Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) accounts for approximately 30% of childhood lymphomas and 3% of adult non-Hodgkin lymphomas. The nucleophosmin - anaplastic lymphoma kinase (NPM-ALK) fusion which is the product of a t(2;5)(p23;q35) chromosomal translocation is present in about half of nodal ALCL. Expression of this fusion kinase results in induction of the AP-1 transcription factor JunB and IL-3 independent outgrow of murine hematopoietic Ba/F3 cells. We demonstrated that wild type NPM-ALK increases the amount of ribosomes bound to JUNB mRNA resulting in its more effective translation in large polysomes. The NPM-ALK fusion tyrosine kinase has 20 potential tyrosine residues available for autophosphorylation and phosphorylation by other protein tyrosine kinases. Here we used series of Y-to-F-substituted mutants of NPM-ALK to identify tyrosine residues that are required to regulate the segregation of JUNB mRNAs between polysomes and monosomes as well as ribonucleic particles (RNPs). Neither JUNB transcription nor JunB translation was altered in Ba/F3 cells expressing NPM-ALK mutants Y17F/Y29F/Y67F Y138F/Y152F Y156F/Y191F/Y299F Y378F/Y418F/Y445F and Y646F/Y664F compared to NPM-ALK wild type. Conversely, in NPM-ALK Y567F/Y461F/Y644F mutant cells proliferation was markedly decreased. These cells demonstrated active MEK-ERK pathway, while AKT, mTOR, and rpS6 phosphorylation was impaired. Moreover a shift of JUNB mRNA from the polysomic to the monosomic/mRNP fraction could be observed. In conclusion, we identified specific NPM-ALK phosphorylation sites required to mediate the effect of NPM-ALK on the JUNB translational regulation and therefore provide further insights in the transforming mechanisms of the oncoprotein NPM-ALK.

Author notes

Disclosure:Research Funding: The work is supported by Oesterreichische Nationalbank Jubilaeumsfonds 12147 (P.B. Staber).