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Immunol Rev. 2000 Aug;176:86-104.

Immunobiology of the immature B cell: plasticity in the B-cell antigen receptor-induced response fine tunes negative selection.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


The immature and transitional immature B-cell stages define an important window in B-cell development, as it is at this point that cells committed to the B-cell lineage first express the clonotypic B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) and cells expressing self-reactive specificities may be identified and eliminated. The intrinsic susceptibility of the immature B cell to negative selection following BCR engagement distinguishes these cells functionally from mature-stage B cells in which BCR cross-linking leads to activation. Our laboratory has been interested in determining the molecular events responsible for the distinct and disparate responses of immature and mature B cells to antigen receptor signaling in order to understand the molecular basis of negative selection of developing B cells. These studies have indicated that developmentally regulated mechanisms, intrinsic to the B cell, regulate the differential responsiveness of the immature and mature stage B cell to antigen. However, the "hard-wired" BCR-induced apoptotic response of the immature B cell can be modified by the microenvironmental context in which the antigen is encountered. This plasticity fine tunes the BCR-induced response of the immature B cell by regulating the mechanism of negative selection and, under defined circumstances, allowing for recruitment into an immune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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