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Two distinct groups of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) are distinguished by the presence or absence of somatic hypermutation of the immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene. CLL without somatic hypermutation has an adverse outcome, but the precise biological differences that underlie this more aggressive clinical-course are unclear. Using a proteomic approach, we found that the two prognostic forms of CLL were consistently distinguished according to their protein expression pattern. The most important difference observed related to the different expression of nucleophosmin 1 between the two forms of CLL. This different expression was not related to apoptosis, proliferation or gene mutation. However, co-immunoprecipitation experiments identified an association between nucleophosmin 1 and ribosomal proteins. Using immunocytofluorescence, nucleophosmin 1 expression was identified in the nucleoli and nucleoplasm of all cells, but in a proportion of cells, nucleophosmin had been transferred from the nucleoplasm to the cytoplasm. Both the fluorescent intensity, and the frequency of cytoplasmic nucleophosmin 1 expression, was higher in CLL without somatic hypermutation. We propose therefore, that nucleophosmin 1, in association with ribosomal proteins, undergoes nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling in CLL. This process is most prominent in un-mutated CLL and may signify altered protein biosynthesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Haematol

Publication Date





534 - 543


Biomarkers, Tumor, Cell Nucleus, Cytoplasm, DNA Mutational Analysis, DNA, Neoplasm, Diagnosis, Differential, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell, Neoplasm Proteins, Nuclear Proteins, Prognosis, Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin, Up-Regulation