Bcl10 activates the NF-kappaB pathway through ubiquitination of NEMO

Nature. 2004 Jan 8;427(6970):167-71. doi: 10.1038/nature02273. Epub 2003 Dec 24.


The NF-kappaB family of transcription factors is activated in response to many stimuli, including pro-inflammatory cytokines, environmental stresses and, in the case of B and T lymphocytes, by antigenic stimulation. Bcl10 is essential for NF-kappaB activation by T- and B-cell receptors. T and B lymphocytes from Bcl10-deficient mice fail to activate NF-kappaB in response to antigen-receptor stimulation and, as a consequence, are unable to proliferate. Bcl10 overexpression is sufficient to activate NF-kappaB, a process that requires the NF-kappaB essential modulator NEMO (also known as IKK-gamma), which is the regulatory subunit of the IkappaB kinase complex. However, the cellular mechanism by which Bcl10 activates the NF-kappaB pathway remains unclear. Here we show that Bcl10 targets NEMO for lysine-63-linked ubiquitination. Notably, a mutant form of NEMO that cannot be ubiquitinated inhibited Bcl10-induced NF-kappaB activation. Paracaspase and a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (UBC13) were both required for Bcl10-induced NEMO ubiquitination and subsequent NF-kappaB activation. Furthermore, short interfering RNAs that reduced the expression of paracaspase and UBC13 abrogated the effects of Bcl10. Thus, the adaptor protein Bcl10 promotes activation of NF-kappaB transcription factors through paracaspase- and UBC13-dependent ubiquitination of NEMO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing*
  • B-Cell CLL-Lymphoma 10 Protein
  • Caspases
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone / metabolism
  • Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue Lymphoma Translocation 1 Protein
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • B-Cell CLL-Lymphoma 10 Protein
  • BCL10 protein, human
  • NF-kappa B
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • CHUK protein, human
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • IKBKB protein, human
  • IKBKE protein, human
  • Caspases
  • MALT1 protein, human
  • Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue Lymphoma Translocation 1 Protein