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B1a B cells require autophagy for metabolic homeostasis and self-renewal

By Alexander J Clarke, Thomas Riffelmacher, Daniel Braas, Richard J Cornall, Anna Katharina Simon

Posted 28 Dec 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/240523 (published DOI: 10.1084/jem.20170771)

Specific metabolic programs are activated by immune cells to fulfill their functional roles, which include adaptations to their microenvironment. B1 B cells are tissue-resident, innate-like B cells. They have many distinct properties, such as the capacity to self-renew and the ability to rapidly respond to a limited repertoire of epitopes. The metabolic pathways that support these functions are unknown. We show that B1 B cells are bioenergetically more active than B2 B cells, with higher rates of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and depend on glycolysis. They acquire exogenous fatty acids, and store lipids in droplet form. Autophagy is differentially activated in B1a B cells, and deletion of the autophagy gene Atg7 leads to a selective loss of B1a B cells due to a failure of self-renewal. Autophagy-deficient B1a B cells downregulate critical metabolic genes and accumulate dysfunctional mitochondria. B1 B cells therefore, have evolved a distinct metabolism adapted to their residence and specific functional properties.

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