Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Immunol. 2004 Oct 1;173(7):4479-91.

CpG DNA induces IgG class switch DNA recombination by activating human B cells through an innate pathway that requires TLR9 and cooperates with IL-10.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


TLRs are pattern recognition receptors that initiate innate immune responses. TLR9 detects microbial DNA with hypomethylated CpG motifs and in humans is preferentially expressed by IFN-alpha-producing plasmacytoid dendritic cells and B cells. In addition to favoring IFN-alpha release, TLR9 signals B cell activation, proliferation, and IgM production. Recent findings suggest that CpG DNA-TLR9 interaction plays a key role in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, two autoimmune disorders characterized by dysregulated production of DNA-reactive IgG. We show that CpG DNA initiates germline C(gamma)1, C(gamma)2, and C(gamma)3 gene transcription by activating B cells through a TLR9-mediated NF-kappaB-Rel-dependent innate pathway that cooperates with IL-10 through STAT proteins and IFN-responsive factors. This pathway is inhibited by chloroquine, a drug that attenuates the clinical manifestations of IgG-mediated autoimmune disorders. Germline C(gamma) gene transcription is associated with up-regulation of activation-induced cytidine deaminase, a key element of the B cell class switch-inducing machinery, and is followed by class switch DNA recombination from C(micro) to C(gamma)1, C(gamma)2, and C(gamma)3. Subsequent IgG production requires additional signals from BCR and a B cell-activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF), produced by dendritic cells upon exposure to IFN-alpha. Our findings suggest that CpG DNA-TLR9 interaction may be important to initiate or amplify early T cell-independent IgG responses against pathogens. This implies that CpG DNA released during infections may exacerbate autoimmunity by stimulating autoreactive B cells to switch from an IgM to a more pathogenic IgG isotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms


Grant support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center