The EMBO journal

E2A activity is induced during B-cell activation to promote immunoglobulin class switch recombination.

PMID 10562543


The basic helix-loop-helix protein, E2A, is required for proper early B lymphopoiesis. Specifically, in E2A-deficient mice, B-cell development is blocked at the progenitor stage prior to the onset of immunoglobulin (Ig) V(D)J recombination. Here, we demonstrate that E2A plays an additional role during peripheral B lymphopoiesis. Upon activation of primary mature B lymphocytes, both E2A protein levels and DNA-binding activity are induced. Furthermore, we show that mature B cells, expressing a dominant-negative E2A antagonist, proliferate normally in response to mitogenic signaling and appropriately express the early and late activation markers CD69, CD44, IgD and B220. However, in the absence of E2A activity, B lymphocytes are blocked in their ability to express secondary Ig isotypes. We demonstrate that the defect lies at the level of DNA rearrangements between the Ig switch regions. These data suggest that E2A is an essential target during B-cell activation and its induction is required to promote Ig class switch recombination.