Latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) provides developmental and survival signals that mimic those of a B-cell receptor (BCR). Expression of LMP2A during B-cell development results in the ability of B cells to exit the bone marrow in the absence of a BCR and persist in the periphery, where they would normally undergo apoptosis. This study extends the current knowledge of LMP2A function by examining the growth properties of bone marrow B cells from TgE LMP2A mice. Despite the lack of pre-BCR expression, bone marrow B cells from TgE LMP2A mice proliferate and survive in low concentrations of interleukin 7, similar to wild-type cells. Constitutive phosphorylation of ERK/MAPK and P13K/Akt in TgE LMP2A bone marrow B cells is also reminiscent of signalling through the pre-BCR, altogether demonstrating that LMP2A provides a pre-BCR-like signal to developing B cells.
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