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Nat Immunol. 2002 Mar;3(3):221-7.

NF-kappaB at the crossroads of life and death.

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Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0636, USA.


The choice between life and death is one of the major events in regulation of the immune system. T cells that specifically recognize viral or bacterial antigens are selected to survive and proliferate in response to infection, whereas those that are self-reactive are eliminated via apoptosis. Even the survival of alloreactive T cells requires their proper costimulation and, when infection subsides, the activated T cells are eliminated. A major regulator of such life or death decisions is the transcription factor NF-kappaB. However, NF-kappaB cannot function alone. A variety of mechanisms exist to modulate its activity and thereby affect the ultimate outcome of a cell's fate.

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