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Immunity. 2001 Oct;15(4):521-31.

Pre-B cell receptor signaling mediates selective response to IL-7 at the pro-B to pre-B cell transition via an ERK/MAP kinase-dependent pathway.

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Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, Departments of Immunology and Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


B lymphocyte development is regulated at multiple checkpoints, mediated by signals originating both inside and outside the cell. Two signaling pathways known to be essential in this process are interleukin-7 (IL-7) and the pre-B cell receptor (pBCR). We have shown previously that these signaling pathways intersect functionally. Specifically, response to low concentrations of IL-7 requires pBCR expression. In this report, we identify the ERK/MAP kinase pathway as a key regulatory component of this response. We propose a molecular mechanism for the selective expansion of pBCR(+) precursors and for the culling of inappropriately rearranged pro-B cells.

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