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The affinity threshold for human B cell activation via the antigen receptor complex is reduced upon co-ligation of the antigen receptor with CD21 (CR2)

The affinity threshold for human B cell activation via the antigen receptor complex is reduced upon co-ligation of the antigen receptor with CD21 (CR2)

Journal of Immunology 159(8): 3782-3791

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1767

PMID: 9378965

The present studies have examined whether the potential of an Ag to co-ligate the complement (C3d)-binding CD21 receptor complex with the membrane IgM (mIgM) receptor complex can reduce the mIgM:Ag affinity threshold for triggering human B cell S phase entry. A series of Ab:dextran conjugates consisting of affinity-diverse anti-IgM mAb, with and without anti-CD21 mAb, were synthesized as polyclonally reactive, moderately multivalent ligands that mimic C3d-bearing and non-C3d-bearing Ag. Co-ligation of mIgM and CD21 significantly diminished both the ligand concentration threshold and the IgM:ligand affinity threshold for eliciting S phase entry in the presence of IL-4. Furthermore, such co-engagement ablated the triggering bonus associated with high mlgM:ligand affinity, suggesting that B cells with a high affinity for Ag are not preferentially activated over B cells of intermediate affinity upon encountering a multivalent Ag with bound C3d. The enhancing effects of mIgM:CD21 co-ligation were restricted to low concentrations of ligand; at high concentrations, a decrease in B cell DNA synthesis was often observed. The findings suggest that the ability a moderately multivalent Ag substrate to engage B cells through both mIgM and CD21 is critical for B cell activation at limiting Ag concentrations, and furthermore, that mIgM:CD21 co-engagement may be particularly important in eliciting an immune response to such Ags in unprimed individuals in whom the majority of specific B cells are of low affinity.

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Accession: 018159845

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