Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is a potent toxin that is produced by Staphylococcus aureus strains and is classified as a category B select agent. We have previously shown that monoclonal antibody (MAb) 20B1, a murine anti-SEB IgG1, successfully treats SEB-induced lethal shock (SEBILS) and bacteremia that is caused by SEB-producing S. aureus. In this study, we have generated two isotype switch variants of the original IgG1 MAb 20B1, an IgG2a and IgG2b, both bearing the same variable region sequence, and compared their neutralizing and protective activity in in vitro and in vivo assays, respectively. All 3 isotypes demonstrated comparable affinity to SEB and comparable 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) in T cell proliferation assays. In vivo, however, the IgG2a isotype variant of 20B1 exhibited significantly greater protection than IgG1 or IgG2b in murine SEB intoxication and S. aureus sepsis models. Protection was associated with downmodulation of inflammatory host response. Our data demonstrate that changing the isotype of already protective MAbs, without affecting their antigen specificity or sensitivity, can result in an enhancement of their protective ability. Isotype selection, therefore, should be carefully considered in the development of toxin-neutralizing MAbs and the design of antibody therapeutics.
During somatic hypermutation (SHM), activation-induced deaminase (AID) mutates deoxycytidine on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) generated by the transcription machinery, but the detailed mechanism remains unclear. Here we report a higher abundance of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) at the immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable (Igh-V) region compared with the constant region and partially transcribed Igh RNAs, suggesting a slower Pol II progression at Igh-V that could result in some early/premature transcription termination after prolonged pausing/stalling of Pol II. Knocking down RNA-exosome complexes, which could decrease premature transcription termination, leads to decreased SHM. Knocking down Spt5, which can augment premature transcription termination, leads to increase in both, SHM and the abundance of ssDNA substrates. Collectively, our data support the model that, following the reduction of Pol II progression (pausing or stalling) at the Igh-V, additional steps such as premature transcription termination are involved in providing ssDNA substrates for AID during SHM.
Staphylococcal enterotoxin-like K (SEl-K) is a potent mitogen that elicits T-cell proliferation and cytokine production at very low concentrations. However, unlike the classical enterotoxins SEB and toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1), the gene for SEl-K is commonly present in more than half of all Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates and is present in almost all USA300 community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) isolates. Sequencing of the sel-k gene in over 20 clinical isolates and comparative analysis with all 14 published sel-k sequences indicate that there are at least 6 variants of the sel-k gene, including one that is conserved among all examined USA300 strains. Additionally, we have developed a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that specifically detects and measures SEl-K protein in culture supernatants and biological fluids. Quantification of in vitro SEl-K secretion by various S. aureus isolates using this novel capture ELISA revealed detectable amounts of SEl-K secretion by all isolates, with the highest secretion levels being exhibited by MRSA strains that coexpress SEB. In vivo secretion was measured in a murine thigh abscess model, where similar levels of SEl-K accumulation were noted regardless of whether the infecting strain exhibited high or low secretion of SEl-K in vitro. We conclude that SEl-K is commonly expressed in the setting of staphylococcal infection, in significant amounts. SEl-K should be further explored as a target for passive immunotherapy against complicated S. aureus infection.
Background.?Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a major health threat in the United States. Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is a potent superantigen that contributes to its virulence. High mortality and frequent failure of therapy despite available antibiotics have stimulated research efforts to develop adjunctive therapies. Methods.?Treatment benefits of SEB-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) 20B1 were investigated in mice in sepsis, superficial skin, and deep-tissue infection models. Results.?Mice challenged with a SEB-producing MRSA strain developed fatal sepsis, extensive tissue skin infection, and abscess-forming deep-seeded thigh muscle infection. Animals preimmunized against SEB or treated passively with mAb 20B1 exhibited enhanced survival in the sepsis model, whereas decrease of bacterial burden was observed in the superficial skin and deep-tissue models. mAb 20B1 bound to SEB in the infected tissue and decreased abscess formation and proinflammatory cytokine levels, lymphocyte proliferation, and neutrophil recruitment. Conclusions.?mAb 20B1, an SEB-neutralizing mAb, is effective against MRSA infection. mAb 20B1 protects against lethal sepsis and reduces skin tissue invasion and deep-abscess formation. The mAb penetrates well into the abscess and binds to SEB. It affects the outcome of S. aureus infection by modulating the hosts proinflammatory immune response.
