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Cell. 1998 Jan 23;92(2):173-82.

Developmental regulation of B lymphocyte immune tolerance compartmentalizes clonal selection from receptor selection.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, Colorado 80206, USA.


B lymphocyte development is a highly ordered process that involves immunoglobulin gene rearrangements, antigen receptor expression, and a learning process that minimizes the development of cells with reactivity to self tissue. Two distinct mechanisms for immune tolerance have been defined that operate during early bone marrow stages of B cell development: apoptosis, which eliminates clones of cells, and receptor editing, which spares the cells but genetically reprograms their autoreactive antigen receptors through nested immunoglobulin L chain gene rearrangements. We show here that sensitivity to antigen-induced apoptosis arises relatively late in B cell development and is preceded by a functionally distinct developmental stage capable of receptor editing. This regulation compartmentalizes clonal selection from receptor selection.

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