APRIL is overexpressed in cancer: link with tumor progression.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: BAFF and APRIL share two receptors - TACI and BCMA - and BAFF binds to a third receptor, BAFF-R. Increased expression of BAFF and APRIL is noted in hematological malignancies. BAFF and APRIL are essential for the survival of normal and malignant B lymphocytes, and altered expression of BAFF or APRIL or of their receptors (BCMA, TACI, or BAFF-R) have been reported in various B-cell malignancies including B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. METHODS: We compared the expression of BAFF, APRIL, TACI and BAFF-R gene expression in 40 human tumor types - brain, epithelial, lymphoid, germ cells - to that of their normal tissue counterparts using publicly available gene expression data, including the Oncomine Cancer Microarray database. RESULTS: We found significant overexpression of TACI in multiple myeloma and thyroid carcinoma and an association between TACI expression and prognosis in lymphoma. Furthermore, BAFF and APRIL are overexpressed in many cancers and we show that APRIL expression is associated with tumor progression. We also found overexpression of at least one proteoglycan with heparan sulfate chains (HS), which are coreceptors for APRIL and TACI, in tumors where APRIL is either overexpressed or is a prognostic factor. APRIL could induce survival or proliferation directly through HS proteoglycans. CONCLUSION: Taken together, these data suggest that APRIL is a potential prognostic factor for a large array of malignancies.
Project description:Multiple myeloma (MM) is an aggressive incurable plasma cell malignancy with a median life expectancy of less than seven years. Antibody-based therapies have demonstrated substantial clinical benefit for patients with hematological malignancies, particular in B cell Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The lack of immunotherapies specifically targeting MM cells led us to develop a human-mouse chimeric antibody directed against the B cell maturation antigen (BCMA), which is almost exclusively expressed on plasma cells and multiple myeloma cells. The high affinity antibody blocks the binding of the native ligands APRIL and BAFF to BCMA. This finding is rationalized by the high resolution crystal structure of the Fab fragment in complex with the extracellular domain of BCMA. Most importantly, the antibody effectively depletes MM cells in vitro and in vivo and substantially prolongs tumor-free survival under therapeutic conditions in a xenograft mouse model. A BCMA-antibody-based therapy is therefore a promising option for the effective treatment of multiple myeloma and autoimmune diseases.
Project description:The closely related TNF family ligands B cell activation factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) serve in the generation and maintenance of mature B-lymphocytes. Both BAFF and APRIL assemble as homotrimers that bind and activate several receptors that they partially share. However, heteromers of BAFF and APRIL that occur in patients with autoimmune diseases are incompletely characterized. The N and C termini of adjacent BAFF or APRIL monomers are spatially close and can be linked to create single-chain homo- or hetero-ligands of defined stoichiometry. Similar to APRIL, heteromers consisting of one BAFF and two APRILs (BAA) bind to the receptors B cell maturation antigen (BCMA), transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) but not to the BAFF receptor (BAFFR). Heteromers consisting of one APRIL and two BAFF (ABB) bind to TACI and BCMA and weakly to BAFFR in accordance with the analysis of the receptor interaction sites in the crystallographic structure of ABB. Receptor binding correlated with activity in reporter cell line assays specific for BAFFR, TACI, or BCMA. Single-chain BAFF (BBB) and to a lesser extent single-chain ABB, but not APRIL or single-chain BAA, rescued BAFFR-dependent B cell maturation in BAFF-deficient mice. In conclusion, BAFF-APRIL heteromers of different stoichiometries have distinct receptor-binding properties and activities. Based on the observation that heteromers are less active than BAFF, we speculate that their physiological role might be to down-regulate BAFF activity.
Project description:Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clonal B cell disorder of unknown origin. Accessory signals from the microenvironment are critical for the survival, expansion, and progression of malignant B cells. We found that the CLL stroma included microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) expressing BAFF and APRIL, two TNF family members related to the T cell-associated B cell-stimulating molecule CD40L. Constitutive release of soluble BAFF and APRIL increased upon engagement of CD40 on MVECs by CD40L aberrantly expressed on CLL cells. In addition to enhancing MVEC expression of CD40, leukemic CD40L induced cleavases that elicited intracellular processing of pro-BAFF and pro-APRIL proteins in MVECs. The resulting soluble BAFF and APRIL proteins delivered survival, activation, Ig gene remodeling, and differentiation signals by stimulating CLL cells through TACI, BAFF-R, and BCMA receptors. BAFF and APRIL further amplified CLL cell survival by upregulating the expression of leukemic CD40L. Inhibition of TACI, BCMA, and BAFF-R expression on CLL cells; abrogation of CD40 expression in MVECs; or suppression of BAFF and APRIL cleavases in MVECs reduced the survival and diversification of malignant B cells. These data indicate that BAFF, APRIL, and CD40L form a CLL-enhancing bidirectional signaling network linking neoplastic B cells with the microvascular stroma.
Project description:B cell activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are closely related ligands within the TNF superfamily that play important roles in B lymphocyte biology. Both ligands share two receptors--transmembrane activator and calcium signal--modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) and B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)--that are predominantly expressed on B cells. In addition, BAFF specifically binds BAFF receptor, whereas the nature of a postulated APRIL-specific receptor remains elusive. We show that the TNF homology domain of APRIL binds BCMA and TACI, whereas a basic amino acid sequence (QKQKKQ) close to the NH2 terminus of the mature protein is required for binding to the APRIL-specific "receptor." This interactor was identified as negatively charged sulfated glycosaminoglycan side chains of proteoglycans. Although T cell lines bound little APRIL, the ectopic expression of glycosaminoglycan-rich syndecans or glypicans conferred on these cells a high binding capacity that was completely dependent on APRIL's basic sequence. Moreover, syndecan-1-positive plasma cells and proteoglycan-rich nonhematopoietic cells displayed high specific, heparin-sensitive binding to APRIL. Inhibition of BAFF and APRIL, but not BAFF alone, prevented the survival and/or the migration of newly formed plasma cells to the bone marrow. In addition, costimulation of B cell proliferation by APRIL was only effective upon APRIL oligomerization. Therefore, we propose a model whereby APRIL binding to the extracellular matrix or to proteoglycan-positive cells induces APRIL oligomerization, which is the prerequisite for the triggering of TACI- and/or BCMA-mediated activation, migration, or survival signals.
Project description:The TNF superfamily ligands BAFF and APRIL interact with three receptors, BAFFR, BCMA, and TACI, to play discrete and crucial roles in regulating B cell selection and homeostasis in mammals. The interactions between these ligands and receptors are both specific and redundant: BAFFR binds BAFF, whereas BCMA and TACI bind to either BAFF or APRIL. In a previous phylogenetic inquiry, we identified and characterized a <i>BAFF</i>-like gene in lampreys, which, with hagfish, are the only extant jawless vertebrates, both of which have B-like and T-like lymphocytes. To gain insight into lymphocyte regulation in jawless vertebrates, in this study we identified two <i>BCMA</i>-like genes in lampreys, <i>BCMAL1</i> and <i>BCMAL2</i>, which were found to be preferentially expressed by B-like lymphocytes. In vitro analyses indicated that the lamprey BAFF-like protein can bind to a BCMA-like receptor Ig fusion protein and to both BCMAL1- and BCMAL2-transfected cells. Discriminating regulatory roles for the two BCMA-like molecules are suggested by their differential expression before and after activation of the B-like lymphocytes in lampreys. Our composite results imply that BAFF-based mechanisms for B cell regulation evolved before the divergence of jawed and jawless vertebrates.
Project description:Gliomas are common and lethal tumors of the central nervous system (CNS). Genetic alterations, inflammatory and angiogenic processes have been identified throughout tumor progression; however, treatment still remains palliative for most cases. Biological research on parameters influencing cell survival, invasion and tumor heterogeneity identified several cytokines interfering in CNS inflammation, oxidative stress and malignant transformation, including TNF-superfamily (TNFSF) members. In this report we performed a meta-analysis of public gene-array data on the expression of a group of TNFSF ligands (BAFF, APRIL, TWEAK) and their receptors (BAFF-R, TACI, BCMA, Fn14) in gliomas. In addition, we investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) the tumor cells' expression of these ligands and receptors in a series of 56 gliomas of different grade. We show that in IHC, BAFF and APRIL as well as their cognate receptors (BCMA, TACI) and Fn14 expression correlate with tumor grade. This result was not evidenced in micro-arrays meta-analysis. Finally, we detected for the first time Fn14, BAFF, BCMA and TACI in glioma-related vascular endothelium. Our data, combined with our previous report in glioma cell lines, suggest a role for these receptors and ligands in glioma biology and advance these molecules as potential markers for the classification of these tumors to the proliferative, angiogenic or stem-like molecular subtype.
Project description:Terminal differentiation of B cells depends on two interconnected survival pathways, elicited by the B-cell receptor (BCR) and the BAFF receptor (BAFF-R), respectively. Loss of either signaling pathway arrests B-cell development. Although BCR-dependent survival depends mainly on the activation of the v-AKT murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 (AKT)/PI3-kinase network, BAFF/BAFF-R-mediated survival engages non-canonical NF-?B signaling as well as MAPK/extracellular-signal regulated kinase and AKT/PI3-kinase modules to allow proper B-cell development. Plasma cell survival, however, is independent of BAFF-R and regulated by APRIL that signals NF-?B activation via alternative receptors, that is, transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI) or B-cell maturation (BCMA). All these complex signaling events are believed to secure survival by increased expression of anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2) family proteins in developing and mature B cells. Curiously, how lack of BAFF- or APRIL-mediated signaling triggers B-cell apoptosis remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that two pro-apoptotic members of the 'Bcl2 homology domain 3-only' subgroup of the Bcl2 family, Bcl2 interacting mediator of cell death (Bim) and Bcl2 modifying factor (Bmf), mediate apoptosis in the context of TACI-Ig overexpression that effectively neutralizes BAFF as well as APRIL. Surprisingly, although Bcl2 overexpression triggers B-cell hyperplasia exceeding the one observed in Bim(-/-)Bmf(-/-) mice, Bcl2 transgenic B cells remain susceptible to the effects of TACI-Ig expression in vivo, leading to ameliorated pathology in Vav-Bcl2 transgenic mice. Together, our findings shed new light on the molecular machinery restricting B-cell survival during development, normal homeostasis and under pathological conditions. Our data further suggest that Bcl2 antagonists might improve the potency of BAFF/APRIL-depletion strategies in B-cell-driven pathologies.
Project description:Previous studies have reported activation of the B cell-activating factor (BAFF)/a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) system in T independent immunity against malaria infection. Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) infected animal model is not feasible. Therefore, little is known about the occurrence of BAFF/APRIL system and changes in falciparum lymphoid tissues. This study aimed to investigate the expression of BAFF/APRIL system components in lymphoid tissues from P. falciparum infected patients. Spleen and lymph node samples from 14 patients were collected at autopsy. Normal spleens and bacterially infected tonsils served as controls. The protein and/or mRNA expression of BAFF/APRIL and their cognate receptors, BAFF-R, TACI and BCMA, were determined by immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR, respectively. The spleens of the patients exhibited significantly higher BAFF-R protein expression than normal spleens. Although without appropriate control, BCMA protein was markedly observed only in the lymph nodes. BAFF and BCMA mRNA levels were also significantly elevated in the spleen tissues of the patients compared with normal spleens. The overall BAFF-R protein levels in the lymphoid tissues of the patients correlated positively with parasitaemia. These findings are the first to confirm that BAFF/APRIL system activation in lymphoid tissues and is positively correlated with the parasitaemia levels in falciparum malaria.
Project description:B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a promising therapeutic target for multiple myeloma (MM), but expression is variable, and early reports of BCMA targeting chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) suggest antigen downregulation at relapse. Dual-antigen targeting increases targetable tumor antigens and reduces the risk of antigen-negative disease escape. "A proliferation-inducing ligand" (APRIL) is a natural high-affinity ligand for BCMA and transmembrane activator and calcium-modulator and cyclophilin ligand (TACI). We quantified surface tumor expression of BCMA and TACI on primary MM cells (n = 50). All cases tested expressed BCMA, and 39 (78%) of them also expressed TACI. We engineered a third-generation APRIL-based CAR (ACAR), which killed targets expressing either BCMA or TACI (<i>P</i> < .01 and <i>P</i> < .05, respectively, cf. control, effector-to-target [E:T] ratio 16:1). We confirmed cytolysis at antigen levels similar to those on primary MM, at low E:T ratios (56.2% ± 3.9% killing of MM.1s at 48 h, E:T ratio 1:32; <i>P</i> < .01) and of primary MM cells (72.9% ± 12.2% killing at 3 days, E:T ratio 1:1; <i>P</i> < .05, n = 5). Demonstrating tumor control in the absence of BCMA, we maintained cytolysis of primary tumor expressing both BCMA and TACI in the presence of a BCMA-targeting antibody. Furthermore, using an intramedullary myeloma model, ACAR T cells caused regression of an established tumor within 2 days. Finally, in an in vivo model of tumor escape, there was complete ACAR-mediated tumor clearance of BCMA<sup>+</sup>TACI<sup>-</sup> and BCMA<sup>-</sup>TACI<sup>+</sup> cells, and a single-chain variable fragment CAR targeting BCMA alone resulted in outgrowth of a BCMA-negative tumor. These results support the clinical potential of this approach.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily consists of 19 ligands and 29 receptors and is related to multiple cellular events from proliferation and differentiation to apoptosis and tumor reduction. In this review, we overview the whole system, and we focus on A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL, TNFSF13) and B cell-activating factor (BAFF, TNFSF13B) and their receptors transmembrane activator and Ca2+ modulator (CAML) interactor (TACI, TNFRSF13B), B cell maturation antigen (BCMA, TNFRSF17), and BAFF receptor (BAFFR, TNFRSF13C). We explore their role in cancer and novel biological therapies introduced for multiple myeloma and further focus on breast cancer, in which the modulation of this system seems to be of potential interest, as a novel therapeutic target. Finally, we discuss some precautions which should be taken into consideration, while targeting the APRIL-BAFF system.