Sleeping Beauty transposon screen identifies signaling modules that cooperate with STAT5 activation to induce B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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Abstract

Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) activation occurs frequently in human progenitor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). To identify gene alterations that cooperate with STAT5 activation to initiate leukemia, we crossed mice expressing a constitutively active form of STAT5 (Stat5b-CA) with mice in which a mutagenic Sleeping Beauty transposon (T2/Onc) was mobilized only in B cells. Stat5b-CA mice typically do not develop B-ALL (< 2% penetrance); in contrast, 89% of Stat5b-CA mice in which the T2/Onc transposon had been mobilized died of B-ALL by 3 months of age. High-throughput sequencing approaches were used to identify genes frequently targeted by the T2/Onc transposon; these included Sos1 (74%), Kdm2a (35%), Jak1 (26%), Bmi1 (19%), Prdm14 or Ncoa2 (13%), Cdkn2a (10%), Ikzf1 (8%), Caap1 (6%) and Klf3 (6%). Collectively, these mutations target three major cellular processes: (i) the Janus kinase/STAT5 pathway (ii) progenitor B-cell differentiation and (iii) the CDKN2A tumor-suppressor pathway. Transposon insertions typically resulted in altered expression of these genes, as well as downstream pathways including STAT5, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) and p38. Importantly, expression of Sos1 and Kdm2a, and activation of p38, correlated with survival, further underscoring the role these genes and associated pathways have in B-ALL.

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