Exome sequencing of the TCL1 mouse model for CLL reveals genetic heterogeneity and dynamics during disease development.
ABSTRACT: The TCL1 mouse model is widely used to study pathophysiology, clonal evolution, and drug sensitivity or resistance of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). By performing whole exome sequencing, we present the genetic landscape of primary tumors from TCL1 mice and of TCL1 tumors serially transplanted into wild-type recipients to mimic clonal evolution. We show that similar to CLL patients, mutations in mice are frequently subclonal and heterogenous among different primary TCL1 mice. We further describe that this molecular heterogeneity mirrors heterogenous disease characteristics such as organ infiltration or CLL dependent T cell skewing. Similar to human CLL, we further observed the occurrence of novel mutations and structural variations during clonal evolution and found plasticity in the expansion of B cell receptor specific subclones. Thus, our results uncover that the genetic complexity, pathway dependence and clonal dynamics in mouse CLL are in relevant agreement to human CLL, and they are important to consider in future research using the TCL1 mouse for studying CLL.
Project description:B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common human leukemia. Deregulation of the T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1 oncogene (TCL1) in mouse B cells causes a CD5(+) leukemia similar to aggressive human CLL. To examine the mechanisms by which Tcl1 protein exerts its oncogenic activity in B cells, we performed proteomics experiments to identify its interacting partners. We found that Tcl1 physically interacts with de novo DNA methylthansferases Dnmt3A and Dnmt3B. We further investigated the effects of Tcl1 up-regulation on the enzymatic activity of Dnmt3A and found that Tcl1 overexpression drastically inhibits Dnmt3A function. In addition, B cells from TCL1 transgenic mice showed a significant decrease in DNA methylation compared with WT controls. Similarly, CLL samples with high Tcl1 expression showed a decrease in DNA methylation compared with CLL samples with low Tcl1 expression. Given the previous reports of inactivating mutations of DNMT3A in acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, our results suggest that inhibition of de novo DNA methylation may be a common oncogenic mechanism in leukemogenesis.
Project description:Receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1) is an oncoembryonic antigen found on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) B cells, but not on normal adult tissues. We generated transgenic (Tg) mice with human ROR1 regulated by the murine Ig promoter/enhancer. In contrast to nontransgenic littermates, such animals had B-cell-restricted expression of ROR1 and could develop clonal expansions of ROR1(bright)CD5(+)B220(low) B cells resembling human CLL at ? 15 mo of age. Because immune-precipitation and mass spectrometry studies revealed that ROR1 could complex with T-cell leukemia 1 (TCL1) in CLL, we crossed these animals with Eµ-TCL1-Tg (TCL1) mice. Progeny with both transgenes (ROR1 × TCL1) developed CD5(+)B220(low) B-cell lymphocytosis and leukemia at a significantly younger median age than did littermates with either transgene alone. ROR1 × TCL1 leukemia B cells had higher levels of phospho-AKT than TCL1 leukemia cells and expressed high levels of human ROR1, which we also found complexed with TCL1. Transcriptome analyses revealed that ROR1 × TCL1 leukemia cells had higher expression of subnetworks implicated in embryonic and tumor-cell proliferation, but lower expression of subnetworks involved in cell-cell adhesion or cell death than did TCL1 leukemia cells. ROR1 × TCL1 leukemia cells also had higher proportions of Ki-67-positive cells, lower proportions of cells undergoing spontaneous apoptosis, and produced more aggressive disease upon adoptive transfer than TCL1 leukemia cells. However, treatment with an anti-ROR1 mAb resulted in ROR1 down-modulation, reduced phospho-AKT, and impaired engraftment of ROR1 × TCL1 leukemia cells. Our data demonstrate that ROR1 accelerates development/progression of leukemia and may be targeted for therapy of patients with CLL.
Project description:The treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has been improved dramatically by inhibitors targeting B-cell receptor (BCR)-associated kinases. The tyrosine kinase Lyn is a key modulator of BCR signaling and shows increased expression and activity in CLL. To evaluate the functional relevance of Lyn for CLL, we generated a conditional knockin mouse model harboring a gain-of-function mutation of the Lyn gene (LynY508F), which was specifically expressed in the B-cell lineage (Lynup-B). Kinase activity profiling revealed an enhanced responsiveness to BCR stimulation in Lynup-B B cells. When crossing Lynup-B mice with Eµ-TCL1 mice (TCL1tg/wt), a transgenic mouse model for CLL, the resulting TCL1tg/wt Lynup-B mice showed no significant change of hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, bone marrow infiltration, or overall survival when compared with TCL1tg/wt mice. Our data also suggested that TCL1 expression has partially masked the effect of the Lynup-B mutation, because the BCR response was only slightly increased in TCL1tg/wt Lynup-B compared with TCL1tg/wt. In contrast, TCL1tg/wt Lynup-B were protected at various degrees against spontaneous apoptosis in vitro and upon treatment with kinase inhibitors targeting the BCR. Collectively, and consistent with our previous data in a Lyn-deficient CLL model, these data lend further suggest that an increased activation of Lyn kinase in B cells does not appear to be a major driver of leukemia progression and the level of increased BCR responsiveness induced by Lynup-B is insufficient to induce clear changes to CLL pathogenesis in vivo.
