Background Individuals with genetic defects in CD40 ligand (CD40L) or B-cell antigen receptor coreceptor molecules CD19 and CD81 suffer from an antibody deficiency. Still, these patients carry low levels of memory B cells and serum antibodies. Objective We sought to assess why the remaining memory B cells and antibodies in the blood of these patients do not provide functional immunity. Methods We included CD19-deficient patients (n = 8), CD40L-deficient patients (n = 8), and healthy controls (n = 50) to perform detailed flow cytometry on blood B cells, molecular analysis of IgA and IgG transcripts, as well as functional analysis of B-cell activation. Results CD19-deficient and CD40L-deficient patients carried reduced numbers of all memory B-cell subsets except CD27-IgA+ B cells. Their immunoglobulin heavy chain class-switched transcripts contained less somatic mutations and reduced usage of IgM-distal IgG2 and IgA2 subclasses. The selection strength of mutations for antigen binding was significantly lower than in controls, whereas selection to maintain superantigen binding was normal. Furthermore, the patients showed impaired selection against inherently autoreactive properties of their immunoglobulins. Somatic hypermutation analysis revealed decreased activation-induced cytidine deaminase and uracil-DNA glycosylase 2 activity in CD40L deficiency and increased uracil-DNA glycosylase 2 but decreased mismatch repair in CD19 deficiency. B-cell activation studies revealed that this was at least in part due to transcriptional regulation of DNA repair genes. Conclusions This study on CD19 and CD40L deficiencies illustrates that both the B-cell antigen receptor and CD40 signaling pathways are required for the selection of immunoglobulin reactivity. Still, they differentially mediate DNA repair pathways during somatic hypermutation, thereby together shaping the human in vivo antigen-experienced B-cell repertoire.

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Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Department of Immunology

van Zelm, M.C, Bartol, S.J.W, Driessen, G.J.A, Mascart, F, Reisli, I, Franco, J.L, … van der Burg, M. (2014). Human CD19 and CD40L deficiencies impair antibody selection and differentially affect somatic hypermutation. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 134(1). doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.11.015