B lymphocytes acquire self-reactivity as an unavoidable byproduct of antibody gene diversification in the bone marrow and in germinal centers (GCs). Autoreactive B cells emerging from the bone marrow are silenced in a series of well-defined checkpoints, but less is known about how self-reactivity that develops by somatic mutation in GCs is controlled. Here, we report the existence of an apoptosis-dependent tolerance checkpoint in post-GC B cells. Whereas defective GC B cell apoptosis has no measurable effect on autoantibody development, disruption of post-GC apoptosis results in accumulation of autoreactive memory B cells and plasma cells, antinuclear antibody production, and autoimmunity. The data presented shed light on mechanisms that regulate immune tolerance and the development of autoantibodies.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 6 2020|
- antinuclear antibodies
- B lymphocytes
ASJC Scopus subject areas