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Leukemia. 2005 Aug;19(8):1376-83.

Aberrant expression of tetraspanin molecules in B-cell chronic lymphoproliferative disorders and its correlation with normal B-cell maturation.

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Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer, Centro de Investigación del Cáncer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.


Tetraspanin proteins form signaling complexes between them and with other membrane proteins and modulate cell adhesion and migration properties. The surface expression of several tetraspanin antigens (CD9, CD37, CD53, CD63, and CD81), and their interacting proteins (CD19, CD21, and HLA-DR) were analyzed during normal B-cell maturation and compared to a group of 67 B-cell neoplasias. Three patterns of tetraspanin expression were identified in normal B cells. The first corresponded to bone marrow CD10(+) B-cell precursors (BCP) which showed high expression of CD81 and CD9, low reactivity for CD53 and negativity for CD37. CD10(-) B-lymphocytes showed downregulation of CD9/CD81 and upregulation of CD53/CD37. Plasma cells showed re-expressed CD9 and downregulated CD37. Hierarchical clustering analysis of flow cytometry immunophenotypic data showed a good correlation between the tumor differentiation stage and the pattern of tetraspanin expression, with all analyzed individual samples classified into three major groups, independently of their normal or neoplastic origin. Despite this, neoplastic B-cells frequently showed aberrantly high/low expression of the different markers analyzed. Interestingly, in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, abnormal expression of CD53 and CD9 were associated with different patterns of disease infiltration, which would support the role of these molecules on modulating adhesion and migration of neoplastic B cells.

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