been noted to engender generalized B cell hyperactivity. To study how Sle2z impacts B cell tolerance, two Ig H chain site-directed transgenes, 3H9 and 56R, with specificity for DNA were backcrossed onto the C57BL/6 background with or without Sle2z. Interestingly, the presence of the NZM2410 "z" allele of Sle2 on the C57BL/6 background profoundly breached B cell tolerance to DNA, apparently by thwarting receptor editing. Whereas mAbs isolated from the spleens of B6.56R control mice demonstrated significant usage of the endogenous (i.e., nontargeted) H chain locus and evidence of vigorous L chain editing; Abs isolated from B6.Sle2z.56R spleens were largely composed of the transgenic H chain paired with a spectrum of L chains, predominantly recombined to Jk1 or Jk2. In addition, Sle2z-bearing B cells adopted divergent phenotypes depending on their Ag specificity. Whereas Sle2z-bearing anti-DNA transgenic B cells were skewed toward marginal zone B cells and preplasmablasts, B cells from the same mice that did not express the transgene were skewed toward the B1a phenotype. This work illustrates that genetic loci that confer lupus susceptibility may influence B cell differentiation depending on their Ag specificity and potentially contribute to antinuclear autoantibody formation by infringing upon B cell receptor editing. Taken together with a recent report on Sle1z, these studies suggest that dysregulated receptor-editing of nuclear Ag-reactive B cells may be a major mechanism through which antinuclear Abs arise in lupus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1352
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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