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J Immunol. 1997 Jul 1;159(1):231-43.

B cell antigen receptor desensitization: disruption of receptor coupling to tyrosine kinase activation.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, CO 80206, USA.


Antigen binding to the B cell receptor (BCR) induces receptor desensitization, a condition characterized by cellular unresponsiveness to subsequent Ag stimulation despite the continued ability to bind Ag. To better understand the molecular mechanism of this unresponsiveness, we have used complementary lymphoma (K46 mu) and Ig transgenic (3-83 mu delta) mouse models to study regulation of BCR signaling. Our findings in the lymphoma model show that an initial Ag encounter renders receptors unresponsive to subsequent Ag challenge, as measured by their inability to mobilize Ca2+ and to mediate phosphorylation of receptor-proximal kinases, including Lyn, Blk, and Syk. Most importantly, the Ig alpha and Ig beta components of desensitized receptors are not phosphorylated, and receptor-associated kinases are not activated upon Ag challenge. The molecular defect does not appear to result from Lyn inactivation, sequestration, or repression, since Lyn from desensitized cell lysates is activated in vitro by synthetic doubly phosphorylated immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif peptides. A similar deficit in Ag-induced receptor phosphorylation was observed in desensitized B cells from 3-83 mu delta transgenic mice. These studies indicate that Ag receptor desensitization reflects an inability to initiate activation of receptor-associated kinases that normally phosphorylate receptor Ig alphabeta subunits, leading to signal propagation.

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