B1a B cells require autophagy for metabolic homeostasis and self-renewal
Clarke A., Riffelmacher T., Braas D., Cornall R., Simon AK.
Abstract Specific metabolic programs are activated by immune cells to fulfil their functional roles, which include adaptations to their microenvironment. B1 B cells are tissue-resident, innate-like B cells. They have many distinct properties, such as the capacity to self-renew and the ability to rapidly respond to a limited repertoire of epitopes. The metabolic pathways that support these functions are unknown. We show that B1 B cells are bioenergetically more active than B2 B cells, with higher rates of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, and depend on glycolysis. They acquire exogenous fatty acids, and store lipids in droplet form. Autophagy is differentially activated in B1a B cells, and deletion of the autophagy gene Atg7 leads to a selective loss of B1a B cells due to a failure of self-renewal. Autophagy-deficient B1a B cells downregulate critical metabolic genes and accumulate dysfunctional mitochondria. B1 B cells therefore, have evolved a distinct metabolism adapted to their residence and specific functional properties.