Targeting Ags to the CD180 receptor activates both B cells and dendritic cells (DCs) to become potent APCs. After inoculating mice with Ag conjugated to an anti-CD180 Ab, B cell receptors were rapidly internalized. Remarkably, all B cell subsets, including even transitional 1 B cells, were programed to process, present Ag, and stimulate Ag-specific CD4+ T cells. Within 24-48 hours, Ag-specific B cells were detectable at T-B borders in the spleen; there, they proliferated in a T cell-dependent manner and induced the maturation of T follicular helper (TFH) cells. Remarkably, immature B cells were sufficient for the maturation of TFH cells after CD180 targeting: TFH cells were induced in BAFFR-/- mice (with only transitional 1 B cells) and not in μMT mice (lacking all B cells) following CD180 targeting. Unlike CD180 targeting, CD40 targeting only induced DCs but not B cells to become APCs and thus failed to efficiently induce TFH cell maturation, resulting in slower and lower-affinity IgG Ab responses. CD180 targeting induces a unique program in Ag-specific B cells and to our knowledge, is a novel strategy to induce Ag presentation in both DCs and B cells, especially immature B cells and thus has the potential to produce a broad range of Ab specificities. This study highlights the ability of immature B cells to present Ag to and induce the maturation of cognate TFH cells, providing insights toward vaccination of mature B cell-deficient individuals and implications in treating autoimmune disorders.
Copyright © 2019 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.