Macrophage- and BCR-derived but not TLR-derived signals support the growth of CLL and Richter syndrome murine models in vivo

Claudio Martines, Supriya Chakraborty, Marija Vujovikj, Stefania Gobessi, Tiziana Vaisitti, Silvia Deaglio, Luca Laurenti, Aleksandar J. Dimovski, Dimitar G. Efremov

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


A large amount of circumstantial evidence has accumulated suggesting that Toll-like receptor (TLR) signals are involved in driving chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cell proliferation, but direct in vivo evidence for this is still lacking. We have now further addressed this possibility by pharmacologically inhibiting or genetically inactivating the TLR pathway in murine CLL and human Richter syndrome (RS) patient-derived xenograft (PDX) cells. Surprisingly, we show that pharmacologic inhibition of TLR signaling by treatment with an IRAK1/4 inhibitor delays the growth of the transplanted malignant cells in recipient mice, but genetic inactivation of the same pathway by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated disruption of IRAK4 or its proximal adaptor MyD88 has no effect. We further show that treatment with the IRAK1/4 inhibitor results in depletion of macrophages and demonstrate that these cells can support the survival and enhance the proliferation of both murine Eμ-TCL1 leukemia and human RS cells. We also show that genetic disruption of the B-cell receptor (BCR) by CRISPR/Cas9 editing of the immunoglobulin M constant region gene inhibits the growth of human RS-PDX cells in vivo, consistent with our previous finding with murine Eμ-TCL1 leukemia cells. Finally, we show that genetic disruption of IRAK4 does not result in negative selection of human CLL cell lines xenografted in immunodeficient mice. The obtained data suggest that TLR signals are unlikely to represent a major driver of CLL/RS cell proliferation and provide further evidence that signals from macrophages and the BCR promote the growth and survival of CLL and RS cells in vivo.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)2335-2347
Numero di pagine13
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Richter syndrome


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