Activated mouse B cells lack expression of granzyme B

Magdalena Hagn, Gabrielle T Belz, Axel Kallies, Vivien R Sutton, Kevin Y T Thia, David M. Tarlinton, Edwin D. Hawkins, Joseph A. Trapani

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, it has been reported that human B cells express and secrete the cytotoxic protease granzyme B(GrB) after stimulation with IL-21 and BCR cross-linking. To date, there are few clues on the function of GrB in B cell biology. As experimental transgenic murine systems should provide insights into these issues, we assayed for GrB in C57BL/6 B cells using an extensive array of physiologically relevant stimuli but were unable to detect either GrB expression or its proteolytic activity, even when Ag-specific transgenic BCRs were engaged. Similar results were also obtained with B cells from DBA/2, CBA, or BALB/c mice. Invivo, infection with either influenza virus or murine γ-herpesvirus induced the expected expression of GrB in CTLs, but not in B cell populations. We also investigated a possible role of GrB on the humoral immune response to the model Ag 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenylacetyl-keyhole limpet hemocyanin, but GrB-deficient mice produced normal amounts of Ab with typical affinity maturation and a heightened secondary response, demonstrating conclusively the redundancy of GrB for Ab responses. Our results highlight the complex evolutionary differences that have shaped the immune systems of mice and humans. The physiological consequences of GrB expression in human B cells remain unclear, and the current study suggests that experimental mouse models will not be helpful in addressing this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3886-3892
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

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