PRDM14 functions in embryonic stem cell (ESC) maintenance to promote the expression of pluripotency-associated genes while suppressing differentiation genes. Expression of PRDM14 is tightly regulated and typically limited to ESCs and primordial germ cells; however, aberrant expression is associated with tumor initiation in a wide variety of human cancers, including breast cancer and leukemia. Here, we describe the generation of a Cre-recombinase-inducible mouse model for the spatial and temporal control of Prdm14 misexpression [ROSA26 floxed-stop Prdm14 (R26PR)]. When R26PR is mated to either of two Cre lines, Mx1-cre or MMTV-cre, mice develop early-onset T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) with median overall survival of 41 and 64 days for R26PR;Mx1-cre and R26PR;MMTV-cre, respectively. T-ALL is characterized by the accumulation of immature single-positive CD8 cells and their widespread infiltration. Leukemia is preceded by a dramatic expansion of cells resembling hematopoietic stem cells and lymphoid-committed progenitors prior to disease onset, accompanied by a blockage in B-cell differentiation at the early pro-B stage. Rapid-onset PRDM14-induced T-ALL requires factors that are present in stem and progenitor cells: R26PR;dLck-cre animals, which express Prdm14 starting at the double-positive stage of thymocyte development, do not develop disease. PRDM14-induced leukemic cells contain high levels of activated NOTCH1 and downstream NOTCH1 targets, including MYC and HES1, and are sensitive to pharmacological inhibition of NOTCH1 with the γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT. Greater than 50% of human T-ALLs harbor activating mutations in NOTCH1; thus, our model carries clinically relevant molecular aberrations. The penetrance, short latency and involvement of the NOTCH1 pathway will make this hematopoietic R26PR mouse model ideal for future studies on disease initiation, relapse and novel therapeutic drug combinations. Furthermore, breeding R26PR to additional Cre lines will allow for the continued development of novel cancer models.
- Received March 28, 2013.
- Accepted August 30, 2013.
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