RAPL (an alternative spliced form of Rassf5) is a critical Ras-related protein1 (Rap1) effector that regulates lymphocyte adhesion. Here, we have shown that in addition to this previously described function, RAPL also negatively controls lymphocyte proliferation and prevents autoimmunity and lymphoma. RAPL-deficient mice experienced age-related lupus-like glomerulonephritis and developed B cell lymphomas. RAPL-deficient lymphocytes showed hyperproliferation by enhanced S phase entry after antigen receptor ligation. Compared to wild-type cells, RAPL-deficient naive lymphocytes had a 2- to 3-fold increase in Cdk2 kinase activity with a cytoplasmic mislocalization of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27kip1. RAPL was found to suppress the phosphorylation of p27kip1 on serine 10 (S10) and promoted p27kip1 nuclear translocation. An S10A mutation in p27kip1 corrected its cytoplasmic accumulation, reduced hyperproliferation in RAPL-deficient lymphocytes, and suppressed glomerulonephritis and development of B cell lymphoma. Thus, RAPL serves as a checkpoint for S phase entry to prevent lymphoproliferative disorders through the spatial regulation of p27kip1.
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