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J Exp Med. 2007 Dec 24;204(13):3095-101. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

B cell intrinsic TLR signals amplify but are not required for humoral immunity.

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Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.


Although innate signals driven by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a crucial role in T-dependent immune responses and serological memory, the precise cellular and time-dependent requirements for such signals remain poorly defined. To directly address the role for B cell-intrinsic TLR signals in these events, we compared the TLR response profile of germinal center (GC) versus naive mature B cell subsets. TLR responsiveness was markedly up-regulated during the GC reaction, and this change correlated with altered expression of the key adaptors MyD88, Mal, and IRAK-M. To assess the role for B cell-intrinsic signals in vivo, we transferred MyD88 wild-type or knockout B cells into B cell-deficient microMT mice and immunized recipient animals with 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenylacetyl (NP) chicken gamma globulin. All recipients exhibited similar increases in NP-specific antibody titers during primary, secondary, and long-term memory responses. The addition of lipopolysaccharide to the immunogen enhanced B cell-intrinsic, MyD88-dependent NP-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)M production, whereas NP-specific IgG increased independently of TLR signaling in B cells. Our data demonstrate that B cell-intrinsic TLR responses are up-regulated during the GC reaction, and that this change significantly promotes antigen-specific IgM production in association with TLR ligands. However, B cell-intrinsic TLR signals are not required for antibody production or maintenance.

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