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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Sep;18(9):5523-32.

The ability of CD40L, but not lipopolysaccharide, to initiate immunoglobulin switching to immunoglobulin G1 is explained by differential induction of NF-kappaB/Rel proteins.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Program in Immunology and Virology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655-0122, USA.


Antibodies of the immunoglobulin G1 class are induced in mice by T-cell-dependent antigens but not by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). CD40 engagement contributes to this preferential isotype production by activating NF-kappaB/Rel to induce germ line gamma1 transcripts, which are essential for class switch recombination. Although LPS also activates NF-kappaB, it poorly induces germ line gamma1 transcripts. Western blot analyses show that CD40 ligand (CD40L) induces all NF-kappaB/Rel proteins, whereas LPS activates predominantly p50 and c-Rel. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays show that in CD40L-treated cells, p50-RelA and p50-RelB dimers are the major NF-kappaB complexes binding to the germ line gamma1 promoter, whereas in LPS-treated cells, p50-c-Rel and p50-p50 dimers are the major binding complexes. Transfection of expression plasmids for NF-kappaB/Rel fusion proteins (forced dimers) indicates that p50-RelA and p50-RelB dimers activate the germ line gamma1 promoter and that p50-c-Rel and p50-p50 dimers inhibit this activation by competitively binding to the promoter without activating the promoter. Therefore, germ line gamma1 transcription depends on the composition of NF-kappaB/Rel proteins.

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