Gene Summary

Gene:TNFRSF17; TNF receptor superfamily member 17
Aliases: BCM, BCMA, CD269, TNFRSF13A
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the TNF-receptor superfamily. This receptor is preferentially expressed in mature B lymphocytes, and may be important for B cell development and autoimmune response. This receptor has been shown to specifically bind to the tumor necrosis factor (ligand) superfamily, member 13b (TNFSF13B/TALL-1/BAFF), and to lead to NF-kappaB and MAPK8/JNK activation. This receptor also binds to various TRAF family members, and thus may transduce signals for cell survival and proliferation. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 17
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Childhood Cancer
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Tumor Antigens
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Base Sequence
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Genetic Recombination
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasma Cells
  • Chromosome 16
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate
  • Stomach Cancer
  • CD Antigens
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • B-Cell Lymphoma
  • Transmembrane Activator and CAML Interactor Protein
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptors
  • Apoptosis
  • Mutation
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Translocation
  • Cancer DNA
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Burkitt Lymphoma
  • Germinal Center
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Cell Maturation Antigen
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: TNFRSF17 (cancer-related)

Kwakkenbos MJ, van Helden PM, Beaumont T, Spits H
Stable long-term cultures of self-renewing B cells and their applications.
Immunol Rev. 2016; 270(1):65-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Monoclonal antibodies are essential therapeutics and diagnostics in a large number of diseases. Moreover, they are essential tools in all sectors of life sciences. Although the great majority of monoclonal antibodies currently in use are of mouse origin, the use of human B cells to generate monoclonal antibodies is increasing as new techniques to tap the human B cell repertoire are rapidly emerging. Cloned lines of immortalized human B cells are ideal sources of monoclonal antibodies. In this review, we summarize our studies to the regulation of the replicative life span, differentiation, and maturation of B cells that led to the development of a platform that uses immortalization of human B cells by in vitro genetic modification for antibody development. We describe a number of human antibodies that were isolated using this platform and the application of the technique in other species. We also discuss the use of immortalized B cells as antigen-presenting cells for the discovery of tumor neoantigens.

Okkenhaug K, Burger JA
PI3K Signaling in Normal B Cells and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).
Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2016; 393:123-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
B cells provide immunity to extracellular pathogens by secreting a diverse repertoire of antibodies with high affinity and specificity for exposed antigens. The B cell receptor (BCR) is a transmembrane antibody, which facilitates the clonal selection of B cells producing secreted antibodies of the same specificity. The diverse antibody repertoire is generated by V(D)J recombination of heavy and light chain genes, whereas affinity maturation is mediated by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)-mediated mutagenesis. These processes, which are essential for the generation of adaptive humoral immunity, also render B cells susceptible to chromosomal rearrangements and point mutations that in some cases lead to cancer. In this chapter, we will review the central role of PI3K s in mediating signals from the B cell receptor that not only facilitate the development of functional B cell repertoire, but also support the growth and survival of neoplastic B cells, focusing on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells. Perhaps because of the central role played by PI3K in BCR signaling, B cell leukemia and lymphomas are the first diseases for which a PI3K inhibitor has been approved for clinical use.

Jasek M, Wagner M, Sobczynski M, et al.
Polymorphisms in genes of the BAFF/APRIL system may constitute risk factors of B-CLL--a preliminary study on a Polish population.
Tissue Antigens. 2015; 86(4):279-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
The association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of B-cell activating factor (BAFF)/a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) system with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) have been suggested, therefore, we investigated 20 SNPs of BAFF, APRIL, BAFF-R, transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin-ligand interactor (TACI), B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) genes and the risk and outcome of B-CLL in 187 patients and 296 healthy subjects as well as ligand-receptor gene × gene interactions. Although the obtained P-values for all 20 SNPs did not reach statistical significance for this study (α = 0.003), the high value of the global chi-squared statistic (χ(2) df = 38  = 52.65; P = 0.0586), and obtained values of odds ratio indicate that rs9514828 (BAFF), rs3803800 (APRIL) and rs4985726 (TACI) may be associated with the risk of B-CLL. We observed that the B-CLL patients with the genotype rs9514828CT/rs11570136AA were diagnosed with the disease 12 years later than the whole group of patients in this study.

