Roles of BCL6 in normal and transformed germinal center B cells

Immunol Rev. 2012 May;247(1):172-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2012.01112.x.


BCL6 is a transcriptional repressor required in mature B cells during the germinal center (GC) reaction. Multiple mechanisms act coordinately to timely modulate BCL6 expression at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. BCL6 prevents premature activation and differentiation of GC B cells and provides an environment tolerant of the DNA breaks associated with immunoglobulin gene remodeling mechanisms involved in the production of high-affinity antibodies of different isotypes. The critical functions exerted by BCL6 during normal B-cell development can be hijacked by the malignant transformation process. Indeed, BCL6 is targeted by genetic aberrations and acts as an oncogene in GC-derived lymphomas. The aberrations affecting BCL6 interfere with the multiple levels of regulation that grant a fine tuning of BCL6 expression and activity in physiologic conditions. This review summarizes the current knowledge on BCL6 function and its role in lymphomagenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Germinal Center / cytology*
  • Germinal Center / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / physiopathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-6 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-6 / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-6