Mammalian Exonuclease 1 (EXO1) is an evolutionarily conserved, multifunctional exonuclease involved in DNA damage repair, replication, immunoglobulin diversity, meiosis, and telomere maintenance. It has been assumed that EXO1 participates in these processes primarily through its exonuclease activity, but recent studies also suggest that EXO1 has a structural function in the assembly of higher-order protein complexes. To dissect the enzymatic and nonenzymatic roles of EXO1 in the different biological processes in vivo, we generated an EXO1-E109K knockin (Exo1(EK)) mouse expressing a stable exonuclease-deficient protein and, for comparison, a fully EXO1-deficient (Exo1(null)) mouse. In contrast to Exo1(null/null) mice, Exo1(EK/EK) mice retained mismatch repair activity and displayed normal class switch recombination and meiosis. However, both Exo1-mutant lines showed defects in DNA damage response including DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR) through DNA end resection, chromosomal stability, and tumor suppression, indicating that the enzymatic function is required for those processes. On a transformation-related protein 53 (Trp53)-null background, the DSBR defect caused by the E109K mutation altered the tumor spectrum but did not affect the overall survival as compared with p53-Exo1(null) mice, whose defects in both DSBR and mismatch repair also compromised survival. The separation of these functions demonstrates the differential requirement for the structural function and nuclease activity of mammalian EXO1 in distinct DNA repair processes and tumorigenesis in vivo.
T-cell costimulation and coinhibition generated by engagement of the B7 family and their receptor CD28 family are of central importance in regulating the T-cell response, making these pathways very attractive therapeutic targets. Here we describe HERV-H LTR-associating protein 2 (HHLA2) as a member of the B7 family that shares 10-18% amino acid identity and 23-33% similarity to other human B7 proteins and phylogenetically forms a subfamily with B7x and B7-H3 within the family. HHLA2 is expressed in humans but not in mice, which is unique within the B7 and CD28 families. HHLA2 protein is constitutively expressed on the surface of human monocytes and is induced on B cells after stimulation with LPS and IFN-?. HHLA2 does not interact with other known members of the CD28 family or the B7 family, but does bind a putative receptor that is constitutively expressed not only on resting and activated CD4 and CD8 T cells but also on antigen-presenting cells. HHLA2 inhibits proliferation of both CD4 and CD8 T cells in the presence of T-cell receptor signaling. In addition, HHLA2 significantly reduces cytokine production by T cells including IFN-?, TNF-?, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17A, and IL-22. Thus, we have identified a unique B7 pathway that is able to inhibit human CD4 and CD8 T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. This unique human T-cell coinhibitory pathway may afford unique strategies for the treatment of human cancers, autoimmune disorders, infection, and transplant rejection and may help to design better vaccines.
The generation of effective antibodies depends upon somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class-switch recombination (CSR) of antibody genes by activation induced cytidine deaminase (AID) and the subsequent recruitment of error prone base excision and mismatch repair. While AID initiates and is required for SHM, more than half of the base changes that accumulate in V regions are not due to the direct deamination of dC to dU by AID, but rather arise through the recruitment of the mismatch repair complex (MMR) to the U:G mismatch created by AID and the subsequent perversion of mismatch repair from a high fidelity process to one that is very error prone. In addition, the generation of double-strand breaks (DSBs) is essential during CSR, and the resolution of AID-generated mismatches by MMR to promote such DSBs is critical for the efficiency of the process. While a great deal has been learned about how AID and MMR cause hypermutations and DSBs, it is still unclear how the error prone aspect of these processes is largely restricted to antibody genes. The use of knockout models and mice expressing mismatch repair proteins with separation-of-function point mutations have been decisive in gaining a better understanding of the roles of each of the major MMR proteins and providing further insight into how mutation and repair are coordinated. Here, we review the cascade of MMR factors and repair signals that are diverted from their canonical error free role and hijacked by B cells to promote genetic diversification of the Ig locus. This error prone process involves AID as the inducer of enzymatically-mediated DNA mismatches, and a plethora of downstream MMR factors acting as sensors, adaptors and effectors of a complex and tightly regulated process from much of which is not yet well understood.
