The development of lymphomas and leukemias is frequently caused by chromosomal translocations that deregulate cellular pathways of differentiation, proliferation or survival. The molecules that are involved in these aberrations provide rational targets for selective drug therapies. Recently, several disease specific translocations have been identified in human MALT lymphoma. These aberrations either upregulate the expression of BCL10 or MALT1 or induce the formation of API2-MALT1 fusion proteins. Genetic and biochemical experiments identified BCL10 and MALT1 as central components of an oligomerization - ubiquitinylation – phosphorylation cascade that activates the transcription factor NF-κB in response to antigen receptor ligation. Deregulation of the signaling cascade is directly associated with antigen independent MALT lymphoma growth. Here we provide an overview of the physiological and pathological functions of BCL10 / MALT1 signal transduction and discuss the potential of this pathway as a drug target.
Keywords: Lymphoma, Malt1, Bcl10, API2-MALT1, NF-κB, antigen receptor, chromosomal translocation, fusion protein
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