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Oscillation dynamics underlie functional switching of NF-κB for B-cell activation


Transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) shows cooperative switch-like activation followed by prolonged oscillatory nuclear translocation in response to extracellular stimuli. These dynamics are important for activation of the NF-κB transcriptional machinery, however, NF-κB activity regulated by coordinated actions of these dynamics has not been elucidated at the system level. Using a variety of B cells with artificially rewired NF-κB signaling networks, we show that oscillations and switch-like activation of NF-κB can be dissected and that, under some conditions, these two behaviors are separated upon antigen receptor activation. Comprehensive quantitative experiments and mathematical analysis showed that the functional role of switch activation in the NF-κB system is to overcome transient IKK (IκB kinase) activity to amplify nuclear translocation of NF-κB, thereby inducing the prolonged NF-κB oscillatory behavior necessary for target gene expression and B-cell activation.

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