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Alternative TEL-JAK2 fusions associated with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia dissected in zebrafish

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-12-01, 00:00 authored by S Onnebo, Parisa Rasighaemi, Janani Kumar, Clifford LiongueClifford Liongue, Alister WardAlister Ward
Background Chromosomal translocations resulting in alternative fusions of the human TEL (ETV6) and JAK2 genes have been observed in cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia, but a full understanding of their role in disease etiology has remained elusive. In this study potential differences between these alternative TEL-JAK2 fusions, including their lineage specificity, were investigated.

Design and Methods TEL-JAK2 fusion types derived from both T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia were generated using the corresponding zebrafish tel and jak2a genes and placed under the control of either the white blood cell-specific spi1 promoter or the ubiquitously-expressed cytomegalovirus promoter. These constructs were injected into zebrafish embryos and their effects on hematopoiesis examined using a range of molecular approaches. In addition, the functional properties of the alternative fusions were investigated in vitro.

Results Injection of the T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia-derived tel-jak2a significantly perturbed lymphopoiesis with a lesser effect on myelopoiesis in zebrafish embryos. In contrast, injection of the atypical chronic myelogenous leukemia-derived tel-jak2a resulted in significant perturbation of the myeloid compartment. These phenotypes were observed regardless of whether expressed in a white blood cell-specific or ubiquitous manner, with no overt cellular proliferation outside of the hematopoietic cells. Functional studies revealed subtle differences between the alternative forms, with the acute lymphoblastic leukemia variant showing higher activity, but reduced downstream signal transducer and activator of transcription activation and decreased sensitivity to JAK2 inhibition. JAK2 activity was required to mediate the effects of both variants on zebrafish hematopoiesis.

Conclusions This study indicates that the molecular structure of alternative TEL-JAK2 fusions likely contributes to the etiology of disease. The data further suggest that this class of oncogene exerts its effects in a cell lineage-specific manner, which may be due to differences in downstream signaling.









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Fondazione Ferrata Storti


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Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner. Obtained from Haematologica/the Hematology Journal website

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Ferrata Storti Foundation