Aberrant expression of functional BAFF-system receptors by malignant B-cell precursors impacts leukemia cell survival.
ABSTRACT: Despite exhibiting oncogenic events, patient's leukemia cells are responsive and dependent on signals from their malignant bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, which modulate their survival, cell cycle progression, trafficking and resistance to chemotherapy. Identification of the signaling pathways mediating this leukemia/microenvironment interplay is critical for the development of novel molecular targeted therapies.We observed that primary leukemia B-cell precursors aberrantly express receptors of the BAFF-system, BAFF-R, BCMA, and TACI. These receptors are functional as their ligation triggers activation of NF-?B, MAPK/JNK, and Akt signaling. Leukemia cells express surface BAFF and APRIL ligands, and soluble BAFF is significantly higher in leukemia patients in comparison to age-matched controls. Interestingly, leukemia cells also express surface APRIL, which seems to be encoded by APRIL-?, a novel isoform that lacks the furin convertase domain. Importantly, we observed BM microenvironmental cells express the ligands BAFF and APRIL, including surface and secreted BAFF by BM endothelial cells. Functional studies showed that signals through BAFF-system receptors impact the survival and basal proliferation of leukemia B-cell precursors, and support the involvement of both homotypic and heterotypic mechanisms.This study shows an unforeseen role for the BAFF-system in the biology of precursor B-cell leukemia, and suggests that the target disruption of BAFF signals may constitute a valid strategy for the treatment of this cancer.
Project description:Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells survive longer in vivo than in vitro, suggesting that the tissue microenvironment provides prosurvival signals to tumor cells. Primary and secondary lymphoid tissues are involved in the pathogenesis of CLL, and the role of these tissue microenvironments has not been explored completely. To elucidate host-tumor interactions, we performed gene expression profiling (GEP) of purified CLL cells from peripheral blood (PB; n = 20), bone marrow (BM; n = 18), and lymph node (LN; n = 15) and validated key pathway genes by real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry and/or TCL1 trans-genic mice. Gene signatures representing several pathways critical for survival and activation of B cells were altered in CLL cells from different tissue compartments. Molecules associated with the B-cell receptor (BCR), B cell-activating factor/a proliferation-inducing ligand (BAFF/APRIL), nuclear factor (NF)-?B pathway and immune suppression signature were enriched in LN-CLL, suggesting LNs as the primary site for tumor growth. Immune suppression genes may help LN-CLL cells to modulate antigen-presenting and T-cell behavior to suppress antitumor activity. PB CLL cells overexpressed chemokine receptors, and their cognate ligands were enriched in LN and BM, suggesting that a chemokine gradient instructs B cells to migrate toward LN or BM. Of several chemokine ligands, the expression of CCL3 was associated with poor prognostic factors. The BM gene signature was enriched with antiapoptotic, cytoskeleton and adhesion molecules. Interestingly, PB cells from lymphadenopathy patients shared GEP with LN cells. In E?-TCL1 transgenic mice (the mouse model of the disease), a high percentage of leukemic cells from the lymphoid compartment express key BCR and NF-?B molecules. Together, our findings demonstrate that the lymphoid microenvironment promotes survival, proliferation and progression of CLL cells via chronic activation of BCR, BAFF/APRIL and NF-?B activation while suppressing the immune response.
Project description:The effects of B cell-activating factor belonging to the TNF family (BAFF) on B cell maturation and survival in the mouse are relatively well understood. In contrast, little is known about the role of BAFF in B cell development in other mammals, such as rabbits, that use GALT to develop and maintain the B cell compartment. We examined the expression and requirement of BAFF and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) during peripheral B cell development in young rabbits. By neutralizing BAFF and APRIL in neonates with a soluble decoy receptor, transmembrane activator calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor-Fc, we found a marked reduction in the number of peripheral B cells, but found no change in the bone marrow (BM) compartment. In the appendix, the size and number of proliferating B cell follicles were greatly reduced, demonstrating that although BAFF/APRIL is dispensable for B cell development in BM, it is required for B cell development in GALT. We found that all rabbit B cells expressed BAFF receptor 3, but did not bind rBAFF, suggesting that the BAFF-binding receptors (BBRs) are bound by endogenous soluble BAFF. Further, we found that B cells themselves express BAFF, suggesting that the soluble BAFF bound to BBRs may be endogenously produced and stimulate B cells in an autocrine fashion. Additionally, we propose that this chronic occupancy of BBRs on B cells may provide a tonic and/or survival signal for the maintenance of peripheral B cells in adults after B lymphopoiesis is arrested in BM.
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:Myeloid cells express the TNF family ligands BAFF/BLyS and APRIL, which exert their effects on B cells at different stages of differentiation via the receptors BAFFR, TACI (Transmembrane Activator and CAML-Interactor) and/or BCMA (B Cell Maturation Antigen). BAFF and APRIL are proteins expressed at the cell membrane, with both extracellular and intracellular domains. Therefore, receptor/ligand engagement may also result in signals in ligand-expressing cells via so-called "reverse signalling". In order to understand how TACI-Fc (atacicept) technically may mediate immune stimulation instead of suppression, we investigated its potential to activate reverse signalling through BAFF and APRIL. BAFFR-Fc and TACI-Fc, but not Fn14-Fc, reproducibly stimulated the ERK and other signalling pathways in bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages. However, these effects were independent of BAFF or APRIL since the same activation profile was observed with BAFF- or APRIL-deficient cells. Instead, cell activation correlated with the presence of high molecular mass forms of BAFFR-Fc and TACI-Fc and was strongly impaired in macrophages deficient for Fc receptor gamma chain. Moreover, a TACI-Fc defective for Fc receptor binding elicited no detectable signal. Although these results do not formally rule out the existence of BAFF or APRIL reverse signalling (via pathways not tested in this study), they provide no evidence in support of reverse signalling and point to the importance of using appropriate specificity controls when working with Fc receptor-expressing myeloid cells.
Project description:B cells, key cells in allergic inflammation, differentiate in the bone marrow and their precursors include pro-B, pre-B and immature B cells. Eosinophil progenitor cells increase in the lung after allergen exposure. However, the existence and possible role of B cell precursors in the lung during allergic inflammation remains elusive.A BALB/c mouse model of allergic airway inflammation was utilized to perform phenotypic and quantification analyses of pro-B and pre-B cells in the lung by flow cytometry. B cell maturation factors IL-7 and B cell-activating factor (BAFF) and their receptors (CD127 and BAFFR, BCMA, TACI, respectively) were also evaluated in the lung and serum. The effect of anti-BAFF treatment was investigated both in vivo (i.p. administration of BAFF-R-Ig fusion protein) and in vitro (colony forming cell assay). Finally, BAFF levels were examined in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of asthmatic patients and healthy controls.Precursor pro and pre-B cells increase in the lung after allergen exposure, proliferate in the lung tissue in vivo, express markers of chemotaxis (CCR10 and CXCR4) and co-stimulation (CD40, CD86) and are resistant to apoptosis (Bax). Precursor B cells express receptors for BAFF at baseline, while after allergen challenge both their ligand BAFF and the BCMA receptor expression increases in B cell precursors. Blocking BAFFR in the lung in vivo decreases eosinophils and proliferating precursor B cells. Blocking BAFFR in bone marrow cultures in vitro reduces pre-B colony formation units. BAFF is increased in the BAL of severe asthmatics.Our data support the concept of a BAFF-mediated role for B cell precursors in allergic airway inflammation.
