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Increased proliferation of B cells and auto-immunity in mice lacking protein kinase Cδ


Protein kinase C (PKC), which comprises 11 closely related isoforms, has been implicated in a wide variety of cellular processes, such as growth, differentiation, secretion, apoptosis and tumour development1,2,3,4. Among the PKC isotypes, PKC-δ is unique in that its overexpression results in inhibition of cell growth5,6,7,8,9,10,11. Here we show that mice that lack PKC-δ exhibit expansion of the B-lymphocyte population with the formation of numerous germinal centres in the absence of stimulation. The rate of proliferation in response to stimulation was greater for B cells from PKC-δ-deficient mice than for those from wild-type mice. Adoptive transfer experiments suggested that the hyperproliferation phenotype is B-cell autonomous. Production of interleukin-6 was markedly increased in B cells of PKC-δ-null mice as a result of an increase in the DNA-binding activity of NF-IL6. Furthermore, the PKC-δ-deficient mice contain circulating autoreactive antibodies and display immune-complex-type glomerulonephritis, as well as lymphocyte infiltration in many organs. These results suggest that PKC-δ has an indispensable function in negative regulation of B-cell proliferation, and is particularly important for the establishment of B-cell tolerance.

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Figure 1: Targeted disruption of the mouse PKC-δ gene.
Figure 2: Expansion of the B-lymphocyte population in PKC-δ-/- mice.
Figure 3: Increased proliferative capacity of B cells from PKC-δ-/- mice.
Figure 4: Increased serum concentrations of IgG1, IgA and auto-antibodies in PKC-δ-/- mice.
Figure 5: Glomerulonephritis and perivascular infiltration of leukocytes in PKC-δ-/- mice.


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We thank S. Akira and K. Hoshino for the plasmids; N. Motoyama, A. Yoshimura and U. Kikkawa for discussions; Y. Yamada, K. Shimoharada and N. Ohtsuji for technical assistance; and M. Kimura and C. Sugita for help in preparation of the manuscript. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan, by Nissan Science Foundation, and by a research grant from the Human Frontier Science Program.

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Correspondence to Keiichi I. Nakayama.

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Miyamoto, A., Nakayama, K., Imaki, H. et al. Increased proliferation of B cells and auto-immunity in mice lacking protein kinase Cδ. Nature 416, 865–869 (2002).

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