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The homeoprotein Dlx5 drives murine T-cell lymphomagenesis by directly transactivating Notch and upregulating Akt signaling
Oncotarget. 2017 Feb 28;8(9) :14941-14956
PMID: 28122332    PMCID: PMC5362456    URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28122332
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Homeobox genes play a critical role in embryonic development, but they have also been implicated in cancer through mechanisms that are largely unknown. While not expressed during normal T-cell development, homeobox transcription factor genes can be reactivated via recurrent chromosomal rearrangements in human T-cell acute leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL), a malignancy often associated with activated Notch and Akt signaling. To address how epigenetic reprogramming via an activated homeobox gene might contribute to T-lymphomagenesis, we investigated a transgenic mouse model with thymocyte-specific overexpression of the Dlx5 homeobox gene. We demonstrate for the first time that Dlx5 induces T-cell lymphomas with high penetrance. Integrated ChIP-seq and mRNA microarray analyses identified Notch1/3 and Irs2 as direct transcriptional targets of Dlx5, a gene signature unique to lymphomas from Lck-Dlx5 mice as compared to T-cell lymphomas from Lck-MyrAkt2 mice, which were previously reported by our group. Moreover, promoter/enhancer studies confirmed that Dlx5 directly transactivates Notch expression. Notch1/3 expression and Irs2-induced Akt signaling were upregulated throughout early stages of T-cell development, which promoted cell survival during beta-selection of T lymphocytes. Dlx5 was required for tumor maintenance via its activation of Notch and Akt, as tumor cells were highly sensitive to Notch and Akt inhibitors. Together, these findings provide unbiased genetic and mechanistic evidence that Dlx5 acts as an oncogene when aberrantly expressed in T cells, and that it is a novel discovery that Notch is a direct target of Dlx5. These experimental findings provide mechanistic insights about how reactivation of the Dlx5 gene can drive T-ALL by aberrant epigenetic reprogramming of the T-cell genome.
1949-2553 Tan, Yinfei Sementino, Eleonora Xu, Jinfei Pei, Jianming Liu, Zemin Ito, Timothy K Cai, Kathy Q Peri, Suraj Klein-Szanto, Andres J P Wiest, David L Testa, Joseph R Journal Article United States Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 21. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.14784.