Epigenetic Plasticity Enables CNS-Trafficking of EBV-infectedB Lymphocytes

Soldan S. S. et al.

Subpopulations of B-lymphocytes traffic to different sites and organs to provide diverse and tissue-specific functions. Here, we provide evidence that epigenetic differences confer a neuroinvasive phenotype. An EBV+ B cell lymphoma cell line (M14) with low frequency trafficking to the CNS was neuroadapted to generate a highly neuroinvasive B-cell population (MUN14). MUN14 B cells efficiently infiltrated the CNS within one week and produced neurological pathologies. We compared the gene expression profiles of viral and cellular genes using RNA-Seq and identified one viral (EBNA1) and several cellular gene candidates, including secreted phosphoprotein 1/osteopontin (SPP1/OPN), neuron navigator 3 (NAV3), CXCR4, and germinal center-associated signaling and motility protein (GCSAM) that were selectively upregulated in MUN14. ATAC-Seq and ChIP-qPCR revealed that these gene expression changes correlated with epigenetic changes at gene regulatory elements. The neuroinvasive phenotype could be attenuated with a neutralizing antibody to OPN, confirming the functional role of this protein in trafficking EBV+ B cells to the CNS. These studies indicate that B-cell trafficking to the CNS can be acquired by epigenetic adaptations and provide a new model to study B-cell neuroinvasion associated CNS lymphoma and autoimmune disease of the CNS, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

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June, 2021


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