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Cancer science

Identification of cooperative genes for E2A-PBX1 to develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


PMID 27088431

Abstract

E2A-PBX1 is a chimeric gene product detected in t(1;19)-bearing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with B-cell lineage. To investigate the leukemogenic process, we generated conditional knock-in (cKI) mice for E2A-PBX1, in which E2A-PBX1 is inducibly expressed under the control of the endogenous E2A promoter. Despite the induced expression of E2A-PBX1, no hematopoietic disease was observed, strongly suggesting that additional genetic alterations are required to develop leukemia. To address this possibility, retroviral insertional mutagenesis was used. Virus infection efficiently induced T-cell, B-cell, and biphenotypic ALL in E2A-PBX1 cKI mice. Inverse PCR identified eight retroviral common integration sites, in which enhanced expression was observed in the Gfi1, Mycn, and Pim1 genes. In addition, it is of note that viral integration and overexpression of the Zfp521 gene was detected in one tumor with B-cell lineage; we previously identified Zfp521 as a cooperative gene with E2A-HLF, another E2A-involving fusion gene with B-lineage ALL. The cooperative oncogenicity of E2A-PBX1 with overexpressed Zfp521 in B-cell tumorigenesis was indicated by the finding that E2A-PBX1 cKI, Zfp521 transgenic compound mice developed B-lineage ALL. Moreover, upregulation of ZNF521, the human counterpart of Zfp521, was found in several human leukemic cell lines bearing t(1;19). These results indicate that E2A-PBX1 cooperates with additional gene alterations to develop ALL. Among them, enhanced expression of ZNF521 may play a clinically relevant role in E2A fusion genes to develop B-lineage ALL.