Signals propagated through the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) are crucial to the development, survival and activation of B lymphocytes. These signals also play a central role in the removal of potentially self-reactive B lymphocytes. The BCR is composed of surface-bound antigen recognizing membrane antibody and associated Ig-αand Ig-β heterodimers which are capable of signal transduction via cytosolic motifs called immunoreceptor tyrosine based activation motifs (ITAM).The recognition of polyvalent antigens by the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) initiates a series of interlinked signaling events that culminate in cellular responses. The engagement of the BCR induces the phosphorylation of tyrosine residues in the ITAM. The phosphorylation of ITAM is mediated by SYK kinase and the SRC family of kinases which include LYN, FYN and BLK. These kinases which are reciprocally activated by phosphorylated ITAMs in turn trigger a cascade of interlinked signaling pathways.
Activation of the BCR leads to the stimulation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB). Central to BCR signaling via NF-?B is the complex formed by the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK), the adaptor B-cell linker (BLNK) and phospholipase C gamma 2 (PLCγ2). Tyrosine phosphorylated adaptor proteins act as bridges between BCR associated tyrosine kinases and down stream effector molecules. BLNK is phosphorylated on BCR activation and serves to couple the tyrosine kinase SYK to the activation of PLCγ2. The complete stimulation of PLCγ2 is facilitated by BTK. Stimulated PLCγ2 triggers the DAG and Ca2+ mediated activation of Protein kinase (PKC) which in turn activates I?B kinase (IKK) and thereafter NFκB. In addition to the activation of NFκB, BLNK also interacts with other proteins like VAV and GRB2 resulting in the activation of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. This results in the transactivation of several factors like c-JUN, activation of transcription factor (ATF) and ELK6. Another adaptor protein, B cell adaptor for phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), termed BCAP once activated by SYK, goes on to trigger a PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. This pathway inhibits Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3), resulting in the nuclear accumulation of transcription factors like nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and enhancement of protein synthesis. Activation of PI3K/AKT pathway also leads to the inhibition of apoptosis in B cells.
This pathway highlights the important components of B cell receptor antigen signaling.