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Protein Kinase Cδ Promotes Transitional B Cell-Negative Selection and Limits Proximal B Cell Receptor Signaling To Enforce Tolerance

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Protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) deficiency causes autoimmune pathology in humans and mice and is crucial for the maintenance of B cell homeostasis. However, the mechanisms underlying autoimmune disease in PKCδ deficiency remain poorly defined. Here, we address the antigen-dependent and -independent roles of PKCδ in B cell development, repertoire selection, and antigen responsiveness. We demonstrate that PKCδ is rapidly phosphorylated downstream of both the B cell receptor (BCR) and the B cell-activating factor (BAFF) receptor. We found that PKCδ is essential for antigen-dependent negative selection of splenic transitional B cells and is required for activation of the proapoptotic Ca(2+)-Erk pathway that is selectively activated during B cell-negative selection. Unexpectedly, we also identified a previously unrecognized role for PKCδ as a proximal negative regulator of BCR signaling that substantially impacts survival and proliferation of mature follicular B cells. As a consequence of these distinct roles, PKCδ deficiency leads to the survival and development of a B cell repertoire that is not only aberrantly autoreactive but also hyperresponsive to antigen stimulation.

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