DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) activate a canonical DNA damage response, including highly conserved cell cycle checkpoint pathways that prevent cells with DSBs from progressing through the cell cycle. In developing B cells, pre-B cell receptor (pre- BCR) signals initiate immunoglobulin light (Igl) chain gene assembly, leading to RAG-mediated DNA DSBs. The pre-BCR also promotes cell cycle entry, which could cause aberrant DSB repair and genome instability in pre-B cells. Here, we show that RAG DSBs inhibit pre-BCR signals through the ATM- and NF-κB2-dependent induction of SPIC, a hematopoietic-specific transcriptional repressor. SPIC inhibits expression of the SYK tyrosine kinase and BLNK adaptor, resulting in suppression of pre-BCR signaling. This regulatory circuit prevents the pre-BCR from inducing additional Igl chain gene rearrangements and driving pre-B cells with RAG DSBs into cycle. We propose that pre-B cells toggle between pre-BCR signals and a RAG DSB-dependent checkpoint to maintain genome stability while iteratively assembling Igl chain genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 8 2016


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