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Blood. 2002 Dec 15;100(13):4629-39.

Altered mRNA expression of Pax5 and Blimp-1 in B cells in multiple myeloma.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell disorder that potentially initiates during an early stage of B-cell development. We encountered an unidentified isoform of B cell-specific activator protein (BSAP, or Pax5) in MM cells while performing differential analyses to compare mRNA expression in malignant and normal plasma cells. Pax5 is a transcription factor that plays a central role throughout B-cell development until the point of terminal differentiation. Our finding of this unique isoform prompted us to investigate Pax5 isoform usage in plasma cells and B-cell populations in other MM and healthy subjects. In contrast to normal Pax5 expression, we observed multiple isoforms of Pax5 in conjunction with low levels of expression of the full-length Pax5 in B cells from MM patients. The expressed isoforms in MM varied considerably from patient to patient, with no clear pattern. We also performed semiquantitative analyses of the mRNA expression levels of B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein (Blimp-1), because expression levels of Pax5 and Blimp-1 have been shown to be inversely correlated. We observed the expression of Blimp-1 in the B-cell populations in all 11 MM patients but in none of 11 healthy subjects. We hypothesize that premature Blimp-1 expression coupled to altered and deficient Pax5 expression causes some proliferating B cells to prematurely differentiate to plasma cells in MM.

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