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Adv Immunol. 2017;134:47-88. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2017 Mar 18.

A Chemoattractant-Guided Walk Through Lymphopoiesis: From Hematopoietic Stem Cells to Mature B Lymphocytes.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States. Electronic address:


B lymphocytes develop from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in specialized bone marrow niches composed of rare mesenchymal lineage stem/progenitor cells (MSPCs) and sinusoidal endothelial cells. These niches are defined by function and location: MSPCs are mostly perisinusoidal cells that together with a small subset of sinusoidal endothelial cells express stem cell factor, interleukin-7 (IL-7), IL-15, and the highest amounts of CXCL12 in bone marrow. Though rare, MSPCs are morphologically heterogeneous, highly reticular, and form a vast cellular network in the bone marrow parenchyma capable of interacting with large numbers of hematopoietic cells. HSCs, downstream multipotent progenitor cells, and common lymphoid progenitor cells utilize CXCR4 to fine-tune access to critical short-range growth factors provided by MSPCs for their long-term maintenance and/or multilineage differentiation. In later stages, developing B lymphocytes use CXCR4 to navigate the bone marrow parenchyma, and predominantly cannabinoid receptor-2 for positioning within bone marrow sinusoids, prior to being released into peripheral blood circulation. In the final stages of differentiation, transitional B cells migrate to the spleen where they preferentially undergo further rounds of differentiation until selection into the mature B cell pool occurs. This bottleneck purges up to 97% of all developing B cells in a peripheral selection process that is heavily controlled not only by the intensity of BCR signaling and access to BAFF but also by the proper functioning of the B cell motility machinery.


B lymphocyte; CXCL12; CXCR4; GPCR; HSC niche; IL-7

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