ITAM-mediated tonic signalling through pre-BCR and BCR complexes

Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Apr;6(4):283-94. doi: 10.1038/nri1808.


Studies carried out over the past few years provide strong support for the idea that Ig alpha-Ig beta-containing complexes such as the pre-B-cell receptor and the B-cell receptor can signal independently of ligand engagement, and this has been termed tonic signalling. In this Review, I discuss recent literature that is relevant to the potential mechanisms by which tonic signals are initiated and regulated, and discuss views on how tonic and ligand-dependent (aggregation-mediated) signalling differ. These mechanisms are relevant to the possibility that tonic signals generated through immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-containing proteins that are expressed by oncogenic viruses induce transformation in non-haematopoietic cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Membrane Microdomains / immunology
  • Membrane Microdomains / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Pre-B Cell Receptors
  • Receptor Aggregation / immunology
  • Receptor Aggregation / physiology
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • src-Family Kinases / physiology


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Pre-B Cell Receptors
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • src-Family Kinases