Immune cells regulate cell surface receptor expression during their maturation, activation, and motility. Although many of these receptors are regulated largely at the level of expression, protease-mediated ectodomain shedding represents an alternative means of refashioning the surface of immune cells. Shedding is largely attributed to a family of a disintegrin and metalloprotease domain (ADAM) metalloproteases, including ADAM17. Although ADAM17 is well known to contribute to the innate immune response, mainly by releasing TNF-α, much less is known about whether/how this metalloprotease regulates adaptive immunity. To determine whether ADAM17 contributes to regulating adaptive immune responses, we took advantage of ADAM17 hypomorphic (ADAM17(ex/ex)) mice, in which ADAM17 expression is reduced by 90-95% compared with wild-type littermates. In this study, we show that that ADAM17 deficiency results in spleen and lymph node enlargement, as well as increased levels of Ag-specific class-switched Ig production following immunization with OVA together with anti-CD40 mAbs and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid. Moreover, we demonstrate that the costimulatory ligand ICOS ligand (ICOSL) is selectively downregulated on the surface of B cells in an ADAM17-specific manner, although it is not proteolitically processed by recombinant ADAM17 in vitro. Finally, we show that higher cell surface levels of ICOSL in ADAM17(ex/ex) mice may contribute to the development of excessive Ab responses. Therefore, our data suggest a functional link between ADAM17 and ICOSL in controlling adaptive immune responses.
Journal of Immunology, 2014, Vol 193, Issue 6, p. 2753-63