CD19 is essential for B cell activation by promoting B cell receptor-antigen microcluster formation in response to membrane-bound ligand.
ABSTRACT Here we describe the spatiotemporal architecture, at high molecular resolution, of receptors and signaling molecules during the early events of mouse B cell activation. In response to membrane-bound ligand stimulation, antigen aggregation occurs in B cell antigen receptor (BCR) microclusters containing immunoglobulin (Ig) M and IgD that recruit the kinase Syk and transiently associate with the coreceptor CD19. Unexpectedly, CD19-deficient B cells were significantly defective in initiation of BCR-dependent signaling, accumulation of downstream effectors and cell spreading, defects that culminated in reduced microcluster formation. Hence, we have defined the dynamics of assembly of the main constituents of the BCR 'signalosome' and revealed an essential role for CD19, independent of the costimulatory molecule CD21, in amplifying early B cell activation events in response to membrane-bound ligand stimulation.