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      NF-κB: Ten Years After

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      Cell

      Elsevier BV

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          Function and activation of NF-kappa B in the immune system.

          NF-kappa B is a ubiquitous transcription factor. Nevertheless, its properties seem to be most extensively exploited in cells of the immune system. Among these properties are NF-kappa B's rapid posttranslational activation in response to many pathogenic signals, its direct participation in cytoplasmic/nuclear signaling, and its potency to activate transcription of a great variety of genes encoding immunologically relevant proteins. In vertebrates, five distinct DNA binding subunits are currently known which might extensively heterodimerize, thereby forming complexes with distinct transcriptional activity, DNA sequence specificity, and cell type- and cell stage-specific distribution. The activity of DNA binding NF-kappa B dimers is tightly controlled by accessory proteins called I kappa B subunits of which there are also five different species currently known in vertebrates. I kappa B proteins inhibit DNA binding and prevent nuclear uptake of NF-kappa B complexes. An exception is the Bcl-3 protein which in addition can function as a transcription activating subunit in th nucleus. Other I kappa B proteins are rather involved in terminating NF-kappa B's activity in the nucleus. The intracellular events that lead to the inactivation of I kappa B, i.e. the activation of NF-kappa B, are complex. They involve phosphorylation and proteolytic reactions and seem to be controlled by the cells' redox status. Interference with the activation or activity of NF-kappa B may be beneficial in suppressing toxic/septic shock, graft-vs-host reactions, acute inflammatory reactions, acute phase response, and radiation damage. The inhibition of NF-kappa B activation by antioxidants and specific protease inhibitors may provide a pharmacological basis for interfering with these acute processes.
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            Rel/NF-kappa B/I kappa B family: intimate tales of association and dissociation.

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              Embryonic lethality and liver degeneration in mice lacking the RelA component of NF-kappa B.

              NF-kappa B, which consists of two polypeptides, p50 (M(r) 50K) and p65/RelA (M(r) 65K), is thought to be a key regulator of genes involved in responses to infection, inflammation and stress. Indeed, although developmentally normal, mice deficient in p50 display functional defects in immune responses. Here we describe the generation of mice deficient in the RelA subunit of NF-kappa B. Disruption of the relA locus leads to embryonic lethality at 15-16 days of gestation, concomitant with a massive degeneration of the liver by programmed cell death or apoptosis. Embryonic fibroblasts from RelA-deficient mice are defective in the tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-mediated induction of messenger RNAs for I kappa B alpha and granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), although basal levels of these transcripts are unaltered. These results indicate that RelA controls inducible, but not basal, transcription in NF-kappa B-regulated pathways.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Cell
                Cell
                Elsevier BV
                00928674
                October 1996
                October 1996
                : 87
                : 1
                : 13-20
                Article
                10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81318-5
                © 1996

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