MOZ-TIF2 is a leukemogenic fusion oncoprotein that confers self-renewal capability to hematopoietic progenitor cells and induces acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) with long latency in bone marrow transplantation assays. Here, we report that FLT3-ITD transforms hematopoietic cells in cooperation with MOZ-TIF2 in vitro and in vivo. Coexpression of FLT3-ITD confers growth factor independent survival/proliferation, shortens disease latency, and results in an increase in the number of leukemic stem cells (LSC). We show that STAT5, a major effector of aberrant FLT3-ITD signal transduction, is both necessary and sufficient for this cooperative effect. In addition, STAT5 signaling is essential for MOZ-TIF2-induced leukemic transformation itself. Lack of STAT5 in fetal liver cells caused rapid differentiation and loss of replating capacity of MOZ-TIF2-transduced cells enriched for LSCs. Furthermore, mice serially transplanted with Stat5(-/-) MOZ-TIF2 leukemic cells develop AML with longer disease latency and finally incomplete penetrance when compared with mice transplanted with Stat5(+/+) MOZ-TIF2 leukemic cells. These data suggest that STAT5AB is required for the self-renewal of LSCs and represents a combined signaling node of FLT3-ITD and MOZ-TIF2 driven leukemogenesis. Therefore, targeting aberrantly activated STAT5 or rewired downstream signaling pathways may be a promising therapeutic option.
View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-0255
View details for Web of Science ID 000313019800037
View details for PubMedID 23149921