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BACKGROUND - Knowledge about signaling pathways in malignant cells may provide prognostic and diagnostic information in addition to identify potential molecular targets for therapy. B-cell receptor (BCR) and co-receptor CD40 signaling is essential for normal B cells, and there is increasing evidence that signaling via BCR and CD40 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphoma. The aim of this study was to investigate basal and induced signaling in lymphoma B cells and infiltrating T cells in single-cell suspensions of biopsies from small cell lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia (SLL/CLL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) patients.
METHODS - Samples from untreated SLL/CLL and MZL patients were examined for basal and activation induced signaling by phospho-specific flow cytometry. A panel of 9 stimulation conditions targeting B and T cells, including crosslinking of the B cell receptor (BCR), CD40 ligand and interleukins in combination with 12 matching phospho-protein readouts was used to study signaling.
RESULTS - Malignant B cells from SLL/CLL patients had higher basal levels of phosphorylated (p)-SFKs, p-PLCγ, p-ERK, p-p38, p-p65 (NF-κB), p-STAT5 and p-STAT6, compared to healthy donor B cells. In contrast, anti-BCR induced signaling was highly impaired in SLL/CLL and MZL B cells as determined by low p-SFK, p-SYK and p-PLCγ levels. Impaired anti-BCR-induced p-PLCγ was associated with reduced surface expression of IgM and CD79b. Similarly, CD40L-induced p-ERK and p-p38 were also significantly reduced in lymphoma B cells, whereas p-p65 (NF-κB) was equal to that of normal B cells. In contrast, IL-2, IL-7 and IL-15 induced p-STAT5 in tumor-infiltrating T cells were not different from normal T cells.
CONCLUSIONS - BCR signaling and CD40L-induced p-p38 was suppressed in malignant B cells from SLL/CLL and MZL patients. Single-cell phospho-specific flow cytometry for detection of basal as well as activation-induced phosphorylation of signaling proteins in distinct cell populations can be used to identify aberrant signaling pathways.
OBJECTIVE - To identify key target genes and activated signaling pathways associated with the pathogenesis of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) by conducting a systems analysis of parotid glands manifesting primary SS or primary SS/mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma phenotypes.
METHODS - A systems biology approach was used to analyze parotid gland tissue samples obtained from patients with primary SS, patients with primary SS/MALT lymphoma, and subjects without primary SS (non-primary SS controls). The tissue samples were assessed concurrently by gene-expression microarray profiling and proteomics analysis, followed by weighted gene-coexpression network analysis.
RESULTS - Gene-coexpression modules related to primary SS and primary SS/MALT lymphoma were significantly enriched with genes known to be involved in the immune/defense response, apoptosis, cell signaling, gene regulation, and oxidative stress. Detailed functional pathway analyses indicated that primary SS-associated modules were enriched with genes involved in proteasome degradation, apoptosis, signal peptides of the class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC), complement activation, cell growth and death, and integrin-mediated cell adhesion, while primary SS/MALT lymphoma-associated modules were enriched with genes involved in translation, ribosome biogenesis and assembly, proteasome degradation, class I MHC signal peptides, the G13 signaling pathway, complement activation, and integrin-mediated cell adhesion. Combined analyses of gene expression and proteomics data implicated 6 highly connected "hub" genes for distinguishing primary SS from non-primary SS, and 8 hub genes for distinguishing primary SS/MALT lymphoma from primary SS.
CONCLUSION - Systems biology analyses of the parotid glands from patients with primary SS and those with primary SS/MALT lymphoma revealed pathways and molecular targets associated with disease pathogenesis. The identified gene modules/pathways provide further insights into the molecular mechanisms of primary SS and primary SS/MALT lymphoma. The identified disease-hub genes represent promising targets for therapeutic intervention, diagnosis, and prognosis.