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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Roles of IgH and L chains and of surrogate H and L chains in the development of cells of the B lymphocyte lineage.

Proteins expressed from productively rearranged H and L chain gene loci have been implied in the regulation of Ig gene rearrangements during B lymphopoiesis. However, recent findings suggest that early B cell development can occur without expression of surrogate L chain, without deposition of microH chains into membranes, without productive H chain gene rearrangements, and even without any rearrangements of Ig gene loci. In bone marrow, 2-5% of all B220-, sIgM-, c-kit+ cells are pro B cells that undergo differentiation from B220- via B220+, c-kit+, CD43+, clonable long-term proliferating pre B-I cells to B220+, c-kit-, CD43-, IL-2 receptor+ pre B-II cells and immature B cells, only to die by apoptosis in situ within less than 4 days. A membrane-bound complex of surrogate H chain (gp130/gp35-65) and surrogate L chain expressed on pro B and pre B-I cells has apparently no influence on this early development. Pre B-I cells carrying DHJH-rearrangements in reading frame (rf) II are counter-selected, probably because they can express an Ig-like complex of truncated DHJHC mu-protein and surrogate L chain, while pre B-I cells DHJH-rearranged in rf I or III are not suppressed. Immature sIg+ B cells, also from bcl-2 transgenic mice, can continue to rearrange L chain gene loci. Thus, mere membrane deposition of Ig, even with concomitant expression of bcl-2, terminates neither expression of RAG-1 and 2, nor secondary L chain gene rearrangements, nor does it allow the development of mature B cells. Membrane-bound expression of an Ig-like complex of microH chains and surrogate L chains appears to be needed to generate the 50-70 million pre B-II cells in bone marrow. However, the membrane-bound expression of Ig is mandatory for negative and positive selection of immature B cells. Autoantigens delete or anergize self-reactive B cells. We speculate that all mature, resting, primary antigen-reactive B cells in the periphery have been selected from immature sIg+ B cells by unknown antigens and have, thereby, changed their lifestyle from rapid death by apoptosis to longevity.[1]


  1. Roles of IgH and L chains and of surrogate H and L chains in the development of cells of the B lymphocyte lineage. Melchers, F., Haasner, D., Grawunder, U., Kalberer, C., Karasuyama, H., Winkler, T., Rolink, A.G. Annu. Rev. Immunol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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