[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We demonstrate that lck promoter-driven conditional expression of transgenic SPA-1, a Rap GTPase-activation protein, causes a profound defect of alphabeta T-cell development at the CD4/CD8 double-negative (DN) stage due to enhanced cell death without affecting gammadelta T-cell development. The effect was specific to the DN stage, because CD4 promoter-driven SPA-1 expression hardly affected T-cell development. Rap1A17, a dominant-negative Rap mutant, interfered with the generation of double-positive (DP) cells from Rag2(-/-) fetal thymocytes in vitro in the presence of anti-CD3epsilon antibody and Notch ligand. Rap GTPases were activated in a DN cell line by the expression of self-oligomerizing CD3 (CD8:CD3epsilon chimera), which substituted autonomous pre-T-cell receptor (TCR) signal, inducing CD69 expression and CD25 down-regulation. Reciprocally, expression of C3G, a Rap guanine nucleotide exchange factor, in both normal and Rag2(-/-) DN cells markedly enhanced Notch-dependent generation and expansion of DP cells without additional anti-CD3epsilon antibody, thus bypassing pre-TCR. Defective alphabeta T-cell development in the conditional SPA-1-transgenic mice was restored completely by introducing a p53(-/-) mutation. These results suggest that endogenous Rap GTPases downstream of pre-TCR play an essential role in rescuing pre-T cells from the p53-mediated checkpoint response, thus allowing Notch-mediated expansion and differentiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SPA-1 (signal-induced proliferation associated gene-1) functions as a suppressor of myeloid leukemia by negatively regulating Rap1 signaling in hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Herein, we showed that transplantation of HPCs expressing farnesylated C3G (C3G-F), a Rap1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor, resulted in a marked expansion of thymocytes bearing unique phenotypes (CD4/CD8 double positive [DP] CD3(-) TCRbeta(-)) in irradiated recipients. SPA-1(-/-) HPCs expressing C3G-F caused a more extensive expansion of DP thymocytes, resulting in lethal T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) with massive invasion of clonal T-cell blasts into vital organs. The C3G-F(+) blastic thymocytes exhibited constitutive Rap1 activation and markedly enhanced expression of Notch1, 3 as well as the target genes, Hes1, pTalpha, and c-Myc. All the T-ALL cell lines from C3G-F(+) SPA-1(-/-) HPC recipients expressed high levels of Notch1 with characteristic mutations resulting in the C-terminal truncation. This proliferation was inhibited completely in the presence of a gamma-secretase inhibitor. Transplantation of Rag2(-/-) SPA-1(-/-) HPCs expressing C3G-F also resulted in a marked expansion and transformation of DP thymocytes. The results suggested that deregulated constitutive Rap1 activation caused abnormal expansion of DP thymocytes, bypassing the pre-T-cell receptor and eventually leading to Notch1 mutations and Notch-dependent T-ALL.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously reported that the mice deficient for SPA-1, a Rap1 GTPase-activating protein, developed hematopoietic stem cell disorders. Here, we demonstrate that SPA-1(-/-) mice show an age-dependent increase in B220(high) B1a cells producing anti-dsDNA antibody and lupus-like nephritis. SPA-1(-/-) peritoneal B1 cells revealed the altered Vkappa gene repertoire, including skewed Vkappa4 usage and the significant Igkappa/Iglambda isotype inclusion indicative of extensive receptor editing. Rap1GTP induced OcaB gene activation via p38MAPK-dependent Creb phosphorylation, and consistently, SPA-1(-/-) immature BM B cells showing high Rap1GTP exhibited the augmented expression of OcaB and Vkappa4 genes. SPA-1(-/-) BM cells could transfer the autoimmunity in association with the generation of peritoneal B220(high) B1a cells in Rag-2(-/-) recipients. Finally, a portion of SPA-1(-/-) mice developed B1 cell leukemia with hemolytic autoantibody. Present results suggest that the regulated Rap1 signal in the immature B cells plays a role in modifying the B cell receptor repertoire and in maintaining the self-tolerance.