A major feature that distinguishes type I from type II anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and reduces their therapeutic efficacy is the tendency to internalize from the cell surface. We have shown previously that the extent of internalization correlates with the capacity of type I mAb to simultaneously engage both CD20 and the inhibitory Fcγ receptor, FcγRIIb, in a bipolar configuration. Here, we investigated whether mAbs directed at other B-cell surface receptors also engaged FcγRIIb and whether this interaction promoted internalization. Most mAbs engaged and activated FcγRIIb, with the strength of activation related to the level of mAb bound to the cell surface. However, engagement did not affect internalization of most mAb-ligated receptors, either in cell lines or primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells with the exception of CD19 and CD38. Furthermore, at high cell concentrations/density both cis and trans interactions between cell-surface bound mAb and FcγRIIb were evident, but trans interactions did not inhibit type I anti-CD20 mAb-mediated internalization. These data identify that FcγRIIb is engaged by many mAbs in both cis and trans configurations, triggering its activation, but that internalization via FcγRIIb occurs for only a select subset. These findings have implications when designing new antibody-based therapeutics.
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