The Tec tyrosine kinase is expressed in many cell types, including hematopoietic cells, and is a member of the Tec kinase family that also includes Btk. Although the role of Btk in B cells has been extensively studied, the role of Tec kinase in B cells remains largely unclear. It was previously shown that Tec kinase has the ability to partly compensate for loss of Btk activity in B cell differentiation, although the underlying mechanism is unknown. In this study, we confirm that Tec kinase is not essential for normal B cell development when Btk is present, but we also found that Tec-deficient mature B cells showed increased activation, proliferation, and survival upon BCR stimulation, even in the presence of Btk. Whereas Tec deficiency did not affect phosphorylation of phospholipase Cg or Ca2+ influx, it was associated with significantly increased activation of the intracellular Akt/S6 kinase signaling pathway upon BCR and CD40 stimulation. The increased S6 kinase phosphorylation in Tec-deficient B cells was dependent on Btk kinase activity, as ibrutinib treatment restored pS6 to wild-type levels, although Btk protein and phosphorylation levels were comparable to controls. In Tec-deficient mice in vivo, B cell responses to model Ags and humoral immunity upon influenza infection were enhanced. Moreover, aged mice lacking Tec kinase developed a mild autoimmune phenotype. Taken together, these data indicate that in mature B cells, Tec and Btk may compete for activation of the Akt signaling pathway, whereby the activating capacity of Btk is limited by the presence of Tec kinase.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1601285, hdl.handle.net/1765/99123
Journal Journal of Immunology
Note This work was supported in part by Dutch Arthritis Foundation (Reumafonds) Grants 09-1-302 and 13-2-301 and by Dutch Cancer Society Grant 2014-6564.
Citation
de Bruijn, M.J.W, Rip, J, van der Ploeg, E.K, van Greuningen, L.W, Ta, V.T.B, Kil, L-P, … Corneth, O.B.J. (2017). Distinct and overlapping functions of TEC kinase and BTK in B cell receptor signaling. Journal of Immunology, 198(8), 3058–3068. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1601285