Proteogenomic analysis of the autoreactive B cell repertoire in blood and tissues of patients with Sjögren's syndrome

Mathijs G.A. Broeren, Jing J. Wang, Giulia Balzaretti, Patricia J.T.A. Groenen, Barbera D.C. van Schaik, Tim Chataway, Charlotte Kaffa, Sander Bervoets, Konnie M. Hebeda, Gergana Bounova, Ger J.M. Pruijn, Thomas P. Gordon, Niek De Vries, Rogier M. Thurlings

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OBJECTIVE: To comparatively analyse the aberrant affinity maturation of the antinuclear and rheumatoid factor (RF) B cell repertoires in blood and tissues of patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SjS) using an integrated omics workflow. METHODS: Peptide sequencing of anti-Ro60, anti-Ro52, anti-La and RF was combined with B cell repertoire analysis at the DNA, RNA and single cell level in blood B cell subsets, affected salivary gland and extranodal marginal zone lymphomas of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) of patients with SjS. RESULTS: Affected tissues contained anti-Ro60, anti-Ro52, anti-La and RF clones as a small part of a polyclonal infiltrate. Anti-Ro60, anti-La and anti-Ro52 clones outnumbered RF clones. MALT lymphoma tissues contained monoclonal RF expansions. Autoreactive clones were not selected from a restricted repertoire in a circulating B cell subset. The antinuclear antibody (ANA) repertoires displayed similar antigen-dependent and immunoglobulin (Ig) G1-directed affinity maturation. RF clones displayed antigen-dependent, IgM-directed and more B cell receptor integrity-dependent affinity maturation. This coincided with extensive intra-clonal diversification in RF-derived lymphomas. Regeneration of clinical disease manifestations after rituximab coincided with large RF clones, which not necessarily belonged to the lymphoma clone, that displayed continuous affinity maturation and intra-clonal diversification. CONCLUSION: The ANA and RF repertoires in patients with SjS display tissue-restricted, antigen-dependent and divergent affinity maturation. Affinity maturation of RF clones deviates further during RF clone derived lymphomagenesis and during regeneration of the autoreactive repertoire after temporary disruption by rituximab. These data give insight into the molecular mechanisms of autoreactive inflammation in SjS, assist MALT lymphoma diagnosis and allow tracking its response to rituximab.

Original languageEnglish
Article number221604
Pages (from-to)644-652
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the rheumatic diseases
Issue number5
Early online date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • autoantibodies
  • autoimmunity
  • B-lymphocytes
  • Sjogren's syndrome


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