In mice, generation of autoreactive CD5+ B cells occurs as a consequence of BCR signaling induced by (self)-ligand exposure from fetal/neonatal B-1 B cell development. A fraction of these cells self-renew and persist as a minor B1 B cell subset throughout life. Here, we show that transfer of early generated B1 B cells from Eμ-TC L1 transgenic mice resulted in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with a biased repertoire, including stereotyped BCRs. Thus, B1 B cells bearing restricted BCRs can become CLL during aging. Increased anti-thymocyte/Thy-1 autoreactive (ATA) BCR cells in the B1 B cell subset by transgenic expression yielded spontaneous ATA B-CLL/lymphoma incidence, enhanced by TC L1 transgenesis. In contrast, ATA B-CLL did not develop from other B cell subsets, even when the identical ATA BCR was expressed on a Thy-1 low/null background. Thus, both a specific BCR and B1 B cell context were important for CLL progression. Neonatal B1 B cells and their CLL progeny in aged mice continued to express moderately up-regulated c-Myc and down-regulated proapoptotic Bmf, unlike most mature B cells in the adult. Thus, there is a genetic predisposition inherent in B-1 development generating restricted BCRs and self-renewal capacity, with both features contributing to potential for progression to CLL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas