Stimulation of surface IgM of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells induces an unfolded protein response dependent on BTK and SYK.
3101 - 3109
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B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling plays a key role in the behavior of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, cellular consequences of signaling are incompletely defined. Here we explored possible links between BCR signaling and the unfolded protein response (UPR), a stress response pathway that can promote survival of normal and malignant cells. Compared with normal B cells, circulating CLL cells expressed increased, but variable, levels of UPR components. Higher expression of CHOP and XBP1 RNAs was associated with more aggressive disease. UPR activation appeared due to prior tissue-based antigenic stimulation because elevated expression of UPR components was detected within lymph node proliferation centers. Basal UPR activation also correlated closely with surface immunoglobulin M (sIgM) signaling capacity in vitro in both IGHV unmutated CLL and within mutated CLL. sIgM signaling increased UPR activation in vitro with responders showing increased expression of CHOP and XBP1 RNAs, and PERK and BIP proteins, but not XBP1 splicing. Inhibitors of BCR-associated kinases effectively prevented sIgM-induced UPR activation. Overall, this study demonstrates that sIgM signaling results in activation of some components the UPR in CLL cells. Modulation of the UPR may contribute to variable clinical behavior, and its inhibition may contribute to clinical responses to BCR-associated kinase inhibitors.