BLyS/BAFF-R signaling pathway in human aggressive non Hodgkin's lymphoma B cell and normal peripheral blood B lymphocytes

Lingchen Fu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS also called BAFF), is a potent cell survival factor expressed in many hematopoietic cells. BLyS levels are elevated in the serum of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients, and have been reported to be associated with disease progression, and prognosis. To understand the mechanisms involved in BLyS gene expression and regulation, we examined expression, function, and regulation of the BLyS gene in B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL-B) cells. BLyS is constitutively expressed in aggressive NHL-B cells including large B cell lymphoma (LBCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) contributing to survival and proliferation of malignant B cells. Two important transcription factors, NF-κB and NFAT, were found to be involved in regulating BLyS expression through at least one NF-κB and two NFAT binding sites in the BLyS promoter. Further study indicates that the constitutive activation of NF-κB and BLyS in NHL-B cells forms a positive feedback loop contributing to cell survival and proliferation. In order to further investigate BLyS signaling pathway, we studied the function of BAFF-R, a major BLyS receptor, on B cells survival and proliferation. Initial study revealed that BAFF-R was also found in the nucleus, in addition to its presence on plasma membrane of B cells. Nuclear presentation of BAFF-R can be increased by anti-IgM and soluble BLyS treatment in normal peripheral B lymphocytes. Inhibition of BLyS expression decreases nuclear BAFF-R level in LBCL cells. Furthermore, we showed that BAFF-R translocated to nucleus through the classic karyopherin pathway. A candidate nuclear localization sequence (NLS) was identified in the BAFF-R protein sequence and mutation of this putative NLS can block BAFF-R entering nucleus and LBCL cell proliferation. Further study showed that BAFF-R co-localized with NF-κB family member, c-rel in the nucleus. We also found BAFF-R mediated transcriptional activity, which could be increased by c-rel. We also found that nuclear BAFF-R could bind to the NF-κB binding site on the promoters of NF-κB target genes such as BLyS, CD154, Bcl-xL, Bfl-1/A1 and IL-8. These findings indicate that BAFF-R may also promote survival and proliferation of normal B cells and NHL-B cells by directly functioning as a transcriptional co-factor with NF-κB family member.

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Recommended Citation

Fu, Lingchen, "BLyS/BAFF-R signaling pathway in human aggressive non Hodgkin's lymphoma B cell and normal peripheral blood B lymphocytes" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3272107.