BAFF activates Erk1/2 promoting cell proliferation and survival by Ca2+-CaMKII-dependent inhibition of PP2A in normal and neoplastic B-lymphoid cells

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Graphical abstractB-cell activating factor (BAFF) is involved in not only the physiology of normal B cells, but also the pathophysiology of aggressive B cells related to malignant and autoimmune diseases. However, how excessive BAFF promotes aggressive B-cell proliferation and survival is not well understood. Here we show that excessive human soluble BAFF (hsBAFF) enhanced cell proliferation and survival in normal and B-lymphoid (Raji) cells, which was associated with suppression of PP2A, resulting in activation of Erk1/2. This is supported by the findings that pretreatment with U0126 or PD98059, expression of dominant negative MKK1, or overexpression of PP2A prevented hsBAFF-induced activation of Erk1/2 and cell proliferation/viability in the cells. It appears that hsBAFF-mediated PP2A-Erk1/2 pathway and B-cell proliferation/viability was Ca2+-dependent, as pretreatment with BAPTA/AM, EGTA or 2-APB significantly attenuated these events. Furthermore, we found that inhibiting CaMKII with KN93 or silencing CaMKII also attenuated hsBAFF-mediated PP2A-Erk1/2 signaling and B-cell proliferation/viability. The results indicate that BAFF activates Erk1/2, in part through Ca2+-CaMKII-dependent inhibition of PP2A, increasing cell proliferation/viability in normal and neoplastic B-lymphoid cells. Our data suggest that inhibitors of CaMKII and Erk1/2, activator of PP2A or manipulation of intracellular Ca2+ may be exploited for prevention of excessive BAFF-induced aggressive B-cell malignancies and autoimmune diseases.

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