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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Sep;38(9):2475-87. doi: 10.1002/eji.200738094.

Enhanced B-cell activation mediated by TLR4 and BCR crosstalk.

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  • 1Molecular Immunology, Institute of Biology III, University of Freiburg and Max Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg, Germany.


Despite the important role of B lymphocytes as a bridge between the innate and the adaptive immune system, little is known regarding lipopolysaccharide (LPS) recognition, activation of signalling networks or conceivable cooperation between LPS and the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR). Here, we show that primary B cells can efficiently discriminate between different LPS chemotypes, responding with at least 100-fold higher sensitivity to rough-form LPS compared with smooth-form LPS. Using genetically modified mice, we demonstrate that B lymphocytes recognize all LPS chemotypes via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). In addition, we dissect the signalling pathways that lead to CD69 upregulation upon TLR4 and BCR activation in primary B cells. Our data suggest that TLR4 and BCR induce CD69 transcription via two distinct sets of signalling molecules, exerting quantitative and qualitative differences in B-cell activation. Finally, we show that simultaneous stimulation of TLR4 and BCR additively elevates B-cell activation. In contrast, co-engagement of TLR4 and BCR by antigen-coupled LPS synergistically enhances activation of B cells, pointing out attractive targets for signalling crosstalk in B lymphocytes.

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