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J Immunol. 2002 May 1;168(9):4344-51.

Transmodulation of BCR signaling by transduction-incompetent antigen receptors: implications for impaired signaling in anergic B cells.

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Integrated Department of Immunology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO 80206, USA.


B cell tolerance can be maintained by functional inactivation, or anergy, wherein B cell Ag receptors (BCR) remain capable of binding Ag, but are unable to transduce signals. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying this unresponsiveness are unknown, some models of B cell anergy are characterized by disruption of proximal BCR signaling events, and by destabilization of the BCR complex. Receptor destabilization is manifest by a reduced ability to coimmunoprecipitate membrane Ig with the Ig-alpha/Ig-beta signal-transducing complex. To begin to explore the possibility that anergy is the consequence of receptor destabilization, we analyzed a panel of B lymphoma transfectants expressing constant amounts of signal-competent Ag receptors and varied amounts of a receptor with identical specificity, but bearing mutations that render it incapable of interacting with Ig-alpha/Ig-beta. This analysis revealed that coaggregation of signal-incompetent receptors prevented Ag-induced Ig-alpha and Syk phosphorylation, mobilization of Ca(2+), and the up-regulation of CD69 mediated by competent receptors. In contrast, Ag-induced Cbl and Erk phosphorylation were unaffected. Data indicate that coaggregation of destabilized receptors (as few as approximately 15% of total) with signal-competent receptors significantly affects the ability of competent receptors to transduce signals. Thus, BCR destabilization may underlie the Ag unresponsiveness of anergic B cells.

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