CD79a molecule, immunoglobulin-associated alpha, also known as mb-1, is a human gene.
The mb-1 gene codes for a phosphoprotein, designated CD79a (cluster of differentiation [CD]79a, that, together with the related CD79b protein, forms a dimer associated with membrane-bound immunoglobulin in B-cells. The CD79a/CD79b dimer is closely associated with the B-cell antigen receptor, in a similar manner to the association of CD3 with the T-cell receptor, and enables the cell to respond to the presence of antigens on its surface.
The B lymphocyte antigen receptor is a multimeric complex that includes the antigen-specific component, surface immunoglobulin (Ig). Surface Ig non-covalently associates with two other proteins, Ig-alpha and Ig-beta, which are necessary for expression and function of the B-cell antigen receptor. This gene encodes the Ig-alpha protein of the B-cell antigen component. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been described.
The CD79a protein is present on the surface of B-cells throughout their life cycle, and is absent on all other healthy cells, making it a highly reliable marker for B-cells in immunohistochemistry. The protein remains present when B-cells transform into active plasma cells, and is also present in virtually all B-cell neoplasms, including B-cell lymphomas, plasmacytomas, and myelomas. It is also present in abnormal lymphocytes associated with some cases of Hodgkins disease. Because even on B-cell precursors, it can be used to stain a wider range of cells than can the alternative B-cell marker CD20, but the latter is more commonly retained on mature B-cell lymphomas, so that the two are often used together in immunohistochemistry panels.
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