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TRAF6 and TRAF2/3 Binding Motifs in CD40 Differentially Regulate B Cell Function in T-Dependent Antibody Responses and Dendritic Cell Function in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

Lu, Y;Chiang, J;Zhang, R;Roche, PA;Hodes, RJ;

Expression of the costimulatory molecule CD40 on both B cells and dendritic cells (DCs) is required for induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and cell-autonomous CD40 expression on B cells is required for primary T-dependent (TD) Ab responses. We now ask whether the function of CD40 expressed by different cell types in these responses is mediated by the same or different cytoplasmic domains. CD40 has been reported to possess multiple cytoplasmic domains, including distinct TRAF6 and TRAF2/3 binding motifs. To elucidate the in vivo function of these motifs in B cells and DCs involved in EAE and TD germinal center responses, we have generated knock-in mice containing distinct CD40 cytoplasmic domain TRAF-binding site mutations and have used these animals, together with bone marrow chimeric mice, to assess the roles that these motifs play in CD40 function. We found that both TRAF2/3 and TRAF6 motifs of CD40 are critically involved in EAE induction and demonstrated that this is mediated by a role of both motifs for priming of pathogenic T cells by DCs. In contrast, the TRAF2/3 binding motif, but not the TRAF6 binding motif, is required for B cell CD40 function in TD high-affinity Ab responses. These data demonstrate that the requirements for expression of specific TRAF-binding CD40 motifs differ for B cells or DCs that function in specific immune responses and thus identify targets for intervention to modulate these responses.