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Blood. 2011 Feb 17;117(7):2227-36. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-09-306019. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

B cells lacking the tumor suppressor TNFAIP3/A20 display impaired differentiation and hyperactivation and cause inflammation and autoimmunity in aged mice.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany.


The ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20/TNFAIP3 is essential for controlling signals inducing the activation of nuclear factor-κB transcription factors. Polymorphisms and mutations in the TNFAIP3 gene are linked to various human autoimmune conditions, and inactivation of A20 is a frequent event in human B-cell lymphomas characterized by constitutive nuclear factor-κB activity. Through B cell-specific ablation in the mouse, we show here that A20 is required for the normal differentiation of the marginal zone B and B1 cell subsets. However, loss of A20 in B cells lowers their activation threshold and enhances proliferation and survival in a gene-dose-dependent fashion. Through the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, most notably interleukin-6, A20-deficient B cells trigger a progressive inflammatory reaction in naive mice characterized by the expansion of myeloid cells, effector-type T cells, and regulatory T cells. This culminates in old mice in an autoimmune syndrome characterized by splenomegaly, plasma cell hyperplasia, and the presence of class-switched, tissue-specific autoantibodies.

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