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, 215, 137-44; discussion 144-5, 186-90

Quantitative and Qualitative Control of Antigen Receptor Signalling in Tolerant B Lymphocytes

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Quantitative and Qualitative Control of Antigen Receptor Signalling in Tolerant B Lymphocytes

J I Healy et al. Novartis Found Symp.

Abstract

Lymphocyte antigen receptors, such as the B cell antigen receptor (BCR), have the ability to promote or inhibit immune responses. This functional plasticity is exemplified by BCR-induced mitosis in naïve but not tolerant B cells and is correlated with biochemical differences in the signals triggered by foreign and self antigens. Acute stimulation of naïve B cells with foreign antigen induces a biphasic Ca2+ flux, and activates nuclear signalling through NF-AT, NF-kappa B, JNK and ERK. In tolerant B lymphocytes, by contrast, self antigen triggers only a low Ca2+ plateau, NF-AT and ERK. After removal from self antigen, the BCRs on tolerant B cells reacquire the ability to stimulate a biphasic Ca2+ flux and to promote proliferation. The differences in nuclear signalling between naïve and tolerant cells is brought about in part by differences in the magnitude of the Ca2+ signal. A low, sustained Ca2+ signal, such as that seen in tolerant B cells, activates NF-AT, whereas, a high but transient Ca2+ spike, which resembles that triggered in naïve B cells, activates NF-kappa B and JNK. These findings demonstrate that the quantitative differences in Ca2+ signalling between naïve and tolerant B cells are reversible and contribute to the differential triggering of nuclear signals. The activation of selected transcription factors may in turn account for the different functional responses triggered in naïve and tolerant lymphocytes.

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