Signal transduction by the B cell antigen receptor and its coreceptors

Annu Rev Immunol. 1994;12:457-86. doi: 10.1146/annurev.iy.12.040194.002325.


B lymphocyte antigen receptors, membrane immunoglobulins (mIg), function in focusing and internalization of antigen for subsequent presentation to T cells and in transmembrane transduction of signals leading to cell activation, anergy, or deletion. Until quite recently, the ability of this receptor to transduce signals in spite of a virtual lack of cytoplasmic structure, left a significant gap in our understanding of how it is coupled to cytoplasmic signal propagators. Studies conducted during the past five years have defined a mIg-associated protein complex homologous to the CD3 complex associated with the T cell antigen receptor. Components of this disulfide linked heterodimeric complex, Ig-alpha and Ig-beta, contain an approximately 26 residue sequence motif termed ARH1, also known as TAM, which binds to cytoplasmic effectors, including src-family tyrosine kinases, and contains all structural information needed for signal transduction. Receptor associated src-family kinases which are activated following receptor cross-linking, also associate with downstream effectors, including phospholipase C gamma (PLC gamma), p21ras. GTPase activating protein (GAP), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-k) and microtubule associate protein kinase (MAPk2). In some cases, these associations are induced by receptor cross-linking and lead directly to effector activation. The current literature indicates that these interactions may occur in sequence and culminate in the activation of three major pathways of signal propagation including those mediated by PLC gamma, p21ras and PI3-k. This chapter reviews various molecular aspects of the B cell antigen receptor complex, including extended structure of the complex, and receptor-effector interactions and their biologic consequences. Finally, an integrated model of antigen receptor signaling is presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell