Staphylococcal protein A induces biased production of Ig by VH3-expressing B lymphocytes
Staphylococcal Protein A
Staphylococcal protein A (SPA) is known to bind preferentially to the VH3 family of Ig heavy chain variable gene products. The current studies were conducted to examine the functional capacity of SPA to induce Ig production by VH3-expressing human B cells preferentially. Human peripheral blood B cells stimulated with anti-CD3-activated T cells or the Wood 46 strain of Staphylococcus aureus, which lacks SPA, expressed IgM containing all VH families, as detected by reverse transcription-PCR. In contrast, stimulation with SPA containing S. aureus or SPA-Sepharose resulted in biased expression of VH3 containing IgM. Similarly, cord blood B cells that require costimulation for Ig production induced by anti-CD3-activated T cells produced only VH3 containing IgM on costimulation with SPA containing S. aureus. The sequences of 21 VH3 IgM gene products derived from different B cell sources were determined and found to include at least nine members of the VH3 family, which were both in germ-line configuration and somatically mutated. Use of DH and JH was diverse. Analysis of these VH3 gene products revealed conserved residues in FR1 and 3'CDR2/FR3, which are candidates to play a role in SPA-mediated activation of VH3-expressing B cells. Like T cell superantigens, SPA probably interacts with residues in the partially solvent exposed regions of the heavy chain molecule outside the classical Ag binding site and provides a signal that can lead to Ig production by human B cells expressing VH3.