Affinity maturation of the immune response and the generation of long-lived bone marrow (BM) plasma cells are hallmarks of CD40-dependent, thymus-dependent (TD) humoral immunity. Through disruption of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 6 (TRAF6)-binding site within the CD40 cytoplasmic domain, we selectively ablated affinity maturation and the generation of plasma cells after immunization. Mutagenesis of both the TRAF6 and TRAF2-TRAF3 sites was essential for arresting germinal center formation in response to immunization. CD40-induced B cell proliferation and early immunoglobulin production occurred even when all TRAF sites were ablated. These studies show that specific CD40-TRAF associations control well defined aspects of humoral immunity. In addition, they define the roles that TRAF-dependent and TRAF-independent pathways play in regulating antigen-driven B cell differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy