Spotlight on the Pre-B Cell Receptor

Science's STKE  17 Apr 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 382, pp. tw137
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3822007tw137

The pre-B cell receptor (pre-BCR), comprising a heavy chain and a heterodimeric surrogate light chain (SLC), is a signaling complex that acts as a checkpoint in B cell development. Bankovich et al. report the structure of a pre-BCR Fab-like fragment at 2.7 angstrom resolution. The structure shows how the requirement for pairing with the SLC might constrain the repertoire of heavy chains in the mature antibody population. The crystal structure, together with electron microscopy data and biochemical analysis, supports a model of antigen-independent SLC-mediated dimerization of the pre-BCR to promote pre-B cell activation and expansion.

A. J. Bankovich, S. Raunser, Z. S. Juo, T. Walz, M. M. Davis, K. C. Garcia, Structural insight into pre-B cell receptor function. Science 316, 291-294 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]