Molecular impact of selective NFKB1 and NFKB2 signaling on DLBCL phenotype

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Abstract

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has been categorized into two molecular subtypes that have prognostic significance, namely germinal center B-cell like (GCB) and activated B-cell like (ABC). Although ABC-DLBCL has been associated with NF-κB activation, the relationships between activation of specific NF-κB signals and DLBCL phenotype remain unclear. Application of novel gene expression classifiers identified two new DLBCL categories characterized by selective p100 (NF-κB2) and p105 (NF-κB1) signaling. Interestingly, our molecular studies showed that p105 signaling is predominantly associated with GCB subtype and histone mutations. Conversely, most tumors with p100 signaling displayed ABC phenotype and harbored ABC-associated mutations in genes such as MYD88 and PIM1. In vitro, MYD88 L265P mutation promoted p100 signaling through TAK1/IKKα and GSK3/Fbxw7a pathways, suggesting a novel role for this protein as an upstream regulator of p100. p100 signaling was engaged during activation of normal B cells, suggesting p100's role in ABC phenotype development. Additionally, silencing p100 in ABC-DLBCL cells resulted in a GCB-like phenotype, with suppression of Blimp, IRF4 and XBP1 and upregulation of BCL6, whereas introduction of p52 or p100 into GC cells resulted in differentiation toward an ABC-like phenotype. Together, these findings identify specific roles for p100 and p105 signaling in defining DLBCL molecular subtypes and posit MYD88/p100 signaling as a regulator for B-cell activation.

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