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Factors regulating the induction and development of B cell–mediated autoimmunity are not well understood. Here, we report that targeted deletion in murine B cells of X-linked Cosmc, encoding the chaperone required for expression of core 1 O-glycans, causes the spontaneous development of autoimmune pathologies due to a breakdown of B cell tolerance. BC-CosmcKO mice display multiple phenotypic abnormalities, including severe weight loss, ocular manifestations, lymphadenopathy, and increased female-associated mortality. Disruption of B cell tolerance in BC-CosmcKO mice is manifested as elevated self-reactive IgM and IgG autoantibodies. Cosmc-deficient B cells exhibit enhanced basal activation and responsiveness to stimuli. There is also an elevated frequency of spontaneous germinal center B cells in BC-CosmcKO mice. Mechanistically, loss of Cosmc confers enhanced B cell receptor (BCR) signaling through diminished BCR internalization. The results demonstrate that Cosmc, through control of core 1 O-glycans, is a previously unidentified immune checkpoint gene in maintaining B cell tolerance.

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Copyright © 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.