Montamat-Sicotte D, Litzler LC, Abreu C, et al.
HSP90 inhibitors decrease AID levels and activity in mice and in human cells.
Eur J Immunol. 2015; 45(8):2365-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Activation induced deaminase (AID) initiates somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination of the Ig genes in antigen-activated B cells, underpinning antibody affinity maturation and isotype switching. AID can also be pathogenic by contributing to autoimmune diseases and oncogenic mutations. Moreover, AID can exert noncanonical functions when aberrantly expressed in epithelial cells. The lack of specific inhibitors prevents therapeutic applications to modulate AID functions. Here, we have exploited our previous finding that the HSP90 molecular chaperoning pathway stabilizes AID in B cells, to test whether HSP90 inhibitors could target AID in vivo. We demonstrate that chronic administration of HSP90 inhibitors decreases AID protein levels and isotype switching in immunized mice. HSP90 inhibitors also reduce disease severity in a mouse model of acute B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia in which AID accelerates disease progression. We further show that human AID protein levels are sensitive to HSP90 inhibition in normal and leukemic B cells, and that HSP90 inhibition prevents AID-dependent epithelial to mesenchymal transition in a human breast cancer cell line in vitro. Thus, we provide proof-of-concept that HSP90 inhibitors indirectly target AID in vivo and that endogenous human AID is widely sensitive to them, which could have therapeutic applications.

Gao F, Yang Y, Wang Z, et al.
BRAD4 plays a critical role in germinal center response by regulating Bcl-6 and NF-κB activation.
Cell Immunol. 2015; 294(1):1-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Germinal center (GC) reaction is a T cell-dependent process in which activated B cells undergo clonal expansion and functional maturation to produce high affinity antibodies and differentiate into memory B cells(1). Here we demonstrate a new role of bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) protein BRD4 in GC B cell development. We found that during B cell differentiation stage there was an elevated expression of BRD4 in GC B cells and inhibition of BRD4 by small molecule inhibitors led to the suppression of GC formation and correspondent antibody responses in a Td antigen immunization model. At the molecular level, we found that the effects of BRD4 in primary GC B cell differentiation and B cell lymphoma were mediated through the impaired phosphorylation and translocation of NF-κBp65 and further down-regulation of B-cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl6) expression. Thus this study reveals a novel function of BRD4 in controlling the GC B cell development pathway.

Musilova K, Mraz M
MicroRNAs in B-cell lymphomas: how a complex biology gets more complex.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(5):1004-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent important regulators of gene expression besides transcriptional control. miRNA regulation can be involved in the cell developmental fate decisions, but can also have more subtle roles in buffering stochastic fluctuations in gene expression. They participate in pathways fundamental to B-cell development like B-cell receptor (BCR) signalling, B-cell migration/adhesion, cell-cell interactions in immune niches, and the production and class-switching of immunoglobulins. miRNAs influence B-cell maturation, generation of pre-, marginal zone, follicular, B1, plasma and memory B cells. In this review, we discuss miRNAs with essential functions in malignant B-cell development (such as miR-150, miR-155, miR-21, miR-34a, miR-17-92 and miR-15-16). We also put these miRNAs in the context of normal B-cell differentiation, as this is intimately connected to neoplastic B-cell development. We review miRNAs' role in the most common B-cell malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma (FL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). We focus on miR-contribution to the regulation of important signalling pathways (such as NF-κB, PI3K/AKT and TGF-β), BCR signalling and its modulators (such as PTEN, SHIP-1, ZAP-70, GAB1 and BTK), anti- and pro-apoptotic proteins (such as BCL2, MCL1, TCL1, BIM, p53 and SIRT1) and transcription factors (such as MYC, MYB, PU.1, FOXP1 and BCL6). We also discuss the association of miRNAs' expression levels with the patients' survival and response to therapy, summarizing their potential use as predictive and prognostic markers. Importantly, the targeting of miRNAs (like use of anti-miR-155 or miR-34a mimic) could provide a novel therapeutic approach as evidenced by tumour regression in xenograft mouse models and initial promising data from clinical trials.

Avalos AM, Meyer-Wentrup F, Ploegh HL
B-cell receptor signaling in lymphoid malignancies and autoimmunity.
Adv Immunol. 2014; 123:1-49 [PubMed] Related Publications
The B-cell receptor (BCR) for antigen is a key sensor required for B-cell development, survival, and activation. Rigorous selection checkpoints ensure that the mature B-cell compartment in the periphery is largely purged of self-reactive B cells. However, autoreactive B cells escape selection and persist in the periphery as anergic or clonally ignorant B cells. Under the influence of genetic or environmental factors, which are not completely understood, autoreactive B cells may be activated. Similar activation can also occur at different stages of B-cell maturation in the bone marrow or in peripheral lymphoid organs and give rise to malignant B cells. The pathology that typifies neoplastic lymphocytes and autoreactive B cells differs: malignant B cells proliferate and occupy niches otherwise taken up by healthy leukocytes or erythrocytes, while autoreactive B cells produce pathogenic antibodies or present self-antigen to T cells. However, both malignant and autoreactive B cells share the commonality of deregulated BCR pathways as principal contributors to pathogenicity. We first summarize current views of BCR activation. We then explore how anomalous BCR pathways correlate with malignancies and autoimmunity. We also elaborate on the activation of TLR pathways in abnormal B cells and how they contribute to maintenance of pathology. Finally, we outline the benefits and emergence of mouse models generated by somatic cell nuclear transfer to study B-cell function in manners for which current transgenic models may be less well suited.

