A critical role of lambda 5 protein in B cell development.


The lambda 5 gene is a homolog of immunoglobulin J lambda-C lambda genes, expressed specifically in immature B-lineage cells. Lambda 5-encoded molecules form membrane complexes with mu or D mu proteins in association with an additional protein specifically expressed in immature B cells that is encoded by the Vpre-B gene. We have generated mice in which the lambda 5 gene is inactivated by targeted gene disruption in embryonic stem cells. In these mice, B cell development in the bone marrow is blocked at the pre-B cell stage. However, the blockade is leaky, allowing B cells to populate the peripheral immune system at a low rate. These cells are allelically excluded and able to respond to antigen.