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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Nov 15, 1993; 90(22): 10734–10738.
PMCID: PMC47852

Expression of a Pim-1 transgene accelerates lymphoproliferation and inhibits apoptosis in lpr/lpr mice.

Abstract

Transgenic mice expressing the Pim-1 kinase are predisposed to develop T-cell lymphomas with a long latency period of about 7-9 months. However, the exact functional basis of the oncogenic activity of Pim-1 remains obscure. C57BL/6 mice homozygous for the lpr mutation develop a well-described lymphoproliferative syndrome at about 26-30 weeks of age. This syndrome is characterized mainly by the accumulation of abnormal T cells in lymph nodes because of the lack of Fas receptor-induced apoptosis. We find that backcross of E mu-Pim-1 transgenics (mice with a transgene that carries the mouse Pim-1 gene under the transcriptional control of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene enhancer E mu) into lpr/lpr mice results in strong acceleration of lymphoproliferation and dramatic enlargement of lymph nodes. In addition, we show here that cultured lymph node cells from E mu-Pim-1 lpr/lpr mice are rescued from rapid apoptosis that normally occurs in nontransgenic lpr cells in vitro. We also present evidence that CD4+/CD8+ double-positive thymocytes from lpr/lpr mice are sensitive to dexamethasone-induced apoptosis, although lpr/lpr mice lack the Fas receptor. In contrast, E mu-Pim-1 lpr/lpr animals show considerable protection from dexamethasone-induced apoptosis. These results show that Pim-1 can strongly accelerate lymphoproliferation through inhibition of apoptosis and thereby provide first insight into the functional basis for the oncogenic activity of Pim-1.

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