Signals from the precursor-B cell receptor (pre-BCR) are essential for selection and clonal expansion of pre-B cells that have performed productive immunoglobulin heavy chain V(D)J recombination. In the mouse, the downstream signaling molecules SLP-65 and Btk cooperate to limit proliferation and induce differentiation of pre-B cells, thereby acting as tumor suppressors to prevent pre-B cell leukemia. In contrast, recent observations in human BCR-ABL1 + pre-B lymphoblastic leukemia cells demonstrate that Btk is constitutively phosphorylated and activated by the BCR-ABL1 fusion protein. As a result, activated Btk transmits survival signals that are essential for the transforming activity of oncogenic Abl tyrosine kinase.

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Seminars in Immunology
Department of Immunology

Hendriks, R.W, & Kersseboom, R. (2006). Involvement of SLP-65 and Btk in tumor suppression and malignant transformation of pre-B cells. Seminars in Immunology (Vol. 18, pp. 67–76). doi:10.1016/j.smim.2005.10.002