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J Immunol. 2004 Nov 15;173(10):6169-78.

Follicular dendritic cell regulation of CXCR4-mediated germinal center CD4 T cell migration.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA.


Follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) up-regulate the chemokine receptor CXCR4 on CD4 T cells, and a major subpopulation of germinal center (GC) T cells (CD4(+)CD57(+)), which are adjacent to FDCs in vivo, expresses high levels of CXCR4. We therefore reasoned that GC T cells would actively migrate to stromal cell-derived factor-1 (CXCL12), the CXCR4 ligand, and tested this using Transwell migration assays with GC T cells and other CD4 T cells (CD57(-)) that expressed much lower levels of CXCR4. Unexpectedly, GC T cells were virtually nonresponsive to CXCL12, whereas CD57(-)CD4 T cells migrated efficiently despite reduced CXCR4 expression. In contrast, GC T cells efficiently migrated to B cell chemoattractant-1/CXCL13 and FDC supernatant, which contained CXCL13 produced by FDCs. Importantly, GC T cell nonresponsiveness to CXCL12 correlated with high ex vivo expression of regulator of G protein signaling (RGS), RGS13 and RGS16, mRNA and expression of protein in vivo. Furthermore, FDCs up-regulated both RGS13 and RGS16 mRNA expression in non-GC T cells, resulting in their impaired migration to CXCL12. Finally, GC T cells down-regulated RGS13 and RGS16 expression in the absence of FDCs and regained migratory competence to CXCL12. Although GC T cells express high levels of CXCR4, signaling through this receptor appears to be specifically inhibited by FDC-mediated expression of RGS13 and RGS16. Thus, FDCs appear to directly affect GC T cell migration within lymphoid follicles.

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