We encountered a high degree of clonal hybridoma loss in the course of generating antibodies specific for the hERG potassium channel. A protein that is crucial for controlling heart rhythm, is abundant in parts of the brain and is abnormally expressed in some tumors. Intracellular domains of the protein were used for immunogens and generated adequate antibody responses in mice. Subsequent hybridomas created using Ag8 myeloma fusion partner yielded clones that secreted specific antibody but none could be successfully maintained in culture. A variety of mechanisms, including polyploidy inherent to hybridoma development or production of cytotoxic antibodies, may be responsible for eventual loss of cell viability by mechanisms that may include apoptosis. When spleen cells were fused to the NSO myeloma cell line that stably over-expresses the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, hybridoma clones were generated that remained viable in culture with high level of hERG-specific antibody production. When the parental NSO cell line not over-expressing Bcl-2 was used, no stable hybridomas were produced. Antibodies secreted by NSO-Bcl-2 hybridomas were specific for hERG and performed well in immunoblot, immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assays. This work demonstrates a feasible option when faced with antigens that seem to be associated with clonal instability in the process of generating monoclonal antibodies.
The failure of chemotherapeutic regimens to eradicate cancers often results from the outgrowth of minor subclones with more dangerous genomic abnormalities or with self-renewing capacity. To explore such intratumor complexities in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we measured B-cell kinetics in vivo by quantifying deuterium ((2)H)-labeled cells as an indicator of a cell that had divided. Separating CLL clones on the basis of reciprocal densities of chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) and cluster designation 5 (CD5) revealed that the CXCR4(dim)CD5(bright) (proliferative) fraction contained more (2)H-labeled DNA and hence divided cells than the CXCR4(bright)CD5(dim) (resting) fraction. This enrichment was confirmed by the relative expression of two cell cycle-associated molecules in the same fractions, Ki-67 and minichromosome maintenance protein 6 (MCM6). Comparisons of global gene expression between the CXCR4(dim)CD5(bright) and CXCR4(bright)CD5(dim) fractions indicated higher levels of pro-proliferation and antiapoptotic genes and genes involved in oxidative injury in the proliferative fraction. An extended immunophenotype was also defined, providing a wider range of surface molecules characteristic of each fraction. These intraclonal analyses suggest a model of CLL cell biology in which the leukemic clone contains a spectrum of cells from the proliferative fraction, enriched in recently divided robust cells that are lymphoid tissue emigrants, to the resting fraction enriched in older, less vital cells that need to immigrate to lymphoid tissue or die. The model also suggests several targets preferentially expressed in the two populations amenable for therapeutic attack. Finally, the study lays the groundwork for future analyses that might provide a more robust understanding of the development and clonal evolution of this currently incurable disease.
T-cell stimulating activity of Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is an important factor in the pathogenesis of certain staphylococcal diseases including SEB mediated shock. SEB is one of the most potent superantigens known and treatment of SEB induced shock remains a challenge. We generated and characterized murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to SEB in mice. We tested mAbs neutralize mitogenic effects of SEB in vitro and in vivo with T-cell proliferation assays and 2 murine models for SEB induced lethal shock (SEBILS). Epitope mapping suggests that all these mAbs recognize conformational epitopes that are destroyed by deleting the C terminus of the protein. Further site-directed mutagenesis identified potential residues involved in binding to SEB that differ between Methicillin resistant and sensitive Staphylococcus aureus strains. Only mAb 20B1 was effective as a monotherapy in treating SEBILS in HLA DR3 transgenic mice, which exhibit enhanced sensitivity to SEB. It is noteworthy that mAbs, 14G8 and 6D3 were not protective when given alone in the HLA DR3 mice but their efficacy of protection could be greatly enhanced when mAbs were co-administered simultaneously. Our data suggest combinations of defined mAbs may constitute a better treatment strategy and provide a new insight for the development of passive immunotherapy.
Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) mediates the somatic hypermutation (SHM) of immunoglobulin (Ig) variable (V) regions that is required for the generation of antibody diversity and for the affinity maturation of the antibody response against infectious agents and toxic substances. AID preferentially targets WRC (W = A/T, R = A/G) hot spot motifs, particularly WGCW motifs that create overlapping hot spots on both strands. In order to gain a better understanding of the generation of antibody diversity and to create a platform for the in vitro generation of affinity-matured antibodies, we have established a system involving recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) to replace the V region and its flanking sequences. This makes it possible to easily manipulate the sequence of the Ig gene within the endogenous heavy chain of the Ramos human Burkitts lymphoma cell line. Here we show that the newly integrated wild-type (WT) VH regions introduced by RMCE undergo SHM similarly to non-RMCE-modified Ramos cells. Most importantly, we have shown that introducing a cluster of WGCW motifs into the complementary determining region 2 (CDR2) of the human heavy chain V region significantly raised the mutation frequency and number of mutations per sequence compared to WT controls. Thus, we have demonstrated a novel platform in Ramos cells whereby we can easily and quickly manipulate the endogenous human VH region to further explore the regulation and targeting of SHM. This platform will be useful for generating human antibodies with changes in affinity and specificity in vitro.
Most human B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphomas arise from germinal centers. Within these sites, the mismatch repair factor MSH6 participates in antibody diversification. Reminiscent of the neoplasms arising in patients with Lynch syndrome III, mice deficient in MSH6 die prematurely of lymphoma. In this study, we characterized the B-cell tumors in MSH6-deficient mice and describe their histological, immunohistochemical, and molecular features, which include moderate microsatellite instability. Based on histological markers and gene expression, the tumor cells seem to be at or beyond the germinal center stage. The simultaneous loss of MSH6 and of activation-induced cytidine deaminase did not appreciably affect the survival of these animals, suggesting that these germinal center-like tumors arose by an activation-induced cytidine deaminase-independent pathway. We conclude that MSH6 protects B cells from neoplastic transformation by preserving genomic stability.
One important function of humoral immunity is toxin neutralization. The current view posits that neutralization results from antibody-mediated interference with the binding of toxins to their targets, a phenomenon viewed as dependent only on antibody specificity. To investigate the role of antibody constant region function in toxin neutralization, we generated IgG2a and IgG2b variants of the Bacillus anthracis protective antigen-binding IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) 19D9. These antibodies express identical variable regions and display the same specificity. The efficacy of antibody-mediated neutralization was IgG2a > IgG2b > IgG1, and neutralization activity required competent Fc? receptor (Fc?R). The IgG2a mAb prevented lethal toxin cell killing and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase cleavage more efficiently than the IgG1 mAb. Passive immunization with IgG1 and IgG2a mAb protected wild-type mice, but not Fc?R-deficient mice, against B. anthracis infection. These results establish that constant region isotype influences toxin neutralization efficacy of certain antibodies through a mechanism that requires engagement of Fc?R. These findings highlight a new parameter for evaluating vaccine responses and the possibility of harnessing optimal Fc?R interactions in the design of passive immunization strategies.
The DNA mismatch repair protein PMS2 was recently found to encode a novel endonuclease activity. To determine the biological functions of this activity in mammals, we generated endonuclease-deficient Pms2E702K knock-in mice. Pms2EK/EK mice displayed increased genomic mutation rates and a strong cancer predisposition. In addition, class switch recombination, but not somatic hypermutation, was impaired in Pms2EK/EK B cells, indicating a specific role in Ig diversity. In contrast to Pms2-/- mice, Pms2EK/EK male mice were fertile, indicating that this activity is dispensable in spermatogenesis. Therefore, the PMS2 endonuclease activity has distinct biological functions and is essential for genome maintenance and tumor suppression.
Mismatch repair of AID-generated dU:G mispairs is critical for class switch recombination (CSR) and somatic hypermutation (SHM) in B cells. The generation of a previously unavailable Msh2(-/-)Msh6(-/-) mouse has for the first time allowed us to examine the impact of the complete loss of MutSalpha on lymphomagenesis, CSR and SHM. The onset of T cell lymphomas and the survival of Msh2(-/-)Msh6(-/-) and Msh2(-/-)Msh6(-/-)Msh3(-/-) mice are indistinguishable from Msh2(-/-) mice, suggesting that MSH2 plays the critical role in protecting T cells from malignant transformation, presumably because it is essential for the formation of stable MutSalpha heterodimers that maintain genomic stability. The similar defects on switching in Msh2(-/-), Msh2(-/-)Msh6(-/-) and Msh2(-/-)Msh6(-/-)Msh3(-/-) mice confirm that MutSalpha but not MutSbeta plays an important role in CSR. Analysis of SHM in Msh2(-/-)Msh6(-/-) mice not only confirmed the error-prone role of MutSalpha in the generation of strand biased mutations at A:T bases, but also revealed an error-free role of MutSalpha when repairing some of the dU:G mispairs generated by AID on both DNA strands. We propose a model for the role of MutSalpha at the immunoglobulin locus where the local balance of error-free and error-prone repair has an impact in the spectrum of mutations introduced during Phase 2 of SHM.
