Repertoire selection by pre-B-cell receptors and B-cell receptors, and genetic control of B-cell development from immature to mature B cells

Immunol Rev. 2000 Jun;175:33-46.


During B-cell development the surrogate light (SL) chain is selectively expressed in progenitor and precursor B cells during the developmental stages of D(H) to J(H) and V(H) to D(H)J(H) rearrangements. Approximately half of all muH chains produced by these rearrangements cannot pair with SL chains and cannot form a pre-B-cell receptor (pre-BCR). A spectrum of affinities between VpreB and individual V(H) domains generates preB cells with pre-BCR of different fitness which, in turn, determines the extent of the pre-B II-cell proliferation and the fidelity of allelic exclusion of the H chain locus. Once pre-BCR is expressed, SL chain expression is turned off. As pre-B II cells proliferate, SL is diluted out, thus limiting pre-BCR formation. As a consequence, pre-B II cells stop proliferating, become small and resting and begin to rearrange the L chain loci. Multiple rearrangements of the kappaL chain alleles are often detected in wild-type small pre-B II cells. Around 20% of the muH chain-expressing small pre-B II cells also express L chains but do not display the Ig on the surface. Hence, it is likely that not all L chains originally generated in resting pre-B II cells can pair with the muH chain previously present in that cell. The best fitting ones are selected preferentially to generate sIg+ B cells. Furthermore, the transition of immature B cells from the bone marrow to spleen and their development to mature cells appear as two separate steps controlled by different genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte, Heavy Chain*
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte, Light Chain
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains, Surrogate
  • Immunoglobulin M / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / metabolism


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains, Surrogate
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell