[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-coding RNAs are much more common than previously thought. However, for the vast majority of non-coding RNAs, the cellular function remains enigmatic. The two long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes DLEU1 and DLEU2 map to a critical region at chromosomal band 13q14.3 that is recurrently deleted in solid tumors and hematopoietic malignancies like chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). While no point mutations have been found in the protein coding candidate genes at 13q14.3, they are deregulated in malignant cells, suggesting an epigenetic tumor suppressor mechanism. We therefore characterized the epigenetic makeup of 13q14.3 in CLL cells and found histone modifications by chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP) that are associated with activated transcription and significant DNA-demethylation at the transcriptional start sites of DLEU1 and DLEU2 using 5 different semi-quantitative and quantitative methods (aPRIMES, BioCOBRA, MCIp, MassARRAY, and bisulfite sequencing). These epigenetic aberrations were correlated with transcriptional deregulation of the neighboring candidate tumor suppressor genes, suggesting a coregulation in cis of this gene cluster. We found that the 13q14.3 genes in addition to their previously known functions regulate NF-kB activity, which we could show after overexpression, siRNA-mediated knockdown, and dominant-negative mutant genes by using Western blots with previously undescribed antibodies, by a customized ELISA as well as by reporter assays. In addition, we performed an unbiased screen of 810 human miRNAs and identified the miR-15/16 family of genes at 13q14.3 as the strongest inducers of NF-kB activity. In summary, the tumor suppressor mechanism at 13q14.3 is a cluster of genes controlled by two lncRNA genes that are regulated by DNA-methylation and histone modifications and whose members all regulate NF-kB. Therefore, the tumor suppressor mechanism in 13q14.3 underlines the role both of epigenetic aberrations and of lncRNA genes in human tumorigenesis and is an example of colocalization of a functionally related gene cluster.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is characterized by the accumulation of B-cells that are resistant to apoptosis. This resistance is induced by pro-survival stimuli from the microenvironment. TCL1 and ATM are central to the pathogenesis of the disease and associated with more aggressive disease. Their protein products have recently been shown to physically interact in leukemic cells and to impact on NF-kB signaling, which is a key regulator of apoptosis. In the present study we show that TCL1 and ATM are significantly coexpressed and upregulated in malignant B-cells compared to non-malignant B-cells, and that expression levels of TCL1 are partially deregulated by aberrant DNA-methylation. In addition, complex external stimuli induce essentially similar TCL1 and ATM time-course kinetics. In line with a coordinative regulation of NF-kB signaling by TCL1, its knockdown induced apoptosis in primary leukemia cells. These findings suggest that both genes functionally cooperate to modulate similar apoptosis-related cellular pathways.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immune modulatory drugs have been successfully used to treat patients with multiple myeloma (MM), myelodysplastic syndromes displaying loss of 5q (del5q MDS) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Immune modulatory drugs are used in first-line therapy in combination with functionally complementary compounds, but have also shown efficacy in refractory disease. However, their exact mode of action remains unclear. Here we describe the clinical impact of these compounds on MM, del5q MDS and CLL, discuss their mode of action with respect to intracellular targets, focus on the phenotypic changes that immune modulatory compounds induce in the tumor microenvironment and how they modulate the immune response.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells convert CD14(+) cells from patients into 'nurse-like' cells (NLCs). CLL cells can also convert CD14(+) peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy donors into cells with morphological similarities to NLCs (CD14(CLL) -cells). However it is unclear whether only CLL cells induce this conversion process. This study showed that CD14(+) PBMCs from healthy donors could also be converted into differentiated cells (CD14(B) -cells) by non-malignant B-cells. In order to identify changes specifically induced by CLL cells, we compared gene expression profiles of NLCs, CD14(CLL) -cells and CD14(B) -cells. CD14(+) cells cultured with CLL cells were more similar to NLCs than those cultured with non-malignant B-cells. The most significant changes induced by CLL cells were deregulation of the antigen presentation pathway and of genes related to immunity. NLCs had reduced levels of lysozyme activity, CD74 and HLA-DR in-vitro while expression of inhibitory FCGR2B was increased. These findings suggest an impaired immunocompetence of NLCs which, if found in-vivo, could contribute to the immunodeficiency in CLL patients.
