Censoring of Autoreactive B Cell Development by the Pre-B Cell Receptor

The pre-B cell receptor appears to censor the development of certain autoantibody-secreting cells, as Rebecca A. Keenan and her team from The Babraham Institute in Cambridge, UK report. The pre-B cell receptor is composed of immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy and substitute light chains. It seems to be involved in the negative selection of cells expressing heavy chains bearing the potential to generate autoantibodies. It thus may be an important factor in multifactorial autoimmune diseases.

As recombine their Ig heavy- and light-chain genes during development, random antibody diversity arises. By this mechanism, reactivity against self structures is inevitable. But many precautions have been taken to prevent the development of autoreactive .

In this study, elevated levels of antinuclear antibodies were found in the serum of surrogate light-chain–deficient mice. There was also evidence of pre-B cells expressing prototypic autoantibody heavy chains. Those pre-B cells probably escaped negative selection and matured to autoantibody secreting in the periphery.

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