Dysregulated PI3K Signaling in B Cells of CVID Patients

Ina Harder, Matthias Münchhalfen, Geoffroy Andrieux, Melanie Boerries, Bodo Grimbacher, Hermann Eibel, Maria Elena Maccari, Stephan Ehl, Jürgen Wienands, Julia Jellusova, Klaus Warnatz, Baerbel Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The altered wiring of signaling pathways downstream of antigen receptors of T and B cells contributes to the dysregulation of the adaptive immune system, potentially causing immunodeficiency and autoimmunity. In humans, the investigation of such complex systems benefits from nature’s experiments in patients with genetically defined primary immunodeficiencies. Disturbed B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling in a subgroup of common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) patients with immune dysregulation and expanded T-bethighCD21low B cells in peripheral blood has been previously reported. Here, we investigate PI3K signaling and its targets as crucial regulators of survival, proliferation and metabolism by intracellular flow cytometry, imaging flow cytometry and RNAseq. We observed increased basal but disturbed BCR-induced PI3K signaling, especially in T-bethighCD21low B cells from CVID patients, translating into impaired activation of crucial downstream molecules and affecting proliferation, survival and the metabolic profile. In contrast to CVID, increased basal activity of PI3K in patients with a gain-of-function mutation in PIK3CD and activated PI3K delta syndrome (APDS) did not result in impaired BCR-induced AKT-mTOR-S6 phosphorylation, highlighting that signaling defects in B cells in CVID and APDS patients are fundamentally different and that assessing responses to BCR stimulation is an appropriate confirmative diagnostic test for APDS. The active PI3K signaling in vivo may render autoreactive T-bethighCD21low B cells in CVID at the same time to be more sensitive to mTOR or PI3K inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number464
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • APDS
  • B cells
  • BCR signaling
  • CD21 B cells
  • CVID
  • FOXO1
  • Immune dysregulation
  • MTOR
  • PI3K
  • S6


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