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Nat Immunol. 2014 Mar;15(3):294-304. doi: 10.1038/ni.2821. Epub 2014 Feb 9.

Loss of Ikaros DNA-binding function confers integrin-dependent survival on pre-B cells and progression to acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA.
Molecular Oncology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
1] Molecular Oncology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. [2] Present address: Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, USA.


Deletion of the DNA-binding domain of the transcription factor Ikaros generates dominant-negative isoforms that interfere with its activity and correlate with poor prognosis in human precursor B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Here we found that conditional inactivation of the Ikaros DNA-binding domain in early pre-B cells arrested their differentiation at a stage at which integrin-dependent adhesion to niches augmented signaling via mitogen-activated protein kinases, proliferation and self-renewal and attenuated signaling via the pre-B cell signaling complex (pre-BCR) and the differentiation of pre-B cells. Transplantation of polyclonal Ikaros-mutant pre-B cells resulted in long-latency oligoclonal pre-B-ALL, which demonstrates that loss of Ikaros contributes to multistep B cell leukemogenesis. Our results explain how normal pre-B cells transit from a highly proliferative and stroma-dependent phase to a stroma-independent phase during which differentiation is enabled, and suggest potential therapeutic strategies for Ikaros-mutant B-ALL.

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