Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by B cell dysregulation and breaks in tolerance that lead to the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. We performed single-cell RNA sequencing of B cells from healthy donors and individuals with SLE which revealed upregulated CD52 expression in SLE patients. We further demonstrate that SLE patients exhibit significantly increased levels of B cell surface CD52 expression and plasma soluble CD52, and levels of soluble CD52 positively correlate with measures of lupus disease activity. Using CD52-deficient JeKo-1 cells, we show that cells lacking surface CD52 expression are hyperresponsive to B cell receptor (BCR) signaling, suggesting an inhibitory role for the surface-bound protein. In healthy donor B cells, antigen-specific BCR-activation initiated CD52 cleavage in a phospholipase C dependent manner, significantly reducing cell surface levels. Experiments with recombinant CD52-Fc showed that soluble CD52 inhibits BCR signaling in a manner partially-dependent on Siglec-10. Moreover, incubation of unstimulated B cells with CD52-Fc resulted in the reduction of surface immunoglobulin and CXCR5. Prolonged incubation of B cells with CD52 resulted in the expansion of IgD+IgMlo anergic B cells. In summary, our findings suggest that CD52 functions as a homeostatic protein on B cells, by inhibiting responses to BCR signaling. Further, our data demonstrate that CD52 is cleaved from the B cell surface upon antigen engagement, and can suppress B cell function in an autocrine and paracrine manner. We propose that increased expression of CD52 by B cells in SLE represents a homeostatic mechanism to suppress B cell hyperactivity.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2020.626820
View details for PubMedID 33658999
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7917337