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Expression of the TEL-Syk Fusion Protein in Hematopoietic Stem Cells Leads to Rapidly Fatal Myelofibrosis in Mice

Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 10/2013; 8(10):e77542. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077542
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The TEL-Syk fusion protein was isolated from a patient with myelodysplasia with megakaryocyte blasts. Expression of TEL-Syk transforms interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent Ba/F3 cells in vitro by deregulating STAT5-mediated signal transduction pathways. In vivo, TEL-Syk expression in pre-B cells blocks B cell differentiation, leading to lymphoid leukemia. Here, we demonstrate that TEL-Syk introduced into fetal liver hematopoietic cells, which are then adoptively transferred into lethally irradiated recipients, leads to an aggressive myelodysplasia with myelofibrosis that is lethal in mice by 60-75 days. Expression of TEL-Syk induces a short-lived myeloexpansion that is rapidly followed by bone marrow failure and extreme splenic/hepatic fibrosis accompanied by extensive apoptosis. The disease is dependent on Syk kinase activity. Analysis of serum from TEL-Syk mice reveals an inflammatory cytokine signature reminiscent of that found in the sera from patients and mouse models of myeloproliferative neoplasms. TEL-Syk expressing cells showed constitutive STAT5 phosphorylation, which was resistant to JAK inhibition, consistent with deregulated cytokine signaling. These data indicate that expression of TEL-Syk in fetal liver hematopoietic cells results in JAK-independent STAT5 phosphorylation ultimately leading to a uniquely aggressive and lethal form of myelofibrosis.

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    ABSTRACT: The spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) was identified as an oncogenic driver in a broad spectrum of hematologic malignancies. The in vivo comparison of three SYK containing oncogenes, SYK(wt), TEL-SYK and IL-2-inducible T-cell kinase (ITK)-SYK revealed a general myeloexpansion and the establishment of three different hematologic (pre)diseases. SYK(wt) enhanced the myeloid and T-cell compartment, without leukemia/lymphoma development. ITK-SYK caused lethal T-cell lymphomas and the cytoplasmic TEL-SYK fusion induced an acute panmyelosis with myelofibrosis-type acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with up to 50% immature megakaryoblasts infiltrating bone marrow, spleen and liver, additional MPN features (myelofibrosis and granulocyte expansion) and MDS stigmata with megakaryocytic and erythroid dysplasia. LKS cells were reduced and all subsets (LT/ST/MPP) showed reduced proliferation rates. SYK inhibitor treatment (R788) of diseased TEL-SYK mice reduced leukocytosis, spleen and liver infiltration, enhanced the hematocrit and prolonged survival time, but could not significantly reduce myelofibrosis. Stat5 was identified as a major downstream mediator of TEL-SYK in vitro as well as in vivo. Consequently, targeted deletion of Stat5 in vivo completely abrogated TEL-SYK-induced AML and myelofibrosis development, proving Stat5 as a major driver of SYK-induced transformation. Our experiments highlight the important role of SYK in AML and myelofibrosis and prove SYK and STAT5 inhibitors as potent treatment options for those diseases.
    Blood Cancer Journal 08/2014; 4:e240. DOI:10.1038/bcj.2014.53 · 2.88 Impact Factor

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