The Gs protein-coupled A2a adenosine receptor controls T cell help in the germinal center

Robert K. Abbott, Murillo Silva, Jasmine Labuda, Molly Thayer, Derek W. Cain, Phaethon Philbrook, Shalini Sethumadhavan, Stephen Hatfield, Akio Ohta, Michail Sitkovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


T follicular helper (TFH) cells have been shown to be critically required for the germinal center (GC) reaction where B cells undergo class switch recombination and clonal selection to generate high affinity neutralizing antibodies. However, detailed knowledge of the physiological cues within the GC microenvironment that regulate T cell help is limited. The cAMP-elevating, Gs proteincoupled A2a adenosine receptor (A2aR) is an evolutionarily conserved receptor that limits and redirects cellular immunity. However, the role of A2aR in humoral immunity and B cell differentiation is unknown.Wehypothesized that the hypoxic microenvironment within the GC facilitates an extracellular adenosinerich milieu, which serves to limit TFH frequency and function, and also promotes immunosuppressive T follicular regulatory cells (TFR). In support of this hypothesis, we found that following immunization, mice lacking A2aR (A2aRKO) exhibited a significant expansion of T follicular cells, as well as increases in TFH to TFR ratio, GCT cell frequency, GCB cell frequency, and class switching of GCB cells to IgG1. Transfer of CD4 T cells from A2aRKO or wild type donors into T cell-deficient hosts revealed that these increases were largely T cell-intrinsic. Finally, injection of A2aR agonist, CGS21680, following immunization suppressedTfollicular differentiation, GC B cell frequency, and class switching of GC B cells to IgG1. Taken together, these observations point to a previously unappreciated role of GS protein-coupled A2aR in regulating humoral immunity, whichmaybe pharmacologically targeted during vaccination or pathological states in which GC-derived autoantibodies contribute to the pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1217
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 27 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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