Rel and RelA, individually dispensable for lymphopoiesis, serve unique functions in activated B and T cells. Here their combined roles in lymphocyte development were examined in chimeric mice repopulated with c-rel(-/-) rela(-/-) fetal liver hemopoietic stem cells. Mice engrafted with double-mutant cells lacked mature IgM(lo)IgD(hi) B cells, and numbers of peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were markedly reduced. The absence of mature B cells was associated with impaired survival that coincided with reduced expression of bcl-2 and A1. bcl-2 transgene expression not only prevented apoptosis and increased peripheral B-cell numbers, but also induced further maturation to an IgM(lo)IgD(hi) phenotype. In contrast, the survival of double-mutant T cells was normal and the bcl-2 transgene could not rectify the peripheral T-cell deficit. These findings indicate that Rel and RelA serve essential, albeit redundant, functions during the later antigen-independent stages of B- and T-cell maturation, with these transcription factors promoting the survival of peripheral B cells in part by upregulating Bcl-2.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||The EMBO Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2000|