The humoral immune response demands that B cells undergo a sudden anabolic shift and high cellular nutrient levels which are required to sustain the subsequent proliferative burst. Follicular lymphoma (FL) originates from B cells that have participated in the humoral response, and 15% of FL samples harbor point, activating mutations in RRAGC, an essential activator of mTORC1 downstream of the sensing of cellular nutrients. The impact of recurrent RRAGC mutations in B cell function and lymphoma is unexplored. RRAGC mutations, targeted to the endogenous locus in mice, confer a partial insensitivity to nutrient deprivation, but strongly exacerbate B cell responses and accelerate lymphomagenesis, while creating a selective vulnerability to pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1. This moderate increase in nutrient signaling synergizes with paracrine cues from the supportive T cell microenvironment that activates B cells via the PI3K-Akt-mTORC1 axis. Hence, Rragc mutations sustain induced germinal centers and murine and human FL in the presence of decreased T cell help. Our results support a model in which activating mutations in the nutrient signaling pathway foster lymphomagenesis by corrupting a nutrient-dependent control over paracrine signals from the T cell microenvironment.
Keywords: B cell lymphoma; B lymphocytes; RRAGC; T follicular helper; apoptosis; cell growth; germinal center; mTOR; nutrient signaling; rapamycin.