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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59127. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059127. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Frequent engagement of RelB activation is critical for cell survival in multiple myeloma.

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  • 1INSERM, U1016, Institut Cochin, Paris, France.


The NF-κB family of transcription factors has emerged as a key player in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma (MM). NF-κB is activated by at least two major signaling pathways. The classical pathway results in the activation of mainly RelA containing dimers, whereas the alternative pathway leads to the activation of RelB/p52 and RelB/p50 heterodimers. Activating mutations in regulators of the alternative pathway have been identified in 17% of MM patients. However, the status of RelB activation per se and its role in the regulation of cell survival in MM has not been investigated. Here, we reveal that 40% of newly diagnosed MM patients have a constitutive RelB DNA-binding activity in CD138(+) tumor cells, and we show an association with increased expression of a subset of anti-apoptotic NF-κB target genes, such as cIAP2. Furthermore, we demonstrate that RelB exerts a crucial anti-apoptotic activity in MM cells. Our findings indicate that RelB activation is key for promoting MM cell survival through the upregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins. Altogether, our study provides the framework for the development of new molecules targeting RelB in the treatment of MM.

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