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Oncogene. 2005 Apr 14;24(16):2695-704.

Deregulated expression of RasGRP1 initiates thymic lymphomagenesis independently of T-cell receptors.

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Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


RasGRP1 is a Ras-specific exchange factor, which is activated by T-cell receptor (TCR) and promotes TCR-dependent positive selection of thymocytes. RasGRP1 is highly expressed on most T lymphocytic leukemias and is a common site of proviral insertion in retrovirus-induced murine T-cell lymphomas. We used RasGRP1 transgenic mice to determine if deregulated expression of RasGRP1 has a causative role in the development of T-cell malignancies. Thymic lymphomas occurred in three different RasGRP1 transgenic mouse lines. Thymocyte transformation correlated with high transgene expression in early stage lymphomas, indicating that deregulated RasGRP1 expression contributed to the initiation of lymphomagenesis. Expression of the positively selectable H-Y TCR accelerated lymphomagenesis in RasGRP1 transgenic mice. However, the transformed thymocytes lacked markers of positive selection and lymphomas occurred when positive selection was precluded by negative selection of the H-Y TCR. Therefore, initiation of lymphomagenesis via RasGRP1 was not associated with TCR-dependent positive selection of thymocytes. Thymic lymphomas occurred in RasGRP1 transgenic/Rag2-/- mice, demonstrating that neither TCR nor pre-TCR were required for RasGRP1-driven lymphomagenesis. The RasGRP1 transgene conferred pre-TCR-independent survival and proliferation of immature thymocytes, suggesting that deregulated expression of RasGRP1 promotes lymphomagenesis by expanding the pool of thymocytes which are susceptible to transformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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