Antibodies against CD20 or B-cell receptor induce similar transcription patterns in human lymphoma cell lines

PLoS One. 2011 Feb 18;6(2):e16596. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016596.


Background: CD20 is a cell surface protein exclusively expressed on B cells. It is a clinically validated target for Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) and autoimmune diseases. The B cell receptor (BCR) plays an important role for development and proliferation of pre-B and B cells. Physical interaction of CD20 with BCR and components of the BCR signaling cascade has been reported but the consequences are not fully understood.

Methodology: In this study we employed antibodies against CD20 and against the BCR to trigger the respective signaling. These antibodies induced very similar expression patterns of up- and down-regulated genes in NHL cell lines indicating that CD20 may play a role in BCR signaling and vice versa. Two of the genes that were rapidly and transiently induced by both stimuli are CCL3 and CCL4. 4 hours after stimulation the concentration of these chemokines in culture medium reaches a maximum. Spleen tyrosine kinase Syk is a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase and a key component of BCR signaling. Both siRNA mediated silencing of Syk and inhibition by selective small molecule inhibitors impaired CCL3/CCL4 protein induction after treatment with either anti-CD20 or anti-BCR antibodies.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that treatment with anti-CD20 antibodies triggers at least partially a BCR activation-like response in NHL cell lines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / pharmacology
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / pharmacology
  • Immunoglobulin M / pharmacology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Rituximab
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • Rituximab