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J Exp Med. 2016 Dec 12;213(13):3007-3024. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

Early generated B1 B cells with restricted BCRs become chronic lymphocytic leukemia with continued c-Myc and low Bmf expression.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111.
Laboratory of Immunogenetics, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852.


In mice, generation of autoreactive CD5+ B cells occurs as a consequence of BCR signaling induced by (self)-ligand exposure from fetal/neonatal B-1 B cell development. A fraction of these cells self-renew and persist as a minor B1 B cell subset throughout life. Here, we show that transfer of early generated B1 B cells from Eμ-TCL1 transgenic mice resulted in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with a biased repertoire, including stereotyped BCRs. Thus, B1 B cells bearing restricted BCRs can become CLL during aging. Increased anti-thymocyte/Thy-1 autoreactive (ATA) BCR cells in the B1 B cell subset by transgenic expression yielded spontaneous ATA B-CLL/lymphoma incidence, enhanced by TCL1 transgenesis. In contrast, ATA B-CLL did not develop from other B cell subsets, even when the identical ATA BCR was expressed on a Thy-1 low/null background. Thus, both a specific BCR and B1 B cell context were important for CLL progression. Neonatal B1 B cells and their CLL progeny in aged mice continued to express moderately up-regulated c-Myc and down-regulated proapoptotic Bmf, unlike most mature B cells in the adult. Thus, there is a genetic predisposition inherent in B-1 development generating restricted BCRs and self-renewal capacity, with both features contributing to potential for progression to CLL.

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