v-Rel prevents apoptosis in transformed lymphoid cells and blocks TNFα-induced cell death

Wei Xing Zong, Michael Farrell, Judy Bash, Céline Gelinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The v-Rel oncoprotein belongs to the Rel/NF-κB family of transcription factors. It transforms chicken lymphoid cells in vitro and induces fatal lymphomas in vivo. In this study, we used a tetracycline-regulated system to characterize the role of v-Rel in cell transformation. We show that the continued expression of v-Rel is necessary to maintain the viability of transformed lymphoid cells and enables primary spleen cells to escape apoptosis in vitro culture. In agreement with a possible role for v-Rel in the inhibition of programmed cell death, its inducible expression in HeLa cells prevented TNFα-induced apoptosis. While the repression of v-Rel was accompanied by the rapid degradation of IκBα changes in the steady-state levels of the apoptosis inhibitors Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L), were only observed following the onset of cell death in transformed lymphoid cells. This suggests that the anti-apoptotic activity of v-Rel may affect apoptosis inhibitors or other factors in the pathway. Together, these findings demonstrate that v-Rel blocks apoptosis and suggest that this activity may be an important component of its transforming function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-980
Number of pages10
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell transformation
  • Tetracycline-regulation
  • v-Rel


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