We have investigated the function of C3b receptor (CR1) in the malignant lymphocytes of B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) mimicking the physiological ligand C3b with the anti-CR1 monoclonal antibody CB04 covalently linked to Sepharose CL-4B (CB04-S). The binding of insolubilized CB04-S to CR1 gave a progression signal to B-CLL cells which became B cell growth factor (BCGF)-responsive. The cells of 13 of 14 cases treated with CB04-S showed an active time-dependent proliferation when BCGF was added to the culture. After 72 hr of exposure to BCGF, the growth fraction evaluated with the Ki67 monoclonal antibody was 23.4 +/- 8.9 and the proportion of cells in S phase assessed by the bromodeoxyuridine incorporation technique was 18.6 +/- 8.5%. The proper sequence of CB04-S followed by BCGF was also important since the proliferation was halved when the sequence was reversed or the two signals were delivered concomitantly. CB04-S and BCGF alone failed to induce any significant proliferation; the percentage of cycling cells was less than 1% overlapping that of control culture cells. On the contrary, the proliferation of normal tonsil B cells was triggered both by CB04-S and by BCGF used as single agents (bromodeoxyuridine+ cells 12.7 +/- 5.1% and 20.0 +/- 7.3, respectively). Together these data indicate that malignant B-CLL cells need a sequential two-step signal based upon CR1 binding in order to be activated in vitro. This is a major difference with normal tonsil B lymphocytes whose proliferation is triggered both by CB04-S and by BCGF used as single agents.
C3b receptors mediate the growth factor-induced proliferation of malignant B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia lymphocytes. / CALIGARIS-CAPPIO F ;SCHENA M ;BERGUI L ;TESIO L ;RIVA M ;REGE-CAMBRIN G ;FUNARO A ;MALAVASI F. - In: LEUKEMIA. - ISSN 0887-6924. - 1(1987), pp. 746-752.