C-type lectin CLEC16A is located next to CIITA, the master transcription factor of HLA class II (HLA-II), at a susceptibility locus for several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). We previously found that CLEC16A promotes the biogenesis of HLA-II peptide-loading compartments (MIICs) in myeloid cells. Given the emerging role of B cells as APCs in these diseases, in this study, we addressed whether and how CLEC16A is involved in the BCR-dependent HLA-II pathway. CLEC16A was coexpressed with surface class II-associated invariant chain peptides (CLIP) in human EBV-positive and not EBV-negative B cell lines. Stable knockdown of CLEC16A in EBV-positive Raji B cells resulted in an upregulation of surface HLA-DR and CD74 (invariant chain), whereas CLIP was slightly but significantly reduced. In addition, IgM-mediated Salmonella uptake was decreased, and MIICs were less clustered in CLEC16A-silenced Raji cells, implying that CLEC16A controls both HLA-DR/CD74 and BCR/Ag processing in MIICs. In primary B cells, CLEC16A was only induced under CLIP-stimulating conditions in vitro and was predominantly expressed in CLIPhigh naive populations. Finally, CLIP-loaded HLA-DR molecules were abnormally enriched, and coregulation with CLEC16A was abolished in blood B cells of patients who rapidly develop MS. These findings demonstrate that CLEC16A participates in the BCR-dependent HLA-II pathway in human B cells and that this regulation is impaired during MS disease onset. The abundance of CLIP already on naive B cells of MS patients may point to a chronically induced stage and a new mechanism underlying B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases such as MS.

doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1901409, hdl.handle.net/1765/129577
Journal of Immunology
Department of Immunology

Rijvers, L., Melief, M.-J., van Langelaar, J., van der Vuurst de Vries, R., Wierenga-Wolf, A., Koetzier, S., … van Luijn, M. (2020). The Role of Autoimmunity-Related Gene CLEC16A in the B Cell Receptor-Mediated HLA Class II Pathway. Journal of Immunology, 205(4), 945–956. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1901409