Cholesterol depletion inhibits src family kinase-dependent calcium mobilization and apoptosis induced by rituximab crosslinking

Immunology. 2005 Oct;116(2):223-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2005.02213.x.


The monoclonal antibody (mAb) rituximab produces objective clinical responses in patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and antibody-based autoimmune diseases. Mechanisms mediating B-cell depletion by rituximab are not completely understood and may include direct effects of signalling via the target antigen CD20. Like most but not all CD20 mAbs, rituximab induces a sharp change in the solubility of the CD20 protein in the non-ionic detergent Triton-X-100, reflecting a dramatic increase in the innate affinity of CD20 for membrane raft signalling domains. Apoptosis induced by rituximab hypercrosslinking has been shown to require src family kinases (SFK), which are enriched in rafts. In this report we provide experimental evidence that SFK-dependent apoptotic signals induced by rituximab are raft dependent. Cholesterol depletion prevented the association of hypercrosslinked CD20 with detergent-insoluble rafts, and attenuated both calcium mobilization and apoptosis induced with rituximab. CD20 cocapped with the raft-associated transmembrane adaptor LAB/NTAL after hypercrosslinking with CD20 mAbs, regardless of their ability to induce a change in the affinity of CD20 for rafts. Taken together, the data demonstrate that CD20 hypercrosslinking via rituximab activates SFKs and downstream signalling events by clustering membrane rafts in which antibody-bound CD20 is localized in a high-affinity configuration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20 / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / immunology
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / pathology
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Rituximab
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • src-Family Kinases / physiology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Rituximab
  • Cholesterol
  • src-Family Kinases
  • Calcium