Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) is characterized by aberrant activation of JAK/STAT-signaling resulting in constitutive presence of phosphorylated STAT6 (pSTAT6). In primary PMBL samples pSTAT6 is only expressed in a sub-population of lymphoma cells in a pattern that is reminiscent of that of the BCL6 oncogene. Double-fluorescence staining was carried out to determine the association between these two proteins in ten primary PMBL cases and three available PMBL cell line models. Surprisingly, only a minute fraction of double-positive nuclei was observed, while each sample contained considerable fractions of single-positive pSTAT6 and BCL6 nuclei. The intratumoral coexistence of BCL6+/pSTAT6- and BCL6-/pSTAT6+ subpopulations suggests a negative interaction between these factors. In silico screening of the STAT6 /BCL6 promoters for DNA consensus binding sites identified five STAT-binding-sites in the BCL6 promoter. We confirmed STAT6 binding to the BCL6 promoter in vitro and in vivo by band shift / super shift assays and chromatin immunoprecipitations. Using BCL6 luciferase reporter assays, depletion of STAT6 by siRNA, and ectopic overexpression of a constitutive active STAT6 mutant, we proved that pSTAT6 is sufficient to transcriptionally repress BCL6. Recently developed small molecule inhibitors 79-6 and TG101348 that increases BCL6 target gene expression and decreases pSTAT6 levels, respectively, demonstrate that a combined targeting results in additive efficacy regarding their negative effect on cell viability. The delineated pSTAT6-mediated molecular repression mechanism links JAK/STAT to BCL6-signaling in PMBL and may carry therapeutic potential.
Ritz, O., Rommel, K., Dorsch, K., Kelsch, E., Melzner, J., Buck, M., … Möller, P. (2015). STAT6-mediated BCL6 repression in primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL). Oncotarget, 4(7). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1149