Transposon mutagenesis reveals cooperation of ETS family transcription factors with signaling pathways in erythro-megakaryocytic leukemia

Jian Zhong Tang, Catherine L. Carmichael, Wei Shi, Donald Metcalf, Ashley P. Ng, Craig D. Hyland, Nancy A. Jenkins, Neal G. Copeland, Viive M. Howell, Zhizhuang Joe Zhao, Gordon K. Smyth, Benjamin T. Kile, Warren S. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


To define genetic lesions driving leukemia, we targeted credependent Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon mutagenesis to the blood-forming system using a hematopoietic-selective vav 1 oncogene (vav1) promoter. Leukemias of diverse lineages ensued, most commonly lymphoid leukemia and erythroleukemia. The inclusion of a transgenic allele of Janus kinase 2 (JAK2)V617F resulted in acceleration of transposon-driven disease and strong selection for erythroleukemic pathology with transformation of bipotential erythro-megakaryocytic cells. The genes encoding the E-twenty-six (ETS) transcription factors Ets related gene (Erg) and Ets1 were the most common sites for transposon insertion in SB-induced JAK2V617F-positive erythroleukemias, present in 87.5% and 65%, respectively, of independent leukemias examined. The role of activated Erg was validated by reproducing erythroleukemic pathology in mice transplanted with fetal liver cells expressing translocated in liposarcoma (TLS)-ERG, an activated form of ERG found in human leukemia. Via application of SB mutagenesis to TLS-ERG-induced erythroid transformation, we identified multiple loci as likely collaborators with activation of Erg. Jak2 was identified as a common transposon insertion site in TLS-ERG-induced disease, strongly validating the cooperation between JAK2V617F and transposon insertion at the Erg locus in the JAK2V617F-positive leukemias. Moreover, loci expressing other regulators of signal transduction pathways were conspicuous among the common transposon insertion sites in TLS-ERG-driven leukemia, suggesting that a key mechanism in erythroleukemia may be the collaboration of lesions disturbing erythroid maturation, most notably in genes of the ETS family, with mutations that reduce dependence on exogenous signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6091-6096
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 9 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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