Natural antibodies contribute to tissue homeostasis and protect against infections. They are secreted constitutively without external antigenic stimulation. The differentiation state and regulatory pathways that enable continuous natural antibody production by B-1 cells, the main cellular source in mice, remain incompletely understood. Here we demonstrate that natural IgM-secreting B-1 cells in the spleen and bone marrow are heterogeneous, consisting of (a) terminally differentiated B-1-derived plasma cells expressing the transcriptional regulator of differentiation, Blimp-1, (b) Blimp-1+, and (c) Blimp-1neg phenotypic B-1 cells. Blimp-1neg IgM-secreting B-1 cells are not simply intermediates of cellular differentiation. Instead, they secrete similar amounts of IgM in wild-type and Blimp-1-deficient (PRDM-1ΔEx1A) mice. Blimp-1neg B-1 cells are also a major source of IgG3. Consequently, deletion of Blimp-1 changes neither serum IgG3 levels nor the amount of IgG3 secreted per cell. Thus, the pool of natural antibody-secreting B-1 cells is heterogeneous and contains a distinct subset of cells that do not use Blimp-1 for initiation or maximal antibody secretion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy