Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is increasingly implicated in immune cell differentiation and function; however, direct in vivo evidence for such a role is still missing. In this article, we report that Twisted gastrulation (TWSG1), an extracellular regulator of BMP signaling, is expressed in activated B cells and regulates T-independent B cell responses in the mouse. Twsg1-deficient B cells mount stronger T-independent type 2 responses reflected as increased IgM levels and numbers of Ag-specific IgM-secreting cells. BCR stimulation of Twsg1-deficient B cells results in hyperproliferation, hyperresponsiveness, and decreased apoptosis, whereas TLR stimulation results in hyperproliferation and increased IgG3 production. These changes are reflected on the molecular level by increased transcription of Bcl-6, Pax5, and the BMP-responsive gene Id-2. The TWSG1 effects on B cells appear to be cell intrinsic, suggesting that Twsg1 expression in B cells serves to interpret BMP signals on a per-cell basis. In summary, our observations on the role of TWSG1 in B cell function is opening new paths toward the exploration of the role of BMP signaling in immunological processes.
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