The BCL-6 gene is known to be located on chromosome 3q27, at the breakpoint of the 3q27-associated translocations that occur frequently in human non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs). To identify the BCL-6 protein, two antibodies that recognized distinct domains of this protein were raised in rabbits. Immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting of lysates of BCL-6-expressing cells using both antibodies showed a broad 92- to 98- kD band. Dephosphorylation of BCL-6 protein reduced the size of this band to 87 kD, suggesting that BCL-6 may be expressed in a phosphorylated form. Immunostaining with both antibodies showed that BCL-6 protein was localized in the nuclei of most of the germinal center B cells and a small number of marginal zone B cells. Furthermore, BCL-6 protein was expressed in follicular, Burkitt's, and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. These results suggest that the BCL-6 protein, expressed in B cells of the germinal centers which are important in the maturation of immune responses, may play some physiological role(s) in the germinal center B cells.

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