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Eur J Immunol. 1999 Sep;29(9):2988-98.

Reversal of Blimp-1-mediated apoptosis by A1, a member of the Bcl-2 family.

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Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


Blimp-1 (B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1) is strongly expressed during the late stages of B cell differentiation to immunoglobulin-secreting plasma cells. Overexpression of Blimp-1 in B lymphoma cells has been reported to induce either growth arrest and cell death or Ig secretion and terminal differentiation, depending on the developmental stage of the recipient lymphomas. By using a retroviral expression system we show that Blimp-1-transduced immature WEHI 231 murine B lymphoma cells produce J chain, increased levels of the secretory form of micro heavy chain mRNA and secrete IgM for a short period of time. Concomitantly, they exhibit altered ratios of c-myc/mad4 mRNA levels, a reduction in the expression of the anti-apoptotic bcl-2 family member A1 and a distinct growth disadvantage, followed by cell death. Reintroduction of A1 by retroviral transduction greatly extends the life span of Blimp-1-expressing WEHI 231 cells which continue to secrete IgM. These data suggest that levels of A1 may determine the checkpoint between death and survival of Blimp-1-expressing B cells at different stages of differentiation.

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