|Budget Amount *help
¥3,600,000 (Direct Cost : ¥3,600,000)
Fiscal Year 2004 : ¥1,300,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,300,000)
Fiscal Year 2003 : ¥2,300,000 (Direct Cost : ¥2,300,000)
BCR-ABL oncogene, the molecular hallmark of chronic myelogenous leukemia, arises in a primitive hematopoietic stem cell that has the capacity for both differentiation and self-renewal. Its product, Bcr-Abl protein, has been shown to activate signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) and to promote self-renewal in embryonic stem (ES) cells, even in the absence of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). MEK kinase I (MEKK1) is a 196-kDa mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase kinase involved in Bcr-Abl signal transduction. To investigate the role of MEKK1 in Bcr-Abl-induced transformation of stem cells, p210 Bcr-Abl was stably transfected into wild type (WT^<p210>) and MEKK1-/- (MEKK1-/-^<p210>) ES cells. Bcr-Abl enhanced MEKK1 expression in ES transfectants, as it does in other Bcr-Abl-transformed cells. In the absence of LIE, WT^<p210> cells showed constitutive STAT3 activation and formed rounded, compact colonies having strong alkaline phosphatase activity, a characteristic phenotype of undifferentiated ES cells. MEKK1-/-^<p210> cells, by contrast, showed less STAT3 activity than WT^<p210> cells and formed large, flattened colonies having weak alkaline phosphatase activity, a phenotype of differentiated ES cells. These results indicate that MEKK1 plays a key role in Bcr-Abl-induced STAT3 activation and in ES cells' capacity for LIF-independent self-renewal, and may thus be involved in Bcr-Abl-mediated leukemogenesis in stem cells.