BCL10 is an apoptotic regulatory molecule identified through its direct involvement in t(1;14)(p22;q32) of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. We examined BCL10 protein expression in various normal tissues and B-cell lymphomas by immunohistochemistry of formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues using mouse BCL10 monoclonal antibodies. BCL10 protein was expressed in lymphoid tissue but not in 21 various other tissues with the exception of breast. In normal B-cell follicles, the protein was expressed abundantly in the germinal center B cells, moderately in the marginal zone, but only weakly in the mantle zone B cells. Irrespective of their stage of B-cell maturation, BCL10 was predominantly expressed in the cytoplasm. In contrast, each of the four MALT lymphomas with t(1;14)(p22;q32) showed strong BCL10 expression in both the nucleus and cytoplasm. Twenty of 36 (55%) MALT lymphomas lacking the translocation exhibited BCL10 expression in both the nucleus and cytoplasm although at a much lower level, whereas the remaining 16 cases displayed only cytoplasmic BCL10. Unlike MALT lymphoma, both follicular and mantle cell lymphomas generally displayed BCL10 expression compatible to their normal cell counterparts. Our results show differential expression of BCL10 protein among various B-cell populations of the B-cell follicle, indicating its importance in B-cell maturation. The subcellular localization of BCL10 was frequently altered in MALT lymphoma in comparison with its normal cell counterparts, suggesting that ectopic BCL10 expression may be important in the development of this type of tumor.