CD40 ligand (CD40L) mRNA stability is dependent on an activation-induced pathway that is mediated by the binding complexes containing the multifunctional RNA-binding protein, polypyrimidine tract-binding protein 1 (PTBP1) to a 39 untranslated region of the transcript. To understand the relationship between regulated CD40L and the requirement for variegated expression during a Tdependent response, we engineered a mouse lacking the CD40L stability element (CD40LΔ5) and asked how this mutation altered multiple aspects of the humoral immunity. We found that CD40LD5 mice expressed CD40L at 60% wildtype levels, and lowered expression corresponded to significantly decreased levels of T-dependent Abs, loss of germinal center (GC) B cells and a disorganized GC structure. Gene expression analysis of B cells from CD40LD5 mice revealed that genes associated with cell cycle and DNA replication were significantly downregulated and genes linked to apoptosis upregulated. Importantly, somatic hypermutation was relatively unaffected although the number of cells expressing high-affinity Abs was greatly reduced. Additionally, a significant loss of plasmablasts and early memory B cell precursors as a percentage of total GL7+ B cells was observed, indicating that differentiation cues leading to the development of post-GC subsets was highly dependent on a threshold level of CD40L. Thus, regulated mRNA stability plays an integral role in the optimization of humoral immunity by allowing for a dynamic level of CD40L expression on CD4 T cells that results in the proliferation and differentiation of pre-GC and GC B cells into functional subsets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy