An essential role for BAFF in the normal development of B cells through a BCMA-independent pathway.
The B cell activating factor BAFF (BlyS/TALL-1/zTNF4) is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related ligand that promotes B cell survival and binds to three receptors (BCMA, TACI, and the recently described BAFF-R). Here we report an absolute requirement for BAFF in normal B cell development. Examination of secondary lymphoid organs from BAFF-deficient mice revealed an almost complete loss of follicular and marginal zone B lymphocytes. In contrast, mice lacking BCMA had normal-appearing B lymphocyte compartments. BAFF therefore plays a crucial role in B cell development and can function through receptors other than BCMA.