Maintenance of the marginal-zone B cell compartment specifically requires the RNA-binding protein ZFP36L1.
Newman R., Ahlfors H., Saveliev A., Galloway A., Hodson DJ., Williams R., Besra GS., Cook CN., Cunningham AF., Bell SE., Turner M.
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.