The B cell response to antigen is regulated by a variety of co-receptors that convey information to the B cell about the quality of the antigen and the status of the ongoing immune response. Our progress using high resolution live cell imaging to delineate the very early antigen driven events in B cell activation has provided a new context in which the impact of coreceptors can be evaluated. Using high resolution fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) coupled with total internal reflection microscopy (TIRFM) and single molecule tracking we provided evidence for an ordered process that occurs within seconds to minutes of the BCR binding antigen. Antigen bound BCRs form immobile clusters that then grow in size by molecular trapping. The clusters perturb the local lipid environment causing lipid rafts to coalesce around the BCR clusters. As a consequence of the membrane perturbation the first kinase in the pathway, Lyn, that is tethered to the membrane by raft lipids is brought into close molecular proximity to the BCR clusters. Simultaneously, Lyn phosphorylates the Ig alpha beta cytoplasmic domain of the BCR and the Ig alpha beta chains undergo a conformational change from a closed to an open form. Syk is recruited to the phosphorylated BCR and the signaling cascades are triggered. During the coming year we will pursue two approaches to better understand how the CD19/CD21 complex and the FcgammaRIIB regulate B cell responses. In collaboration with Dr. Ezio Bonvini and his colleagues at Macrogenics, we will explore the consequences of bringing CD19/CD21 or FcgammaRIIB into close molecular proximity to the BCR on BCR signaling. Dr. Bonvinis group has developed bi-functional antibodies coined DARTS that allow the dimerization of the BCR and CD19 or the BCR and FcgammaRIIB. The BCR-FcgammaRIIB DARTS are showing efficacy in blocking B cell activation in autoimmune disease and killing BCR-dependent B cell tumors. We are exploring the effect of these DARTS on BCR signaling using high resolution live cell imaging. Our second approach is to use super-high resolution imaging to describe, at the 10-50 nm level, the spatial relationship between the BCR, CD19 and FcgammaRIIB in resting human B cells and in B cells in which the BCR is ligated alone by Ag or Fcgamma is ligated by immune complexes. We are also characterizing the spatial distribution of these receptors on nave human IgM expressing B cells and in IgG-expressing memory B cells.

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Akkaya, Munir; Traba, Javier; Roesler, Alexander S et al. (2018) Second signals rescue B cells from activation-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and death. Nat Immunol 19:871-884
Akkaya, Munir; Akkaya, Billur; Miozzo, Pietro et al. (2017) B Cells Produce Type 1 IFNs in Response to the TLR9 Agonist CpG-A Conjugated to Cationic Lipids. J Immunol 199:931-940
Akkaya, Billur; Miozzo, Pietro; Holstein, Amanda H et al. (2016) A Simple, Versatile Antibody-Based Barcoding Method for Flow Cytometry. J Immunol 197:2027-38
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Sohn, Hae Won; Pierce, Susan K; Tzeng, Shiang-Jong (2008) Live cell imaging reveals that the inhibitory FcgammaRIIB destabilizes B cell receptor membrane-lipid interactions and blocks immune synapse formation. J Immunol 180:793-9