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Apoptosis. 2004 Sep;9(5):525-31.

Mechanisms of B cell receptor induced apoptosis.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, FIN-70211, Finland.


B cell receptor (BCR)-mediated apoptosis plays a key role in the negative selection (deletion) of autoreactive B cells. Mechanisms of BCR-mediated apoptosis have been widely studied in cell lines representing both immature (bone marrow) and mature (germinal center) B cells. However, there is much inconsistency and controversy concerning the possible mechanisms of BCR-mediated apoptosis, which may reflect differences in the origin or the maturational stage of the cell line used. Based on recent studies, collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential (Delta Psi m) seems to be an essential event for BCR-mediated apoptosis in both mature and immature cells. The collapse of Delta Psi m is dependent on the synthesis of new proteins, which are involved in the permeability change of mitochondrial membranes. Mitochondrial dysfunction induces activation of caspases, cysteine proteases, which play a central role in apoptosis. However, instead of caspases, other effector proteases, such as cathepsins or calpains, may also be responsible for the organized destruction of cell components seen during BCR-mediated apoptosis.

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