Both the pre-BCR and the IL-7R alpha are essential for expansion at the pre-BII cell stage in vivo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • L Erlandsson
  • S Licence
  • AE Corcoran
  • IL Martensson

Colleges, School and Institutes


During B cell development, proliferative expansion takes place after expression of the pre-BCR. At this pre-BII cell stage, the IL-7R alpha is also expressed. Some in vitro studies suggest that pre-BCR-dependent expansion relies on the IL-7R alpha, and others that it does not. It has also been suggested that the pre-BCR mediates down-regulation of the IL-7R alpha. However, the in vivo relationship between the pre-BCR and the IL-7R alpha has not been previously examined. Here, we have investigated this by establishing mice lacking both receptors. Our results show that in the absence of the IL-7R alpha, the pre-BII population is reduced, as previously seen in mice lacking the pre-BCR, demonstrating that the IL-7R alpha is important at this stage. A deficiency in both receptors results in a further reduction of the pre-BII cell population. We conclude that both the IL-7Ra and the pre-BCR are required for optimal pre-BII cell expansion. Furthermore, IL-7R alpha expression levels are normal in pre-BCR-deficient mice, suggesting that the pre-BCR does not mediate its down-regulation. As a consequence of the absence of both receptors, the peripheral B cell pool is severely depleted, resulting in atypical splenic B cell structures and reduced serum Ig levels.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1969-1976
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005


  • surrogate light chain, B cell development, pre-BCR, pre-B cell proliferation, IL-7R