Albert Einstein Cancer Center

Characterization of structurally defined epitopes recognized by monoclonal antibodies produced by chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells

Despite a wealth of information about the structure of surface membrane immunoglobulin (smIg) on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, little is known about epitopes reacting with their binding sites. Probing phage-displayed peptide libraries, AECC investigator, Chiorazzi, identified and characterized mimetopes for Igs of 4 patients with IGHV mutated CLL (M-CLL) and 4 with IGHV unmutated CLL (U-CLL). Six of these mAbs were representatives of stereotyped B-cell receptors characteristic of CLL. He found that mimetic epitopes for U- and M-CLL Igs differed significantly. M-CLL-derived peptides exhibited better amino acid motifs, were more similar to each other, aligned more easily, and formed tighter clusters than U-CLL-derived peptides. Mono-, oligo-, and polyreactivity of peptides correlated with structural changes within antigen-binding sites of selecting M-CLL mAbs. Although M-CLL-isolated peptides and certain U-CLL mAbs bound more effectively to the selecting mAb, others were not as specific, reacting with M-CLL and U-CLL mAbs. Chiorazzi’s data suggest that in vivo structurally diverse epitopes could bind smIgs of distinct CLL clones, thereby altering survival and growth. Finally, an M-CLL-derived peptide inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, binding of its homologous mAb to human B lymphocytes; therefore peptides that inhibit or alter the consequences of antigen-smIg interactions may represent therapeutic modalities in CLL 

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