The activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) mediates somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination of the Ig genes by directly deaminating cytosines to uracils. As AID causes a substantial amount of off-target mutations, its activity has been associated with lymphomagenesis and clonal evolution of B-cell malignancies. Although it has been shown that AID is expressed in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a clear analysis of in vivo AID activity in this B-cell malignancy remained elusive. In this study performed on primary human CLL samples, we report that, despite the presence of a dominant VDJ heavy chain region, a substantial intraclonal diversity was observed at VDJ as well as at IgM switch regions (Sμ), showing ongoing AID activity in vivo during disease progression. This AID-mediated heterogeneity was higher in CLL subclones expressing CD86, which we identified as the proliferative CLL fraction. Finally, CD86 expression correlated with shortened time to first treatment and increased γ-H2AX focus formation. Our data demonstrate that AID is active in CLL in vivo and thus, AID likely contributes to clonal evolution of CLL.
Keywords: Activation-induced deaminase (AID) • CD86 • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) • Clonal evolution • Mutation.
© 2014 The Authors. European Journal of Immunology published byWILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA Weinheim.