The tetraspanin CD53 has been implicated in B cell development and function. CD53 is a transcriptional target of EBF1, a critical transcription factor for early B cell development. Further, human deficiency of CD53 results in recurrent infections and reduced serum Igs. Although prior studies have indicated a role for CD53 in regulating mature B cells, its role in early B cell development is not well understood. In this study, we show that CD53 expression, which is minimal on hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, increases throughout bone marrow B cell maturation, and mice lacking CD53 have significantly decreased bone marrow, splenic, lymphatic, and peripheral B cells. Mixed bone marrow chimeras show that CD53 functions cell autonomously to promote B lymphopoiesis. Cd53-/- mice have reduced surface expression of IL-7Rα and diminished phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase and JAK/STAT signaling in prepro- and pro-B cells. Signaling through these pathways via IL-7R is essential for early B cell survival and transition from the pro-B to pre-B cell developmental stage. Indeed, we find increased apoptosis in developing B cells and an associated reduction in pre-B and immature B cell populations in the absence of CD53. Coimmunoprecipitation and proximity ligation studies demonstrate physical interaction between CD53 and IL-7R. Together, these data, to our knowledge, suggest a novel role for CD53 during IL-7 signaling to promote early B cell differentiation.
Copyright © 2019 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.