van Rhee F
Engineering more efficacious antibody therapy for myeloma.
Blood. 2014; 123(20):3062-3 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In this issue of Blood, Tai et al describe a novel monoclonal antibody (mAb) for myeloma, which is both glycoengineered and conjugated to a cytotoxic agent. This mAb targets B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) and has considerable preclinical activity, thus holding therapeutic promise. The outlook for myeloma patients has greatly improved over the past decade with the introduction of a number of novel agents. However, there is still a significant unmet need because many patients with gene expression profiling–defined good-risk disease eventually relapse and high-risk myeloma has poor long-term disease-free survival in the majority of patients.

Yang S, Li JY, Xu W
Role of BAFF/BAFF-R axis in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2014; 91(2):113-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
B-cell activating factor (BAFF), as a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) ligand family, plays important roles in B-cell homeostasis, tolerance, and malignancy. BAFF binds to three receptors of TNF, TACI, BCMA and BAFF-receptor (BAFF-R). In particular, the BAFF/BAFF-R pathway is crucial to the survival and growth of mature normal and malignant B-cells. BAFF is displayed on the cell surface or is released in a soluble form after cleavage from the plasma membrane. BAFF-R as the main BAFF receptor is expressed mainly on B-cells. Aberrant BAFF expression was found in malignant B-cells from B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) patients, which protects these cells from spontaneous or drug-induced apoptosis and stimulated NF-κB activation via autocrine and/or paracrine pathways. However, the mechanisms involved in the gene expression and regulation of BAFF or BAFF-R has not been elucidated. More importantly, the design of reagents able to counteract BAFF/BAFF-R pathways may be of therapeutic value for B-NHL. Results of ongoing clinical trials with BAFF or BAFF-R antagonists are eagerly awaited.

Pelekanou V, Notas G, Kampa M, et al.
BAFF, APRIL, TWEAK, BCMA, TACI and Fn14 proteins are related to human glioma tumor grade: immunohistochemistry and public microarray data meta-analysis.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e83250 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gliomas are common and lethal tumors of the central nervous system (CNS). Genetic alterations, inflammatory and angiogenic processes have been identified throughout tumor progression; however, treatment still remains palliative for most cases. Biological research on parameters influencing cell survival, invasion and tumor heterogeneity identified several cytokines interfering in CNS inflammation, oxidative stress and malignant transformation, including TNF-superfamily (TNFSF) members. In this report we performed a meta-analysis of public gene-array data on the expression of a group of TNFSF ligands (BAFF, APRIL, TWEAK) and their receptors (BAFF-R, TACI, BCMA, Fn14) in gliomas. In addition, we investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) the tumor cells' expression of these ligands and receptors in a series of 56 gliomas of different grade. We show that in IHC, BAFF and APRIL as well as their cognate receptors (BCMA, TACI) and Fn14 expression correlate with tumor grade. This result was not evidenced in micro-arrays meta-analysis. Finally, we detected for the first time Fn14, BAFF, BCMA and TACI in glioma-related vascular endothelium. Our data, combined with our previous report in glioma cell lines, suggest a role for these receptors and ligands in glioma biology and advance these molecules as potential markers for the classification of these tumors to the proliferative, angiogenic or stem-like molecular subtype.

Liu ZY, Li JM
[Research progress on B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 and its relationship with the development of lymphoma].
Zhongguo Shi Yan Xue Ye Xue Za Zhi. 2013; 21(6):1623-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many studies show that as a transcription factor, B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (Blimp 1) is the master regulator of plasma-cell differentiation. The abnormality of Blimp 1 plays an important part in the genesis and development of lymphoma. This review introduces and summarizes Blimp 1's protein structure and functions, its role in B cell differentiation, its main target genes and the mechanism of its transcriptional repressor activity. Besides, the relationship between Blimp 1 gene mutation or Blimp 1 protein expression reduction and the development of DLBCL is preliminary summaried.

