T-cell lymphomas in T-cell-specific Pten-deficient mice originate in the thymus

Leukemia. 2008 Mar;22(3):608-19. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2405056. Epub 2007 Nov 29.


Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (Pten) is a tumor suppressor protein whose loss of lipid phosphatase activity is associated with lymphomagenesis. We made use of the Cre-loxP system to delete Pten expression in Lck- or CD4-expressing T-lineage cells. Mice initially showed modest thymic hyperplasia and subsequently developed expanding and infiltrating T-cell lymphomas, leading to a premature death within 5 to 23 weeks. Frequently, all thymocyte and peripheral T-cell populations displayed phenotypes characteristic for immature developing thymocyte precursors and shared elevated levels of clonally rearranged T-cell receptor (TCR) beta chains. In concert, CD2, CD5, CD3epsilon and CD44, proteins associated with increased expression and signaling capacity of both the immature pre-TCR and the mature alphabetaTCR, were more abundantly expressed, reflecting a constitutive state of activation. Although most T-cell lymphomas had acquired the capability to infiltrate the periphery, not all populations left the thymus and expanded clonally exclusively in the thymus. In line with this, only transplantation of thymocytes with infiltrating capacity gave rise to T-cell lymphoma in immunodeficient recipients. These results indicate that T-cell-specific Pten deletion during various stages of thymocyte development gives rise to clonally expanding T-cell lymphomas that frequently infiltrate the periphery, but originate in the thymus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • CD4 Antigens / biosynthesis
  • CD4 Antigens / genetics
  • Cell Lineage
  • Clone Cells / pathology
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Rearrangement, beta-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor
  • Hyperplasia
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Integrases / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck) / biosynthesis
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck) / genetics
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / genetics
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Peripheral / genetics
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Peripheral / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Organ Specificity
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / deficiency*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / physiology
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Thymus Neoplasms / genetics
  • Thymus Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD4 Antigens
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck)
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Pten protein, mouse