ABSTRACT: Surface protein CD20 serves as the critical target of immunotherapy in various B-cell malignancies for decades, however its biological function and regulation remain largely elusive. Better understanding of CD20 function may help to design improved rational therapies to prevent development of resistance. Using CRISPR/Cas9 technique, we have abrogated CD20 expression in five different malignant B-cell lines. We show that CD20 deletion has no effect upon B-cell receptor signaling or calcium flux. Also, B-cell survival and proliferation is unaffected in the absence of CD20. On the contrary, we found a strong defect in actin cytoskeleton polymerization and, consequently, defective cell adhesion and migration in response to homeostatic chemokines SDF1α, CCL19 and CCL21. Mechanistically, we could identify a reduction in chemokine-triggered PYK2 activation, a calcium-activated signaling protein involved in activation of MAP kinases and cytoskeleton regulation.
To sum up, our data suggest that CD20 is directly involved in chemokine-triggered adhesion and migration and it may thereby regulate the recirculation of peripheral blood B cells into the spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes and their interaction with the stromal cells.