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J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 17;287(8):5199-210. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.242602. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

Role for Ets-2(Thr-72) transcription factor in stage-specific thymocyte development and survival.

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Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology Program, Division of Hematology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Interference of Ras signaling deregulates thymocyte development in mouse models. However, the role of Ets-2, a transcription factor that is phosphorylated on a critical threonine residue (Thr-72) by the Ras/MAPK pathway in thymocyte development, has not been defined. Transgenic mice overexpressing a phosphomutant Ets-2 (T72A) in the thymus displayed reduced thymus size associated with a 60-80% reduction in thymocyte populations. The transgenic mice exhibited a 20-fold increase in a c-Kit(+) CD4(+) CD8(+) CD3(-) population and a 5-fold increase in a unique CD5(low) population associated with a partial developmental block at the DN2-DN3 stage of thymocytes. Transgenic thymocytes exhibited increased apoptosis, and overexpression of Bcl-2 rescued the hypocellularity and associated thymocyte developmental block in double transgenic mice. The observed defects in these mice are not dependent on Ets-1 expression. These studies implicate for the first time a stage-specific Ets-1-independent regulatory role for Ets-2 in early thymocyte development and survival.

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