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Antigen recognition by B-cell antigen receptors (BCRs) activates distinct intracellular signaling pathways that control the differentiation fate of activated B lymphocytes. BCR-proximal signaling enzymes comprise protein tyrosine kinases, phosphatases, and plasma membrane lipid-modifying enzymes, whose function is furthermore coordinated by catalytically inert adaptor proteins. Here, we show that an additional class of enzymatic activity provided by guanine-nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) of the Vav family controls BCR-proximal Ca2+ mobilization, cytoskeletal actin reorganization, and activation of the PI3 kinase/Akt pathway. Whereas Vav1 and Vav3 supported all of those signaling processes to different extents in a human B-cell model system, Vav2 facilitated Actin remodeling, and activation of Akt but did not promote Ca2+ signaling. On BCR activation, Vav1 was directly recruited to the phosphorylated BCR and to the central adaptor protein SLP65 via its Src homology 2 domain. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic inactivation of the substrates of Vav GEFs, small G proteins of the Rho/Rac family, impaired BCR-induced Ca2+ mobilization, probably because phospholipase Cγ2 requires activated Rac proteins for optimal activity. Our findings show that Vav family members are key relays of the BCR signalosome that differentially control distinct signaling pathways both in a catalysis-dependent and -independent manner. © 2020 The Authors. European Journal of Immunology published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


Jens Löber, Christoffer Hitzing, Matthias Münchhalfen, Niklas Engels. Vav family proteins constitute disparate branching points for distinct BCR signaling pathways. European journal of immunology. 2020 Dec;50(12):1912-1928

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PMID: 32671844

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