Send to

Choose Destination
J Immunol. 2004 Aug 15;173(4):2245-52.

TNF family member B cell-activating factor (BAFF) receptor-dependent and -independent roles for BAFF in B cell physiology.

Author information

CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The cytokine TNF family member B cell-activating factor (BAFF; also termed BLyS) is essential for B cell generation and maintenance. Three receptors have been identified that bind to BAFF: transmembrane activator, calcium modulator, and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI); B cell maturation Ag (BCMA); and BAFF-R. Recently, it was shown that A/WySnJ mice, which contain a dramatically reduced peripheral B cell compartment due to decreased B cell life span, express a mutant BAFF-R. This finding, together with normal or enhanced B cell generation in mice deficient for BCMA or TACI, respectively, suggested that the interaction of BAFF with BAFF-R triggers signals essential for the generation and maintenance of mature B cells. However, B cells in mice deficient for BAFF differ phenotypically and functionally from A/WySnJ B cells. Residual signaling through the mutant BAFF-R could account for these differences. Alternatively, dominant-negative interference by the mutant receptor could lead to an overestimation of the importance of BAFF-R. To resolve this issue, we generated BAFF-R-null mice. Baff-r(-/-) mice display strongly reduced late transitional and follicular B cell numbers and are essentially devoid of marginal zone B cells. Overexpression of Bcl-2 rescues mature B cell development in Baff-r(-/-) mice, suggesting that BAFF-R mediates a survival signal. CD21 and CD23 surface expression are reduced on mature Baff-r(-/-) B cells, but not to the same extent as on mature B cells in BAFF-deficient mice. In addition, we found that Baff-r(-/-) mice mount significant, but reduced, Ag-specific Ab responses and are able to form spontaneous germinal centers in mesenteric lymph nodes. The reduction in Ab titers correlates with the reduced B cell numbers in the mutant mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center