Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder is characterized by the outgrowth of EBV-infected B cell lymphomas in immuno-suppressed transplant recipients. Using a panel of EBV-infected spontaneous lymphoblastoid cell lines (SLCL) derived from post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder patients, we assessed the sensitivity of such lymphomas to Fas-mediated cell death. Treatment with either an agonist anti-Fas mAb or Fas ligand-expressing cells identifies two subsets of SLCL based on their sensitivity or resistance to Fas-driven apoptosis. Fas resistance in these cells cannot be attributed to reduced Fas expression or to mutations in the Fas molecule itself. In addition, all SLCL are sensitive to staurosporine-induced cell death, indicating that there is no global defect in apoptosis. Although all SLCL express comparable levels of Fas signaling molecules including Fas-associated death domain protein, caspase 8, and caspase 3, Fas-resistant SLCL exhibit a block in Fas-signaling before caspase 3 activation. In two SLCL, this block results in impaired assembly of the death-inducing signaling complex, resulting in reduced caspase 8 activation. In a third Fas-resistant SLCL, caspase 3 activation is hindered despite intact death-inducing signaling complex formation and caspase 8 activation. Whereas multiple mechanisms exist by which tumor cells can evade Fas-mediated apoptosis, these studies suggest that the proximal Fas-signaling pathway is impeded in Fas-resistant post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder-associated EBV+ B cell lymphomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy