B cell responses are regulated by Ag recognition, costimulatory signals provided by interaction with helper T cells, and by innate signals. We recently provided evidence for a link between the effects of innate and costimulatory signals on B cells during influenza virus infection, by demonstrating that most B cells in the regional lymph nodes of the respiratory tract enhance surface expression of the costimulator B7-2 (CD86) within 24-48 h following infection via a type I IFNR-dependent mechanisms, a finding we are confirming here. While the role of B7-1/2 for helper T cell activation is well documented, its role in direct B cell regulation is poorly understood. Here, our in vivo studies with mixed bone marrow irradiation chimeric mice, lacking B7-1/2 only on B cells, demonstrated that B7-1/2 expression is crucial for induction of maximal local, but to a lesser extent systemic, IgG Ab responses following influenza virus infection. In contrast to mice that completely lack B7-1/2 expression, loss of B7-1/2 on B cells alone did not significantly affect germinal center formation or the extent of CD4+ T cell activation and IFN-γ secretion. Instead, our in vitro studies identify a dramatic effect of B7-2 engagement on IgG, but not IgM secretion by already class-switched B cells. Concomitantly, B7-2 engagement induced expression of X-box binding protein 1 (XBP-1) and spliced XBP1, evidence for increased protein synthesis by these cells. Taken together, these results identify direct signaling through B7-1/2 as a potent regulator of IgG secretion by previously activated B cells.
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