The acute promyelocytic leukemia PML-RAR alpha protein induces hepatic preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions in transgenic mice.
The PML-RAR alpha hybrid protein generated by the t(15;17) translocation in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is thought to play a central role in the oncogenic process. However, analysis of the oncogenic activity of the fusion protein in tissue culture assays or in mice has been hampered by its apparent toxicity in multiple murine cells. To circumvent this problem, we generated an inducible line of transgenic mice, MT135, in which the expression of PML-RAR alpha is driven by the metallothionein promoter. After 5 days zinc stimulation, 27 out of 54 mice developed hepatic preneoplasia and neoplasia including foci of basophilic hepatocytes, dysplasia and carcinoma with a significantly higher incidence of lesions in females than in males. The rapid onset of liver pathologies was dependent on overexpression of the transgene since it was not detected in noninduced transgenic animals of the same age. The PML-RAR alpha protein was always present in altered tissues at much higher levels than in the surrounding normal liver tissues. In addition, overexpression of PML-RAR alpha resulted in a strong proliferative response in the hepatocytes. We conclude that overexpression of PML-RAR alpha deregulates cell proliferation and can induce tumorigenic changes in vivo.
David, G; Terris, B; Marchio, A; Lavau, C; Dejean, A
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