Medullary thymic epithelial cells function as antigen-presenting cells in negative selection of self-reactive T cell clones, a process essential for the establishment of central self-tolerance. These cells mirror peripheral tissues through promiscuous expression of a diverse set of tissue-restricted self-antigens. The genes and signaling pathways that regulate the development of medullary thymic epithelial cells are not fully understood. Here we show that mice deficient in NF-κB2, a member of the NF-κB family, display a marked reduction in the number of mature medullary thymic epithelial cells that express CD80 and bind the lectin Ulex europaeus agglutinin-1, leading to a significant decrease in the extent of promiscuous gene expression in the thymus of NF-κB2-/- mice. Moreover, NF-κB2-/- mice manifest autoimmunity characterized by multiorgan infiltration of activated T cells and high levels of autoantibodies to multiple organs. A subpopulation of the mice also develops immune complex glomerulonephritis. These findings identify a physiological function of NF-κB2 in the development of medullary thymic epithelial cells and, thus, the control of self-tolerance induction. © 2006 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.