Several lines of evidence suggest that the interferon consensus sequence binding protein (ICSBP or IRF8) functions as a myeloid leukemia tumor-suppressor. First, ICSBP-expression is decreased in bone marrow samples from subjects with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Second, mice with targeted disruption of the IRF8-gene exhibit a CML-like myeloproliferative disorder which progresses to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) over time. These results suggest that ICSBP-deficiency alone is adequate to induce myeloproliferation, but additional mutations are necessary for progression to AML. However, initially identified target-genes did not suggest a mechanism by which ICSBP-deficiency predisposes to either of these events. For example, we found that ICSBP activates transcription of genes encoding the phagocyte NADPH-oxidase proteins, gp91PHOX and p67phox. Other investigators identified additional ICSBP-target-genes involved in phagocyte function. Therefore, ICSBP-deficiency decreases myeloid-specific gene transcription, which may contribute to differentiation block. However, ICSBP-deficient myeloid progenitor cells exhibit resistance to apoptosis, hypersensitivity to hematopoietic cytokines, and the tendency to accumulate additional genetic lesions. Genuine ICSBP-target-genes mediating these effects had not been identified. During the previous funding period, we pursued identification of such target-genes. Using chromatin immuno-precipitation and CpG island microarray screening, we identified ICSBP- target-genes which encode proteins involved in proliferation (Neurofibromin 1) and apoptosis (Nore1, Fap1 and a soluble guanylate cyclase component). Identification of these target-genes supports the hypothesis that ICSBP-deficiency is sufficient to induce a myeloproliferative disorder. We also identified target-genes involved in hematopoietic stem cell expansion via regulation of the Wnt/2catenin pathway (Gas2, Dapper2 and calpain2 and 12). Additionally, we identified an ICSBP-target-gene involved in a key DNA repair pathway in hematopoietic cells (Fanconi F). This is consistent with the hypothesis that abnormal target-gene expression ICSBP-deficient cells predisposes to acquisition of additional genetic mutations, leading to differentiation block and AML. We will pursue our hypotheses through the following specific aims;
Aim 1 : Determine if abnormal expression of apoptosis-related target-genes contributes to myeloproliferation in ICSBP-deficient hematopoiesis.
Aim 2 : Determine if abnormal expression of target-genes which regulate DNA-repair and hematopoietic stem cell expansion predisposes to AML in ICSBP-deficient hematopoiesis.
Aim 3 : Identify genetic lesions that cooperate with ICSBP-deficiency to lead to disease progression in myeloid malignancy.
Identifying ICSBP-target-genes may suggest common final pathways which is sufficient for myeloproliferation and necessary for susceptibility to myeloid blast crisis. Functional characterization of such a pathway has implications for identifying early markers of disease progression in human myeloid malignancy and rational targets for molecular therapeutic approaches to diseases such as CML and MDS.
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