PloS one

Expression of the B-cell receptor component CD79a on immature myeloid cells contributes to their tumor promoting effects.

PMID 24146823


The role of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in promoting tumorigenesis is well-established, and significant effort is being made to further characterize surface markers on MDSCs both for better diagnosis and as potential targets for therapy. Here we show that the B cell receptor adaptor molecule CD79a is unexpectedly expressed on immature bone marrow myeloid cells, and is upregulated on MDSCs generated in multiple different mouse models of metastatic but not non-metastatic cancer. CD79a on MDSCs is upregulated and activated in response to soluble factors secreted by tumor cells. Activation of CD79a on mouse MDSCs, by crosslinking with a specific antibody, maintained their immature phenotype (CD11b+Gr1+), enhanced their migration, increased their suppressive effect on T cell proliferation, and increased secretion of pro-tumorigenic cytokines such as IL-6 and CCL22. Furthermore, crosslinking CD79a on myeloid cells activated signaling through Syk, BLNK, ERK and STAT3 phosphorylation. In vivo, CD79+ myeloid cells showed enhanced ability to promote primary tumor growth and metastasis. Finally we demonstrate that CD79a is upregulated on circulating myeloid cells from lung cancer patients, and that CD79a+ myeloid cells infiltrate human breast tumors. We propose that CD79a plays a functional role in the tumor promoting effects of myeloid cells, and may represent a novel target for cancer therapy.