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Oncogene. 2011 Mar 10;30(10):1252-60. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.495. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

A DNA-binding mutant of TAL1 cooperates with LMO2 to cause T cell leukemia in mice.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Biology, UMass Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


The most common translocation in childhood T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) involves the LMO2 locus, resulting in ectopic expression of the LMO2 gene in human thymocytes. The LMO2 gene was also activated in patients with X-linked Severe Combined Immune Deficiency treated with gene therapy because of retroviral insertion in the LMO2 locus. The LMO2 insertions predisposed these children to T-ALL, yet how LMO2 contributes to T cell transformation remains unclear. The LIM (Lin 11, Isl-1, Mec-3) domain containing LMO2 protein regulates erythropoiesis as part of a large transcriptional complex consisting of LMO2, TAL1, E47, GATA1 and LDB1 that recognizes bipartite E-box-GATA1 sites on target genes. Similarly, a TAL1/E47/LMO2/LDB1 complex is observed in human T-ALL and Tal1 and Lmo2 expression in mice results in disease acceleration. To address the mechanism(s) of Tal1/Lmo2 synergy in leukemia, we generated Lmo2 transgenic mice and mated them with mice that express wild-type Tal1 or a DNA-binding mutant of TAL1. Tal1/Lmo2 and MutTAL1/Lmo2 bitransgenic mice exhibit perturbations in thymocyte development due to reduced E47/HEB transcriptional activity and develop leukemia with identical kinetics. These data demonstrate that the DNA-binding activity of Tal1 is not required to cooperate with Lmo2 to cause leukemia in mice and suggest that Lmo2 may cooperate with Tal1 to interfere with E47/HEB function(s).

© 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited

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