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Cholesterol metabolism drives regulatory B cell IL-10 through provision of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number3412
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Early online date8 Jul 2020
Accepted/In press4 Jun 2020
E-pub ahead of print8 Jul 2020
Published8 Jul 2020


King's Authors


Regulatory B cells restrict immune and inflammatory responses across a number of contexts. This capacity is mediated primarily through the production of IL-10. Here we demonstrate that the induction of a regulatory program in human B cells is dependent on a metabolic priming event driven by cholesterol metabolism. Synthesis of the metabolic intermediate geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP) is required to specifically drive IL-10 production, and to attenuate Th1 responses. Furthermore, GGPP-dependent protein modifications control signalling through PI3Kδ-AKT-GSK3, which in turn promote BLIMP1-dependent IL-10 production. Inherited gene mutations in cholesterol metabolism result in a severe autoinflammatory syndrome termed mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD). Consistent with our findings, B cells from MKD patients induce poor IL-10 responses and are functionally impaired. Moreover, metabolic supplementation with GGPP is able to reverse this defect. Collectively, our data define cholesterol metabolism as an integral metabolic pathway for the optimal functioning of human IL-10 producing regulatory B cells.

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