The many roles of IL-7 in B cell development; mediator of survival, proliferation and differentiation.
ABSTRACT Interleukin-7 (IL-7) plays several important roles during B cell development including aiding in; the specification and commitment of cells to the B lineage, the proliferation and survival of B cell progenitors; and maturation during the pro-B to pre-B cell transition. Regulation and modulation of IL-7 receptor (IL-7R) signaling is critical during B lymphopoiesis, because excessive or deficient IL-7R signaling leads to abnormal or inhibited B cell development. IL-7 works together with E2A, EBF, Pax-5 and other transcription factors to regulate B cell commitment, while also functions to regulate Ig rearrangement by modulating FoxO protein activation and Rag enhancer activity. Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are inhibitors of cytokine activation and, in B cells, function to fine tune IL-7R signaling; ensuring that appropriate IL-7 signals are transmitted to allow for efficient B cell commitment and development.