Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

Immunoglobulin expression in the endoplasmic reticulum shapes the metabolic fitness of B lymphocytes

Jumaa H, Caganova M, McAllister EJ, Hoenig L, He X, Saltukoglu D, Brenker K, Köhler M, Leben R, Hauser AE, Niesner R, Rajewsky K, Reth M, Jellusova J

Life Sci Alliance. 2020;3(6). pii: e202000700.

Life Sci Alliance.                  online article

The major function of B lymphocytes is to sense antigens and to produce protective antibodies after activation. This function requires the expression of a B-cell antigen receptor (BCR), and evolutionary conserved mechanisms seem to exist that ensure that B cells without a BCR do not develop nor survive in the periphery. Here, we show that the loss of BCR expression on Burkitt lymphoma cells leads to decreased mitochondrial function and impaired metabolic flexibility. Strikingly, this phenotype does not result from the absence of a classical Syk-dependent BCR signal but rather from compromised ER expansion. We show that the reexpression of immunoglobulins (Ig) in the absence of the BCR signaling subunits Igα and Igβ rescues the observed metabolic defects. We demonstrate that immunoglobulin expression is needed to maintain ER homeostasis not only in lymphoma cells but also in resting B cells. Our study provides evidence that the expression of BCR components, which is sensed in the ER and shapes mitochondrial function, represents a novel mechanism of metabolic control in B cells.