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EMBO J. 1998 Sep 1;17(17):5066-75.

OCA-B integrates B cell antigen receptor-, CD40L- and IL 4-mediated signals for the germinal center pathway of B cell development.

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Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Many of the key decisions in lymphocyte differentiation and activation are dependent on integration of antigen receptor and co-receptor signals. Although there is significant understanding of these receptors and their signaling pathways, little is known about the molecular requirements for signal integration at the level of activation of gene expression. Here we show that in primary B cells, expression of the B-cell specific transcription coactivator OCA-B (also known as OBF-1 or Bob-1) is regulated synergistically by the B-cell antigen receptor, CD40L and interleukin signaling pathways. Consistent with the requirement for multiple T cell-dependent signals to induce OCA-B, we find that OCA-B protein is highly expressed in germinal center B cells. Accordingly, germinal center formation is blocked completely in the absence of OCA-B expression in B cells, whereas the helper functions of OCA-B-deficient T cells are indistinguishable from controls. The requirement for OCA-B expression in B cells is germinal center specific since the development of primary B cell follicles, the marginal zone and plasma cells are all intact. Thus, OCA-B is the first example of a transcriptional coactivator that is both synergistically induced by and required for integration of signals that mediate cell fate decisions.

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