MAPkinase: a second site of G-protein regulation of B-cell activation via the antigen receptors

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Ligation of the antigen receptors on B cells transduces transmembrane signals leading to the induction of DNA synthesis. We now show that a pertussis toxin-sensitive heterotrimeric G-protein(s) of the Gi class plays a key role in the regulation of surface immunoglobulin (sIg)-mediated DNA synthesis in B cells. This site of G-protein regulation is distinct from that we have previously reported to govern the coupling of the antigen receptors on B cells to the phospholipase C-mediated hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate. We have, moreover, identified a candidate target for this new G-protein regulation by showing that mitogen-activating protein kinase (MAPkinase) activity, which plays a key role in the transduction of sIg-mediated proliferative signals in B cells, is abrogated by pre-exposure to pertussis toxin that covalently modifies and inactivates heterotrimeric G-proteins of the Gi class. Furthermore, our data suggest that this pertussis toxin-sensitive G-protein couples the antigen receptors to MAPkinase activation, at least in part, by regulating sIg-coupling to Lyn, Syk and perhaps Blk and Fyn activity, results consistent with studies in other systems which show that classical G-protein-coupled receptors recruit such protein tyrosine kinases to tranduce MAPkinase activation. Interestingly, however, this G-protein plays no apparent role in the control of up-regulation of major histocompatibility complex class II expression on B cells, suggesting that such G-protein-regulated-tyrosine kinase and MAPkinase activation is not required for the induction of this biological response following antigen receptor ligation.

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