The transcription factor Bach2 regulates the immune system at multiple points, including class switch recombination (CSR) in activated B cells and the function of T cells in part by restricting their terminal differentiation. However, the regulation of Bach2 expression and its activity in the immune cells are still unclear. Here, we demonstrated that Bach2 mRNA expression decreased in Pten-deficient primary B cells. Bach2 was phosphorylated in primary B cells, which was increased upon the activation of the B cell receptor by an anti-immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody or CD40 ligand. Using specific inhibitors of kinases, the phosphorylation of Bach2 in activated B cells was shown to depend on the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. The complex of mTOR and Raptor phosphorylated Bach2 in vitro. We identified multiple new phosphorylation sites of Bach2 by mass spectrometry analysis of epitope-tagged Bach2 expressed in the mature B cell line BAL17. Among the sites identified, serine 535 (Ser-535) was critical for the regulation of Bach2 because a single mutation of Ser-535 abolished cytoplasmic accumulation of Bach2, promoting its nuclear accumulation in pre-B cells, whereas Ser-509 played an auxiliary role. Bach2 repressor activity was enhanced by the Ser-535 mutation in B cells. These results suggest that the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway inhibits Bach2 by both repressing its expression and inducing its phosphorylation in B cells.
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