Prenyltransferases regulate CD20 protein levels and influence anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody-mediated activation of complement-dependent cytotoxicity

J Biol Chem. 2012 Sep 14;287(38):31983-93. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.374751. Epub 2012 Jul 26.


Anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are successfully used in the management of non-Hodgkin lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. We have reported previously that statins induce conformational changes in CD20 molecules and impair rituximab-mediated complement-dependent cytotoxicity. Here we investigated in more detail the influence of farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) on CD20 expression and antitumor activity of anti-CD20 mAbs. Among all FTIs studied, L-744,832 had the most significant influence on CD20 levels. It significantly increased rituximab-mediated complement-dependent cytotoxicity against primary tumor cells isolated from patients with non-Hodgkin lymphomas or chronic lymphocytic leukemia and increased CD20 expression in the majority of primary lymphoma/leukemia cells. Incubation of Raji cells with L-744,832 led to up-regulation of CD20 at mRNA and protein levels. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay revealed that inhibition of farnesyltransferase activity was associated with increased binding of PU.1 and Oct-2 to the CD20 promoter sequences. These studies indicate that CD20 expression can be modulated by FTIs. The combination of FTIs with anti-CD20 mAbs is a promising therapeutic approach, and its efficacy should be examined in patients with B-cell tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • Antigens, CD20 / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Complement System Proteins / chemistry*
  • Dimethylallyltranstransferase / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Farnesyltranstransferase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Methionine / analogs & derivatives
  • Methionine / pharmacology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • L 744832
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Methionine
  • Dimethylallyltranstransferase
  • Farnesyltranstransferase