The rGel/BLyS fusion toxin specifically targets malignant B cells expressing the BLyS receptors BAFF-R, TACI, and BCMA

Mi Ae Lyu, Lawrence H. Cheung, Walter N. Hittelman, John W. Marks, Ricardo C.T. Aguiar, Michael G. Rosenblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) is crucial for B-cell survival, and the biological effects of BLyS are mediated by three cell surface receptors designated B cell-activating factor receptor (BAFF-R), transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI), and B-cell maturation antibody (BCMA). Increased expression of BLyS and its receptors has been identified in numerous B-cell malignancies. We generated a fusion toxin designated rGel/BLyS for receptor-mediated delivery of the recombinant gelonin (rGel) toxin to neoplastic B cells, and we characterized its activity against various B-cell tumor lines. Three mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cell lines (JeKo-1, Mino, and SP53) and two diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell lines (SUDHL-6 and OCI-Ly3) expressing all three distinct BLyS receptors were found to be the most sensitive to the fusion toxin (IC50 = 2-5 pmol/L and 0.001-5 nmol/L for MCL and DLBCL, respectively). The rGel/BLyS fusion toxin showed specific binding to cells expressing BLyS receptors and rapid internalization of the rGel component into target cells. The cytotoxic effects of rGel/BLyS were inhibited by pretreatment with free BLyS or with soluble BAFF-R, TACI, and BCMA decoy receptors. This suggests that the cytotoxic effects of the fusion toxin are mediated through BLyS receptors. The rGel/BLyS fusion toxin inhibited MCL cell growth through induction of apoptosis associated with caspase-3 activation and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. Our results suggest that PLyS has the potential to serve as an excellent targeting ligand for the specific delivery of cytotoxic molecules to neoplastic B BLyS fusion toxin may be an excellent candidate for the treatment of B-cell malignancies especially MCL and DLBCL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-470
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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