Germinal centers (GC) of secondary lymphoid tissues are critical to mounting a high-affinity humoral immune response. B cells within the GC undergo rapid clonal expansion and selection while diversifying their antibody genes. Although it is generally believed that GC B cells employ a unique proliferative program to accommodate these processes, little is known about how the GC-associated cell cycle is orchestrated. The D-type cyclins constitute an important component of the cell cycle engine that enables the cells to respond to physiological changes. Cell type- and developmental stage-specific roles of D-type cyclins have been described but the cyclin D requirement during GC reaction has not been addressed. In this study, we report that cyclin D3 is largely dispensable for proliferation and Ig class switching of in vitro activated B cells. In contrast, GC development in Ccnd3(-/-) mice is markedly impaired, as is the T cell-dependent antibody response. Within the GC, although both switched and unswitched B cells are affected by cyclin D3 inactivation, the IgM(-) pool is more severely reduced. Interestingly, despite a compensatory increase in cyclin D2 expression, a significant number of Ccnd3(-/-) GC B cells accumulate in quiescent G0 state. Lastly, although cyclin D3 inactivation did not disrupt BCL6 expression in GC B cells, it completely blocked the GC promoting effect of BCL6 overexpression, suggesting that cyclin D3 acts downstream of BCL6 to regulate GC formation. This is the first demonstration that cyclin D3 plays an important and unique role at the GC stage of B cell development.
An effective immune response requires B cells to produce several classes of antibodies through the process of class switch recombination (CSR). Activation-induced cytidine deaminase initiates CSR by deaminating deoxycytidines at switch regions within the Ig locus. This activity leads to double-stranded DNA break formation at the donor and recipient switch regions that are subsequently synapsed and ligated in a 53BP1-dependent process that remains poorly understood. The DNA damage response E3 ubiquitin ligases RNF8 and RNF168 were recently shown to facilitate recruitment of 53BP1 to sites of DNA damage. Here we show that the ubiquitination pathway mediated by RNF8 and RNF168 plays an integral part in CSR. Using the CH12F3-2 mouse B cell line that undergoes CSR to IgA at high rates, we demonstrate that knockdown of RNF8, RNF168, and 53BP1 leads to a significant decrease in CSR. We also show that 53BP1-deficient CH12F3-2 cells are protected from apoptosis mediated by the MDM2 inhibitor Nutlin-3. In contrast, deficiency in either E3 ubiquitin ligase does not protect cells from Nutlin-3-mediated apoptosis, indicating that RNF8 and RNF168 do not regulate all functions of 53BP1.
The somatic hypermutation of Ig variable regions requires the activity of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) which has previously been shown to preferentially deaminate WRC (W = A/T, R = A/G) motif hot spots in in vivo and in vitro assays. We compared mutation profiles of in vitro assays for the 3 flanking intron of VhJ558-Jh4 region to previously reported in vivo profiles for the same region in the Msh2(-/-)Ung(-/-) mice that lack base excision and mismatch repair. We found that the in vitro and in vivo mutation profiles were highly correlated for the top (nontranscribed) strand, while for the bottom (transcribed) strand the correlation is far lower. We used an in silico model of AID activity to elucidate the relative importance of motif targeting in vivo. We found that the mutation process entails substantial complexity beyond motif targeting, a large part of which is captured in vitro. To elucidate the contribution of the sequence environment to the observed differences between the top and bottom strands, we analyzed intermutational distances. The bottom strand shows an approximately exponential distribution of distances in vivo and in vitro, as expected from a null model. However, the top strand deviates strongly from this distribution in that mutations approximately 50 nucleotides apart are greatly reduced, again both in vivo and in vitro, illustrating an important strand asymmetry. While we have confirmed that AID targeting of hot and cold spots is a key part of the mutation process, our results suggest that the sequence environment plays an equally important role.
