The Sox4 transcription factor mediates early B-cell differentiation. Compared with normal pre-B cells, SOX4 promoter regions in Ph+ ALL cells are significantly hypomethylated. Loss and gain-of-function experiments identified Sox4 as a critical activator of PI3K/AKT and MAPK signaling in ALL cells. ChIP experiments confirmed that SOX4 binds to and transcriptionally activates promoters of multiple components within the PI3K/AKT and MAPK signaling pathways. Cre-mediated deletion of Sox4 had little effect on normal pre-B cells but compromised proliferation and viability of leukemia cells, which was rescued by BCL2L1 and constitutively active AKT and p110 PI3K. Consistent with these findings, high levels of SOX4 expression in ALL cells at the time of diagnosis predicted poor outcome in a pediatric clinical trial (COG P9906). Collectively, these studies identify SOX4 as a central mediator of oncogenic PI3K/AKT and MAPK signaling in ALL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology