B cell receptor (BCR) signals play a critical role in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but their role in regulating CLL cell proliferation has still not been firmly established. Unlike normal B cells, CLL cells do not proliferate in vitro upon engagement of the BCR, suggesting that CLL cell proliferation is regulated by other signals from the microenvironment, such as those provided by Toll-like receptors or T cells. Here, we report that BCR engagement of human and murine CLL cells induces several positive regulators of the cell cycle, but simultaneously induces the negative regulators CDKN1A, CDKN2A and CDKN2B, which block cell cycle progression. We further show that introduction of genetic lesions that downregulate these cell cycle inhibitors, such as inactivating lesions in CDKN2A, CDKN2B and the CDKN1A regulator TP53, leads to more aggressive disease in a murine in vivo CLL model and spontaneous proliferation in vitro that is BCR-dependent but independent of costimulatory signals. Importantly, inactivating lesions in CDKN2A, CDKN2B and TP53 frequently co-occur in Richter syndrome, and BCR stimulation of human Richter syndrome cells with such lesions is sufficient to induce proliferation. We also show that tumor cells with combined TP53 and CDKN2A/2B abnormalities remain sensitive to BCR inhibitor treatment and are synergistically sensitive to the combination of a BCR and CDK4/6 inhibitor both in vitro and in vivo. These data provide evidence that BCR signals are directly involved in driving CLL cell proliferation and reveal a novel mechanism of Richter transformation.

B Cell Receptor signaling and genetic lesions in TP53 and CDKN2A/CDKN2B cooperate in Richter Transformation

Fazio, Rosa;Vaisitti, Tiziana;Deaglio, Silvia;Laurenti, Luca;
2021

Abstract

B cell receptor (BCR) signals play a critical role in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but their role in regulating CLL cell proliferation has still not been firmly established. Unlike normal B cells, CLL cells do not proliferate in vitro upon engagement of the BCR, suggesting that CLL cell proliferation is regulated by other signals from the microenvironment, such as those provided by Toll-like receptors or T cells. Here, we report that BCR engagement of human and murine CLL cells induces several positive regulators of the cell cycle, but simultaneously induces the negative regulators CDKN1A, CDKN2A and CDKN2B, which block cell cycle progression. We further show that introduction of genetic lesions that downregulate these cell cycle inhibitors, such as inactivating lesions in CDKN2A, CDKN2B and the CDKN1A regulator TP53, leads to more aggressive disease in a murine in vivo CLL model and spontaneous proliferation in vitro that is BCR-dependent but independent of costimulatory signals. Importantly, inactivating lesions in CDKN2A, CDKN2B and TP53 frequently co-occur in Richter syndrome, and BCR stimulation of human Richter syndrome cells with such lesions is sufficient to induce proliferation. We also show that tumor cells with combined TP53 and CDKN2A/2B abnormalities remain sensitive to BCR inhibitor treatment and are synergistically sensitive to the combination of a BCR and CDK4/6 inhibitor both in vitro and in vivo. These data provide evidence that BCR signals are directly involved in driving CLL cell proliferation and reveal a novel mechanism of Richter transformation.
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Chakraborty, Supriya; Martines, Claudio; Porro, Fabiola; Fortunati, Ilaria; Bonato, Alice; Dimishkovska, Marija; Piazza, Silvano; Yadav, Brijesh S; Innocenti, Idanna; Fazio, Rosa; Vaisitti, Tiziana; Deaglio, Silvia; Zamò, Alberto; Dimovski, Aleksandar J; Laurenti, Luca; Efremov, Dimitar G
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1796037
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