Toll-like receptor (TLR)-1/2 triggering of multiple myeloma cells modulates their adhesion to bone marrow stromal cells and enhances bortezomib-induced apoptosis

Jahangir Abdi, Tuna Mutis, Johan Garssen, Frank A. Redegeld

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    In multiple myeloma (MM), the malignant plasma cells usually localize to the bone marrow where they develop drug resistance due to adhesion to stromal cells and various environmental signals. Hence, modulation of this interaction is expected to influence drug sensitivity of MM cells. Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands have displayed heterogeneous effects on B-cell malignancies and also on MM cells in a few recent studies, but effects on adhesion and drug sensitivity of myeloma cells in the context of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) have never been investigated. In the present study, we explored the modulatory effects of TLR1/2 ligand (Pam3CSK4) on adhesion of human myeloma cells to BMSCs. It is shown that TLR1/2 triggering has opposite effects in different HMCLs on their adhesion to BMSCs. Fravel, L363, UM-6, UM-9 and U266 showed increased adhesion to BMSC in parallel with an increased surface expression of integrin molecules α4 and αVβ3. OPM-1, OPM-2 and NCI-H929 showed a dose-dependent decrease in adhesion upon TLR activation following a downregulation of β7 integrin expression. Importantly, TLR1/2 triggering increased cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of bortezomib in myeloma cells independent of the effect on stromal cell adhesion. Moreover, the apoptosis-enhancing effect of Pam3CSK4 paralleled induction of cleaved caspase-3 protein in FACS analysis suggesting a caspase-dependent mechanism. Our findings uncover a novel role of TLR activation in MM cells in the context of bone marrow microenvironment. Stimulation of TLR1/2 bypasses the protective shield of BMSCs and may be an interesting strategy to enhance drug sensitivity of multiple myeloma cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere96608
    JournalPLOS ONE
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2014

    Cite this