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Blood. 2008 Jul 1;112(1):131-40. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-08-107847. Epub 2008 Mar 12.

Enhanced NK-cell development and function in BCAP-deficient mice.

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  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, Division of Basic Science, Institute for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.


In B lymphocytes, the B-cell adaptor for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (BCAP) facilitates signaling from the antigen receptor. Mice lacking BCAP have a predominantly immature pool of B cells with impaired immune function and increased susceptibility to apoptosis. Unexpectedly, we have found that natural killer (NK) cells from BCAP-deficient mice are more mature, more long-lived, more resistant to apoptosis, and exhibit enhanced functional activity compared with NK cells from wild-type mice. Surprisingly, these effects are evident despite a severe impairment of the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif-mediated Akt signaling pathway. The seemingly paradoxical phenotype reveals inherent differences in the signals controlling the final maturation of B cells and NK cells, which depend on positive and negative signals, respectively. Both enhanced interferon-gamma responses and augmented maturation of NK cells in BCAP-deficient mice are independent of available MHC class I ligands. Our data support a model in which blunting of BCAP-mediated activation signaling in developing NK cells promotes functionality, terminal maturation, and long-term survival.

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