Staphylococcal enterotoxin D functions as a human B cell superantigen by rescuing VH4-expressing B cells from apoptosis

Rana Domiati-Saad, Jeanne F. Attrep, Hans Peter Brezinschek, Anne H. Cherrie, David R. Karp, Peter E. Lipsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Staphylococcal enterotoxins are potent superantigens, in that they activate T cells bearing specific Vβ-chain gene segments. In this study, we analyzed the capacity of staphylococcal enterotoxin D (SED) to function as a B cell superantigen. SED induced T cell-dependent polyclonal proliferation and differentiation of B cells. In the absence of T cells, SED induced survival of B cells uniquely expressing VH4 containing IgM. The mechanism of survival of VH4-expressing B cells appeared to relate to the countering of apoptosis initiated by the engagement of HLA-DR by SED. Analysis of the VH4 gene products expressed by SED-stimulated B cells revealed the usage of six of the known functional VH4 genes with a variety of different CDR3 regions, employing different DH and JH gene segments. Moreover, the sequence analysis identified a possible site for SED binding of VH4 that includes the solvent-exposed surfaces of 3′ CDR2/FR3 and/or FR1. Thus, SED appears to function as a unique B cell superantigen by inducing survival of VH4-expressing B cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3608-3620
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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