Genes, chromosomes & cancer

Hematopoietic immortalizing function of the NKL-subclass homeobox gene TLX1.

PMID 19862821


Translocations resulting in ectopic expression of the TLX1 homeobox gene (previously known as HOX11) are recurrent events in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Transduction of primary murine hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells with retroviral vectors expressing TLX1 readily yields immortalized hematopoietic progenitor cell lines. Understanding the processes involved in TLX1-mediated cellular immortalization should yield insights into the growth and differentiation pathways altered by TLX1 during the development of T-ALL. In recent clinical gene therapy trials, hematopoietic clonal dominance or T-ALL-like diseases have occurred as a direct consequence of insertional activation of the EVI1, PRDM16 or LMO2 proto-oncogenes by the retroviral vectors used to deliver the therapeutic genes. Additionally, the generation of murine hematopoietic progenitor cell lines due to retroviral integrations into Evi1 or Prdm16 has also been recently reported. Here, we determined by linker-mediated nested polymerase chain reaction the integration sites in eight TLX1-immortalized hematopoietic cell lines. Notably, no common integration site was observed among the cell lines. Moreover, no insertions into the Evi1 or Prdm16 genes were identified although insertion near Lmo2 was observed in one instance. However, neither Lmo2 nor any of the other genes examined surrounding the integration sites showed differential vector-influenced expression compared to the cell lines lacking such insertions. While we cannot exclude the possibility that insertional side effects transiently provided a selective growth/survival advantage to the hematopoietic progenitor populations, our results unequivocally rule out insertions into Evi1 and Prdm16 as being integral to the TLX1-initiated immortalization process.