Plasma cell differentiation requires the transcription factor XBP-1

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology; Department of Pathology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Antibody Formation; Antigens; Arthritis, Rheumatoid; B-Lymphocytes; *Cell Differentiation; Chimera; DNA-Binding Proteins; Female; Immunophenotyping; Inflammation; Lymphocyte Activation; Mice; Plasma Cells; Polyomavirus; Transcription Factors


Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Immunopathology


Considerable progress has been made in identifying the transcription factors involved in the early specification of the B-lymphocyte lineage. However, little is known about factors that control the transition of mature activated B cells to antibody-secreting plasma cells. Here we report that the transcription factor XBP-1 is required for the generation of plasma cells. XBP-1 transcripts were rapidly upregulated in vitro by stimuli that induce plasma-cell differentiation, and were found at high levels in plasma cells from rheumatoid synovium. When introduced into B-lineage cells, XBP-1 initiated plasma-cell differentiation. Mouse lymphoid chimaeras deficient in XBP-1 possessed normal numbers of activated B lymphocytes that proliferated, secreted cytokines and formed normal germinal centres. However, they secreted very little immunoglobulin of any isotype and failed to control infection with the B-cell-dependent polyoma virus, because plasma cells were markedly absent. XBP-1 is the only transcription factor known to be selectively and specifically required for the terminal differentiation of B lymphocytes to plasma cells.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Nature. 2001 Jul 19;412(6844):300-7. Link to article on publisher's site


At the time of publication, Ellen Gravallese was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID