Self-antigen presentation by mouse B cells results in regulatory T-cell induction rather than anergy or clonal deletion

Sara Morlacchi, Cristiana Soldani, Antonella Viola, Adelaida Sarukhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple mechanisms operate to ensure T-cell tolerance toward self-antigens. Three main processes have been described: clonal deletion, anergy, and deviation to CD4 + regulatory T cells (Tregs) that suppress autoreactive T cells that have escaped the first 2 mechanisms. Although it is accepted that dendritic cells (DCs) and B cells contribute in maintaining T-cell tolerance to self-antigens, their relative contribution and the processes involved under physiologic conditions remain only partially characterized. In this study, we used different transgenic mouse models to obtain chimeras where a neo self-antigen is expressed by thymic epithelium and/or by DCs or B cells. We found that expression of cognate ligand in the thymus enhances antigen-specific FoxP3 + cells independently of whether the self-antigen is expressed on thymic epithelium or only on DCs, but not on B cells. On the contrary, self-antigen expression by B cells was very efficient in inducing FoxP3 + cells in the periphery, whereas self-antigen expression by DC led mainly to deletion and anergy of antigen-specific FoxP3 - cells. The results presented in this study underline the role of B cells in Treg induction and may have important implications in clinical protocols aimed at the peripheral expansion of Tregs in patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)984-991
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 28 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-antigen presentation by mouse B cells results in regulatory T-cell induction rather than anergy or clonal deletion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this