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Early gene activation in chronic leukemic B lymphocytes induced toward a plasma cell phenotype



Early gene activation in chronic leukemic B lymphocytes induced toward a plasma cell phenotype



Blood Cells Molecules and Diseases 30(3): 277-287



Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by the accumulation of lymphocytes that are arrested at an intermediate stage of B lymphocyte development. CLL B lymphocytes transform (mature) to a plasmacytic phenotype with loss of CD19 and CD20 and the appearance of cytoplasmic immunoglobulin when treated in vitro with phorbol esters. We have used array hybridization technology to describe gene expression patterns for untreated and tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate (TPA)-treated CLL B cells at 5, 10, and 20 min following initial TPA exposure. Three genes, early growth response factor 1 (EGR-1), dual specificity phosphatase 2, and CD69 (early T-cell activation antigen), showed a 2.0-fold or greater increase in mRNA transcription at four or more of six time points in two studies. Upregulation of expression of these genes was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction in the TPA-treated cells of four CLL patients. A progressive increase in gene expression was observed during the 20-min time course for all three genes. In addition, protein expression of EGR-1 and CD69 was increased as measured by immunofluorescence cell analysis. Several genes (PKC, n-myc, jun D, and BCL-2) previously reported as overexpressed in CLL lymphocytes were overexpressed in these studies also, but were not altered by TPA treatment. Genes for proteins whose upregulation requires hours of TPA exposure (the 4F2hc component of the L-system amino acid transporter, prohibition, and hsp60) were assessed, and their later expression contrasted with the early expression of EGR-1, dual specificity phosphatase 2, and CD69. EGR-1 encodes a zinc-finger transcription factor that is induced by pokeweed mitogen and TPA and promotes B lymphocyte maturation. The dual specificity phosphatase 2 encodes an enzyme that reverses mitogen activated protein kinase cell activation by dephosphorylation. The CD69 protein is induced by TPA in thymocytes and is a type II transmembrane signaling molecule in hematopoietic cells. These findings suggest that the products of these three genes may be central to early steps in the TPA-induced evolution of CLL B cells to a plasmacytic phenotype.

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Accession: 010506879

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PMID: 12737946

DOI: 10.1016/s1079-9796(03)00035-4


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