Defective expression of Notch1 and Notch2 in connection to alterations of c-Myc and Ikaros in γ-radiation-induced mouse thymic lymphomas

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Gamma-radiation-induced thymic lymphomas constitute a heterogeneous group of T-cell lymphomas. Some tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes have been shown to be defective in a fraction of such lymphomas, yet a considerable number of these remain elusive in terms of gene alterations. In the present work we present evidence that γ-radiation-induced thymic lymphomas in (C57BL/6 J × BALB/c) F1 hybrid mice often exhibit increased levels of Notch1 expression, but, contrary to what was expected, they also exhibit a clearly reduced Notch2 mRNA expression, suggesting a cooperative antagonism of these genes. These results represent the first reported instance for the involvement of Notch2 inactivation in the development of thymic primary tumours while confirming the role of Notch1 as an activated oncogene. Additional analyses revealed that c-Myc over-expression and partial inactivation of Znfn1a1/Ikaros appear to be relevant events some how coupled to alterations in Notch genes inducing these kinds of tumours.

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