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J Exp Med. 2013 Jan 14;210(1):59-70. doi: 10.1084/jem.20121801. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

A mutated B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia subset that recognizes and responds to fungi.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, 1012 ZA Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common leukemia in adults, is a clonal expansion of CD5(+)CD19(+) B lymphocytes. Two types of CLLs are being distinguished as carrying either unmutated or somatically mutated immunoglobulins (Igs), which are associated with unfavorable and favorable prognoses, respectively. More than 30% of CLLs can be grouped based on their expression of stereotypic B cell receptors (BCRs), strongly suggesting that distinctive antigens are involved in the development of CLL. Unmutated CLLs, carrying Ig heavy chain variable (IGHV) genes in germline configuration, express low-affinity, poly-, and self-reactive BCRs. However, the antigenic specificity of CLLs with mutated IGHV-genes (M-CLL) remained elusive. In this study, we describe a new subset of M-CLL, expressing stereotypic BCRs highly specific for β-(1,6)-glucan, a major antigenic determinant of yeasts and filamentous fungi. β-(1,6)-glucan binding depended on both the stereotypic Ig heavy and light chains, as well as on a distinct amino acid in the IGHV-CDR3. Reversion of IGHV mutations to germline configuration reduced the affinity for β-(1,6)-glucan, indicating that these BCRs are indeed affinity-selected for their cognate antigen. Moreover, CLL cells expressing these stereotypic receptors proliferate in response to β-(1,6)-glucan. This study establishes a class of common pathogens as functional ligands for a subset of somatically mutated human B cell lymphomas.

PMID:
23296468
PMCID:
PMC3549718
DOI:
10.1084/jem.20121801
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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