B lymphocyte–induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp-1), discovered 16 years ago as a transcriptional repressor of the promoter, plays fundamentally important roles in many cell lineages and in early development. This review focuses on Blimp-1 in lymphocytes. In the B cell lineage, Blimp-1 is required for development of immunoglobulin-secreting cells and for maintenance of long-lived plasma cells (LLPCs). Direct targets of Blimp-1 and the transcriptional cascades Blimp-1 initiates to trigger plasmacytic differentiation are described. Blimp-1 also affects the homeostasis and function of CD4+, CD8+, and regulatory CD4+ T cells, and Blimp-1 levels are highest in antigen-experienced T cells. Blimp-1 attenuates T cell proliferation and survival and modulates differentiation. Roles for Blimp-1 in Th1/Th2 specification, regulatory T cell function, and CD8 differentiation and function are under investigation. Signals that induce Blimp-1 in B cells include Toll-like receptor ligands and cytokines; in T cells, T cell receptors and cytokines induce Blimp-1. In spite of some commonalities, different targets and regulators of Blimp-1 in B and T cells suggest intriguing evolutionary divergence of this regulatory machinery.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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