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Curr Biol. 1995 Oct 1;5(10):1140-8.

Pre-B-cell development in the absence of lambda 5 in transgenic mice expressing a heavy-chain disease protein.

Author information

1
Institut Cochin de Génétique Moléculaire, Unité INSERM 257, Paris, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Heavy-chain diseases (HCDs) are human lymphoproliferative neoplasias that are characterized by the secretion of truncated immunoglobulin heavy chains devoid of light chains. We have previously proposed--by analogy to the process by which mutated growth factor receptors can be oncogenic--that because the genetic defects in HCDs result in the production of abnormal membrane-associated heavy chains lacking an antigen-binding domain, these abnormal B-cell antigen receptors might engage in ligand-independent signalling. Normal pre-B-cell development requires the presence of the pre-B-cell receptor, formed by the association of mu heavy chains with two polypeptides--so-called surrogate light chains, Vpre-B and lambda 5--that are homologous to the variable and constant portions of immunoglobulin light chains, respectively. To assess whether amino-terminal truncation of membrane-associated heavy chains results in their constitutive activation, we have examined the ability of a HCD-associated mu protein to promote pre-B-cell development in transgenic mice.

RESULTS:

When the mu HCD transgene is introduced into SCID mice, CD43- pre-B cells develop normally. To determine whether this pre-B-cell development requires surrogate light chains, we backcrossed mice expressing full-length or truncated mu transgenes with lambda 5-deficient mice. Our results show that the truncated heavy chain, but not the normal chain, is able to promote pre-B-cell development in the absence of lambda 5. We also show that truncated mu chains spontaneously aggregate at the surface of bone marrow cells.

CONCLUSIONS:

Expression of the truncated mu heavy chain overrides a tightly controlled step of pre-B-cell development, which strongly suggests that a constitutive signal is delivered by the truncated mu chain disease protein. The self-aggregation of mu chain disease proteins might account for this constitutive activation. We conclude that amino-terminal truncation of heavy chains could play a role in the genesis of HCD neoplasia if it occurs at an appropriate stage of B-cell differentiation, namely in a mature B cell.

PMID:
8548286
DOI:
10.1016/s0960-9822(95)00230-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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