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The Journal of experimental medicine

Human lymphoma mutations reveal CARD11 as the switch between self-antigen-induced B cell death or proliferation and autoantibody production.


PMID 23027925

Abstract

Self-tolerance and immunity are actively acquired in parallel through a poorly understood ability of antigen receptors to switch between signaling death or proliferation of antigen-binding lymphocytes in different contexts. It is not known whether this tolerance-immunity switch requires global rewiring of the signaling apparatus or if it can arise from a single molecular change. By introducing individual CARD11 mutations found in human lymphomas into antigen-activated mature B lymphocytes in mice, we find here that lymphoma-derived CARD11 mutations switch the effect of self-antigen from inducing B cell death into T cell-independent proliferation, Blimp1-mediated plasmablast differentiation, and autoantibody secretion. Our findings demonstrate that regulation of CARD11 signaling is a critical switch governing the decision between death and proliferation in antigen-stimulated mature B cells and that mutations in this switch represent a powerful initiator for aberrant B cell responses in vivo.