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Feb 2013 Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)

CpG-ODN-induced sustained expression of BTLA mediating selective inhibition of human B cells.


Thibult ML, Rivals JP, Mamessier E, Gertner-Dardenne J, Pastor S, Speiser DE, Derré L, Olive D


BTLA (B- and T-lymphocyte attenuator) is a prominent co-receptor that is structurally and functionally related to CTLA-4 and PD-1. In T cells, BTLA inhibits TCR-mediated activation. In B cells, roles and functions of BTLA are still poorly understood and have never been studied in the context of B cells activated by CpG via TLR9. In this study, we evaluated the expression of BTLA depending on activation and differentiation of human B cell subsets in peripheral blood and lymph nodes. Stimulation with CpG upregulated BTLA, but not its ligand: herpes virus entry mediator (HVEM), on B cells in vitro and sustained its expression in vivo in melanoma patients after vaccination. Upon ligation with HVEM, BTLA inhibited CpG-mediated B cell functions (proliferation, cytokine production, and upregulation of co-stimulatory molecules), which was reversed by blocking BTLA/HVEM interactions. Interestingly, chemokine secretion (IL-8 and MIP1β) was not affected by BTLA/HVEM ligation, suggesting that BTLA-mediated inhibition is selective for some but not all B cell functions. We conclude that BTLA is an important immune checkpoint for B cells, as similarly known for T cells.

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