Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas most frequently involve the gastrointestinal tract and are the most common subset of extranodal non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Here we describe overexpression of BCL10, a novel apoptotic signalling gene that encodes an amino-terminal caspase recruitment domain (CARD; ref. 2), in MALT lymphomas due to the recurrent t(1;14)(p22;q32)(ref. 3). BCL10 CDNAs from t(1;14)-positive MALT tumours contained a variety of mutations, most resulting in truncations either in or carboxy terminal to the CARD. Wild-type BCL10 activated NF-κB but induced apoptosis of MCF7 and 293 cells. CARD-truncation mutants were unable to induce cell death or activate NF-κB, whereas mutants with C- terminal truncations retained NF-κB activation but did not induce apoptosis. Mutant BCL10 overexpression might have a twofold lymphomagenic effect: loss of BCL10 pro-apoptosis may confer a survival advantage to MALT B-cells, and constitutive NF-κB activation may provide both anti-apoptotic and proliferative signals mediated via its transcriptional targets.
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