Increased dosage of the chromosome 21 ortholog Dyrk1a promotes megakaryoblastic leukemia in a murine model of Down syndrome.
ABSTRACT Individuals with Down syndrome (DS; also known as trisomy 21) have a markedly increased risk of leukemia in childhood but a decreased risk of solid tumors in adulthood. Acquired mutations in the transcription factor-encoding GATA1 gene are observed in nearly all individuals with DS who are born with transient myeloproliferative disorder (TMD), a clonal preleukemia, and/or who develop acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL). Individuals who do not have DS but bear germline GATA1 mutations analogous to those detected in individuals with TMD and DS-AMKL are not predisposed to leukemia. To better understand the functional contribution of trisomy 21 to leukemogenesis, we used mouse and human cell models of DS to reproduce the multistep pathogenesis of DS-AMKL and to identify chromosome 21 genes that promote megakaryoblastic leukemia in children with DS. Our results revealed that trisomy for only 33 orthologs of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) genes was sufficient to cooperate with GATA1 mutations to initiate megakaryoblastic leukemia in vivo. Furthermore, through a functional screening of the trisomic genes, we demonstrated that DYRK1A, which encodes dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A, was a potent megakaryoblastic tumor-promoting gene that contributed to leukemogenesis through dysregulation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) activation. Given that calcineurin/NFAT pathway inhibition has been implicated in the decreased tumor incidence in adults with DS, our results show that the same pathway can be both proleukemic in children and antitumorigenic in adults.
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ABSTRACT: Aneuploidy is one of the hallmarks of cancer. Acquired additions of chromosome 21 are a common finding in leukemias, suggesting a contributory role to leukemogenesis. About 10% of patients with a germ line trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) are born with transient megakaryoblastic leukemia. We and others have shown acquired mutations in the X chromosome gene GATA1 in all these cases. The gene or genes on chromosome 21 whose overexpression promote the megakaryoblastic phenotype are presently unknown. We propose that ERG, an Ets transcription factor situated on chromosome 21, is one such candidate. We show that ERG is expressed in hematopoietic stem cells, megakaryoblastic cell lines, and in primary leukemic cells from Down syndrome patients. ERG expression is induced upon megakaryocytic differentiation of the erythroleukemia cell lines K562 and UT-7, and forced expression of ERG in K562 cells induces erythroid to megakaryoblastic phenotypic switch. We also show that ERG activates the gpIb megakaryocytic promoter and binds the gpIIb promoter in vivo. Furthermore, both ERG and ETS2 bind in vivo the hematopoietic enhancer of SCL/TAL1, a key regulator of hematopoietic stem cell and megakaryocytic development. We propose that trisomy 21 facilitates the occurrence of megakaryoblastic leukemias through a shift toward the megakaryoblastic lineage caused by the excess expression of ERG, and possibly by other chromosome 21 genes, such as RUNX1 and ETS2, in hematopoietic progenitor cells, coupled with a differentiation arrest caused by the acquisition of mutations in GATA1.Cancer Research 10/2005; 65(17):7596-602. · 7.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Somatic mutations in the GATA1 gene are present in almost all cases of Down syndrome (DS)-associated acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) and transient leukemia (TL). An in utero origin of the GATA1 mutation suggests it is an early leukemogenic event. To determine the detectable incidence and clinical relevance of GATA1 mutations in DS newborns, we screened Guthrie cards from 590 DS infants for mutations in the GATA1 gene. Twenty-two (3.8%) of 585 evaluable infants harbored a predicted functional GATA1 mutation; 2 were identified exclusively within intron 1. Hispanic newborns were 2.6 times more likely to have a mutated GATA1 gene than non-Hispanics (P = .02). Two newborns with a GATA1 mutation subsequently developed AMKL, and none of the infants without a functional GATA1 mutation were reported to have developed leukemia. In addition to screening for TL, a GATA1 mutation at birth might serve as a biomarker for an increased risk of DS-related AMKL.Blood 10/2007; 110(6):2128-31. · 9.90 Impact Factor
Article: Regulation of Down Syndrome Critical Region 1 expression by Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells in megakaryocytes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: As precursors of platelets, megakaryocytes must fulfil the complex tasks of protein synthesis and platelet assembly. Megakaryocytic dysfunction can lead to neoplastic disorders, such as acute megakaryoblastic leukaemia, an entity with a 500-fold increased incidence in children with Down syndrome (DS). Down Syndrome Critical Region 1 (DSCR1), a member of the calcipressin family of calcineurin inhibitors, is overexpressed in DS, and destabilization of the calcineurin/Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells (NFAT) pathway by overexpression of DSCR1 has been implicated in some of the pathophysiological features of the disease. The roles of NFAT and DSCR1 in megakaryocyte signalling and gene expression, however, are unknown. In this study, we show that calcineurin and NFAT are components of a calcium-induced signalling cascade in megakaryocytes. NFAT activation in megakaryocytes was induced by fibrillar collagen type I and was completely sensitive to the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin A. We established DSCR1 as a calcium-induced NFAT target gene in these cells and show that overexpression of DSCR1 in megakaryocytes strongly inhibits NFAT activation as well as NFAT-dependent expression of the Fas ligand gene (FASLG). These results suggest that DSCR1 acts as an endogenous feedback inhibitor of NFAT signalling in megakaryocytes, and may have implications for megakaryocytic gene expression in DS.British Journal of Haematology 12/2008; 144(3):395-408. · 4.94 Impact Factor