TGF-β-induced apoptosis of B-cell lymphoma Ramos cells through reduction of MS4A1/CD20

Oncogene. 2013 Apr 18;32(16):2096-106. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.219. Epub 2012 Jun 4.


Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) exhibits growth inhibitory effects on various types of tumor cells, including B-cell lymphoma cells. In the present study, the role of TGF-β in the survival of Epstein-Barr virus-negative B-cell lymphoma Ramos cells was investigated. As TGF-β-induced apoptosis of Ramos cells in vitro and in vivo, we attempted to identify novel target gene(s) responsible for their survival. Oligonucleotide microarray analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that Smad proteins directly regulated the transcription of membrane-spanning 4-domains, subfamily A, member 1 (MS4A1), also known as CD20, in Ramos cells upon TGF-β stimulation. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis using clinical samples from B-cell lymphoma patients showed an inverse correlation between the expression of MS4A1/CD20 and phosphorylation of Smad3. Although knockdown of MS4A1/CD20 in Ramos cells resulted in an increase of apoptotic cells, Ramos cells stably expressing MS4A1/CD20 were resistant to TGF-β-induced apoptosis. This suggests that MS4A1/CD20 is responsible for TGF-β-induced apoptosis of B-cell lymphoma cells. Moreover, downregulation of MS4A1/CD20 by TGF-β attenuated the effects of the monoclonal anti-MS4A1/CD20 antibody, rituximab, on Ramos cells. Our findings suggest that the sensitivity of B-cell lymphoma cells to rituximab may be affected by TGF-β signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / pharmacology
  • Antigens, CD20 / metabolism*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / genetics
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / genetics
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / metabolism*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Rituximab
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Rituximab