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RNA-binding proteins of the ZFP36 family are best known for inhibiting the expression of cytokines through binding to AU-rich elements in the 3' untranslated region and promoting mRNA decay. Here we identified an indispensable role for ZFP36L1 as the regulator of a post-transcriptional hub that determined the identity of marginal-zone B cells by promoting their proper localization and survival. ZFP36L1 controlled a gene-expression program related to signaling, cell adhesion and locomotion; it achieved this in part by limiting expression of the transcription factors KLF2 and IRF8, which are known to enforce the follicular B cell phenotype. These mechanisms emphasize the importance of integrating transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes by RNA-binding proteins for maintaining cellular identity among closely related cell types.

Citation

Rebecca Newman, Helena Ahlfors, Alexander Saveliev, Alison Galloway, Daniel J Hodson, Robert Williams, Gurdyal S Besra, Charlotte N Cook, Adam F Cunningham, Sarah E Bell, Martin Turner. Maintenance of the marginal-zone B cell compartment specifically requires the RNA-binding protein ZFP36L1. Nature immunology. 2017 Jun;18(6):683-693

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PMID: 28394372

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