Project description:B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) is a clonal overgrowth of CD5(+) B lymphocytes. In this disease, the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) is intimately linked to disease severity, because patients with BCRs, comprised of unmutated V(H) genes, follow a much more aggressive course. This and related observations suggest that B-CLL derives from a B cell subset comprised of restricted BCR structural diversity and that antigen-selection and drive are major factors promoting the disease. Nevertheless, the initiating event(s) that lead to the development of B-CLL are still unclear, in part because of the lack of an animal model that spontaneously evolves the molecular abnormalities that occur in the human disease. Because overexpression of the TCL1 gene in murine B cells leads to a CD5(+) B cell lymphoproliferative disorder with many of the features of human B-CLL, we studied leukemias emerging in these mice to examine the extent to which their BCRs resemble those in B-CLL. Our data indicate that the immunoglobulin heavy and light chain rearrangements in TCL1 mice display minimal levels of somatic mutations and exhibit several molecular features found in the human disease. Like human B-CLL, TCL1 leukemic rearrangements from different mice can be very similar structurally and closely resemble autoantibodies and antibodies reactive with microbial antigens. Antigen-binding analyses confirm that selected TCL1 clones react with glycerophospholipid, lipoprotein, and polysaccharides that can be autoantigens and be expressed by microbes. This (auto)antigen-driven mouse model reliably captures the BCR characteristics of aggressive, treatment-resistant human B-CLL.
Project description:Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients with deletion of chromosome 17p, where the p53 gene is located, often develop more aggressive disease with poor clinical outcomes. To investigate the underlying mechanisms for the highly malignant phenotype of 17p- CLL and to facilitate in vivo evaluation of potential drugs against CLL with p53 deletion, we have generated a mouse model with TCL1-Tg:p53(-/-) genotype. These mice develop B-cell leukemia at an early age with an early appearance of CD5+ / IgM+ B cells in the peritoneal cavity and spleen, and exhibit an aggressive path of disease development and drug resistance phenotype similar to human CLL with 17p deletion. The TCL1-Tg:p53(-/-) leukemia cells exhibit higher survival capacity and are more drug resistant than the leukemia cells from TCL1-Tg:p53wt mice. Analysis of microRNA expression reveals that p53 deletion resulted in a decrease of miR-15a and miR-16-1, leading to an elevated expression of Mcl-1. Primary leukemia cells from CLL patients with 17p deletion also show a decrease in miR-15a/miR-16-1 and an increase in Mcl-1. Our study suggests that the p53/miR15a/16-1/Mcl-1 axis may be an important pathway that regulates Mcl-1 expression and contributes to drug resistance and aggressive phenotype in CLL cells with loss of p53.
Project description:Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) represents 30% of adult leukemia. TCL1 is expressed in ~ 90% of human CLL. Transgenic expression of TCL1 in murine B cells (E?-TCL1) results in mouse CLL. Here we show for the first time that the previously unexplored endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response is aberrantly activated in E?-TCL1 mouse and human CLL. This includes activation of the IRE-1/XBP-1 pathway and the transcriptionally up-regulated expression of Derlin-1, Derlin-2, BiP, GRP94, and PDI. TCL1 associates with the XBP-1 transcription factor, and causes the dysregulated expression of the transcription factors, Pax5, IRF4, and Blimp-1, and of the activation-induced cytidine deaminase. In addition, TCL1-overexpressing CLL cells manufacture a distinctly different BCR, as we detected increased expression of membrane-bound IgM and altered N-linked glycosylation of Ig? and Ig?, which account for the hyperactive BCR in malignant CLL. To demonstrate that the ER stress-response pathway is a novel molecular target for the treatment of CLL, we blocked the IRE-1/XBP-1 pathway using a novel inhibitor, and observed apoptosis and significantly stalled growth of CLL cells in vitro and in mice. These studies reveal an important role of TCL1 in activating the ER stress response in support for malignant progression of CLL.
