Distinct processing of the pre-B cell receptor and the B cell receptor

Sharon Cohen, Joseph Haimovich, Nurit Hollander*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been recently demonstrated that while oligosaccharide moieties of μ heavy chains in the B-cell receptor (BCR) are of the complex type as expected, those of the pre-BCR on the surface of pre-B cells contain oligosaccharide moieties of the high-mannose type only. This is unique, because high-mannose glycans are generally restricted to the endoplasmic reticulum and not presented on the surface of mammalian cells. In the present study, we examined the processing of the unusually glycosylated μ heavy chains in pre-B cells. We demonstrate that the pre-BCR reaches the cell surface by a non-conventional brefeldin A-sensitive monensin-insensitive transport pathway. Although pre-BCR complexes consist of μ heavy chains with high-mannose oligosaccharide moieties, they are stably expressed in the plasma membrane and demonstrate turnover rates similar to those of the BCR. Thus, rapid internalization cannot account for their low surface expression, as previously postulated. Rather, we demonstrate that the low pre-BCR abundance in the plasma membrane results, at least in part, from insufficient production of surrogate light chains, which appears to be a limiting factor in pre-BCR expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • B cell receptor
  • Intracellular protein trafficking
  • Pre-B cell receptor
  • Receptor internalization


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