Indexed on: 14 Jul '10Published on: 14 Jul '10Published in: The Journal of experimental medicine
Survival of mature B cells is regulated by B cell receptor and BAFFR-dependent signals. We show that B cells from mice lacking the G(alphaq) subunit of trimeric G proteins (Gnaq(-/-) mice) have an intrinsic survival advantage over normal B cells, even in the absence of BAFF. Gnaq(-/-) B cells develop normally in the bone marrow but inappropriately survive peripheral tolerance checkpoints, leading to the accumulation of transitional, marginal zone, and follicular B cells, many of which are autoreactive. Gnaq(-/-) chimeric mice rapidly develop arthritis as well as other manifestations of systemic autoimmune disease. Importantly, we demonstrate that the development of the autoreactive B cell compartment is the result of an intrinsic defect in Gnaq(-/-) B cells, resulting in the aberrant activation of the prosurvival factor Akt. Together, these data show for the first time that signaling through trimeric G proteins is critically important for maintaining control of peripheral B cell tolerance induction and repressing autoimmunity.