Activation of β-catenin has been causatively linked to the etiology of colon cancer. Conditional stabilization of this molecule in pro-T cells promotes thymocyte development without the requirement for pre-TCR signaling. We show here that activated β-catenin stalls the developmental transition from the double-positive (DP) to the single-positive (SP) thymocyte stage and predisposes DP thymocytes to transformation. β-Catenin-induced thymic lymphomas have a leukemic arrest at the early DPstage. Lymphomagenesis requires Rag activity, which peaks at this developmental stage, as well as additional secondary genetic events. A consistent secondary event is the transcriptional up-regulation of c-Myc, whose activity is required for transformation because its conditional ablation abrogates lymphomagenesis. In contrast, the expression of Notch receptors as well as targets is reduced in DP thymocytes with stabilized β-catenin and remains low in the lymphomas, indicating that Notch activation is not required or selected for in β-catenin-induced lymphomas. Thus, β-catenin activation may provide a mechanism for the induction of T-cell-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) that does not depend on Notch activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology