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Nat Immunol. 2002 May;3(5):451-6. Epub 2002 Apr 22.

The CD40-TRAF6 axis controls affinity maturation and the generation of long-lived plasma cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth Medical School, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.


Affinity maturation of the immune response and the generation of long-lived bone marrow (BM) plasma cells are hallmarks of CD40-dependent, thymus-dependent (TD) humoral immunity. Through disruption of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 6 (TRAF6)-binding site within the CD40 cytoplasmic domain, we selectively ablated affinity maturation and the generation of plasma cells after immunization. Mutagenesis of both the TRAF6 and TRAF2-TRAF3 sites was essential for arresting germinal center formation in response to immunization. CD40-induced B cell proliferation and early immunoglobulin production occurred even when all TRAF sites were ablated. These studies show that specific CD40-TRAF associations control well defined aspects of humoral immunity. In addition, they define the roles that TRAF-dependent and TRAF-independent pathways play in regulating antigen-driven B cell differentiation.

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