Aiolos regulates B cell activation and maturation to effector state.
Aiolos encodes a zinc finger DNA-binding protein that is highly expressed in mature B cells and is homologous to Ikaros. In the periphery of mice homozygous for an Aiolos-null mutation, B cells exhibit an activated cell surface phenotype and undergo augmented antigen receptor (BCR)-mediated in vitro proliferative responses, even at limiting amounts of stimulant. In vivo, T cell-dependent B cell responses, including the formation of germinal centers and elevated serum IgG and IgE, are detected in Aiolos-deficient mice in the absence of immunization. Auto-antibodies and development of B cell lymphomas are frequently seen among aging Aiolos mutants. In sharp contrast to conventional B cells, B cells of the peritoneum, of the marginal zone, and the recirculating bone marrow population are greatly reduced.