Project description: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 a currently incurable malignancy of plasma cells. Malignant myeloma cells (MMCs) are heavily dependent upon the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment for their survival. One component of this tumor microenvironment, B-Cell Activating Factor (BAFF), has been implicated as a key player in this interaction. This review discusses the role of BAFF in the pathophysiology of MM, and the potential of BAFF-inhibitory therapy for the treatment of MM. Multiple studies have shown that BAFF functions as a survival factor for MMCs. Furthermore, MMCs express several BAFF-binding receptors. Of these, only Transmembrane Activator and CAML Interactor (TACI) correlates with the MMC's capability to ligate BAFF. Additionally, the level of expression of TACI correlates with the level of the MMC's BM dependency. Ligation of BAFF receptors on MMCs causes activation of the Nuclear Factor of κ-B (NF-κB) pathway, a crucial pathway for the pathogenesis of many B-cell malignancies. Serum BAFF levels are significantly elevated in MM patients when compared to healthy controls, and correlate inversely with overall survival. BAFF signaling is thus an interesting target for the treatment of MM. Several BAFF-inhibitory drugs are currently under evaluation for the treatment of MM. These include BAFF-monoclonal antibodies (tabalumab) and antibody-drug conjugates (GSK2857916).
Project description:To determine the role of APRIL in the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in mice.Wild-type (WT) NZM 2328, NZM. April(-/-) , NZM.Baff(-/-) , and NZM.Baff(-/-) .April(-/-) mice were evaluated for lymphocyte phenotype by flow cytometry, for serum total IgG and IgG autoantibody levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, for glomerular deposition of IgG and C3 by immunofluorescence, for renal changes by histopathology, and for clinical disease by laboratory assessment (severe proteinuria).In comparison to WT mice, NZM.April(-/-) mice harbored increased spleen B cells, T cells, and plasma cells (PCs), increased serum levels of IgG antichromatin antibodies, and decreased numbers of bone marrow (BM) PCs. Glomerular deposition of IgG and C3 was similar in NZM.April(-/-) mice and WT mice, renal changes on histopathology tended to be more severe in NZM.April(-/-) mice than in WT mice, and development of clinical disease was identical in NZM.April(-/-) mice and WT mice. BM (but not spleen) PCs and serum IgG antichromatin and anti-double-stranded DNA antibody levels were lower in NZM.Baff(-/-) .April(-/-) mice than in NZM.Baff(-/-) mice, whereas renal immunopathology in each cohort was equally mild.APRIL is dispensable for the development of full-blown SLE in NZM mice. Moreover, the elimination of both APRIL and BAFF had no discernible effect on the development of renal immunopathology or clinical disease beyond that of elimination of BAFF alone. The reduction in BM PCs in hosts doubly deficient in APRIL and BAFF beyond that in hosts deficient only in BAFF raises concern that combined antagonism of APRIL and BAFF may lead to greater immunosuppression without a concomitant increase in therapeutic efficacy.
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:BAFF, APRIL and their receptors regulate the survival, maturation and homeostasis of mature B-cells. Despite the lack of a functional role of BAFF/APRIL system during normal early B-cell development, previous studies indicated a contribution of these molecules in the pathogenesis of B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Here, we evaluated the expression of this system in B-ALL and its involvement in spontaneous and drug-induced apoptosis of B-lymphoblasts, taking into consideration the distinct disease subtypes. We found that BAFFR is the most predominant aberrantly expressed receptor in B-ALL and that its expression, along with BCMA and APRIL, positively correlates with the maturation stage of B-lymphoblasts. Moreover, the binding of the E2A-PBX1 chimeric protein to the BAFFR promoter suggests that the transcriptional activator promotes the increase in BAFFR expression observed in about 50% of pre-B-ALL patients carrying the t (1, 19) translocation. BAFF binding to BAFFR led to the processing of NF-?B2 p100 in pre-B ALL cells suggesting that BAFFR can activate the NF-?B2 pathway in pre-B ALL cells. Surprisingly, we found that BAFF treatment promotes the cell death of primary BCR-ABL+ BAFFR+ pre-B-lymphoblasts in adult B-ALL. It also enhances glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in the E2A-PBX1+ pre-B-ALL cell line 697. These data suggest that BAFF/BAFFR signaling in B-ALL cells differs from normal B cells and that it may affect the pathogenesis of the disease.