Rapamycin inhibits BAFF-stimulated cell proliferation and survival by suppressing mTOR-mediated PP2A-Erk1/2 signaling pathway in normal and neoplastic B-lymphoid cells
B-cell activating factor (BAFF) is involved in not only physiology of normal B cells, but also pathophysiology of aggressive B cells related to malignant and autoimmune diseases. Rapamycin, a lipophilic macrolide antibiotic, has recently shown to be effective in the treatment of human lupus erythematosus. However, how rapamycin inhibits BAFF-stimulated B-cell proliferation and survival has not been fully elucidated. Here, we show that rapamycin inhibited human soluble BAFF (hsBAFF)-induced cell proliferation and survival in normal and B-lymphoid (Raji and Daudi) cells by activation of PP2A and inactivation of Erk1/2. Pretreatment with PD98059, down-regulation of Erk1/2, expression of dominant negative MKK1, or overexpression of wild-type PP2A potentiated rapamycin’s suppression of hsBAFF-activated Erk1/2 and B-cell proliferation/viability, whereas expression of constitutively active MKK1, inhibition of PP2A by okadaic acid, or expression of dominant negative PP2A attenuated the inhibitory effects of rapamycin. Furthermore, expression of a rapamycin-resistant and kinase-active mTOR (mTOR-T), but not a rapamycin-resistant and kinase-dead mTOR-T (mTOR-TE), conferred resistance to rapamycin’s effects on PP2A, Erk1/2 and B-cell proliferation/viability, implying mTOR-dependent mechanism involved. The findings indicate that rapamycin inhibits BAFF-stimulated cell proliferation/survival by suppressing mTOR-mediated PP2A-Erk1/2 signaling pathway in normal and neoplastic B-lymphoid cells. Our data highlight that rapamycin may be exploited for preventing excessive BAFF-induced aggressive B-cell malignancies and autoimmune diseases.