BCL-6 protein is expressed in germinal-center B cells

Giorgio Cattoretti, Chih Chao Chang, Katarina Cechova, Jiandong Zhang, Bihui H. Ye, Brunangelo Falini, Diane C. Louie, Kenneth Offit, R. S.K. Chaganti, Riccardo Dalla-Favera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

498 Scopus citations


Structural alterations of the 5' noncoding region of the BCL-6 gene have been found in 40% of diffuse large cell lymphoma (DLCL) and 5% to 10% of follicular lymphomas (FL), suggesting that deregulated BCL-6 expression may play a role in lymphomagenesis. Nucleotide sequencing of BCL-6 cDNA predicted a protein containing six zinc-finger domains, suggesting that it may function as a transcription factor. Using antisera raised against N- and C-terminal BCL-6 synthetic oligopeptides in immunoprecipitation, immunoblot, and immunocytochemical assays, this study identifies the BCL-6 gene product as a 95-kD nuclear protein. Western blot analysis of human tumor cell lines representative of various hematopoietic lineages/stages of differentiation showed that the BCL-6 protein is predominantly expressed in the B-cell lineage where it was found in mature B cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of normal human lymphoid tissues indicated that BCL-6 expression is topographically restricted to germinal centers including all centroblasts and centrocytes. The BCL-6 protein was also detectable in inter- and intrafollicular CD4+ T cells, but not in other follicular components including mantle-zone B cells, plasma cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages. Immunohistochemical analysis of DLCL and FL biopsy samples showed that the BCL-6 protein is detectable in these tumors independent of the presence of BCL-6 gene rearrangements. These results indicate that the expression of the BCL-6 gene is specifically regulated during B-cell differentiation and suggest a role for BCL-6 in germinal center development or function. Because DLCL derive from germinal-center B cells, deregulated BCL-6 expression may contribute to lymphomagenesis by preventing postgerminal center differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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