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Toll-like receptor 4-activated B cells out-compete Toll-like receptor 9-activated B cells to establish peripheral immunological tolerance

  • Author(s): Matheu, Melanie P.
  • Su, Yan
  • Greenberg, Milton L.
  • Blanc, Caroline A.
  • Parker, Ian
  • Scott, David W.
  • Cahalan, Michael D.
  • et al.
Abstract

B-cell–induced peripheral T-cell tolerance is characterized by suppression of T-cell proliferation and T-cell–dependent antibody production. However, the cellular interactions that underlie tolerance induction have not been identified. Using two-photon microscopy of lymph nodes we show that tolerogenic LPS-activated membrane-bound ovalbumin (mOVA) B cells (LPS B cells) establish long-lived, highly motile conjugate pairs with responding antigen-specific OTII T cells but not with antigen-irrelevant T cells. Treatment with anti–CTLA-4 disrupts persistent B-cell–T-cell (B–T) contacts and suppresses antigen-specific tolerance. Nontolerogenic CpG-activated mOVA B cells (CpG B cells) also form prolonged, motile conjugates with responding OTII T cells when transferred separately. However, when both tolerogenic and nontolerogenic B-cell populations are present, LPS B cells suppress long-lived CpG B–OTII T-cell interactions and exhibit tolerogenic dominance. Contact of LPS B cells with previously established B–T pairs resulted in partner-swapping events in which LPS B cells preferentially migrate toward and disrupt nontolerogenic CpG mOVA B-cell–OTII T-cell pairs. Our results demonstrate that establishment of peripheral T-cell tolerance involves physical engagement of B cells with the responding T-cell population, acting in a directed and competitive manner to alter the functional outcome of B–T interactions.

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