The hybridoma technology allows the production of large quantities of specific antibodies of a single isotype. Since different isotypes have special effector functions and are distributed distinctively throughout the body, it is often useful to have a library of switch variants from the original monoclonal antibody. We have shown previously that forced expression of activation induced cytidine deaminase (AID) in hybridomas increased their very low frequency of class switch recombination (CSR) in vitro only approximately 7-13 fold. Since we had previously identified rare hybridoma subclones that spontaneously switched at more than 100 times higher frequencies, we have now examined those higher switching variants to search for ways to further increase the frequency of isotype switching in vitro. AID was not responsible for the approximately 100 fold increase in CSR, so we used whole-genome gene expression profiling to provide a platform for studying candidate molecular pathways underlying spontaneous CSR in hybridomas.
Class switch recombination (CSR) involves a DNA rearrangement in the Ig heavy chain (IgH) gene that allows the same variable (V) region to be expressed with any one of the downstream constant region (C) genes to encode antibodies with many different effector functions. One hypothesis for how CSR is targeted to different C region genes is that histone modifications increase accessibility and/or recruit activation-induced cytosine deaminase (AID) and its associated processes to particular donor and recipient switch regions. In this work, we identified H3 acetyl K9 and H3 trimethyl K9 as histone modifications that correlate with the recombining pair of donor and recipient switch regions. The appearance of H3 trimethyl K9 is surprising because usually it is thought to mark silent genes and heterochromatin. Nevertheless, the time course of appearance of these histone modifications, the regions in IgH they associate with, and their appearance independent of AID damage suggest that both modifications play a role in targeting CSR.
The somatic hypermutation (SHM) of Immunoglobulin variable (V) regions is a key process in the generation of antibody diversity. The growing number of datasets of point mutations that occur during SHM in mice and humans often include comparisons between wild-type and individuals or strains genetically defective in the repair mechanisms that contribute to SHM. However, it has been difficult to compare the results of different studies because the analyses have not been standardized for criteria such as correction for base composition and the inclusion of unique mutations. If many mutations are involved, the analysis can also be time consuming. To overcome these problems and facilitate a standardized analysis and display of similar data, we present a webserver (SHMTool) for comparing SHM datasets, available at http://scb.aecom.yu.edu/shmtool.
Activation-induced deoxycytidine deaminase (AID) and Apobec 3G (Apo3G) cause mutational diversity by initiating mutations on regions of single-stranded (ss) DNA. Expressed in B cells, AID deaminates C ? U in actively transcribed immunoglobulin (Ig) variable and switch regions to initiate the somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class switch recombination (CSR) that are essential for antibody diversity. Apo3G expressed in T cells catalyzes C deaminations on reverse transcribed cDNA causing HIV-1 retroviral inactivation. When operating properly, AID- and Apo3G-initiated mutations boost human fitness. Yet, both enzymes are potentially powerful somatic cell "mutators". Loss of regulated expression and proper genome targeting can cause human cancer. Here, we review well-established biological roles of AID and Apo3G. We provide a synopsis of AID partnering proteins during SHM and CSR, and describe how an Apo2 crystal structure provides "surrogate" insight for AID and Apo3G biochemical behavior. However, large gaps remain in our understanding of how dC deaminases search ssDNA to identify trinucleotide motifs to deaminate. We discuss two recent methods to analyze ssDNA scanning and deamination. Apo3G scanning and deamination is visualized in real-time using single-molecule FRET, and AID deamination efficiencies are determined with a random walk analysis. AID and Apo3G encounter many candidate deamination sites while scanning ssDNA. Generating mutational diversity is a principal aim of AID and an important ancillary property of Apo3G. Success seems likely to involve hit and miss deamination motif targeting, biased strongly toward miss.
