TRIB2 in normal and malignant hematopoiesis - a transcription factor network

O'Connor, Caitríona (2016) TRIB2 in normal and malignant hematopoiesis - a transcription factor network. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Hematopoiesis is the tightly controlled and complex process in which the entire blood system is formed and maintained by a rare pool of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and its dysregulation results in the formation of leukaemia. TRIB2, a member of the Tribbles family of serine/threonine pseudokinases, has been implicated in a variety of cancers and is a potent murine oncogene that induces acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in vivo via modulation of the essential myeloid transcription factor CCAAT-enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα). C/EBPα, which is crucial for myeloid cell differentiation, is commonly dysregulated in a variety of cancers, including AML.

Two isoforms of C/EBPα exist - the full-length p42 isoform, and the truncated oncogenic p30 isoform. TRIB2 has been shown to selectively degrade the p42 isoform of C/EBPα and induce p30 expression in AML. In this study, overexpression of the p30 isoform in a bone marrow transplant (BMT) leads to perturbation of myelopoiesis, and in the presence of physiological levels of p42, this oncogene exhibited weak transformative ability. It was also shown by BMT that despite their degradative relationship, expression of C/EBPα was essential for TRIB2 mediated leukaemia. A conditional mouse model was used to demonstrate that oncogenic p30 cooperates with TRIB2 to reduce disease latency, only in the presence of p42. At the molecular level, a ubiquitination assay was used to show that TRIB2 degrades p42 by K48-mediated proteasomal ubiquitination and was unable to ubiquitinate p30. Mutation of a critical lysine residue in the C-terminus of C/EBPα abrogated TRIB2 mediated C/EBPα ubiquitination suggesting that this site, which is frequently mutated in AML, is the site at which TRIB2 mediates its degradative effects. The TRIB2-C/EBPα axis was effectively targeted by proteasome inhibition.

AML is a very difficult disease to target therapeutically due to the extensive array of chromosomal translocations and genetic aberrations that contribute to the disease. The cell from which a specific leukaemia arises, or leukaemia initiating cell (LIC), can affect the phenotype and chemotherapeutic response of the resultant disease. The LIC has been elucidated for some common oncogenes but it is unknown for TRIB2. The data presented in this thesis investigate the ability of the oncogene TRIB2 to transform hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in vitro and in vivo. TRIB2 overexpression conferred in vitro serially replating ability to all stem and progenitor cells studied. Upon transplantation, only TRIB2 overexpressing HSCs and granulocyte/macrophage progenitors (GMPs) resulted in the generation of leukaemia in vivo. TRIB2 induced a mature myeloid leukaemia from the GMP, and a mixed lineage leukaemia from the HSC. As such the role of TRIB2 in steady state hematopoiesis was also explored using a Trib2-/- mouse and it was determined that loss of Trib2 had no effect on lineage distribution in the hematopoietic compartment under steady-state conditions.

The process of hematopoiesis is controlled by a host of lineage restricted transcription factors. Recently members of the Nuclear Factor 1 family of transcription factors (NFIA, NFIB, NFIC and NFIX) have been implicated in hematopoiesis. Little is known about the role of NFIX in lineage determination. Here we describe a novel role for NFIX in lineage fate determination. In human and murine datasets the expression of Nfix was shown to decrease as cells differentiated along the lymphoid pathway. NFIX overexpression resulted in enhanced myelopoiesis in vivo and in vitro and a block in B cell development at the pre-pro-B cell stage. Loss of NFIX resulted in disruption of myeloid and lymphoid differentiation in vivo. These effects on stem and progenitor cell fate correlated with changes in the expression levels of key transcription factors involved in hematopoietic differentiation including a 15-fold increase in Cebpa expression in Nfix overexpressing cells. The data presented support a role for NFIX as an important transcription factor influencing hematopoietic lineage specification.

The identification of NFIX as a novel transcription factor influencing lineage determination will lead to further study of its role in hematopoiesis, and contribute to a better understanding of the process of differentiation. Elucidating the relationship between TRIB2 and C/EBPα not only impacts on our understanding of the pathophysiology of AML but is also relevant in other cancer types including lung and liver cancer. Thus in summary, the data presented in this thesis provide important insights into key areas which will facilitate the development of future therapeutic approaches in cancer treatment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: C/EBPa, NFIX, TRIB2, hematopoiesis, haemopoiesis, AML.
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences > Paul O'Gorman Leukemia Research Centre
Funder's Name: Bloodwise (LLR)
Supervisor's Name: Keeshan, Dr. Karen
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Caitriona O'Connor
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7354
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2016 11:40
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2016 10:03

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