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Unlike other cell types, B cells undergo multiple rounds of V(D)J recombination and hypermutation to evolve high-affinity antibodies. Reflecting high frequencies of DNA double-strand breaks, adaptive immune protection by B cells comes with an increased risk of malignant transformation. In addition, the vast majority of newly generated B cells express an autoreactive B cell receptor (BCR). Thus, B cells are under intense selective pressure to remove autoreactive and premalignant clones. Despite stringent negative selection, B cells frequently give rise to autoimmune disease and B cell malignancies. In this review, we discuss mechanisms that we term metabolic gatekeepers to eliminate pathogenic B cell clones on the basis of energy depletion. Chronic activation signals from autoreactive BCRs or transforming oncogenes increase energy demands in autoreactive and premalignant B cells. Thus, metabolic gatekeepers limit energy supply to levels that are insufficient to fuel either a transforming oncogene or hyperactive signaling from an autoreactive BCR.


Teresa Sadras, Lai N Chan, Gang Xiao, Markus Müschen. Metabolic Gatekeepers of Pathological B Cell Activation. Annual review of pathology. 2021 Jan 24;16:323-349

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PMID: 33321055

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