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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Latent sensitivity to Fas-mediated apoptosis after CD40 ligation may explain activity of CD154 gene therapy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treated with adenovirus (Ad)-CD154 (CD40L) gene therapy experience reductions in leukemia cell counts and lymph node size associated with induction of the death receptor Fas (CD95). CD4 T cell lines can induce apoptosis of CD40- activated CLL cells via a CD95 ligand (CD95-L)-dependent mechanism. To examine whether CD95-L was sufficient to induce cytolysis of CD40-activated CLL cells, we used Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with CD95-L as cytotoxic effector cells. CD40- activated CLL cells were initially resistant to CD95-mediated apoptosis despite high-level expression of CD95. However, after 72 h, CLL cells from seven of seven patients became increasingly sensitive to CD95-mediated apoptosis. This sensitivity correlated with a progressive decline in Flice-inhibitory protein (FLIP), which was induced within 24 h of CD40 ligation. Down-regulation of FLIP with an antisense oligonucleotide or a pharmacologic agent, however, was not sufficient to render CLL cells sensitive to CD95- mediated apoptosis in the 24-72 h after CD40 activation. Although the levels of pro-Caspase-8 appeared sufficient, inadequate levels of Fas-associated death domain protein (FADD) and DAP3 may preclude assembly of the death-inducing signaling complex. Seventy-two hours after CD40 ligation, sensitivity to CD95 and a progressive increase in FADD and DAP3 were associated with the acquired ability of FADD and FLIP to coimmunoprecipitate with the death- inducing signaling complex after CD95 ligation. Collectively, these studies reveal that CD40 ligation on CLL B cells induces a programmed series of events in which the cells initially are protected and then sensitized to CD95- mediated apoptosis through shifts in the balance of the anti- and proapoptotic proteins FLIP and FADD.[1]


  1. Latent sensitivity to Fas-mediated apoptosis after CD40 ligation may explain activity of CD154 gene therapy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Chu, P., Deforce, D., Pedersen, I.M., Kim, Y., Kitada, S., Reed, J.C., Kipps, T.J. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2002) [Pubmed]
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