Albert Einstein Cancer Center

Many chronic lymphocytic leukemia antibodies recognize apoptotic cells with exposed non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA

Many B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can be grouped into subsets based on nearly identical stereotyped sequences. Subset 6 CLL mAbs recognize non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA (MYHIIA). In this paper, Chiorazzi and coworkers reported that during apoptosis, MYHIIA becomes exposed on the cell surface of a subgroup of apoptotic cells, allowing subset 6 CLL mAbs to bind with it. Because other non-subset 6 CLL mAbs interact with apoptotic cells, 26 CLL mAbs, including 24 not belonging to subset 6, were tested for reactivity with MYHIIA-exposed apoptotic cells (MEACs). Over 60% of CLL mAbs bound MEACs well; most of these mAbs expressed unmutated IGHV (15/16) and belonged to a stereotyped subset (14/16). Binding to MEACs inversely correlated with the degree of IGHV mutation. Of particular interest, high binding to MEACs significantly correlated with poor patient survival, suggesting that the basis of IGHV mutation status as a CLL prognostic factor reflects antigen binding. Finally, natural antibodies from human serum also reacted with MEACs. Taken together, Chiorazzi’s data indicate that a large proportion of CLL clones emerge from natural antibody-producing cells expressing immunoglobulins that recognize MEACs and this reactivity is associated with poor clinical outcome. 

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