Using retroviral transduced bone marrow, several labs have shown that NUP98-HOXA9, NUP98-HHEX, NUP98-NSD1, and NUP98-TOP1 fusions are leukemogenic, and NUP98-HOXA9 and NHD13 fusions have been shown to be been shown to be leukemogenic in genetically engineered mice. However, a NUP98-TOP1 fusion was at best weakly oncogenic when expressed from a Vav promoter in transgenic mice. In order to better understand the leukemogenicity of NUP98 fused to non-HOX genes, we will study mice that express either a NUP98-RAP1GDS (NRG) or NUP98-PHF23 (NP23) fusion in hematopoietic cells using Vav regulatory elements to direct expression in the hematopoietic compartment. NRG mice have already been generated;founders transmitted the transgene in expected Mendellian ratio, and we are currently following a cohort of transgenic and WT littermates to determine survival and leukemic transformation. Serial CBCs have not shown any abnormalities thus far (13 months of age). We plan to euthanize mice and assay cell surface markers on bone marrow (BM), thymus, and spleen, as well as perform in vitro CFU-C assays in order to determine if any subtle hematopoietic abnormalities are present. NP23 have recently been generated, and two founders have died of acute leukemia prior to transmission of the transgene. Other founders have lived long enough to transmit the transgene, and expression of the transgene has been demonstrated. We are now following cohorts of mice from several founders to determine survival curves. Using Vav regulatory elements, we demonstrated that expression of a CALM-AF10 fusion predisposed mice to AML. However, the majority of patients with CALM-AF10 fusions develop not AML, but a γ/δpre-T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (pre-T LBL). Although we were able to show expression of CALM-AF10 mRNA in γ/δT-cells, it is possible that the expression level was inadequate to induce pre-T LBL, or that expression of CALM-AF10 led to AML before a pre-T LBL developed. Therefore, we plan to generate mice that express CALM-AF10 exclusively in γ/δT-cells. Insertion of an IRES and GFP reporter into the mouse Tcrd locus led to production of bi-cistronic transcripts encoding both Tcrd and GFP proteins, enabling the authors to track γ/δ T-cells in vivo81. We obtained the vector used for those studies, and will replace the GFP cDNA with a CALM-AF10 cDNA. This vector will be used to target ES cells, and knock-in ES cells will be used to generate mice that express CALM-AF10 under the control of endogenous Tcrd regulatory elements. Recent studies have demonstrated that HOXA9 is an important gene for stem cell self-renewal and is one of the most differentially expressed genes in patients with AML and MDS. Indeed, Hoxa cluster genes, especially Hoxa7/9/10, were among the most differentially expressed genes in the NHD13 and CALM-AF10 mice described in previous projects, suggesting that Hoxa9 is an important target for leukemic transformation. Therefore, we have generated mice that express Hoxa9 in hematopoietic cells, using Vav regulatory elements to enable us to compare these mice to the NHD13 mice. We are currently analyzing the phenotype of these mice. We have recently tested the ability of SCL, LMO1, and/or SV40 Large T antigen (TAg) to cause leukemia in zebrafish. The rationale for studying zebrafish is that they have a short generation time, high fecundity, small size, large, visible eggs, and visible, ex vivo development;development of T-lymphoid leukemia in fish would also allow comparative genomic approaches to determine common abnormalities and pathways among humans, mice, and fish. We used an Lck promoter from a related teleost fish (Fugu rubripes) to drive expression of genes in the developing fish thymus, and established transgenic lines for SCL, LMO1, and TAg. After 3 years of study, there is no evidence that any of these lines develop lymphoid malignancies. However, the SCL, LMO1, and TAg lines have decreased survival and a markedly increased incidence of seminoma (testicular germ cell tumor). Preliminary studies indicate the following;analysis of larger cohorts is currently in progress. Two different Lck-TAg lines have been followed, and have a cumulative incidence of seminoma of 12 or 16% by 36 months of life. Transgenic SCL and LMO1 fish are also predisposed to seminoma, with a cumulative incidence of 25 and 14 % by 36 months of life. The seminomas showed variable contribution of spermatocyte, spermatid, and spermatogonial components, and expression of genes that have been used as markers for human (AP2α, OCT4) or fish (Sox9a, Vas, Wt1) testicular tumors. We were puzzled by these findings, as we anticipated that the Lck promoter would direct expression exclusively in the thymus. However, the Fugu Lck promoter was promiscuous, and we detected TAg expression in seminomas and testes. We are currently preparing a manuscript describing these findings.

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Chung, Yang Jo; Fry, Terry J; Aplan, Peter D (2017) Myeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation improves survival but is not curative in a pre-clinical model of myelodysplastic syndrome. PLoS One 12:e0185219
Goldberg, Liat; Gough, Sheryl M; Lee, Fan et al. (2017) Somatic mutations in murine models of leukemia and lymphoma: Disease specificity and clinical relevance. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 56:472-483
Gough, Sheryl M; Goldberg, Liat; Pineda, Marbin et al. (2017) Progenitor B-1 B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is associated with collaborative mutations in 3 critical pathways. Blood Adv 1:1749-1759
Hourigan, Christopher S; Aplan, Peter D (2016) Accurate Medicine: Indirect Targeting of NPM1-Mutated AML. Cancer Discov 6:1087-1089
Cramer, Sarah D; Aplan, Peter D; Durum, Scott K (2016) Therapeutic targeting of IL-7R? signaling pathways in ALL treatment. Blood 128:473-8
Zhou, Weixin; Chung, Yang Jo; Parrilla Castellar, Edgardo R et al. (2016) Far Upstream Element Binding Protein Plays a Crucial Role in Embryonic Development, Hematopoiesis, and Stabilizing Myc Expression Levels. Am J Pathol 186:701-15
Matlawska-Wasowska, K; Kang, H; Devidas, M et al. (2016) MLL rearrangements impact outcome in HOXA-deregulated T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a Children's Oncology Group Study. Leukemia 30:1909-12
Cui, Yongzhi; Onozawa, Masahiro; Garber, Haven R et al. (2015) Thymic expression of a T-cell receptor targeting a tumor-associated antigen coexpressed in the thymus induces T-ALL. Blood 125:2958-67
Fry, Terry J; Aplan, Peter D (2015) A robust in vivo model for B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Clin Invest 125:3427-9
Maegawa, Shinji; Gough, Sheryl M; Watanabe-Okochi, Naoko et al. (2014) Age-related epigenetic drift in the pathogenesis of MDS and AML. Genome Res 24:580-91

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