The B Cell Receptor Governs the Subcellular Location of Toll-like Receptor 9 Leading to Hyperresponses to DNA-Containing Antigens

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Abstract

Synergistic engagement of the B cell receptor (BCR) and Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) in response to DNA-containing antigens underlies the production of many autoantibodies in systemic autoimmune diseases. However, the molecular basis of this synergistic engagement is not known. Given that these receptors are spatially segregated, with the BCR on the cell surface and TLR9 in endocytic vesicles, achieving synergy must involve unique mechanisms. We show that upon antigen binding, the BCR initiates signaling at the plasma membrane and continues to signal to activate MAP kinases as it traffics to autophagosome-like compartments. The internalized BCR signals through a phospholipase-D-dependent pathway to recruit TLR9-containing endosomes to the autophagosome via the microtubular network. The recruitment of TLR9 to the autophagosomes was necessary for hyperactivation of MAP kinases. This unique mechanism for BCR-induced TLR9 recruitment resulting in B cells hyperresponses may provide new targets for therapeutics for autoimmune diseases.

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