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Oncogene. 2008 Mar 6;27(11):1511-9. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

JAK kinases overexpression promotes in vitro cell transformation.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Brussels Branch, Brussels, Belgium.


Constitutive activation of the JAK-STAT pathway is frequent in cancer and contributes to oncogenesis. Here, we took advantage of the Ba/F3 cell line, a murine proB cell line dependent on IL-3 for growth, to analyse mechanisms of constitutive STAT activation in vitro. Cytokine-independent and tumorigenic Ba/F3 cell lines were derived from a two-step selection process. Cells transfected with a defective IL-9 receptor acquire IL-9 responsiveness during a first step of selection, and progress after a second selection step to autonomously growing tumorigenic cells. Microarray analysis pointed to JAK1 overexpression as a key genetic event in this transformation. Overexpression of JAK1 not only increased the sensitivity to IL-9 but also allowed a second selection step toward cytokine-independent growth with constitutive STAT activation. This progression was dependent on a functional FERM and kinase JAK1 domain. Similar results were observed after JAK2, JAK3 and TYK2 overexpression. All autonomous cell lines showed an activation of STAT5, ERK1-2 and AKT but only TYK2-overexpressing cell lines showed a constitutive activation of STAT3. Thus, JAK overexpression can be considered as one of the oncogenic events leading to the constitutive activation of the JAK-STAT pathway.

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