Abnormal Peyer patch development and B-cell gut homing drive IgA deficiency in Kabuki syndrome

Genay O. Pilarowski, Tareian Cazares, Li Zhang, Joel S. Benjamin, Ke Liu, Sajjeev Jagannathan, Nadeem Mousa, Jennifer Kasten, Artem Barski, Andrew W. Lindsley, Hans T. Bjornsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Kabuki syndrome (KS) is commonly caused by mutations in the histone-modifying enzyme lysine methyltransferase 2D (KMT2D). Immune dysfunction is frequently observed in individuals with KS, but the role of KMT2D in immune system function has not been identified. Objective: We sought to understand the mechanisms driving KS-associated immune deficiency (hypogammaglobulinemia [low IgA], splenomegaly, and diminished immunization responses). Methods: We performed a comprehensive evaluation of humoral immunity and secondary lymphoid tissues in an established KS (Kmt2d+/βGeo) mouse model and validated select findings in a patient with KS. Results: Compared with wild-type littermates, Kmt2d+/βGeo mice demonstrated deficiencies in multiple B-cell lineages and reduced serum IgA and elevated IgM levels across multiple ages. The bone marrow, spleen, and intestine of Kmt2d+/βGeo mice contained diminished numbers of IgA-secreting cells, while elevated germinal center B cells were found in the mesenteric lymph node and Peyer patches. Kmt2d+/βGeo mice have decreased size and numbers of Peyer patches, a finding confirmed in human samples. We identified deficiency of Itgb7 RNA and protein expression, a gene encoding an adhesion protein that mediates intestinal homing, and we demonstrated KMT2D-dependent control of ITGB7 expression in a human cell line. Conclusions: Kmt2d haploinsufficiency has broad deleterious effects on B-cell differentiation, specifically hampering gut lymphocyte homing and IgA+ plasma cell differentiation. Intestinal lymphoid defects caused by ITGB7 deficiency have not previously been recognized in KS, and these results provide new mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of KS-associated immune deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-992
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • B-cell maturation
  • B1 B cells
  • ITGB7
  • IgA
  • KMT2D
  • epigenetics
  • gut lymphocyte homing
  • hypogammaglobulinemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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