Genetic timestamping of plasma cells in vivo reveals tissue-specific homeostatic population turnoverMore about Open Access at the Crick
Plasma cells (PC)s are essential for protection from infection, and at the origin of incurable cancers. Current studies do not circumvent limitations of removing PCs from their microenvironment and confound formation and maintenance. Also, the investigation of PC population dynamics has mostly relied on nucleotide analog incorporation that does not label quiescent cells, a property of most PCs. A main impediment is the lack of tools to perform specific genetic manipulation in vivo. Here we characterize a genetic tool (JchaincreERT2) in the mouse that permits first-ever specific genetic manipulation in PCs in vivo, across immunoglobulin isotypes. Using this tool, we found that splenic and bone marrow PC numbers remained constant over-time with the decay in genetically labelled PCs being compensated by unlabeled PCs, supporting homeostatic population turnover in these tissues. The JchaincreERT2 tool paves the way for in-depth mechanistic understanding of PC biology and pathology in vivo, in their microenvironment.