A new paper in the May 15th issue of Genes & Development reveals how a protein called Yin Yang 1 regulates early B cell development.
B cells are the antibody-producing cells of the body, which form the basis for the body's recognition of foreign pathogens. B cells undergo a multi-staged maturation process, whereby variable segments of their genome are recombined in various different ways to produce the diversity of antigen recognition that underlies the immune system.
In their upcoming paper, Dr. Yang Shi (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues demonstrate that Yin Yang 1 (YY1) plays a crucial role in regulating VH to DHJH recombination, an essential event for the differentiation of pro-B cell to pre-B cell.
"VHDHJH recombination is a fascinating, but incompletely understood process, which is initiated with the movement of the IgH locus from the periphery to the center of the nucleus where the locus undergoes contraction and recombination. YY1 represents the second transcription factor demonstrated to control IgH locus contraction, thus offering a unique opportunity to investigate molecular mechanisms that control this important process," explains Dr. Shi.