Constitutive expression and abnormal glycosylation of transferrin receptor in acute T-cell leukemia

M Petrini, E Pelosi-Testa, N M Sposi, G Mastroberardino, A Camagna, L Bottero, F Mavilio, U Testa, C Peschle
1989 Cancer Research  
The expression of transferrin receptors (TrfRs) was investigated in acute T-cell leukemia (T-ALL) blasts at the molecular, biochemical, immunological, and functional level. TrfRs, although not detected on quiescent T-cells from normal adults, are constitutively expressed at high level on the blasts from all T-ALL patients and bind normally to transferrin. Their number is modulated by the intracellular iron level, but is independent of exogenous interleukin 2. They also exhibit immunological and
more » ... t immunological and biochemical abnormalities, in that: (a) they react preferentially with monoclonal antibodies (MAb) that recognize ligand-binding domains of TrfR (42/6 and 43/31), as compared to MAbs (B3/25, OKT9) that interact with the nonligand binding domains; (b) they have a reduced molecular weight, as compared to TrfR on normal thymocytes and activated T-lymphocytes: this phenomenon is apparently related to a defective glycosylation. It is noteworthy that expression of TrfR was not observed in a large series of other types of acute leukemias, i.e., pre-B, B, and myeloid leukemias, excluding erythroleukemias. The constitutive, high level expression of TrfRs on T-ALL blasts may play a key role in the stepwise progression of this malignancy and particularly provide a proliferative advantage to T-ALL blasts as compared to normal T-lymphocytes. Furthermore, indirect evidence suggests that the glycosylation defect of TrfR on T-ALL blasts contributes to their tumorigenic capacity.
pmid:2582441 fatcat:slslizpf7nhklbszbkws3kcq5e