The EBV oncogene LMP1 protects lymphoma cells from cell death through the collagen-mediated activation of DDR1

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The malignant Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells of Hodgkin lymphoma are surrounded by a tumor microenvironment that is composed of a variety of cell types, as well as noncellular components such as collagen. Although HRS cells harbor oncogenic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in approximately 50% of cases, it is not known if the tumor microenvironment contributes to EBV-driven lymphomagenesis. We show that expression of the EBV-encoded latent membrane protein-1 (LMP1) in primary human germinal center B cells, the presumed progenitors of HRS cells, upregulates discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1), a receptor tyrosine kinase activated by collagen. We also show that HRS cells intimately associated with collagen frequently overexpress DDR1 and that short-term exposure to collagen is sufficient to activate DDR1 in Hodgkin lymphoma-derived cell lines. The ectopic expression of DDR1 significantly increased the survival of collagen-treated DG75 Burkitt lymphoma cells, following etoposide treatment. Conversely, knockdown of DDR1 significantly decreased the survival of collagen-treated L428 Hodgkin lymphoma cells in the absence of specific apoptotic stimulus, suggesting that DDR1 also influences baseline survival. Our results identify a hitherto unknown function for collagen in protecting Hodgkin lymphoma cells from apoptosis and suggest an important contribution of the tumor microenvironment in promoting the oncogenic effects of EBV.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4237-4245
Number of pages9
Issue number26
Early online date17 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2013