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Enforced expression of the transcriptional coactivator OBF1 impairs B cell differentiation at the earliest stage of development.

Bordon A., Bosco N., Du Roure C., Bartholdy B., Kohler H., Matthias G., Rolink A.G., Matthias P.

OBF1, also known as Bob.1 or OCA-B, is a B lymphocyte-specific transcription factor which coactivates Oct1 and Oct2 on B cell specific promoters. So far, the function of OBF1 has been mainly identified in late stage B cell populations. The central defect of OBF1 deficient mice is a severely reduced immune response to T cell-dependent antigens and a lack of germinal center formation in the spleen. Relatively little is known about a potential function of OBF1 in developing B cells. Here we have generated transgenic mice overexpressing OBF1 in B cells under the control of the immunoglobulin heavy chain promoter and enhancer. Surprisingly, these mice have greatly reduced numbers of follicular B cells in the periphery and have a compromised immune response. Furthermore, B cell differentiation is impaired at an early stage in the bone marrow: a first block is observed during B cell commitment and a second differentiation block is seen at the large preB2 cell stage. The cells that succeed to escape the block and to differentiate into mature B cells have post-translationally downregulated the expression of transgene, indicating that expression of OBF1 beyond the normal level early in B cell development is deleterious. Transcriptome analysis identified genes deregulated in these mice and Id2 and Id3, two known negative regulators of B cell differentiation, were found to be upregulated in the EPLM and preB cells of the transgenic mice. Furthermore, the Id2 and Id3 promoters contain octamer-like sites, to which OBF1 can bind. These results provide evidence that tight regulation of OBF1 expression in early B cells is essential to allow efficient B lymphocyte differentiation.

PLoS ONE 3:e4007-e4007(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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