Characterization of anti-CD138 monoclonal antibodies as tools for investigating the molecular polymorphism of syndecan-1 in human lymphoma cells

Valter Gattei, Cristiana Godeas, Massimo Degan, Francesca Maria Rossi, Donatella Aldinucci, Antonio Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Syndecan-1 (CD138) is a surface proteoglycan consisting of long unbranched glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains covalently attached to a protein backbone. High levels of a putatively syndecan-1 isoform have recently been found on neoplastic cells of primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). As opposed to murine systems, studies on syndecan-1 isoforms in humans have been hampered by the lack of a precise characterization of anti-CD138 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). We have therefore investigated the reactivity of anti-CD138 mAbs (B- B4, B-B2, 1D4, MI15 and 104-9) with either intact native proteoglycans or a recombinant unglycosylated form of syndecan-1 core protein, and utilized these reagents to dissect the molecular heterogeneity of syndecan-1 in human lymphoma cells. Our results indicated that: (a) mAb B-B2 recognized only non- denatured syndecan-1, being poorly reactive by immunoblotting with both intact and recombinant syndecan-1 protein; (b) mAb 104-9 was unable to recognize native syndecan-1, but showed a significant reactivity with intact and unglycosylated syndecan-1 protein upon immunoblotting; (c) mAbs B-B4, 1D4 and MI15 recognized both the intact molecule and the core protein of syndecan-1, and showed a comparable reactivity in flow cytometry and immunoblotting. Cross-blocking experiments indicated these latter mAbs recognizing the same or closely related epitopes of syndecan-1. Using these mAbs, we have demonstrated that: (a) tumour cells from PEL expressed a syndecan-1 isoform with a higher molecular weight than that present on malignant plasma cells; (b) syndecan-1 expressed by PEL cells had a core protein identical in size to that expressed by plasma cells, suggesting that differences in syndecan-1 size were due to different GAG chains attached to an identical protein backbone; (c) the PEL-specific isoform of syndecan-1, which probably represented the major proteoglycan expressed by these cells, was effective in mediating cell adhesion to type I collagen substrates. This data represents the first evidence describing the existence of a molecular polymorphism, of syndecan-1 in human lymphomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-162
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • CD138
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non- Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Primary effusion lymphoma
  • Syndecan-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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