B cells contribute to multiple aspects of autoimmune disorders and may play a role in triggering disease. Thus, targeting B cells may be a promising strategy for treating autoimmune disorders. Better understanding of the B cell subsets that are responsible for the development of autoimmunity will be critical for developing efficient therapies. Here we have reported that B cells expressing the transcription factor T-bet promote the rapid appearance of autoantibodies and germinal centers in spontaneous murine models of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Conditional deletion of T-bet from B cells impaired the formation of germinal centers and mitigated the development of kidney damage and rapid mortality in SLE mice. B cell–specific deletion of T-bet was also associated with lower activation of both B cells and T cells. Taken together, our results suggest that targeting T-bet–expressing B cells may be a potential target for therapy for autoimmune diseases.
Kira Rubtsova, Anatoly V. Rubtsov, Joshua M. Thurman, Johanna M. Mennona, John W. Kappler, Philippa Marrack
T-bet expression in B cells is required for the formation of spontaneous GCs, but is dispensable for the formation GCs following deliberate immunization.