The role of specific transcription factors in the initiation and regulation of Ig gene rearrangements has been studied extensively in mouse models, but data on normal human precursor B cell differentiation are limited. We purified five human precursor B cell subsets, and assessed and quantified their IGH, IGK, and IGL gene rearrangement patterns and gene expression profiles. Pro-B cells already massively initiate DH-JH rearrangements, which are completed with VH-DJH rearrangements in pre-B-I cells. Large cycling pre-B-II cells are selected for in-frame IGH gene rearrangements. The first IGK/IGL gene rearrangements were initiated in pre-B-I cells, but their frequency increased enormously in small pre-B-II cells, and in-frame selection was found in immature B cells. Transcripts of the RAG1 and RAG2 genes and earlier defined transcription factors, such as E2A, early B cell factor, E2-2, PAX5, and IRF4, were specifically up-regulated at stages undergoing Ig gene rearrangements. Based on the combined Ig gene rearrangement states and gene expression profiles of consecutive precursor B cell subsets, we identified 16 candidate genes involved in initiation and/or regulation of Ig gene rearrangements. These analyses provide new insights into early human precursor B cell differentiation steps and represent an excellent template for studies on oncogenic transformation in precursor B acute lymphoblastic leukemia and B cell differentiation blocks in primary Ab deficiencies.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2005|