Research ArticleImmunology

Dynamic pre-BCR homodimers fine-tune autonomous survival signals in B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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Science Signaling  29 Nov 2016:
Vol. 9, Issue 456, pp. ra116
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaf3949

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Monitoring pre-BCR dynamics

Signaling by the pre–B cell receptor (pre-BCR) complex, an immature form of the BCR, ensures the development and survival of B cell progenitors. Erasmus et al. used single-particle tracking to monitor the movements of differentially labeled pre-BCRs in cells from patients with B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). The pre-BCRs frequently formed ligand-independent, transient homotypic interactions that correlated with cellular survival signaling. In contrast, the pre-BCR ligand galectin-1 induced the formation of large aggregates of immobile receptors. Interfering with the dynamic homotypic interactions between the pre-BCRs rendered the BCP-ALL cells more sensitive to cell death induced by chemotherapy, suggesting that disrupting pre-BCR dynamics may help to make chemotherapy more effective.

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