Autoantibodies to chromatin and dsDNA are a hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In a mouse model of monogenic human SLE caused by DNASE1L3 deficiency, the anti-DNA response is dependent on endosomal nucleic acid-sensing TLRs TLR7 and TLR9. In this study, we report that this response also required TLR2, a surface receptor for microbial products that is primarily expressed on myeloid cells. Cell transfers into lymphopenic DNASE1L3-deficient mice showed that TLR2 was required for anti-DNA Ab production by lymphocytes. TLR2 was detectably expressed on B cells and facilitated the production of IL-6 by B cells activated in the presence of microbial products. Accordingly, treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics or Ab-mediated blockade of IL-6 delayed the anti-DNA response in DNASE1L3-deficient mice. These studies reveal an unexpected B cell–intrinsic role of TLR2 in systemic autoreactivity to DNA, and they suggest that microbial products may synergize with self-DNA in the activation of autoreactive B cells in SLE.

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