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J Immunol. 2003 Jan 1;170(1):73-83.

CD19 function in early and late B cell development: I. Maintenance of follicular and marginal zone B cells requires CD19-dependent survival signals.

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  • 1Division of Biology and University of California, San Diego Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0322, USA.


Loss of membrane-bound Ig results in the rapid onset of apoptosis in recirculating B cells. This observation implies that a competent B cell receptor (BCR) is not only required for Ag-dependent differentiation, but also for continued survival in the peripheral immune system. Expression of the B cell coreceptor, CD19, is likewise essential for key B cell differentiative events including the formation of B-1, germinal center, and marginal zone (MZ) B cells. In this study, we report that CD19 also exerts a role before Ag encounter by promoting the survival of naive recirculating B cells. This aspect of CD19 signaling was first suggested by the analysis of mixed bone marrow chimeras, wherein CD19-/- B cells fail to effectively compete with wild-type B cells to reconstitute the peripheral B cell compartment. Consistent with this observation, Bromodeoxyuridine- and CFSE-labeling studies reveal a shorter in vivo life span for CD19-/- B cells vs their wild-type counterparts. Moreover, we find that CD19 is necessary for propagation of BCR-induced survival signals and thus may contribute to homeostatic mechanisms of tonic signaling. To determine whether provision of a constitutive survival signal could compensate for the loss of CD19 in vivo, Bcl-2-transgenic mice were bred onto the CD19-/- background. Here, we observe an increase in follicular B cell numbers and selective recovery of the MZ B cell compartment. Together these findings suggest that maintenance of the follicular and MZ B cell compartments require CD19-dependent survival signals.

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