Critical Role for CD81 in B Cell Activation.

Mrinmoy Sanyal, Rosemary Fernandez and Shoshana Levy


CD81 is a component of the CD19/CD21 signaling complex in B cells. CD81 was originally discovered as target of an anti-proliferative antibody in a human B cell lymphoma. However, the exact role of CD81 in B cell function is not known. Here we studied B cells from CD81 knockout mice. We demonstrate that upon BCR induction these B cells

  1. flux higher intracellular free calcium ion;

  2. increase the phosphorylation of BCR-related proximal and distal substrates and

  3. increase their proliferation. Similarly, polyclonal activation of CD81-deficient B cells with LPS induced increased proliferation and antibody secretion.

Consistent with these intrinsic B cell capabilities, CD81-deficient mice mounted significantly higher immune response upon antigenic stimulation. In addition, bone marrow perisinusoidal B cells (IgM+IgD+) capable of mounting T-independent immune responses against blood-borne pathogens were over represented in CD81-deficient mice. These cells also displayed increased calcium influx kinetics as splenic B cells and produced higher amounts of antibody after polyclonal stimulation. Taken together, these results suggest that CD81 is involved in suppressing B cell activation.