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J Immunol. 2009 Nov 1;183(9):5582-92. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0901187.

c-Myb is required for pro-B cell differentiation.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The c-Myb transcription factor is required for normal adult hematopoiesis. However, the embryonic lethality of Myb-null mutations has been an impediment to identifying roles for c-Myb during lymphocyte development. We have used tissue-specific inactivation of the Myb locus in early progenitor cells to demonstrate that c-Myb is absolutely required for the differentiation of CD19(+) B-lineage cells and B cell differentiation is profoundly blocked beyond the pre-pro-B cell stage in Myb(f/f) Mb1-cre mice. We demonstrate that c-Myb is required for the intrinsic survival of CD19(+) pro-B cells as well as the proper expression of the alpha-chain of the IL-7 receptor (CD127) and Ebf1. However, survival of c-Myb-deficient CD19(+) pro-B cells cannot be rescued by transduction with CD127-producing retrovirus, suggesting that c-Myb controls a survival pathway independent of CD127. Furthermore, c-Myb-deficient progenitor cells inefficiently generate CD19(+) B-lineage cells during stromal cell culture but this process can be partially rescued with exogenous Ebf1. Thus, c-Myb does not appear to be required for commitment to B cell differentiation but is crucial for B cell differentiation to the CD19(+) pro-B cell stage as well as survival of CD19(+) pro-B cells. Surprisingly, forced c-Myb expression in lymphoid-primed multipotent progenitors favors differentiation toward the myeloid lineage, suggesting that proper c-Myb expression is crucial for B-lineage development.

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