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.
© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.