In a genome-wide ENU mouse mutagenesis screen a recessive mouse mutation, unmodulated, was isolated with profound defects in humoral immune responses, selective deficits in B cell activation by antigen receptors and T cell costimulation by CD28, and gradual development of atopic dermatitis with hyper-IgE. Mutant B cells are specifically defective in forming connections between antigen receptors and two key signaling pathways for immunogenic responses, NF-kappaB and JNK, but signal normally to calcium, NFAT, and ERK. The mutation alters a conserved leucine in the coiled-coil domain of CARMA-1/CARD11, a member of the MAGUK protein family implicated in organizing multimolecular signaling complexes. These results define Carma-1 as a key regulator of the plasticity in antigen receptor signaling that underpins opposing mechanisms of immunity and tolerance.
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