Tyrosine phosphorylation of CD19 in pre-B and mature B cells.
Cross-linking of B cell surface immunoglobulins (sIg) results in activation of mature B cells and stimulates a molecular signaling mechanism for antigen-specific B cell expansion and differentiation. This signaling pathway is dependent on tyrosine (Tyr) phosphorylation and results in the activation of sIg-associated src family kinases and p72SYK. Rapid Tyr phosphorylation occurs on multiple protein substrates. Here we show that activation of B cells by cross-linking sIg results in an increase in Tyr phosphorylation of the lineage-restricted B cell surface antigen CD19, and show that it is a major substrate of activated Tyr kinase following sIg stimulation. Lower levels of constitutive CD19 Tyr phosphorylation occurred in most sIg+ mature B cell lines examined and in normal dense tonsillar B cells. We also find that when CD19 is Tyr-phosphorylated it becomes competent to interact with SH2 domains suggesting a mechanism whereby, following B cell activation, CD19 could be linked to intracellular signaling pathways. In sIg-pre-B cell lines, CD19 was expressed but was not constitutively phosphorylated on tyrosine. Upon CD19 cross-linking, Tyr phosphorylation of CD19 was induced in sIg-pre-B cell lines. CD19 cross-linking also directly induced Tyr phosphorylation of CD19 and other substrates in mature B cells. The ability of CD19 to signal in the absence of sIg expression may provide important stimulation in pre-B cell development.