Transcription factors of the alternative NF-κB pathway are required for germinal center B-cell development

Article, Other literature type English OPEN
De Silva, Nilushi S. ; Anderson, Michael M. ; Carette, Amanda ; Silva, Kathryn ; Heise, Nicole ; Bhagat, Govind ; Klein, Ulf (2016)

The NF-κB signaling cascade relays external signals essential for B-cell growth and survival. This cascade is frequently hijacked by cancers that arise from the malignant transformation of germinal center (GC) B cells, underscoring the importance of deciphering the function of NF-κB in these cells. The NF-κB signaling cascade is comprised of two branches, the canonical and alternative NF-κB pathways, mediated by distinct transcription factors. The expression and function of the transcription factors of the alternative pathway, RELB and NF-κB2, in late B-cell development is incompletely understood. Using conditional deletion of relb and nfkb2 in GC B cells, we here report that ablation of both RELB and NF-κB2, but not of the single transcription factors, resulted in the collapse of established GCs. RELB/NF-κB2 deficiency in GC B cells was associated with impaired cell-cycle entry and reduced expression of the cell-surface receptor inducible T-cell costimulator ligand that promotes optimal interactions between B and T cells. Analysis of human tonsillar tissue revealed that plasma cells and their precursors in the GC expressed high levels of NF-κB2 relative to surrounding lymphocytes. Accordingly, deletion of nfkb2 in murine GC B cells resulted in a dramatic reduction of antigen-specific antibody-secreting cells, whereas deletion of relb had no effect. These results demonstrate that the transcription factors of the alternative NF-κB pathway control distinct stages of late B-cell development, which may have implications for B-cell malignancies that aberrantly activate this pathway.
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