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Oncogene. 2007 Nov 22;26(53):7391-400. Epub 2007 Jun 4.

The leukemia-associated cytoplasmic nucleophosmin mutant is an oncogene with paradoxical functions: Arf inactivation and induction of cellular senescence.

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Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Mutations leading to aberrant cytoplasmic localization of Nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) have been recently identified as the most frequent genetic alteration in acute myelogenous leukemia. However, the oncogenic potential of this nucleophosmin mutant (NPMc+) has never been established, which casts doubt on its role in leukemogenesis. By performing classical transformation assays, we find that NPMc+, but not wild-type NPM, cooperates specifically with adenovirus E1A to transform primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts in soft agar. We demonstrate that NPMc+ blocks the p19(Arf) (Arf) induction elicited by E1A. Surprisingly, however, we find that NPMc+ induces cellular senescence and that E1A is able to overcome this response. We propose a model whereby the NPMc+ pro-senescence activity needs to be evaded for oncogenic transformation, even though NPMc+ can concomitantly blunt the Arf/p53 pathway. These findings identify for the first time NPMc+ as an oncogene and shed new unexpected light on its mechanism of action.

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