Signals through the pre-B cell antigen receptor (pre-BCR) and interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7R) coordinate pre-B cell population expansion with subsequent recombination of the locus encoding immunoglobulin κ-chain (Igk). Although many 'downstream' effectors of each receptor are known, how they integrate to mediate development has remained unclear. Here we report that pre-BCR-mediated activation of the Ras-MEK-Erk signaling pathway silenced transcription of Ccnd3 (encoding cyclin D3) and coordinated exit from the cell cycle with induction of the transcription factor E2A and the initiation of Igk recombination. IL-7R-mediated activation of the transcription factor STAT5 opposed this pathway by promoting Ccnd3 expression and concomitantly inhibiting Igk transcription by binding to the Igk intronic enhancer and preventing E2A recruitment. Our data show how pre-BCR signaling poises pre-B cells to undergo differentiation after escape from IL-7R signaling.
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