Ferrer G, Bosch R, Hodgson K, et al.
B cell activation through CD40 and IL4R ligation modulates the response of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells to BAFF and APRIL.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 164(4):570-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The two tumour necrosis factor family proteins BAFF (TNFSF13B) and APRIL (TNFSF13) and their receptors [BAFF-R (TNFRSF13C), TACI (TNFRSF13B), BCMA (TNFRSF17)] play a critical role in the survival of normal B cells. The sensitivity of normal B cells to BAFF and APRIL can be modulated by signals regulated by their receptors. This modulation, however, has not been extensively investigated in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells. We evaluated the expression, regulation and signalling of BAFF and APRIL receptors in normal and in CLL cells upon stimulation through CD40+IL4R and BCR. We further analysed the prognostic value of BAFF and APRIL receptors expression in patients with CLL. BCMA expression was significantly higher on CLL cells than on normal B cells. BCR and CD40+IL4R stimulation promoted an increase in TACI and BCMA expression, cell viability and activation in normal B cells. A similar effect was observed in CLL cells after CD40+IL4R but not BCR stimulation. BCMA expression correlated with unmutated IGHV genes, poor-risk cytogenetics, and short progression-free survival. These findings further characterize the link between CD40+IL4R regulatory signals, BAFF, APRIL and their receptors and the survival of leukaemic cells and clinical features of CLL.

Secreto F, Manske M, Price-Troska T, et al.
B-cell activating factor-receptor specific activation of tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor 6 and the phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase pathway in lymphoma B cells.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2014; 55(8):1884-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
B-cell activating factor-receptor (BAFF-R) is the primary BAFF receptor that is responsible for promoting B-cell development and survival. Malignant B-cells exploit the BAFF/BAFF-R system, and high serum BAFF levels or genetic alterations in BAFF receptors have been found in B-cell cancers. BAFF signaling impacts pro-survival pathways. However, other than nuclear factor-κB2 (NF-κB2), little is known about the specific pathways activated by individual BAFF receptors. Using a novel BAFF-R expression model we have demonstrated that activation of BAFF-R, independent of transmembrane activator and cytophilin ligand interactor (TACI) and B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), can induce phosphorylation of Akt and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β). Expression of an activated form of BAFF-R also enhanced a pro-survival gene expression pattern, including the novel BAFF-regulated gene Pin1, whose expression was phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent. Additionally, we showed that TRAF6 is essential for mediating BAFF-R dependent activation of Akt. Together these data describe a novel role for TRAF6 in BAFF-R-specific activation of the PI3K pathway and provide evidence suggesting a new role for Pin1 in BAFF-R signaling.

Yau C, Sninsky J, Kwok S, et al.
An optimized five-gene multi-platform predictor of hormone receptor negative and triple negative breast cancer metastatic risk.
Breast Cancer Res. 2013; 15(5):R103 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Outcome predictors in use today are prognostic only for hormone receptor-positive (HRpos) breast cancer. Although microarray-derived multigene predictors of hormone receptor-negative (HRneg) and/or triple negative (Tneg) breast cancer recurrence risk are emerging, to date none have been transferred to clinically suitable assay platforms (for example, RT-PCR) or validated against formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) HRneg/Tneg samples.
METHODS: Multiplexed RT-PCR was used to assay two microarray-derived HRneg/Tneg prognostic signatures IR-7 and Buck-4) in a pooled FFPE collection of 139 chemotherapy-naïve HRneg breast cancers. The prognostic value of the RTPCR measured gene signatures were evaluated as continuous and dichotomous variables, and in conditional risk models incorporating clinical parameters. An optimized five-gene index was derived by evaluating gene combinations from both signatures.
RESULTS: RT-PCR measured IR-7 and Buck-4 signatures proved prognostic as continuous variables; and conditional risk modeling chose nodal status, the IR-7 signature, and tumor grade as significant predictors of distant recurrence (DR). From the Buck-4 and IR-7 signatures, an optimized five-gene (TNFRSF17, CLIC5, HLA-F, CXCL13, XCL2) predictor was generated, referred to as the Integrated Cytokine Score (ICS) based on its functional pathway linkage through interferon-γ and IL-10. Across all FFPE cases, the ICS was prognostic as either a continuous or dichotomous variable, and conditional risk modeling selected nodal status and ICS as DR predictors. Further dichotomization of node-negative/ICS-low FFPE cases identified a subset of low-grade HRneg tumors with <10% 5-year DR risk. The prognostic value of ICS was reaffirmed in two previously studied microarray assayed cohorts containing 274 node-negative and chemotherapy naive HRneg breast cancers, including 95 Tneg cases where it proved prognostically independent of Tneg molecular subtyping. In additional HRneg/Tneg microarray assayed cohorts, the five-gene ICS also proved prognostic irrespective of primary tumor nodal status and adjuvant chemotherapy intervention.
CONCLUSION: We advanced the measurement of two previously reported microarray-derived HRneg/Tneg breast cancer prognostic signatures for use in FFPE samples, and derived an optimized five-gene Integrated Cytokine Score (ICS) with multi-platform capability of predicting metastatic outcome from primary HRneg/Tneg tumors independent of nodal status, adjuvant chemotherapy use, and Tneg molecular subtype.

