Mcm2 hypomorph leads to acute leukemia or hematopoietic stem cell failure, dependent on genetic context

Abstract

Minichromosome maintenance proteins (Mcm2-7) form a hexameric complex that unwinds DNA ahead of a replicative fork. The deficiency of Mcm proteins leads to replicative stress and consequent genomic instability. Mice with a germline insertion of a Cre cassette into the 3'UTR of the Mcm2 gene (designated Mcm2Cre ) have decreased Mcm2 expression and invariably develop precursor T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (pre-T LBL), due to 100-1000 kb deletions involving important tumor suppressor genes. To determine whether mice that were protected from pre-T LBL would develop non-T-cell malignancies, we used two approaches. Mice engrafted with Mcm2Cre/Cre Lin- Sca-1+ Kit+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells did not develop hematologic malignancy; however, these mice died of hematopoietic stem cell failure by 6 months of age. Placing the Mcm2Cre allele onto an athymic nu/nu background completely prevented pre-T LBL and extended survival of these mice three-fold (median 296.5 vs. 80.5 days). Ultimately, most Mcm2Cre/Cre ;nu/nu mice developed B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). We identified recurrent deletions of 100-1000 kb that involved genes known or suspected to be involved in BCP-ALL, including Pax5, Nf1, Ikzf3, and Bcor. Moreover, whole-exome sequencing identified recurrent mutations of genes known to be involved in BCP-ALL progression, such as Jak1/Jak3, Ptpn11, and Kras. These findings demonstrate that an Mcm2Cre/Cre hypomorph can induce hematopoietic dysfunction via hematopoietic stem cell failure as well as a "deletor" phenotype affecting known or suspected tumor suppressor genes

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