Bone morphogenetic proteins inhibit CD40L/IL-21-induced Ig production in human B cells: differential effects of BMP-6 and BMP-7.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the TGF-β superfamily. TGF-β can affect class switch recombination in human B cells, but whether BMPs also play a role have not been tested. We investigated the functional effects of exogenously added BMPs on CD27(-) naive and CD27(+) memory B cells from healthy donors. BMP-2, -4, -6 and -7 inhibited CD40L/IL-21-induced production of IgM, IgG and IgA. BMP-6 reduced Ig production by 70% in memory B cells and more than 55% in naive B cells, whereas the other BMPs were slightly less potent. We observed a striking difference in functional effects between the structurally similar BMP-6 and BMP-7, as BMP-6 mainly inhibited plasmablast differentiation, and BMP-7 mainly induced apoptosis. In memory B cells, BMP-6 upregulated expression of DNA-binding protein inhibitor genes, but potently inhibited CD40L/IL-21-induced upregulation of the transcription factor XBP1, necessary for the late stages of plasmacytic differentiation. Expression of transcription factors regulating earlier stages (IRF4, PRDM1) was not affected by BMP-6. Taken together, these results show that BMPs are potent suppressors of naive and memory B cells.

DOI: 10.1002/eji.201141558