Decreased IL7R alpha and TdT expression underlie the skewed immunoglobulin repertoire of human B-cell precursors from fetal origin

Magdalena Rother, K Jensen, Mirjam van der Burg, FS (Sanne) van de Bovenkamp, R (Roel) Kroek, Wilfred van Ijcken, Vincent van der Velden, Tom Cupedo, OK Olstad, Jacques Dongen, Menno van Zelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Newborns are unable to mount antibody responses towards certain antigens. This has been related to the restricted repertoire of immunoglobulin (Ig) genes of their B cells. The mechanisms underlying the restricted fetal Ig gene repertoire are currently unresolved. We here addressed this with detailed molecular and cellular analysis of human precursor-B cells from fetal liver, fetal bone marrow (BM), and pediatric BM. In the absence of selection processes, fetal B-cell progenitors more frequently used proximal V, D and J genes in complete IGH gene rearrangements, despite normal Ig locus contraction. Fewer N-nucleotides were added in IGH gene rearrangements in the context of low TdT and XRCC4 expression. Moreover, fetal progenitor-B cells expressed lower levels of IL7R alpha than their pediatric counterparts. Analysis of progenitor-B cells from IL7R alpha-deficient patients revealed that TdT expression and N-nucleotides additions in Dh-Jh junctions were dependent on functional IL7R alpha. Thus, IL7R alpha affects TdT expression, and decreased expression of this receptor underlies at least in part the skewed Ig repertoire formation in fetal B-cell precursors. These new insights provide a better understanding of the formation of adaptive immunity in the developing fetus.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Research programs

  • EMC MGC-02-13-02
  • EMC MM-02-41-04
  • EMC MM-02-72-01

Cite this