Forconi, Francesco, Sahota, Surinder S., Raspadori, Donatella, Mockridge, Christopher I., Lauria, Francesco and Stevenson, Freda K.
Tumor cells of hairy cell leukemia express multiple clonally related immunoglobulin isotypes via RNA splicing
Blood, 98, (4), .
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Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) derives from a mature B cell and expresses markers associated with activation. Analysis of immunoglobulin variable region genes has revealed somatic mutation in most cases, consistent with an origin from a cell that has encountered the germinal center. One unusual feature of hairy cells (HCs) is the frequent expression of multiple immunoglobulin heavy chain isotypes, with dominance of immunoglobulin (Ig)-G3, but only a single light chain type. The origin and clonal relationship of these isotype variants have been unclear. In order to probe the isotype switching status of HCL, RNA transcripts of VHDJH- constant region sequences from 5 cases of typical HCL, all expressing multiple surface immunoglobulin isotypes, were analyzed. Tumor VHDJH-Cµ sequences were identified and found to be somatically mutated (range, 1.4% to 6.5%), with a low level of intraclonal heterogeneity. Additional immunoglobulin isotypes of identical VHDJH sequence were also identified, including IgD (5 of 5), IgG3 (5 of 5), IgG1 (3 of 5), IgG2 (2 of 5), IgA1 (4 of 5), and IgA2 (1 of 5). Derivation of multiple isotypes from individual cells was demonstrated by analyzing transcripts in single sorted cells from one patient, with evidence for coexistence of isotype variants in 10 of 10 cells. These findings indicate that clonally related multiple isotypes coexist in single HCs, with individual isotypes presumably generated via RNA splicing. Production of IgG3 appears common, but IgG1, IgG2, IgA1, and IgA2 also arise, indicating a continuing influence of a directed process on the tumor clone. These HCs appear to be arrested at the point of isotype switch, where RNA processing may precede deletional recombination.
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