British Journal of Haematology 05/2011; 154(3):349-56. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Contemporary research on cellular signaling has undergone a shift of focus from qualitative measurements of single signaling pathways to high-throughput quantitation of comprehensive signaling networks. Notably, nuclear factor-kappaB (NFkappaB) is a family of transcription factors involved in immune and inflammatory responses, developmental processes, cellular growth and apoptosis and is deregulated in a number of disease states. We have established a chemiluminescent oligonucleotide-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (co-ELISA) that is simple and quantitative. In contrast to currently used assays, it allows quantitation of all NFkappaB components (i.e., RelA, p50, p52, RelB and c-Rel). In addition, it can make use of whole extract and does not require cumbersome nuclear/cytosolic fractionation, saving time and resources. Co-ELISA has a 3.5- to 43-fold higher signal-over-noise ratio than currently available assays, whereas the percent relative standard deviation is 3- to 6-fold lower. Furthermore, the novel method is faster than electrophoretic mobility shift assay, not restricted to transfectable cells as is the case for luciferase reporter assays and 10 times more cost efficient than commercially available ELISA assays. Co-ELISA is a sensitive, fast and cost-efficient quantitation method for all DNA-binding NFkappaB proteins that can be used in high-throughput experimentation.
International Journal of Cancer 11/2009; 127(2):404-11. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of a critical region in 13q14.3 [del(13q)] is the most common genomic aberration in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), occurring in more than 50% of patients (Stilgenbauer et al., Oncogene 1998;16:1891 - 1897, Dohner et al., N Engl J Med 2000;343:1910 - 1916). Despite extensive investigations, no point mutations have been found in the remaining allele that would inactivate one of the candidate tumor suppressor genes and explain the pathomechanism postulated for this region. However, the genes in the region are significantly down-regulated in CLL cells, more than would be expected by gene dosage, and recently a complex epigenetic regulatory mechanism was identified for 13q14.3 in non-malignant cells that involves asynchronous replication timing and monoallelic expression of candidate tumor suppressor genes. Here, we propose a model of a multigenic pathomechanism in 13q14.3, where several tumor suppressor genes, including the miRNA genes miR-16-1 and miR-15a, are co-regulated by the two long non-coding RNA genes DLEU1 and DLEU2 that span the critical region. Furthermore, we propose these co-regulated genes to be involved in the same molecular pathways, thereby also forming a functional gene cluster. Elucidating the molecular and cellular function of the 13q14.3 candidate genes will shed light on the underlying pathomechanism of CLL.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Differential expression of molecules in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) may define prognostic markers and suitable targets for immunotherapy. Expression of the tumor-associated antigen (TAA) RHAMM (receptor for hyaluronic acid-mediated motility) as well as RHAMM splicing variants was assessed in series of 72 CLL patients. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR showed higher RHAMM expression in high-risk CLL patients, as well as in the advanced stages of the disease. CLL cases with a higher RHAMM expression showed a significantly shorter median treatment-free survival. Among patients with mutated immunoglobulin heavy chain genes, an analysis of RHAMM expression enabled to distinguish subgroup of patients with favorable prognosis. In lymph nodes, RHAMM staining correlated with a higher Ki-67 index and CD40L expression. Functionally, stimulation with CD40L enhanced RHAMM expression in CLL. We further characterized RHAMM-specific CD8(+) T cells in patients with CLL, as the expression of TAAs might influence the clinical outcome by the means of immune reactions. The cytotoxic potential of RHAMM-specific T cells was shown against target cells bearing RHAMM-derived epitope as well as against CLL cells expressing RHAMM. In conclusion, RHAMM expression appears to be of prognostic value, as well as may reflect the proliferative capacity of CLL cells, and might therefore represent interesting target for immunotherapy.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 01/2009; 23(3):519-27. · 8.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), the translocation t(11;14) is considered the cytogenetic hallmark of the disease. Recently, however, deletion of the chromosomal region 11q22-q23 has been identified as a frequent event in this type of cancer, indicating the existence of a pathogenically relevant tumor suppressor gene in this region. The deleted segment contains the ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) gene. ATM is an interesting candidate as a tumor suppressor gene because constitutive inactivation of the gene predisposes ataxia telangiectasia patients to lymphoid malignancies. To assess the potential involvement of the gene in MCL lymphomagenesis, we performed mutation analysis of ATM in 12 sporadic cases of MCL, 7 of them with a deletion of one ATM gene copy, by using single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis of reverse transcription-PCR-amplified mRNA and subsequent DNA sequencing. In all seven cases containing a deletion of one ATM allele, a point mutation in the remaining allele was detected, which resulted in aberrant transcript splicing, truncation, or alteration of the protein. In addition, biallelic ATM mutations were identified in two MCLs that did not contain 11q deletions. Interestingly, in three cases analyzed, the ATM mutations detected in the tumor cells were not present in nonmalignant cells, demonstrating their somatic rather than germ-line origin. The inactivation of both alleles of the ATM gene by deletion and deleterious point mutation in the majority of cases analyzed indicates that ATM plays a role in the initiation and/or progression of MCL.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2000; 97(6):2773-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor