CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide inhibits Smad-dependent bone morphogenetic protein signaling: effects on myeloma cell apoptosis and in vitro osteoblastogenesis

Nørgaard NN, Holien T, Jönsson S, Hella H, Espevik T, Sundan A, Standal T.
Source: J Immunol
Publication Date: (2010)
Issue: 185(6): 3131-9
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), human
Species: human
Tissue Origin: bone marrow
The TLR9 agonist CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) with a phosphorothioate backbone (PTO-CpG-ODN) is evaluated in clinical trials as a vaccine adjuvant or as treatment of cancers. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate growth and differentiation of several cell types, and also induce apoptosis of cancer cells. Cross-talk between BMP- and TLR-signaling has been reported, and we aimed to investigate whether CpG-ODN influenced BMP-induced osteoblast differentiation or BMP-induced apoptosis of malignant plasma cells. We found that PTO-CpG-ODN inhibited BMP-2-induced osteoblast differentiation from human mesenchymal stem cells. Further, PTO-CpG-ODN counteracted BMP-2- and BMP-6-induced apoptosis of the human myeloma cell lines IH-1 and INA-6, respectively. In contrast, PTO-CpG-ODN did not antagonize the antiproliferative effect of BMP-2 on hMSCs or IH-1 cells. Inhibition of Smad-signaling and p38 MAPK-signaling indicated that apoptosis of IH-1 cells is dependent on Smad-signaling downstream of BMP, whereas the antiproliferative effect of BMP-2 on IH-1 cells also involves p38 MAPK-signaling. Together, the data suggested a specific inhibition by PTO-CpG-ODN on BMP-Smad-signaling. Supporting this we found that PTO-CpG-ODN inhibited BMP-induced phosphorylation of receptor-Smads in human mesenchymal stem cells and myeloma cell lines. This effect appeared to be independent of TLR9 because GpC-ODN and other ODNs with the ability to form multimeric structures inhibited Smad-signaling as efficiently as PTO-CpG-ODNs, and because knockdown of TLR9 by small interfering RNA in INA-6 cells did not blunt the effect of PTO-CpG-ODN. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that PTO-CpG-ODN inhibits BMP-signaling, and thus might provoke unwanted TLR9-independent side effects in patients.