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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Oct 29;99(22):14392-7. Epub 2002 Oct 14.

Dysregulated TCL1 promotes multiple classes of mature B cell lymphoma.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Molecular Biology Institute, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and AIDS Institute, University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The TCL1 protooncogene is overexpressed in many mature B cell lymphomas, especially from AIDS patients. To determine whether aberrant expression promotes B cell transformation, we generated a murine model in which a TCL1 transgene was overexpressed at similar levels in both B and T cells. Strikingly, transgenic mice developed Burkitt-like lymphoma (BLL) and diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with attendant Bcl-6 expression and mutated J(H) gene segments at a very high penetrance beginning at 4 months of age. In contrast, only one mouse developed a T cell malignancy at 15 months, consistent with a longer latency for transformation of T cells by TCL1. Activation of premalignant splenic B cells by means of B cell antigen receptor (BCR) engagement resulted in significantly increased proliferation and augmented AKT-dependent signaling, including increased S6 ribosomal protein phosphorylation. Transgenic spleen cells also survived longer than wild-type spleen cells in long-term culture. Together these data demonstrate that TCL1 is a powerful oncogene that, when overexpressed in both B and T cells, predominantly yields mature B cell lymphomas.

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