T cell costimulation by the TNF ligand BAFF

J Immunol. 2001 Dec 1;167(11):6225-31. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.167.11.6225.


The TNF ligand family member BAFF (B cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family, also called Blys, TALL-1, zTNF-4, or THANK) is an important survival factor for B cells [corrected]. In this study, we show that BAFF is able to regulate T cell activation. rBAFF induced responses (thymidine incorporation and cytokine secretion) of T cells, suboptimally stimulated through their TCR. BAFF activity was observed on naive, as well as on effector/memory T cells (both CD4+ and CD8+ subsets), indicating that BAFF has a wide function on T cell responses. Analysis of the signal transduced by BAFF into T cells shows that BAFF has no obvious effect on T cell survival upon activation, but is able to deliver a complete costimulation signal into T cells. Indeed, BAFF is sufficient to induce IL-2 secretion and T cell division, when added to an anti-TCR stimulation. This highlights some differences in the BAFF signaling pathway in T and B cells. In conclusion, our results indicate that BAFF may play a role in the development of T cell responses, in addition to its role in B cell homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Interleukin-2 / physiology
  • Interphase / immunology
  • Ligands
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / metabolism
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFSF13B protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Thymidine