Expression of Transcription Factors Pu.1, Spi-B, Blimp-1, BSAP and oct-2 in Normal Human Plasma Cells and in Multiple Myeloma Cells

Br J Haematol. 2002 Feb;116(2):429-35. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.2002.03271.x.


Differentiation of B lymphocytes into plasma cells is regulated by the interaction of distinct transcription factors (TFs) which activate gene expression in a lineage- and stage-specific pattern. Using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, we studied the expression of five TFs (octamer binding factor oct-2, ets family members PU.1 and Spi-B, pax gene family member BSAP, and Blimp-1) in (1) human cell lines with a plasma cell phenotype, (2) primary malignant plasma cells [obtained from patients with plasma cell leukaemia (PCL) and multiple myeloma], and (3) normal human plasma cells generated in vitro or isolated from normal bone marrows. The expression pattern was compared with TFs expressed by normal CD19+ B lymphocytes and by B cells from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients. Our results showed that plasma cells expressed a restricted set of TFs compared with CD19+ B lymphocytes, with continued expression of Spi-B and oct-2, increased Blimp-1 expression, and downregulation of BSAP and PU.1. Cells from PCL lost Spi-B and PU.1 expression completely and expressed only oct-2 and Blimp-1, and thus resembled plasma cell lines. Human plasma cell differentiation therefore seems to be positively regulated by Blimp-1; whether this TF has any oncogenic potential will have to be analysed in future studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD19
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism*
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-2
  • PAX5 Transcription Factor
  • Plasma Cells / metabolism*
  • Positive Regulatory Domain I-Binding Factor 1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Antigens, CD19
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-2
  • PAX5 Transcription Factor
  • PAX5 protein, human
  • POU2F2 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • proto-oncogene protein Spi-1
  • PRDM1 protein, human
  • SPIB protein, human
  • Positive Regulatory Domain I-Binding Factor 1