PloS one

Human CD180 Transmits Signals via the PIM-1L Kinase.

PMID 26555723


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important sensors of the innate immune system that recognize conserved structural motifs and activate cells via a downstream signaling cascade. The CD180/MD1 molecular complex is an unusual member of the TLR family, since it lacks the components that are normally required for signal transduction by other TLRs. Therefore the CD180/MD 1 complex has been considered of being incapable of independently initiating cellular signals. Using chemogenetic approaches we identified specifically the membrane bound long form of PIM-1 kinase, PIM-1L as the mediator of CD180-dependent signaling. A dominant negative isoform of PIM-1L, but not of other PIM kinases, inhibited signaling elicited by cross-linking of CD180, and this effect was phenocopied by PIM inhibitors. PIM-1L was directed to the cell membrane by its N-terminal extension, where it colocalized and physically associated with CD180. Triggering CD180 also induced increased phosphorylation of the anti-apoptotic protein BAD in a PIM kinase-dependent fashion. Also in primary human B cells, which are the main cells expressing CD180 in man, cross-linking of CD180 by monoclonal antibodies stimulated cell survival and proliferation that was abrogated by specific inhibitors. By associating with PIM-1L, CD180 can thus obtain autonomous signaling capabilities, and this complex is then channeling inflammatory signals into B cell survival programs. Pharmacological inhibition of PIM-1 should therefore provide novel therapeutic options in diseases that respond to innate immune stimulation with subsequently increased B cell activity, such as lupus erythematosus or myasthenia gravis.