CD19 amplifies B lymphocyte signal transduction by regulating Src-family protein tyrosine kinase activation

J Immunol. 1999 Jun 15;162(12):7088-94.


Ligation of the B cell Ag receptor (BCR) induces cellular activation by stimulating Src-family protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) to phosphorylate members of the BCR complex. Subsequently, Src-family PTKs, particularly Lyn, are proposed to phosphorylate and bind CD19, a cell-surface costimulatory molecule that regulates mature B cell activation. Herein, we show that B cells from CD19-deficient mice have diminished Lyn kinase activity and BCR phosphorylation following BCR ligation. Tyrosine phosphorylation of other Src-family PTKs was also decreased in CD19-deficient B cells. In wild-type B cells, CD19 was constitutively complexed with Vav, Lyn, and other Src-family PTKs, with CD19 phosphorylation and its associations with Lyn and Vav increased after BCR ligation. Constitutive CD19/Lyn/Vav complex signaling may therefore be responsible for the establishment of baseline signaling thresholds in B cells before Ag receptor ligation, in addition to accelerating signaling following BCR engagement or other transmembrane signals. In vitro kinase assays using purified CD19 and purified Lyn revealed that the kinase activity of Lyn was significantly increased when coincubated with CD19. Thus, constitutive and induced CD19/Lyn complexes are likely to regulate basal signaling thresholds and BCR signaling by amplifying the kinase activity of Lyn and other Src-family PTKs. These in vivo and in vitro findings demonstrate a novel mechanism by which CD19 regulates signal transduction in B lymphocytes. The absence of this CD19/Src-family kinase amplification loop may account for the hyporesponsive phenotype of CD19-deficient B cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD19 / genetics
  • Antigens, CD19 / metabolism
  • Antigens, CD19 / physiology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Enzyme Activation / genetics
  • Enzyme Activation / immunology
  • Enzyme Precursors / metabolism
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-vav
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Syk Kinase
  • Tyrosine / metabolism
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • Antigens, CD19
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-vav
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • Vav1 protein, mouse
  • Tyrosine
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Syk Kinase
  • Syk protein, mouse
  • src-Family Kinases