Chromosomal translocations involving tyrosine kinases play a significant role in human leukemia. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is associated with the recurrent chromosomal translocation, BCR-ABL (t(9;22)(q34;q11)). Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is linked to TEL-PDGF-β Receptor (PDGFβR) (t(5;12)(q33;p13)) fusion. Another TEL fusion, TEL-JAK2 (t(9;12)(p24;p13) has been observed in CMML and Acute Lymphoid Leukemia. All three fusion proteins induce leukemia-like diseases in animal models, and this is attributed to the constitutive tyrosine kinase activity, which leads to dysregulation of their respective downstream signaling pathways. The downstream targets include STAT transcription factors, MAP kinases, and PI3 kinase. On the other hand, little is known about the gene transcription regulated by these fusions.

The objective of our study is to determine whether BCR-ABL, TEL-PDGFβR and TEL-JAK2 induce distinct gene expression patterns when expressed in cell lines and retrovirally transduced bone marrow cells. Each fusion was expressed in an IL3-dependent murine myeloid cell line, Ba/F3. The specific inhibitor, Imatinib mesylate, was utilized to control the activation/inhibition of BCR-ABL and TEL-PDGFβR, and an inducible system was utilized for TEL-JAK2. Upon activation of the fusion protein, cells were collected at various time-points for cell cycle and microarray analysis (Affymetrix MOE430A). We utilized 8 hr, 12 hr, 24 hr and 1 wk time points. Our rationale was to monitor gene expression changes through the first cell cycle and then to examine the fingerprint at a steady state point.

Analysis of the 1 wk data reveals that a subset of genes are co-regulated (2-fold, p<0.05) by BCR-ABL, TEL-PDGFβR and TEL-JAK2 (Pim1, Id1b, Podxl, Cxcr4, Gp49b and Scin). Interestingly, analysis of the TEL-PDGFβR induced genes (10-fold, p<0.05) revealed a significant overlap with Interferon-Stimulated Gene (ISG) dataset including Cxcl-10, Gbp1, Gbp2, Isg20, Ccl-5, Stat1, Irf7, Serpine-1 and Mx1. Genes identified in this microarray study have been confirmed by Q-PCR in Ba/F3 cells and confirmatory experiments in primary bone marrow cells transduced with each fusion protein are underway. In addition, we will determine whether the transcription of these targets is dependent on STAT1 by utilizing bone marrow cells from STAT1−/− mice. In conclusion, our data reveals that oncogenic chromosomal translocations activate both distinct and co-regulated gene expression and reveal a novel and specific role of Interferon-Stimulated Genes in signaling pathways downstream of TEL-PDGFβR.

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