Project description:Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a prevalent B-cell neoplasia that is often preceded by a more benign monoclonal CD5(+) B-cell lymphocytosis. We previously generated transgenic mice expressing catalytically inactive RAG1 (dominant-negative recombination activating gene 1 [dnRAG1] mice) that develop an early-onset indolent CD5(+) B-cell lymphocytosis attributed to a defect in secondary V(D)J rearrangements initiated to edit autoreactive B-cell receptor (BCR) specificity. Hypothesizing that CD5(+) B cells in these animals represent potential CLL precursors, we crossed dnRAG1 mice with CLL-prone Eμ-TCL1 mice to determine whether dnRAG1 expression in Eμ-TCL1 mice accelerates CLL onset. Consistent with this hypothesis, CD5(+) B-cell expansion and CLL progression occurred more rapidly in double-transgenic mice compared with Eμ-TCL1 mice. Nevertheless, CD5(+) B cells in the 2 mouse strains exhibited close similarities in phenotype, immunoglobulin gene usage, and mutation status, and expression of genes associated with immune tolerance and BCR signaling. Gene expression profiling further revealed a potential role for prolactin signaling in regulating BCR editing. These results suggest a model in which benign accumulation of CD5(+) B cells can be initiated through a failure to successfully edit autoreactive BCR specificity and may, in turn, progress to CLL upon introduction of additional genetic mutations.
Project description:The involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) pathogenesis suggests the possibility of anti-CLL therapeutic approaches based on miRNAs. Here, we used the Eµ-TCL1 transgenic mouse model, which reproduces leukemia with a similar course and distinct immunophenotype as human B-CLL, to test miR-181b as a therapeutic agent.In vitro enforced expression of miR-181b mimics induced significant apoptotic effects in human B-cell lines (RAJI, EHEB), as well as in mouse Eµ-TCL1 leukemic splenocytes. Molecular analyses revealed that miR-181b not only affected the expression of TCL1, Bcl2 and Mcl1 anti-apoptotic proteins, but also reduced the levels of Akt and phospho-Erk1/2. Notably, a siRNA anti-TCL1 could similarly down-modulate TCL1, but exhibited a reduced or absent activity in other relevant proteins, as well as a reduced effect on cell apoptosis and viability. In vivo studies demonstrated the capability of miR-181b to reduce leukemic cell expansion and to increase survival of treated mice.These data indicate that miR-181b exerts a broad range of actions, affecting proliferative, survival and apoptotic pathways, both in mice and human cells, and can potentially be used to reduce expansion of B-CLL leukemic cells.
Project description:Prostate apoptosis response 4 (Par-4) is a tumor suppressor that prevents proliferation and induces cell death in several solid tumors. However, its role in B-cell malignancies has not been elucidated. To describe the role of Par-4 in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) pathogenesis, we developed a B-cell-specific human Par-4-overexpressing mouse model of CLL using the TCL1 leukemia model. While Par-4 transgenic mice did not display any obvious defects in B-cell development or function, disease burden as evidenced by abundance of CD19+CD5+ B cells in the peripheral blood was significantly reduced in Par-4 × TCL1 mice compared with TCL1 littermates. This conferred a survival advantage on the Par-4-overexpressing mice. In addition, a B-cell-specific knockout model displayed the opposite effect, where lack of Par-4 expression resulted in accelerated disease progression and abbreviated survival in the TCL1 model. Histological and flow cytometry-based analysis of spleen and bone marrow upon euthanasia revealed comparable levels of malignant B-cell infiltration in Par-4 × TCL1 and TCL1 individuals, indicating delayed but pathologically normal disease progression in Par-4 × TCL1 mice. In vivo analysis of splenic B-cell proliferation by 5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine incorporation indicated >50% decreased expansion of CD19+CD5+ cells in Par-4 × TCL1 mice compared with TCL1 littermates. Moreover, reduced nuclear p65 levels were observed in Par-4 × TCL1 splenic B cells compared with TCL1, suggesting suppressed NF-κB signaling. These findings have identified an in vivo antileukemic role for Par-4 through an NF-κB-dependent mechanism in TCL1-mediated CLL-like disease progression.
Project description:TCL1 oncogene is overexpressed in aggressive form of human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and its dysregulation in mouse B cells causes a CD5-positive leukemia similar to the aggressive form of human CLLs. To identify oncogenes that cooperate with Tcl1, we performed genetic screen in E?-TCL1 mice using Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated mutagenesis. Analysis of transposon common insertion sites identified 7 genes activated by transposon insertions. Overexpression of these genes in mouse CLL was confirmed by real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Interestingly, the main known function of 4 of 7 genes (Nfkb1, Tab2, Map3K14, and Nfkbid) is participation in or activation of the nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) pathway. In addition, activation of the NF-kB is 1 of main functions of Akt2, also identified in the screen. These findings demonstrate cooperation of Tcl1 and the NF-kB pathway in the pathogenesis of aggressive CLL. Identification cooperating cancer genes will result in the development of combinatorial therapies to treat CLL.