Functional and structural requirements for the internalization of distinct BCR-ligand complexes

Eur J Immunol. 2006 Dec;36(12):3131-45. doi: 10.1002/eji.200636447.


Antigen (Ag) binding to the BCR rapidly initiates two important events: a phosphorylation cascade that results in the production of secondary signaling intermediaries and the internalization of Ag-BCR complexes. Previous studies using anti-BCR antibodies (Ab) have suggested that BCR signaling is an essential requirement for BCR endocytosis and have further implicated lipid rafts as essential platforms for both BCR functions. However, published data from our laboratory indicate that lipid rafts and consequently raft-mediated signaling are dispensable for BCR-mediated internalization of Ag-specific BCR. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between BCR signaling and endocytosis by defining the role of early kinase signaling in the BCR-mediated internalization of a model Ag (haptenated protein). The results demonstrate that Src kinases and Syk-mediated BCR signaling are not essential for BCR-mediated Ag internalization. Moreover, by comparing Ag and Ab, it was determined that while both localize to clathrin-coated pits, the internalization of Ab-BCR complexes is more susceptible to inhibition of signaling and highly sensitive to disruption of lipid rafts and the actin cytoskeleton compared to Ag-BCR complexes. Thus, these results demonstrate that the nature of the ligand ultimately determines the functional requirements and relative contribution of lipid rafts and other membrane structures to the internalization of BCR-ligand complexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Microdomains / immunology
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Membrane Microdomains / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / physiology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • src-Family Kinases / physiology


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • src-Family Kinases