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Blood. 2000 Dec 15;96(13):4319-27.

Nucleophosmin-anaplastic lymphoma kinase associated with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma activates the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt antiapoptotic signaling pathway.

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Department of Internal Medicine III, Laboratory of Leukemogenesis, Technical University of Munich, Germany.


More than half of anaplastic large-cell lymphomas (ALCLs) have a chromosomal translocation t(2;5) that leads to the expression of a hybrid protein composed of the nucleolar phosphoprotein nucleophosmin (NPM) and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) that exhibits an unregulated tyrosine kinase activity. We have previously identified PLC-gamma as a crucial downstream signaling molecule of NPM-ALK that contributes to its mitogenic potential. Here, we show that NPM-ALK recruits the C-terminal SH2 domain of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3kinase) p85 subunit. PI 3-kinase assays revealed that the kinase is activated by NPM-ALK in vivo, in turn activating PKB/Akt in NPM-ALK-expressing cells. The use of 2 specific PI 3-kinase inhibitors, wortmannin and LY294002, demonstrated the requirement of PI 3-kinase for the growth of NPM-ALK-transformed cell lines, as well as a cell line established from a patient with ALCL. Primary murine bone marrow retrovirally transduced with NPM-ALK showed a transformed phenotype that was reversible on treatment with PI 3-kinase inhibitors. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that wortmannin-treated NPM-ALK-transformed cell lines underwent apoptosis. Furthermore, apoptosis induced by overexpression of the proapoptotic molecule Bad could be partially blocked by the overexpression of NPM-ALK. Thus, NPM-ALK activates the antiapoptotic PI 3-kinase/Akt pathway, which likely contributes to the molecular pathogenesis of ALCL. (Blood. 2000;96:4319-4327)

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