Liu Q, Wang M, Hu Y, et al.
Significance of CD71 expression by flow cytometry in diagnosis of acute leukemia.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2014; 55(4):892-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study we investigated the significance of CD71 (transferrin receptor 1, TfR-1) as a flow cytometric marker in the diagnosis of acute leukemia (AL). A total of 105 patients with AL were enrolled. Poorly differentiated acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs) (including minimally differentiated AML, AML without maturation, AML with maturation, acute myelomonocytic leukemia) tended to express high levels of CD71 on leukemic cells, while partially differentiated AML (including acute promyelocytic leukemia and acute monocytic leukemia) often expressed low levels of CD71 on leukemic cells (p < 0.05, compared to poorly differentiated AML). B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) expressed low levels of CD71 on leukemic cells, significantly lower than AML, mixed phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL) and normal bone marrow blasts (p < 0.05). In the seven cases of acute erythroid leukemia (AEL), leukemic cells rarely expressed CD71, with the mean CD71 expression level significantly lower than that of acute megakaryocytic leukemia (p < 0.05), and also lower than that of poorly differentiated AML and normal blasts but without statistical significance. CD71 may not be a specific marker for AEL leukemic cells. During the process from myeloid dysplasia to apparent leukemic cells, both CD71 and CD34 gradually increased. Consequently, the presence of leukemic cell subsets with variable levels of CD71 and CD34 may be useful for understanding the dynamic processes involved in the clonal development seen in leukemias.

Sun B, Wu Y, Wu L, et al.
Raised expression of APRIL in Chinese children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and its clinical implications.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2014; 36(4):276-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study was to determine the expression of a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) and its receptors, B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) and transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The correlation between the plasma APRIL levels and clinical status was also evaluated. Plasma samples from 20 untreated children with ALL, 23 children with ALL in remission, and 15 normal controls were assayed for APRIL plasma concentration by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to determine the mRNA expression of APRIL and its receptors in blood mononuclear cells in 20 untreated ALL children and 15 normal controls. The untreated ALL patients had higher plasma APRIL levels than the remission group and the normal controls (P<0.001, respectively). No significant difference was found between the remission group and the normal controls in the plasma APRIL levels (P=0.339). The plasma APRIL levels in the untreated patients correlated with white blood cell count at diagnosis (P=0.002) and risk category (P=0.013). The mRNA expression of both APRIL and BCMA in blood mononuclear cells of the ALL patients were higher than those of the normal controls (both P<0.001). No significant difference was found between the patients and the normal controls in the transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor expression (P>0.05). These findings indicate that APRIL and BCMA are over expressed in untreated ALL children. The levels of APRIL correlate with the progression of childhood ALL, which may provide certain clues for monitoring ALL clinically.

Innes CL, Hesse JE, Palii SS, et al.
DNA damage activates a complex transcriptional response in murine lymphocytes that includes both physiological and cancer-predisposition programs.
BMC Genomics. 2013; 14:163 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Double strand (ds) DNA breaks are a form of DNA damage that can be generated from both genotoxic exposures and physiologic processes, can disrupt cellular functions and can be lethal if not repaired properly. Physiologic dsDNA breaks are generated in a variety of normal cellular functions, including the RAG endonuclease-mediated rearrangement of antigen receptor genes during the normal development of lymphocytes. We previously showed that physiologic breaks initiate lymphocyte development-specific transcriptional programs. Here we compare transcriptional responses to physiological DNA breaks with responses to genotoxic DNA damage induced by ionizing radiation.
RESULTS: We identified a central lymphocyte-specific transcriptional response common to both physiologic and genotoxic breaks, which includes many lymphocyte developmental processes. Genotoxic damage causes robust alterations to pathways associated with B cell activation and increased proliferation, suggesting that genotoxic damage initiates not only the normal B cell maturation processes but also mimics activated B cell response to antigenic agents. Notably, changes including elevated levels of expression of Kras and mmu-miR-155 and the repression of Socs1 were observed following genotoxic damage, reflecting induction of a cancer-prone phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS: Comparing these transcriptional responses provides a greater understanding of the mechanisms cells use in the differentiation between types of DNA damage and the potential consequences of different sources of damage. These results suggest genotoxic damage may induce a unique cancer-prone phenotype and processes mimicking activated B cell response to antigenic agents, as well as the normal B cell maturation processes.

