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The Role of the Pre-B Cell Receptor in B Cell Development, Repertoire Selection, and Tolerance

Review article
Authors T. H. Winkler
Inga-Lill Mårtensson
Published in Frontiers in Immunology
Volume 9
ISSN 1664-3224
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Language en
Keywords surrogate light chain, pre-B cells, B-cell development, allelic exclusion, VpreB, lambda-5, surrogate-light-chain, mouse bone-marrow, mu-heavy-chains, immunoglobulin heavy, allelic exclusion, surface expression, h-chain, targeted disruption, antibody repertoire, negative selection, Immunology, ang h, 1986, journal of experimental medicine, v163, p425, cker dj, 1991, journal of immunology, v146, p350
Subject categories Clinical immunology


Around four decades ago, it had been observed that there were cell lines as well as cells in the fetal liver that expressed antibody mu heavy (mu H) chains in the apparent absence of bona fide light chains. It was thus possible that these cells expressed another molecule(s), that assembled with mu H chains. The ensuing studies led to the discovery of the pre-B cell receptor (pre-BCR), which is assembled from Ig mu H and surrogate light (SL) chains, together with the signaling molecules Ig a and beta. It is expressed on a fraction of pro-B (pre-BI) cells and most large pre-B(II) cells, and has been implicated in IgH chain allelic exclusion and down-regulation of the recombination machinery, assessment of the expressed mu H chains and shaping the IgH repertoire, transition from the pro-B to pre-B stage, pre-B cell expansion, and cessation.

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