The A-myb gene is preferentially expressed in tonsillar CD38+, CD39-, and sIgM- B lymphocytes and in Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines

Josée Golay, Eugenio Erba, Sergio Bernasconi, Giuseppe Peri, Martino Introna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The A-myb gene is structurally related to the c-myb proto-oncogene, a transcription factor involved in the regulation of hemopoietic proliferation and differentiation. Recent evidence has shown that A-myb also functions as a transcriptional activator. We have previously demonstrated that A-myb RNA is not expressed in most mature human leukocytes at rest or after mitogenic or functional activation. We show here, by using cell sorting, PCR, and Western analyses that A-myb is most highly expressed in the subsets of human tonsillar B lymphocytes with the phenotypes CD38+, CD39-, and sIgM-. The preferential expression of A-myb in these populations was seen at both the RNA and protein levels. CD38 was consistently best at separating high from low A-myb-expressing cells, whereas other markers (CD10, 22, 23, 77, 11a, and 49d) did not correlate with A-myb expression. The CD38+ population expressing the highest levels of A-myb was shown to contain mostly cycling cells inasmuch as more than 95% were in the late G1, S, G2, and M phases of the cell cycle. In addition, A-myb expression always correlated with the percentage of cells in S/G2/M in the populations sorted with either CD38, CD39, or sIgM. Small resting tonsillar B lymphocytes induced to proliferate in vitro by several different polyclonal B cell activators did not, however, express detectable levels of A-myb, although these cells were demonstrated to express CD38 and enter the S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle. These data suggest that A-myb is a marker of in vivo-activated but not in vitro- activated B lymphocytes. Finally, A-myb was also found to be highly expressed in five of seven Burkitt's lymphoma lines and in none of three EBV lymphoblastoid cell lines. This finding is in agreement with the phenotype of the normal B cells that express high levels of A-myb in vivo and suggests that A-myb may be specifically induced within germinal center B cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-553
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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