The persistence of serum IgG antibodies elicited in human infants is much shorter than when such responses are elicited later in life. The reasons for this rapid waning of antigen-specific antibodies elicited in infancy are yet unknown. We have recently shown that adoptively transferred tetanus toxoid (TT)-specific plas-mablasts (PBs) efficiently reach the bone marrow (BM) of infant mice. However, TT-specific PBs fail to persist in the early-life BM, suggesting that they fail to receive the molecular signals that support their survival/differentiation. Using a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL)-and B-cell activating factor (BAFF) El-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS)-deficient mice, we demonstrate here that APRIL is a critical factor for the establishment of the adult BM reservoir of anti-TT IgG-secreting cells. Through in vitro analyses of PB/plasma cell (PC) survival/differentiation, we show that APRIL induces the expression of Bcl-XL by a preferential binding to heparan sulfate proteoglycans at the surface of CD138+ cells. Last, we identify BM-resident macrophages as the main cells that provide survival signals to PBs and show that this function is slowly acquired in early life, in parallel to a progressive acquisition of APRIL expression. Altogether, this identifies APRIL as a critical signal for PB survival that is poorly expressed in the early-life BM compartment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology