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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reduction in DNA binding activity of the transcription factor Pax-5a in B lymphocytes of aged mice.

Aging has been associated with intrinsic changes of the humoral immune response, which may lead to an increased occurrence of autoimmune disorders and pathogenic susceptibility. The transcription factor Pax-5 is a key regulator of B cell development. Pax-5a/B cell-specific activator protein and an alternatively spliced isoform, Pax-5d, may have opposing functions in transcriptional regulation due to the lack of a transactivation domain in Pax-5d. To study B cell-specific changes that occur during the aging process, we investigated expression patterns of Pax-5a and 5d in mature B cells of young and aged mice. RNase protection assays showed a similar transcriptional pattern for both age groups that indicates that aging has no affect on transcription initiation or alternative splicing for either isoform. In contrast, a significant reduction in the DNA binding activity of Pax-5a but not Pax-5d protein was observed in aged B cells in vitro, while Western blot analyses showed that similar levels of Pax-5a and 5d proteins were present in both age groups. The observed decrease in Pax-5a binding activity correlated with changes in expression of two Pax-5 target genes in aged B cells. Expression of the Ig J chain and the secreted form of Ig mu, which are both known to be suppressed by Pax-5a in mature B cells, were increased in B cells of aged mice. Together, our studies suggest that changes associated with the aging phenotype cause posttranslational modification(s) of Pax-5a but not Pax-5d, which may lead to an abnormal B cell phenotype in aged mice, associated with elevated levels of J chain, and secretion of IgM.[1]


  1. Reduction in DNA binding activity of the transcription factor Pax-5a in B lymphocytes of aged mice. Anspach, J., Poulsen, G., Kaattari, I., Pollock, R., Zwollo, P. J. Immunol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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