Enhancer sequence variants and transcription-factor deregulation synergize to construct pathogenic regulatory circuits in B-cell lymphoma

Immunity. 2015 Jan 20;42(1):186-98. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2014.12.021. Epub 2014 Dec 25.


Most B-cell lymphomas arise in the germinal center (GC), where humoral immune responses evolve from potentially oncogenic cycles of mutation, proliferation, and clonal selection. Although lymphoma gene expression diverges significantly from GC B cells, underlying mechanisms that alter the activities of corresponding regulatory elements (REs) remain elusive. Here we define the complete pathogenic circuitry of human follicular lymphoma (FL), which activates or decommissions REs from normal GC B cells and commandeers enhancers from other lineages. Moreover, independent sets of transcription factors, whose expression was deregulated in FL, targeted commandeered versus decommissioned REs. Our approach revealed two distinct subtypes of low-grade FL, whose pathogenic circuitries resembled GC B or activated B cells. FL-altered enhancers also were enriched for sequence variants, including somatic mutations, which disrupt transcription-factor binding and expression of circuit-linked genes. Thus, the pathogenic regulatory circuitry of FL reveals distinct genetic and epigenetic etiologies for GC B-cell transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Germinal Center / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional / genetics
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional / immunology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE62246