Activation of the transcription factor c-Maf in T cells is dependent on the CARMA1-IKKβ signaling cascade

Marzenna Blonska, Donghyun Joo, Roza I. Nurieva, Xueqiang Zhao, Paul Chiao, Shao Cong Sun, Chen Dong, Xin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The proto-oncogene c-Maf is a transcription factor that plays a critical role in the differentiation of various T helper (TH) cell subsets. The amount of c-Maf increases after stimulation of the T cell receptor (TCR), which results in the production of multiple cytokines. We showed that two essential regulators of the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), the scaffold protein CARMA1 and the kinase IKKβ [inhibitor of NF-κB (IκB) kinase β], are also critical for the activation of c-Maf. Although CARMA1 deficiency did not affect the TCR-dependent increase in c-Maf abundance in T cells, CARMA1-dependent activation of the IKK complex was required for the nuclear translocation of c-Maf and its binding to the promoters of its target genes. Consistent with a role for c-Maf in the development of T follicular helper (TFH) cells, which provide help to B cells in the germinal centers of the spleen, CARMA1- or IKKβ-deficient mice immunized with peptide antigen had defects in the generation of T FH cells, formation of germinal centers, and production of antigen-specific antibodies. Together, these data suggest a mechanism by which c-Maf is regulated during T cell activation and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberra110
JournalScience Signaling
Issue number306
StatePublished - Dec 17 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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