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Keywords:

  • B-CLL;
  • tyrosine kinase receptors;
  • Ror1

Abstract

Gene profiling studies of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has revealed increased expression of Ror1, a cell surface receptor tyrosine kinase. The aim of present study was to analyze gene and protein expression of Ror1 in CLL cells and normal blood leukocytes. Gene expression analysis reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of ROR1 revealed that all patients with CLL (n = 100) spontaneously expressed ROR1 mRNA whereas enriched blood B and T cells as well as granulocytes from healthy donors (n = 10) were negative. A strong nonphysiological activation signal (PMA/ionomycin) was required to induce expression in vitro in normal lymphocytes. Major genomic aberrations (mutations or truncation) of ROR1 were not observed. Protein expression was analyzed by Western blot using a panel of polyclonal anti-Ror antibodies as well as flow cytometry. Blood lymphocytes from 18/18 CLL patients, but none of the 10 healthy donors, expressed surface Ror1. The majority of CLL cells exhibited Ror1 surface expression (71% mean; range 36–92%) with a mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of 20 (range 10–45). The corresponding MFI of CD19 on CLL cells was 26 (range 9–48). There was no difference in the Ror1 protein expression comparing IgVH mutated and unmutated cases as well as progressive and nonprogressive CLL patients. Two different variants of the Ror1 protein, 105 and 130 kDa, were identified. The Ror1 protein expression in patients with CLL but not in normal leukocytes merits further studies of its role in the pathobiology of CLL, which may provide a basis for development of Ror1 directed targeted therapy. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.