T and B cell compartmentalization is a hallmark of secondary lymphoid organs and is maintained by chemokine-expressing stromal cells. How this stromal cell network initially develops and differentiates into two distinct subsets is poorly known, especially for the splenic white pulp (WP). Here, we show that perivascular fibroblast precursors are triggered by LTα1β2 signals to expand, express CCL19/21, and then differentiate into two functionally distinct fibroblast subsets responsible for B and T cell clustering and WP compartmentalization. Failure to express or sense CCL19 leads to impaired T zone development, while lack of B cells or LTα1β2 leads to an earlier and stronger impairment in WP development. We therefore propose that WP development proceeds in multiple steps, with LTα1β2+ B cells acting as major inducer cells driving the expansion and gradual differentiation of perivascular fibroblasts into T and B zone organizer cells. Schaeuble et al. describe the postnatal development and compartmentalization of splenic white pulp cords in mice, with an emphasis on stromal organizer cells. These cells are identified as fibroblasts that, upon interaction with LTα1β2+ B cells, differentiate into two subsets that cluster T and B cells into separate compartments.
- LTi cells
- fibroblast heterogeneity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)