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Despite the mechanisms of central and peripheral tolerance, the mature B cell compartment contains cells reactive for self-antigen. How these cells are poised not to respond and the mechanisms that restrain B cell responses to low-affinity endogenous antigens are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate a critical role for the glycan-binding protein galectin-9 in setting the threshold of B cell activation and that loss of this regulatory network is sufficient to drive spontaneous autoimmunity. We further demonstrate a critical role for galectin-9 in restraining not only conventional B-2 B cells, but also innate-like B-1a cells. We show that galectin-9-deficient mice have an expanded population of B-1a cells and increased titers of B-1a-derived autoantibodies. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that galectin-9 regulates BCR and distinct TLR responses in B-1a cells, but not B-1b cells, by regulating the interaction between BCR and TLRs with the regulatory molecules CD5 and CD180, respectively. In the absence of galectin-9, B-1a cells are more readily activated and secrete increased titers of autoantibodies that facilitate autoantigen delivery to the spleen, driving autoimmune responses. © 2021, Smith et al.


Logan K Smith, Kareem Fawaz, Bebhinn Treanor. Galectin-9 regulates the threshold of B cell activation and autoimmunity. eLife. 2021 Aug 09;10

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PMID: 34369876

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