Activated CARD11 accelerates germinal center kinetics, promoting mTORC1 and terminal differentiation

Michelle N. Wray‑Dutra, Raghav Chawla, Kerri R. Thomas, Brenda J. Seymour, Tanvi Arkatkar, Karen M. Sommer, Socheath Khim, Cole Trapnell, Richard G. James, David J. Rawlings
Journal of Experimental Medicine (2018)


Activating mutations in the adapter protein CARD11 associated with diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCLs) are predicted to arise during germinal center (GC) responses, leading to inappropriate activation of NF-κB signaling. Here, we modeled the B cell–intrinsic impact of the L251P activating mutation in CARD11 (aCARD11) on the GC response. Global B cell aCARD11 expression led to a modest increase in splenic B cells and a severe reduction in B1 B cell numbers, respectively. Following T cell–dependent immunization, aCARD11 cells exhibited increased rates of GC formation, resolution, and differentiation. Restriction of aCARD11 to GC B cells similarly altered the GC response and B cell differentiation. In this model, aCARD11 promoted dark zone skewing along with increased cycling, AID levels, and class switch recombination. Furthermore, aCard11 GC B cells displayed increased biomass and mTORC1 signaling, suggesting a novel strategy for targeting aCARD11-driven DLBCL. While aCARD11 potently impacts GC responses, the rapid GC contraction suggests it requires collaboration with events that limit terminal differentiation to promote lymphoma.