While surrogate light chain (SLC) expression is normally terminated in differentiating pre-B cells, co-expression of SLC and conventional light chains has been reported in a small population of autoreactive peripheral human B cells that accumulate in arthritic joints. Despite this association with autoimmunity the contribution of SLC expressing mature B cells to disease development is still unknown. We studied the pathogenicity of SLC+ B cells in a panel of mice that transgenically express the SLC components VpreB and λ5 throughout B cell development. Here we report that although VpreB or λ5 expression mildly activated mature B cells, only moderate VpreB expression levels - in the absence of λ5 - enhanced IgG plasma cell formation. However, no autoantibody production was detectable in VpreB or λ5 transgenic mice and VpreB expression could not accelerate autoimmunity. Instead, moderate VpreB expression partially protected mice from induced autoimmune arthritis. In support of a tolerogenic role of SLC-transgenic B cells, we observed that in a dose-dependent manner SLC expression beyond the pre-B cell stage enhanced clonal deletion among immature and transitional B cells and rendered mature B cells anergic. These findings suggest that SLC expression does not propagate autoimmunity, but instead may impose tolerance.

B cell receptor signaling, B cells, Pre-B cell receptor, Rheumatoid arthritis, Surrogate light chain, Transgenic mice
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2014.11.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/85881
Journal of Autoimmunity
Department of Pulmonology

Kil, L-P, Corneth, O.B.J, de Bruijn, M.J.W, Asmawidjaja, P, Krause, A, Lubberts, E.W, … Hendriks, R.W. (2015). Surrogate light chain expression beyond the pre-B cell stage promotes tolerance in a dose-dependent fashion. Journal of Autoimmunity, 57, 30–41. doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2014.11.008