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Eur J Immunol. 2002 Nov;32(11):3225-34.

Pre-B-cell colony-enhancing factor, whose expression is up-regulated in activated lymphocytes, is a nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, a cytosolic enzyme involved in NAD biosynthesis.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie Animale, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Gosselies, Belgium.


The murine homologue of the previously identified human "pre-B-cell colony-enhancing factor" (PBEF) gene coding for a putative cytokine has been identified by screening a subtractive library enriched in genes expressed in activated T lymphocytes. Unlike most cytokine genes known to date, the PBEF gene is ubiquitously expressed in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues and displays significant homology with genes from primitive metazoans (marine sponges) and prokaryotic organisms. Recently, a bacterial protein encoded by nadV, a gene from the prokaryote Haemophilus ducreyi displaying significant homology with PBEF, has been identified as a nicotinamide phosphoribosyltranferase (NAmPRTase), an enzyme involved in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) biosynthesis. Using a panel of antibodies to murine PBEF, we demonstrate in this work that, similarly to its microbial counterpart, the murine protein is a NAmPRTase, catalyzing the condensation of nicotinamide with 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate to yield nicotinamide mononucleotide, an intermediate in the biosynthesis of NAD. The role of PBEF as a NAmPRTase was further confirmed by showing that the mouse gene was able to confer the ability to grow in the absence of NAD to a NAmPRTase-defective bacterial strain. The present findings are in keeping with the ubiquitous nature of this protein, and indicate that NAD biosynthesis may play an important role in lymphocyte activation.

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