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The B-cell cytokine BlyS/BAFF (B-cell activating factor; also referred to as TALL-1, THANK or zTNF4) plays a critical role in B-lymphocyte development. Two receptors for the tumor necrosis factor family of ligands bind to BlyS/BAFF - the B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) and TAC1. In the August 16 ScienceXpress, two papers from researchers at the Cambridge-based biotechnology company Biogen describe the role of BAFF and its receptors in B-cell function. Thompson et al. identified a third receptor, BAFF-R, on mouse and human B-lymphocytes. They discovered that a mutant mouse line A/WySnJ expressed an aberrant BAFF-R receptor that accounts for its B-cell phenotype (namely, reduction in number of mature peripheral B-cells despite normal bone marrow and peritoneal B1 cells). In an accompanying paper, Schiemann et al. describe the phenotype of mice lacking the BlyS/BAFFgene. The knockout mice had a dramatic loss of follicular and marginal zone B-cells in the spleen and reduced serum antibody levels. The BlyS/BAFF knockout phenotype is similar to that of the A/WySnJ strain, but differs from those of mice lacking BCMA or TAC1. These two studies clearly demonstrate the significance of the Blys/BAFF factor, and its novel receptor BAFF-R, in B-cell development in vivo.

References

  1. 1.

    ScienceXpress , [http://www.sciencexpress.org]

  2. 2.

    Biogen , [http://www.biogen.com]

  3. 3.

    BAFF-R, a Novel TNF Receptor That Specifically Interacts with BAFF, [http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1061965v1]

  4. 4.

    Phenotypic and genetic characterization of a unique B lymphocyte deficiency in strain A/WySnJ mice.

  5. 5.

    An Essential Role for BAFF in the Normal Development of B Cells Through a BCMA-Independent Pathway, [http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1061964v1]

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Keywords

  • Marginal Zone
  • Biotechnology Company
  • Normal Bone Marrow
  • Dramatic Loss
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Family