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Nature. 1993 Aug 12;364(6438):645-8.

B-cell apoptosis induced by antigen receptor crosslinking is blocked by a T-cell signal through CD40.

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Department of Medical Chemistry, Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine, Japan.


In mice transgenic for an autoantibody, self-reactive B cells have been shown to be eliminated upon interaction with membrane-bound self-antigens in the periphery as well as in the bone marrow, suggesting that both immature and mature B cells are eliminated by multimerization of surface immunoglobulins (sIg). Activation of mature B cells by antigens may thus require a second signal that inhibits sIg-mediated apoptosis. Such a second signal is likely to be provided by T helper cells, because B-cell tolerance is more easily induced in the absence of T helper cells. To assess the molecular nature of the signal that inhibits sIg-mediated apoptosis, we used anti-IgM-induced apoptotic death of WEHI-231 B lymphoma cells as a model system. Here we report that the signal for abrogating sIg-mediated apoptosis is generated by association of the CD40L molecule on T cells with the CD40 molecule on WEHI-231 cells. T-cell help through CD40 may thus determine whether B cells are eliminated or activated upon interaction with antigens.

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