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Regulation of humoral immune response by HIF-1α-dependent metabolic reprogramming of the germinal center reaction

Li, L;Feng, C;Qin, J;Li, D;Liu, M;Han, S;Zheng, B;

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) has been implicated in the regulation of many genes responsible for aerobic glycolysis; however, the role of HIF-1α in B-cell metabolism has not been well defined. Here, we analyzed patterns of gene expression and oxygen consumption rates in B-cell subpopulations from humans and mice and described a model of HIF-1α-mediated B-cell metabolic reprogramming during the germinal center (GC) reaction. Importantly, we found that HIF-1α was highly expressed in GC B-cells, and HIF-1α deficiency in B-cells impaired a functional GC reaction, resulting in defective class-switch recombination and generation of high-affinity plasma cells. These results identified an important role of HIF-1α in regulating humoral immunity through metabolic reprogramming during the GC response. This newly discovered metabolic character of GC B-cells will advance our understanding of GC biology and B-cell lymphomagenesis.