The guanine-nucleotide exchange factor Vav is a crucial regulator of B cell receptor activation and B cell responses to nonrepetitive antigens.
Bachmann MF., Nitschke L., Krawczyk C., Tedford K., Ohashi PS., Fischer KD., Penninger JM.
The proto-oncogene product Vav is required for receptor clustering, proliferation, and differentiation of T cells, and Vav was identified as a substrate in the TCR and B cell receptor signaling pathway. The role of Vav in B cell responses to Ag challenge in vivo is not known. In this study, we show that Vav regulates B cell proliferation following in vitro activation of Ag receptors, but Vav has no apparent role in CD40-, IL-4-, or LPS-induced B cell activation. Increased degrees of Ag receptor cross-linking can partially reverse the proliferative defect in the anti-IgM response of vav-/- B cells. In vivo, vav-/- mice mounted protective antiviral IgM and IgG responses to infections with vesicular stomatitis virus and recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein, which harbor repetitive surface epitopes that directly cross-link the Ag receptor and activate B cells in the absence of T cell help. vav-/- B cells also responded normally to the polyvalent, repetitive hapten Ag trinitrophenyl (TNP)-Ficoll that effectively cross-links B cell receptors. However, vav-/- mice failed to mount immune responses to the nonrepetitive, T cell-dependent hapten Ag (4-hydroxy-5-iodo-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl (NIP)-OVA. These results provide the first genetic evidence on the role of the guanine exchange factor Vav in immune responses to viral infections and antigenic challenge in vivo, and suggest that Vav adjusts the threshold for Ag receptor-mediated B cell activation depending on the nature of the Ag.