Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Cutting Edge: DNase II deficiency prevents activation of autoreactive B cells by double-stranded DNA endogenous ligands.

PMID 25601924


In mice that fail to express the phagolysosomal endonuclease DNase II and the type I IFN receptor, excessive accrual of undegraded DNA results in a STING-dependent, TLR-independent inflammatory arthritis. These double-knockout (DKO) mice develop additional indications of systemic autoimmunity, including anti-nuclear autoantibodies and splenomegaly, that are not found in Unc93b1(3d/3d) DKO mice and, therefore, are TLR dependent. The DKO autoantibodies predominantly detect RNA-associated autoantigens, which are commonly targeted in TLR7-dominated systemic erythematosus lupus-prone mice. To determine whether an inability of TLR9 to detect endogenous DNA could explain the absence of dsDNA-reactive autoantibodies in DKO mice, we used a novel class of bifunctional autoantibodies, IgM/DNA dual variable domain Ig molecules, to activate B cells through a BCR/TLR9-dependent mechanism. DKO B cells could not respond to the IgM/DNA dual variable domain Ig molecule, despite a normal response to both anti-IgM and CpG ODN 1826. Thus, DKO B cells only respond to RNA-associated ligands because DNase II-mediated degradation of self-DNA is required for TLR9 activation.