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Eur J Immunol. 1995 May;25(5):1352-7.

The role of bcl-XL in CD40-mediated rescue from anti-mu-induced apoptosis in WEHI-231 B lymphoma cells.

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National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, GB.


The phenotypically immature B cell lymphoma WEHI-231 undergoes apoptotic cell death when cultured with anti-immunoglobulin (Ig) antibodies, via a bcl-2-independent mechanism. We have therefore studied the role of the bcl-2-related protein bcl-x in controlling cell death in WEHI-231. We find that overexpression of the long form of bcl-x (bcl-XL) renders these cells refractory to anti-Ig-induced cell death. Stimulation of WEHI-231 via CD40 has similar protective effects. We show here that ligation of CD40 rapidly induces the appearance of the bcl-XL protein in WEHI-231, while stimulation via sIgM, sIgD, CD5 or CD45 receptors, or with phorbol esters plus ionomycin does not. WEHI-231 cells also rapidly undergo massive apoptosis following culture with thapsigargin, a specific inhibitor of the Ca(2+)-ATPase of the endoplasmic reticulum: this is also reversed by anti-CD40, or by overexpression of bcl-XL. We, therefore, conclude that bcl-XL plays a key role in the regulation of antigen receptor-mediated apoptosis via CD40 in WEHI-231. In addition, the fact that this protein is not induced in WEHI-231 in response to phorbol dibutyrate plus ionomycin points to a fundamental signaling defect in these cells, which could conceivably be a reflection of their immature, apoptosis-susceptible phenotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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