Quantitative expression profiling guided by common retroviral insertion sites reveals novel and cell type specific cancer genes in leukemia

Blood. 2008 Jan 15;111(2):790-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-07-098236. Epub 2007 Sep 28.


Proviral insertional mutagenesis is a powerful tool for the discovery of cancer-associated genes. The ability of integrated proviruses to affect gene expression over long distances combined with the lack of methods to determine the expression levels of large numbers of genes in a systematic and truly quantitative manner have limited the identification of cancer genes by proviral insertional mutagenesis. Here, we have characterized a new model of proviral insertional mutagenesis-induced lymphoid tumors derived from Eed Polycomb group gene mutant mice and quantitatively determined the expression levels of all genes within 100 kb of 20 different retroviral common insertion sites (CISs) identified in these tumors. Using high-throughput quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (Q-RT-PCR), we document an average of 13 CIS-associated genes deregulated per tumor, half of which are leukemia subtype-specific, while the others are coordinately deregulated in the majority of tumors analyzed. Interestingly, we find that genes located distantly from common proviral integration sites are as frequently deregulated as proximal genes, with multiple genes affected per integration. Our studies reveal an unsuspected conservation in the group of genes deregulated among phenotypically similar subtypes of lymphoid leukemias, and suggest that identification of common molecular determinants of this disease is within reach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Viral / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic / genetics*
  • Genes, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / virology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Moloney murine leukemia virus / genetics*
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional*
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Proviruses / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Virus Integration / genetics*


  • Eed protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2