Clonal evolution occurs during the course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and activation-induced deaminase (AID) could influence this process. However, this possibility has been questioned in CLL because the number of circulating AID mRNA(+) cells is exceedingly low; synthesis of AID protein by blood CLL cells has not been demonstrated; the full range of AID functions is lacking in unmutated CLL (U-CLL), and no prospective analysis linking AID expression and disease severity has been reported. The results of the present study show that circulating CLL cells and those within secondary lymphoid tissues can make AID mRNA and protein. This production is related to cell division because more AID mRNA was detected in recently divided cells and AID protein was limited to the dividing fraction and was up-regulated on induction of cell division. AID protein was functional because AID(+) dividing cells exhibited more double-stranded DNA breaks, IGH class switching, and new IGHV-D-J mutations. Each of these actions was documented in U-CLL and mutated CLL (M-CLL). Furthermore, AID protein was associated with worse patient outcome and adverse cytogenetics. We conclude that the production of fully functional AID protein by U-CLL and M-CLL cells could be involved in clonal evolution of the disease.
The creation of a highly diverse antibody repertoire requires the synergistic activity of a DNA mutator, known as activation-induced deaminase (AID), coupled with an error-prone repair process that recognizes the DNA mismatch catalyzed by AID. Instead of facilitating the canonical error-free response, which generally occurs throughout the genome, DNA mismatch repair (MMR) participates in an error-prone repair mode that promotes A:T mutagenesis and double-strand breaks at the immunoglobulin (Ig) genes. As such, MMR is capable of compounding the mutation frequency of AID activity as well as broadening the spectrum of base mutations; thereby increasing the efficiency of antibody maturation. We here review the current understanding of this MMR-mediated process and describe how the MMR signaling cascade downstream of AID diverges in a locus dependent manner and even within the Ig locus itself to differentially promote somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class switch recombination (CSR) in B cells.
Antibody diversification through somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class switch recombination (CSR) are similarly initiated in B cells with the generation of U:G mismatches by activation-induced cytidine deaminase but differ in their subsequent mutagenic consequences. Although SHM relies on the generation of nondeleterious point mutations, CSR depends on the production of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and their adequate recombination through nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). MLH1, an ATPase member of the mismatch repair (MMR) machinery, is emerging as a likely regulator of whether a U:G mismatch progresses toward mutation or DSB formation. We conducted experiments on cancer modeled ATPase-deficient MLH1G67R knockin mice to determine the function that the ATPase domain of MLH1 mediates in SHM and CSR. Mlh1(GR/GR) mice displayed a significant decrease in CSR, mainly attributed to a reduction in the generation of DSBs and diminished accumulation of 53BP1 at the immunoglobulin switch regions. However, SHM was normal in these mice, which distinguishes MLH1 from upstream members of the MMR pathway and suggests a very specific role of its ATPase-dependent functions during CSR. In addition, we show that the residual switching events still taking place in Mlh1(GR/GR) mice display unique features, suggesting a role for the ATPase activity of MLH1 beyond the activation of the endonuclease functions of its MMR partner PMS2. A preference for switch junctions with longer microhomologies in Mlh1(GR/GR) mice suggests that through its ATPase activity, MLH1 also has an impact in DNA end processing, favoring canonical NHEJ downstream of the DSB. Collectively, our study shows that the ATPase domain of MLH1 is important to transmit the CSR signaling cascade both upstream and downstream of the generation of DSBs.
Regulatory elements located within an ?28-kb region 3 of the Igh gene cluster (3 regulatory region) are required for class switch recombination and for high levels of IgH expression in plasma cells. We previously defined novel DNase I hypersensitive sites (hs) 5, 6, 7 immediately downstream of this region. The hs 5-7 region (hs5-7) contains a high density of binding sites for CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), a zinc finger protein associated with mammalian insulator activity, and is an anchor for interactions with CTCF sites flanking the D(H) region. To test the function of hs5-7, we generated mice with an 8-kb deletion encompassing all three hs elements. B cells from hs5-7 knockout (KO) (hs5-7KO) mice showed a modest increase in expression of the nearest downstream gene. In addition, Igh alleles in hs5-7KO mice were in a less contracted configuration compared with wild-type Igh alleles and showed a 2-fold increase in the usage of proximal V(H)7183 gene families. Hs5-7KO mice were essentially indistinguishable from wild-type mice in B cell development, allelic regulation, class switch recombination, and chromosomal looping. We conclude that hs5-7, a high-density CTCF-binding region at the 3 end of the Igh locus, impacts usage of V(H) regions as far as 500 kb away.
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