The oncogene v-akt was isolated from a retrovirus that induced murine thymic lymphomas. Transgenic mice expressing a constitutively activated form of the cellular homologue Akt2 specifically in immature T cells develop spontaneous thymic lymphomas. We hypothesized that tumors from these mice might exhibit oncogenic chromosomal rearrangements that cooperate with activated Akt2 in lymphomagenesis. Cytogenetic analysis revealed a recurrent clonal inversion of chromosome 6, inv(6), in thymic lymphomas from multiple transgenic founder lines, including one line in which 15 of 15 primary tumors exhibited this same rearrangement. Combined fluorescence in situ hybridization, PCR, and DNA sequence analyses showed that the distal inv(6) breakpoint resides at the T-cell receptor β chain locus, Tcrb. The proximal breakpoint maps to a region near a locus comprising the linked homeobox/transcription factor genes Dlx5 and Dlx6. Expression analysis of genes translocated to the vicinity of the Tcrb enhancer revealed that Dlx5 and Dlx6 are overexpressed in tumors exhibiting the inv(6). Experimental overexpression of Dlx5 in mammalian cells resulted in enhanced cell proliferation and increased colony formation, and clonogenic assays revealed cooperativity when both Dlx5 and activated Akt2 were coexpressed. In addition, DLX5, but not DLX6, was found to be abundantly expressed in three of seven human T-cell lymphomas tested. These findings suggest that the Dlx5 can act as an oncogene by cooperating with Akt2 to promote lymphomagenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research