The invariant chain (CD74), a chaperone in MHC class II-mediated Ag presentation, is sequentially processed by different endosomal proteases. We reported recently that clearance of the final membrane-bound N-terminal fragment (NTF) of CD74 is mediated by the intramembrane protease signal peptide peptidase-like (SPPL)2a, a process critical for B cell development. In mice, SPPL2a deficiency provokes the accumulation of this NTF in endocytic vesicles, which leads to a B cell maturation arrest at the transitional 1 stage. To define the underlying mechanism, we analyzed the impact of SPPL2a deficiency on signaling pathways involved in B cell homeostasis. We demonstrate that tonic as well as BCR-induced activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway is massively compromised in SPPL2a<sup>-/-</sup> B cells and identify this as major cause of the B cell maturation defect in these mice. Altered BCR trafficking induces a reduction of surface IgM in SPPL2a-deficient B cells, leading to a diminished signal transmission via the BCR and the tyrosine kinase Syk. We provide evidence that in SPPL2a<sup>-/-</sup> mice impaired BCR signaling is to a great extent provoked by the accumulating CD74 NTF, which can interact with the BCR and Syk, and that impaired PI3K/Akt signaling and reduced surface IgM are not directly linked processes. In line with disturbances in PI3K/Akt signaling, SPPL2a<sup>-/-</sup> B cells show a dysregulation of the transcription factor FOXO1, causing elevated transcription of proapoptotic genes. We conclude that SPPL2a-mediated processing of CD74 NTF is indispensable to maintain appropriate levels of tonic BCR signaling to promote B cell maturation
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