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Immunity. 2006 Apr;24(4):417-27.

Rap1 signal controls B cell receptor repertoire and generation of self-reactive B1a cells.

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Department of Immunology and Cell Biology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


We previously reported that the mice deficient for SPA-1, a Rap1 GTPase-activating protein, developed hematopoietic stem cell disorders. Here, we demonstrate that SPA-1(-/-) mice show an age-dependent increase in B220(high) B1a cells producing anti-dsDNA antibody and lupus-like nephritis. SPA-1(-/-) peritoneal B1 cells revealed the altered Vkappa gene repertoire, including skewed Vkappa4 usage and the significant Igkappa/Iglambda isotype inclusion indicative of extensive receptor editing. Rap1GTP induced OcaB gene activation via p38MAPK-dependent Creb phosphorylation, and consistently, SPA-1(-/-) immature BM B cells showing high Rap1GTP exhibited the augmented expression of OcaB and Vkappa4 genes. SPA-1(-/-) BM cells could transfer the autoimmunity in association with the generation of peritoneal B220(high) B1a cells in Rag-2(-/-) recipients. Finally, a portion of SPA-1(-/-) mice developed B1 cell leukemia with hemolytic autoantibody. Present results suggest that the regulated Rap1 signal in the immature B cells plays a role in modifying the B cell receptor repertoire and in maintaining the self-tolerance.

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