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Transformation of hematopoietic stem cells by the BCR-FGFR1 fusion kinase found in a variant of Stem Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (SCLL) syndrome leads to development of B-lymphomas in syngeneic mice and humans. In this study, we show that the relatively rapid onset of this leukemia is potentially related to oncogenic domains within the BCR component. BCR recruited a guanidine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) domain to the fusion kinase to facilitate activation of small GTPases such as RHOA. Deletion of this GEF domain increased leukemogenesis, enhanced cell survival and proliferation, and promoted stem cell expansion and lymph node metastasis. This suggests that, in an SCLL context, the presence of the endogenous GEF motif leads to reduced leukemogenesis. Indeed, loss of the GEF domain suppressed activation of RHOA and PTEN, leading to increased activation of AKT. Loss of the GEF domain enhanced cell proliferation and invasion potential, which was also observed in cells in which RHOA is knocked down, supported by the observation that overexpression of RHOA leads to reduced viability and invasion. In vivo, depletion of RHOA in SCLL cells significantly increased disease progression and shortened latency. Collectively, these data show that the BCR GEF domain affects phenotypes associated with progression of SCLL through suppression of RHOA signaling.
PMID: 30413411 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]