Reijmers RM, Spaargaren M, Pals ST
Heparan sulfate proteoglycans in the control of B cell development and the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma.
FEBS J. 2013; 280(10):2180-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) have essential functions during embryonic development and throughout postnatal life. To exert these functions, they undergo a series of processing reactions by heparan-sulfate-modifying enzymes (HSMEs), which endows them with highly modified heparan sulfate (HS) domains that provide specific docking sites for a large number of bioactive molecules. The development and antigen-dependent differentiation of normal B lymphocytes, as well as the growth and progression of B-lineage malignancies, are orchestrated by an array of growth factors, cytokines and chemokines many of which display HS binding. As discussed in this review, tightly regulated HSPG expression is a requirement for normal B cell maturation, differentiation and function. In addition, the HSPG syndecan-1 functions as a versatile co-receptor for signals from the bone marrow microenvironment, essential for the survival of long-lived plasma cells and multiple myeloma (MM) plasma cells. Targeting of HSMEs or HS chains on MM cells increases their sensitivity to drugs currently used in MM treatment, including bortezomib, lenalidomide or dexamethasone. Taken together, these findings render the HS biosynthetic machinery a promising target for MM treatment.

Carpenter RO, Evbuomwan MO, Pittaluga S, et al.
B-cell maturation antigen is a promising target for adoptive T-cell therapy of multiple myeloma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 19(8):2048-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Multiple myeloma is a usually incurable malignancy of plasma cells. New therapies are urgently needed for multiple myeloma. Adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-expressing T cells is a promising new therapy for hematologic malignancies, but an ideal target antigen for CAR-expressing T-cell therapies for multiple myeloma has not been identified. B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a protein that has been reported to be selectively expressed by B-lineage cells including multiple myeloma cells. Our goal was to determine if BCMA is a suitable target for CAR-expressing T cells.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We conducted an assessment of BCMA expression in normal human tissues and multiple myeloma cells by flow cytometry, quantitative PCR, and immunohistochemistry. We designed and tested novel anti-BCMA CARs.
RESULTS: BCMA had a restricted RNA expression pattern. Except for expression in plasma cells, BCMA protein was not detected in normal human tissues. BCMA was not detected on primary human CD34(+) hematopoietic cells. We detected uniform BCMA cell-surface expression on primary multiple myeloma cells from five of five patients. We designed the first anti-BCMA CARs to be reported and we transduced T cells with lentiviral vectors encoding these CARs. The CARs gave T cells the ability to specifically recognize BCMA. The anti-BCMA-CAR-transduced T cells exhibited BCMA-specific functions including cytokine production, proliferation, cytotoxicity, and in vivo tumor eradication. Importantly, anti-BCMA-CAR-transduced T cells recognized and killed primary multiple myeloma cells.
CONCLUSIONS: BCMA is a suitable target for CAR-expressing T cells, and adoptive transfer of anti-BCMA-CAR-expressing T cells is a promising new strategy for treating multiple myeloma.

Baskar S, Muthusamy N
Antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of human B cell malignancies.
Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2013; 13(1):33-43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The dynamic expression of various phenotypic markers during B cell development not only defines the particular stage in ontogeny but also provides the necessary growth, differentiation, maturation and survival signals. When a B cell at any given stage becomes cancerous, these cell surface molecules, intracellular signaling molecules, and the over-expressed gene products become favorite targets for potential therapeutic intervention. Various adaptive and adoptive immunotherapeutic approaches induce T cell and antibody responses against cancer cells, and successful remission leading to minimal residual disease has been obtained. Nonetheless, subsequent relapse and development of resistant clones prompted further development and several novel strategies are evolving. Engineered monoclonal antibodies with high affinity and specificity to target antigens have been developed and used either alone or in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs. They are also used as vehicles to deliver cytotoxic drugs, toxins, or radionuclides that are either directly conjugated or encapsulated in liposomal vesicles. Likewise, genetically engineered T cells bearing chimeric antigen receptors are used to redirect cytotoxicity to antigen-positive target cells. This review describes recent advancements in some of these adoptive immunotherapeutic strategies targeting B cell malignancies.

De Re V, Caggiari L, Garziera M, et al.
Molecular signature in HCV-positive lymphomas.
Clin Dev Immunol. 2012; 2012:623465 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a positive, single-stranded RNA virus, which has been associated to different subtypes of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). Cumulative evidence suggests an HCV-related antigen driven process in the B-NHL development. The underlying molecular signature associated to HCV-related B-NHL has to date remained obscure. In this review, we discuss the recent developments in this field with a special mention to different sets of genes whose expression is associated with BCR coupled to Blys signaling which in turn was found to be linked to B-cell maturation stages and NF-κb transcription factor. Even if recent progress on HCV-B-NHL signature has been made, the precise relationship between HCV and lymphoma development and phenotype signature remain to be clarified.

Zhai K, Chang J, Wu C, et al.
Association between genetic variations in tumor necrosis factor receptor genes and survival of patients with T-cell lymphoma.
Chin J Cancer. 2012; 31(7):335-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The prognosis of T-cell lymphoma (TCL) has been shown to be associated with the clinical characteristics of patients. However, there is little knowledge of whether genetic variations also affect the prognosis of TCL. This study investigated the associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNPs) in tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily(TNFRSF) genes and the survival of patients with TCL. A total of 38 tag SNPs in 18 TNFRSF genes were genotyped using Sequenom platform in 150 patients with TCL. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were plotted and significance was assessed using log-rank tests. Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze each of these 38 SNPs with adjustment for covariates that might influence patient survival, including sex and international prognostic Index score. Hazard ratios (HRs) and their 95% confidence intervals(CIs) were calculated. Among the 38 SNPs tested, 3 were significantly associated with the survival of patients with TCL. These SNPs were located at LTβR (rs3759333C>T) and TNFRSF17(rs2017662C>T and rs2071336C>T). The 5-year survival rates were significantly different among patients carrying different genotypes and the HRs for death between the different genotypes ranged from 0.45 to 2.46. These findings suggest that the SNPs in TNFRSF genes might be important determinants for the survival of TCL patients.

Cols M, Barra CM, He B, et al.
Stromal endothelial cells establish a bidirectional crosstalk with chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells through the TNF-related factors BAFF, APRIL, and CD40L.
J Immunol. 2012; 188(12):6071-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
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.

Zhu J, Sun L, Lin S, et al.
BlyS is up-regulated by hypoxia and promotes migration of human breast cancer cells.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 31:31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The role of B Lymphocyte Stimulator (BLyS) in the survival of malignant B cells and the maintenance of normal B cell development and homeostasis has been intensively studied in the literature. However, the influence of BLyS on breast cancer progression remains unclear. The study aimed to investigate the effect of hypoxia on BLyS regulation, cell migratory response to BLyS and the possible molecular mechanisms.
METHODS: In this study, we examined the role of BLyS in the migration of human breast cancer cells by transwell assay. We also explored whether BLyS and its receptors expressed in human breast cancer cell lines by immunofluorescence and Western Blotting. Then we detected the expression level of BLyS in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions by real time-PCR and Western Blotting. Pathways involved were confirmed by Western Blotting, immunofluorescence, transwell assay and luciferase assay.
RESULTS: According to our study, the expression level of BlyS was increased in human breast cancer cell lines in hypoxic conditions. Up-regulation of this protein led to activation and nuclear translocation of NF-kappa B p65. We also found that the number of migrated cells was increased in the presence of BLyS and inhibition of phosphorylation of Akt attenuated the enhanced migratory response.
CONCLUSIONS: It suggested that better understanding of BLyS, an immunopotentiator, may offer a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of human breast cancers. In addition, BLyS promoted breast cancer cells migration, underscoring the necessity of appropriate applications of immunopotentiators to cancer treatment.

Chae SC, Yu JI, Uhm TB, et al.
The haplotypes of TNFRSF17 polymorphisms are associated with colon cancer in a Korean population.
Int J Colorectal Dis. 2012; 27(6):701-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We previously found that the haplotypes of TNFRSF17 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were associated with the susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease on Korean population. The present study aimed to investigate whether the polymorphisms in the TNFRSF17 gene are associated with susceptibility to colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: Genotype analysis in the TNFRSF17 SNPs was performed by high-resolution melting and TaqMan probe analysis, and the genotype and allele frequencies of TNFRSF17 SNPs were compared between the CRC patients and the healthy controls. The haplotype frequencies of TNFRSF17 for multiple loci were estimated using the expectation maximization algorithm.
RESULTS: Although, the genotype and allelic frequencies of these SNPs, in the colon cancer and rectal cancer patients, were not significantly different from those in the healthy controls, the genotype and allele frequency of g.2493G>A was significantly different between the healthy controls and the right colon cancer patients (P = 0.014 and 0.004, respectively). Moreover, the haplotypes frequencies in the healthy controls were significantly different from those in the colon cancer patients.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that TNFRSF17 may be a candidate gene associated with the pathogenesis of colon cancer, and the haplotypes of the TNFRSF17 polymorphisms might be one of the markers for colon cancer susceptibility.

Rickert RC, Jellusova J, Miletic AV
Signaling by the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily in B-cell biology and disease.
Immunol Rev. 2011; 244(1):115-33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Members of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily (TNFRSF) participate prominently in B-cell maturation and function. In particular, B-cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family receptor (BAFF-R), B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), and transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) play critical roles in promoting B-cell survival at distinct stages of development by engaging a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) and/or BAFF. CD40 is also essential for directing the humoral response to T-cell-dependent antigens. Signaling by the TNFRSF is mediated primarily, albeit not exclusively, via the TNFR-associated factor (TRAF) proteins and activation of the canonical and/or non-canonical nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathways. Dysregulated signaling by TNFRSF members can promote B-cell survival and proliferation, causing autoimmunity and neoplasia. In this review, we present a current understanding of the functions of and distinctions between APRIL/BAFF signaling by their respective receptors expressed on particular B-cell subsets. These findings are compared and contrasted with CD40 signaling, which employs similar signaling conduits to achieve distinct cellular outcomes in the context of the germinal center response. We also underscore how new findings and conceptual insights into TNFRSF signaling are facilitating the understanding of B-cell malignancies and autoimmune diseases.

Rossi D, Spina V, Forconi F, et al.
Molecular history of Richter syndrome: origin from a cell already present at the time of chronic lymphocytic leukemia diagnosis.
Int J Cancer. 2012; 130(12):3006-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Richter syndrome (RS) represents the transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia to aggressive lymphoma. We explored intraclonal diversification (ID) of immunoglobulin genes in order to (i) follow the evolutionary history of the RS clone (ii) compare the role of ID in clonally related RS vs. clonally unrelated cases. Most (10/11, 90.9%) clonally related RS stem from the predominant clone observed at CLL diagnosis. One single RS had a transformation pattern compatible with sequential evolution from a secondary CLL subclone. Once RS transformation had occurred, all secondary CLL subclones disappeared and were substituted by the dominant RS clone with its own descendants. These observations suggest that genetic lesions associated with RS transformation are acquired by a cell belonging to the original CLL clone, rather than being progressively accumulated by later CLL subclones. Accordingly, most (9/11, 81.1%) clonally related RS harbored a genetic lesion disrupting TP53 that was already present, though at subclonal levels, in 5/11 (45.5%) samples of the paired CLL phase. A fraction of clonally related RS switched off ID (4/11, 36.4%) or reduced the levels of ID (5/11, 45.4%) at transformation. Conversely, all clonally unrelated RS harbored ID and were characterized by a significantly higher mutation frequency compared to clonally related RS (median: 1.18 × 10(-3) vs. 0.13 × 10(-3); p =0.002). These data indicate that (i) clonally related RS stems from a cell that is already present within the initial CLL clone and (ii) clonally unrelated and clonally related RS are biologically distinct disorders also in terms of antigen affinity maturation.

Shen X, Zhang X, Xu G, Ju S
BAFF-R gene induced by IFN-γ in multiple myeloma cells is related to NF-κB signals.
Cell Biochem Funct. 2011; 29(6):513-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
B-cell activating factor (BAFF) is a potent cell-survival factor expressed in many haematopoietic cells. BAFF regulates B-cell survival, differentiation and proliferation by binding to three tumour necrosis factor receptors: transmembrane activator, calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor; B-cell maturation antigen; and BAFF receptor (BAFF-R). Although BAFF-R is produced by interferon gamma (IFN-γ), the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we examined the effects of IFN-γ on BAFF-R expression in cultured human multiple myeloma cells (KM3) both at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Incubation of KM3 cells with IFN-γ elevated the expression of BAFF-R mRNA and protein levels. IFN-γ elicited marked enhancement of the human BAFF-R promoter activity and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) DNA binding activity. NF-κB dependent on the human BAFF-R gene might be regulated via a transcriptional event through one putative NF-κB site on the BAFF-R gene promoter. These results provide a molecular mechanism for the increase in expression of the BAFF-R gene that is induced by proinflammatory cytokines in responsive cells.

Lanasa MC, Weinberg JB
Immunoglobulin class switch recombination in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2011; 52(7):1398-400 [PubMed] Related Publications
During B lymphocyte maturation, a subset of B cells undergo class switch recombination (CSR), a process wherein the heavy chain constant region is changed to a different immunoglobulin isotype without introduction of variable region mutations. CSR thus allows for the production of various antibody isotypes with different effector functions. Similar to naive B cells, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells co-express surface immunoglobulin (Ig) M and D (IgM+IgD+), though a minority of cases express terminally differentiated isotypes. In this brief report, we discuss the capacity of CLL to undergo CSR and the relevance of CSR to the clinical behavior of CLL.

Maia S, Pelletier M, Ding J, et al.
Aberrant expression of functional BAFF-system receptors by malignant B-cell precursors impacts leukemia cell survival.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(6):e20787 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
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-κB, 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-δ, 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.

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