Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a hematological malignancy characterized by uncontrolled proliferation of dysplastic myelomonocytes and frequent progression to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We identified mutations in the Cbl gene, which encodes a negative regulator of cytokine signaling, in a subset of CMML patients. To investigate the contribution of mutant Cbl in CMML pathogenesis, we generated conditional knockin mice for Cbl that express wild-type Cbl in a steady state and inducibly express CblQ367P, a CMML-associated Cbl mutant. CblQ367P mice exhibited sustained proliferation of myelomonocytes, multilineage dysplasia, and splenomegaly, which are the hallmarks of CMML. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT and JAK-STAT pathways were constitutively activated in CblQ367P hematopoietic stem cells, which promoted cell cycle progression and enhanced chemokine-chemokine receptor activity. Gem, a gene encoding a GTPase that is upregulated by CblQ367P, enhanced hematopoietic stem cell activity and induced myeloid cell proliferation. In addition, Evi1, a gene encoding a transcription factor, was found to cooperate with CblQ367P and progress CMML to AML. Furthermore, targeted inhibition for the PI3K-AKT and JAK-STAT pathways efficiently suppressed the proliferative activity of CblQ367P-bearing CMML cells. Our findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying mutant Cbl-induced CMML and propose a possible molecular targeting therapy for mutant Cbl-carrying CMML patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology