Relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is dangerous and it worsens the prognosis of patients; however, prognostic markers or therapeutic targets for ALL remain unknown. In the present study, using databases such as TARGET, GSE60926 and GSE28460, we determined that KIF2C and its binding partner, KIF18B are overexpressed in patients with relapsed ALL compared to that in patients diagnosed with ALL for the first time. As 50% of the residues are exactly the same and the signature domain of KIF2C is highly conserved between human and zebrafish, we used zebrafish embryos as a model to investigate the function of kif2c in vivo. We determined that kif2c is necessary for lymphopoiesis in zebrafish embryos. Additionally, we observed that kif2c is not related to differentiation of HSCs; however, it is important for the maintenance of HSCs as it provides survival signals to HSCs. These results imply that the ALL relapse-related gene KIF2C is linked to the survival of HSCs. In conclusion, we suggest that KIF2C can serve as a novel therapeutic target for relapsed ALL.
Keywords: ALL; GEO; KIF2C; TARGET; hematopoiesis; zebrafish.