Immunology and cell biology

Early CCR6 expression on B cells modulates germinal centre kinetics and efficient antibody responses.

PMID 27465674


The CC-chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6) can be detected on naive and activated B cells. Counterintuitively, its absence accelerates the appearance of germinal centres (GCs) and increases the production of low-affinity antibodies. The detailed mechanism of CCR6 function during the humoral response has remained elusive, but previously we identified a distinct CCR6(high) B-cell population in vivo early after antigenic challenge. In this study, we defined this population specifically as early, activated pre-GC B cells. In accordance, we show that CCR6 is upregulated rapidly within hours on the protein or mRNA level after activation in vitro. In addition, only activated B cells migrated specifically towards CCL20, the specific ligand for CCR6. Lack of CCR6 increased the dark zone/light zone ratio of GC and led to decreased antigen-specific IgG1 and IgG2a antibody generation in a B-cell intrinsic manner in mixed bone marrow chimeras. In contrast, antigen-specific IgM responses were normal. Hence, CCR6 negatively regulates entry of activated, antigen-specific pre-GC B cells into the GC reaction.

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