BAFF, an activator of the noncanonical NFκB pathway, provides critical survival signals during B cell maturation and contributes to B cell proliferation. We found that the NFκB family member RelB is required ex vivo for B cell maturation, but cRel is required for proliferation. Combined molecular network modeling and experimentation revealed Nfkb2 p100 as a pathway switch; at moderate p100 synthesis rates in maturing B cells, BAFF fully utilizes p100 to generate the RelB:p52 dimer, whereas at high synthesis rates, p100 assembles into multimeric IκBsome complexes, which BAFF neutralizes in order to potentiate cRel activity and B cell expansion. Indeed, moderation of p100 expression or disruption of IκBsome assembly circumvented the BAFF requirement for full B cell expansion. Our studies emphasize the importance of p100 in determining distinct NFκB network states during B cell biology, which causes BAFF to have context-dependent functional consequences.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.