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Clinical Trial
, 35 (6), 908-19

N-ras Oncogene-Induced Gene Expression in Human Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells: Upregulation of p16INK4a and p21CIP1/WAF1 Correlates With Myeloid Differentiation

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Clinical Trial

N-ras Oncogene-Induced Gene Expression in Human Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells: Upregulation of p16INK4a and p21CIP1/WAF1 Correlates With Myeloid Differentiation

Sylvie Shen et al. Exp Hematol.

Abstract

Objectives: Mutations in ras oncogenes occur at high frequency in acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes; however, the role of ras genes in leukemogenesis has not been clearly defined. Our previous studies have shown that expression of mutant N-ras (N-rasG13R, G to C transversion) in human hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) promotes myeloid differentiation and proliferation both in vitro and in a NOD/SCID mouse model. In the present study, we performed expression profiling to identify the transcriptome induced by N-rasG13R in human HPC, and analyzed the effect of mutant N-ras in sorted specific subpopulations of HPC.

Methods: cDNA microarray analysis was performed on cord blood CD34(+) cells transduced with a retrovirus containing GFP alone or in combination with mutant N-ras. Transduced cells were also sorted into factorial subpopulations according to CD34 and transgene expression, and analyzed in suspension or semi-solid methylcellulose culture.

Results: Among a variety of changes, including upregulation of cytokine genes, we found that N-rasG13R induced expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p16(INK4a) and p21(CIP1/WAF1). Analysis by RT-PCR revealed that increased p16(INK4a) and p21(CIP1/WAF1) occurred in the most primitive, CD34(+)/Ras(+) population but not in the more mature CD34(-)/Ras(+) cells or in the CD34(+)/Ras(-) cells. Moreover, N-rasG13R inhibited the proliferation of the primitive CD34(+)/Ras(+) cells, both in liquid culture and in colony assays. This growth suppression correlated with an increased proportion of myelomonocytic colonies and a decrease of erythroid colonies. In contrast, the growth of CD34(-)/Ras(+) cells and CD34(+)/Ras(-) HPC was not inhibited.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrated the mutant N-ras induced transcriptome, and that this is associated with HPC growth suppression/myelomonocytic differentiation, and identify upregulation of cyclin inhibitors as key events in this process. The results indicate that ras mutation alone is not sufficient to induce leukemogenesis; collaborative secondary event(s) are involved in the process.

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