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B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), a relatively recently recognized member of the tumor necrosis factor ligand family (TNF), is a potent cell-survival factor expressed in many hematopoietic cells. BLyS binds to 3 TNF-R receptors, TACI, BCMA, BAFF-R, to regulate B-cell survival, differentiation, and proliferation. The mechanisms involved in BLYS gene expression and regulation are still incompletely understood. In this study, we examined BLYS gene expression, function, and regulation in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL-B) cells. Our studies indicate that BLyS is constitutively expressed in aggressive NHL-B cells, including large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), playing an important role in the survival and proliferation of malignant B cells. We found that 2 important transcription factors, NF-kappaB and NFAT, are involved in regulating BLyS expression through at least one NF-kappaB and 2 NFAT binding sites in the BLYS promoter. We also provide evidence suggesting that the constitutive activation of NF-kappaB and BLyS in NHL-B cells forms a positive feedback loop associated with lymphoma cell survival and proliferation. Our findings indicate that constitutive NF-kappaB and NFAT activations are crucial transcriptional regulators of the BLyS survival pathway in malignant B cells that could be therapeutic targets in aggressive NHL-B.


Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins, B-Cell Activating Factor, Binding Sites, Cell Survival, Feedback, Physiological, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Lymphoma, B-Cell, Membrane Proteins, NF-kappa B, NFATC Transcription Factors, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha