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Oncogene. 2003 Jun 5;22(23):3598-607.

Atypical expression of ErbB3 in myeloma cells: cross-talk between ErbB3 and the interferon-alpha signaling complex.

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Department of Immunology, Tumor Biology Program, Mayo Graduate and Medical Schools, Mayo Clinic/Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


We have previously demonstrated that the responsiveness of multiple myeloma (MM) cells to interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) stimulation is variable, with an atypical growth response displayed by some cells. Here we report the ability of IFN-alpha to induce tyrosine phosphorylation of a 180 kDa band in the KAS-6/1 MM cell line, which is growth responsive to IFN-alpha. Further characterization demonstrated that this band corresponds to ErbB3. To our knowledge, this is the first report of ErbB3 expression in a cell type of the hematopoietic lineage. Although ErbB receptors have been shown to crosscommunicate with various other receptors, our results show for the first time that the IFN-alpha receptor can crosscommunicate with ErbB3. To address the significance of these observations, we transfected ErbB3-negative DP-6 MM cells with ErbB3 and used siRNA to silence ErbB3 in the KAS-6/1 cell line. Although IFN-alpha transactivated ErbB3 in the DP-6 transfectants, it did not confer growth responsiveness to IFN-alpha. Interestingly, silencing ErbB3 expression in the KAS-6/1 cells decreased the overall growth response to IFN-alpha and to interleukin-6. These results suggest that ErbB3 expression alone does not uniquely confer IFN-alpha growth responsiveness, but instead may amplify proliferation rates in MM cells that have acquired atypical expression of this receptor.

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