Superantigens increase the survival of mice bearing T cell lymphomas by inducing apoptosis of neoplastic cells

PLoS One. 2010 Dec 22;5(12):e15694. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015694.


Superantigens bind to major histocompatibility complex class II molecules and interact with T cells expressing a particular T cell receptor Vβ inducing a strong proliferation/deletion response of the superantigen-reactive T cells. However, there have been no attempts to investigate the ability of Sags to induce apoptosis in neoplastic T cells by signaling through the Vβ region of their TCR. In the present study we show that bacterial and MMTV-encoded superantigens induce the apoptosis of AKR/J cognate lymphoma T cells both in vitro and in vivo. The Fas-Fas-L pathway was shown to be involved in the apoptosis of lymphoma T cells induced by bacterial superantigens. In vivo exposure to bacterial superantigens was able to improve the survival of lymphoma bearing mice. Moreover, the permanent expression of a retroviral encoded superantigen induced the complete remission of an aggressive lymphoma in a high percentage of mice. The possibility of a therapeutic use of superantigens in lymphoma/leukemia T cell malignancies is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Survival
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Fas Ligand Protein / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / immunology
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Superantigens / metabolism*
  • fas Receptor / biosynthesis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Fasl protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Superantigens
  • fas Receptor