Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), a group of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) disorders, are often accompanied by myelofibrosis. The V617F somatic mutation in the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) gene has recently been found in the majority of patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and more than half of patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET) and idiopathic myelofibrosis (IMF). The expression of JAK2 V617F causes a PV-like disease with myelofibrosis in a murine bone marrow (BM) transplant model. In addition, a gain-of-function c-MPL W515 mutation was described in nearly 10% of patients with JAK2 V617F-negative IMF. However, the mechanism responsible for MPD and the formation of myelofibrosis in patients without JAK2 or c-MPL mutations is still unclear. We previously identified the fusion of the TEL gene to the Lyn gene (TEL-Lyn) in idiopathic myelofibrosis with ins(12;8)(p13;q11q21). The introduction of TEL-Lyn into HSCs resulted in fatal MPN with massive myelofibrosis in mice, implicating the rearranged Lyn kinase in the pathogenesis of MPN with myelofibrosis. However, the signaling molecules directly downstream from and activated by TEL-Lyn remain unknown.
We examined the signaling pathways activated by TEL-Lyn by Western blotting, immunoprecipitation, and in vitro kinase assay using a TEL-Lyn kinase-dead mutant as a control. We further characterized the functional properties of Stat5-deficient HSCs transduced with TEL-Lyn by colony-forming assay and bone marrow transplantation to evaluate the role of STAT5 in TEL-Lyn-induced MPN.
TEL-Lyn was demonstrated to be constitutively active as a kinase through autophosphorylation. In TEL-Lyn-expressing cells, STAT5, STAT3, and Akt were constitutively activated. Among these signaling molecules, STAT5 was activated most prominently and this occurred without the activation of Jak2, the major kinase for STAT5. TEL-Lyn was co-immunoprecipitated with STAT5, and STAT5 was phosphorylated when incubated with TEL-Lyn, but not with TEL-Lyn kinase-dead mutant. These results indicate that TEL-Lyn interacts with STAT5 and directly activates STAT5 both in vitro and in vivo. Of note, the capacity of TEL-Lyn to support the formation of hematopoietic colonies under cytokine-free conditions in vitro and to induce MPN with myelofibrosis in vivo was profoundly attenuated in a Stat5-null background.
In this study, we clearly showed that TEL-Lyn directly activates STAT5 and the capacity of TEL-Lyn to induce MPN with myelofibrosis was profoundly attenuated in the absence of STAT5. Our findings of TEL-Lyn in this study support the role of the Src family kinases in the regulation of STAT pathways and implicate active Lyn in the alternative pathway for STAT activation in pathological cytokine signaling. Our mouse model of MPD with myelofibrosis would be beneficial for the analysis of therapeutic approaches for myelofibrosis.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.